Be The 12th Man

Thanks to Paul Mellor for sharing his experience with Real OviedoIMG_3179

Football is one of those things in life which can, for me anyway, affect the way you feel with you being able to have almost no input or control in the outcome.  The emphasis at games to “be the 12th man” is very common.  You can, maybe, influence the mood of your chosen team and cheer them on to victory but there is very little you can do to influence or help what goes on behind the scenes.  You want the best for your club but you can’t change the fact that football is a business built as much on profit and players wages than anything else.  In fact at my home team Oldham Athletic it can be very worrying watching the club gain headlines for the wrong reasons or restrictions on your team due to financial budgets and embargoes.

So in 2015 when I heard about shareholding in Real Oviedo, off fellow Latics supporter Andy Huskinson via Twitter I was intrigued.  The team sounded so similar to Oldham, a team with a great history, a sleeping giant if you will, longing for the return to higher leagues.  At the time they were in the third division of Spanish football and a new share sale begun.  A really good promotional video by Spencer Owen also caught my interest, why not purchase some shares in a team that is no conflict of interest to your own and one that incidentally also play in blue and white?
The opportunity to be a shareholder is a great way to, maybe, be more than that much called for 12th man and own part of the club.

So I bought some shares and one for my daughter (then 4 years old) as a bit of fun and another football team to follow.

Then something brilliant happened.  I tweeted my share purchase and there was a fantastic response with lots of likes and retweets.

Thinking I better learn more about this new investment and their history I started to listen to the Blue Planet Podcast and follow the Official Club Twitter feed, the Real Oviedo Shareholders Trust and of course Oviedista North West.

That first season following the club was the start of my new found obsession.  Following the team on their historic promotion run to the second division with Miguel Linares and Diego Cervero scoring great goals, the passion and excitement was fantastic even with really limited internet coverage of games.

The absolute scenes of partying when the club managed promotion to Segunda were amazing to see.  This shows how much the team means to the fans in Oviedo and, indeed, around the world.

I have met (via twitter) some really good people who have helped to keep me informed about developments at the club and even been interviewed for the online magazine OVD which I did not expect.  I have joined the Espíritu 2003 club via their website and been able to buy shirts and scarfs from the club website.  I also managed to purchase a supporters card from the club which is another way of contributing without actually being able to get to a live game.  The card came with a very touching letter from the club which stated that the Carlos Tartiere stadium is my home and that the club is proud of me for my support.  These small touches mean a lot and someday I will visit and watch a game.

I have never met the full group of Oviedista North West people other than Andy, I have always missed out on their nights out, the last one was on my wedding anniversary but, again, one day I’ll make it to one of their events.

At the moment it is really easy to follow the games as they are streamed live on Bet365 and quite often I will record them and watch them later on with a beer in hand purposefully avoiding Twitter so I don’t know the score.

As for my daughter loves the team, she doesn’t follow football but she knows some of the players, cheers them on when I watch them.  She wears the club badge proudly on her school bag.  I tell her she owns a tiny piece of the club and, I think, she pictures a little bit of the stadium being hers.   She says they are like the Latics but win more games :).

I hope this is the season that Real Oviedo can achieve the dream of returning to the top flight of Spanish football, certainly the club strategy is to get there.  If everyone believes it at the club as much as the fans it is only a matter of time until it becomes reality.

¡Hala Oviedo! Paul Mellor @TheMellorGeek