Away Days #4 Newell’s Old Boys

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Newell’s Old Boys were founded on November 3rd 1903 and are based in Rosario, Santa Fe. They are a sport club who play basketball, boxing, field hockey, martial arts, roller skating and volleyball but they are best known for their football team, who play in the Argentine Primera División. The name comes from one of the founding fathers of Argentinean football, Isaac Newell, who was an English teacher who moved to Argentina and founded Newell’s. The sports club was named in his honour. Their nickname is La Lepra or The Leprosy due to the fact they played in a charity match to raise funds for a leprosy clinic in the 1920s. The team colours are red and black; Red from the flag of England, Newell’s nation, and black from the flag of Germany, his wife’s nation. The club have been quite successful domestically, but are nowhere near the giants of Boca Juniors and River Plate, having only won 5 titles to Boca’s 30 and River’s record 34. La Lepra have also been twice runners up in the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League, in the years 1988 and 1992.

Rosario is the largest city in the province of Sante Fe and is 185 miles North-West of the capital Buenos Aires. It is set on the western shore of the Paraná River. With a rising population, estimated at 1,276,000 as of 2012, due to Rosario becoming of greater importance as a growing metropolitan area, Rosario is an important industrial area. It has major railway terminal and port, due to its high agricultural significance in Argentina. Despite the industry, Rosaria has many cultural sights and sounds. There are many stunning 20th century buildings there and some brilliant theatres. It has produced many great Argentinean musicians and interestingly the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was born there, as was, of course, Lionel Messi. Messi played for Newell’s until moving to Barcelona in order to have his growth hormone treatment paid for. This really is a case of what might have been had Newell’s paid for his treatment. The Argentinean flag was also created in Rosario.

You can see ex-Premier League stars playing at Newell’s: ex-Manchester United fullback Gabriel Heinze is playing there, as is ex-Liverpool winger Maxi Rodriguez. Newell’s play their home games at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, named after their former manager Marcelo Bielsa after he won 2 championships and was a runner up in the Copa Libertadores. (Bielsa is the current manager of Athletic Bilbao). The stadium holds 40,000 spectators and the Newell’s ultras let off a lot of smoke from flares and hold up banners of players they adore. They are worth a picture: 3[1]

The match to see:
Newell’s Old Boys V Boca Juniors. While Newell’s V Rosario Central is their biggest rivalry, Central are currently in the Primera B Nacional, the second division. When Boca Juniors come to Rosario, quality football is guaranteed. Boca are one of the best sides in Argentina and they have a passionate following. The noise levels should be ear drum bursting!

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