An Omonoia’s Gate 9 ultra in Bilbao: interview

First of all, we’d like to know a bit more the reality of the Cypriot league and more specifically of AC Omonoia. What can you tell us about the club and its history?

The year is 1948, a period of athletic reformation in the island of Cyprus; The civil war and the political situations evolving in Greece at the time, rapidly begin to influence Cyprus, while the political situations in Nicosia between the board of the hated rival apoel, seems like a volcano ready to erupt. The start of the tension amongst our present day  arch rivals was a telegram which was sent from the official board of the team addressing S.Ε.G.Α.S in May 23rd 1948. Within the telegram the presidency and board of Apoel addressed the athletic youth of Greece, stating their wish for the termination of the ‘Nation-Killing Mutiny’ as they described the Communist struggle against the British monarchy-fascists in Greece at the time. The board of the athletic club had in mind the consequences of the telegram’s content but did not hesitate to send and publish it anyway.

The result of the players’ opposition to this action was their permanent banishment from the club with the following message: ‘Get out of our stadiums, build your own, and enrol in the Russian Federation of Football. Only athletes who think and act as Greeks will be allowed within our grounds, and not Communists who hymn the traitors’. But every action has a reaction and the one that was about to take place, would shake the foundations of Cypriot football and society, once and for all. These heroic athletes who denied sacrificing their beliefs decided to bring to life a new athletic club named Α.Σ.Ο.Λ ( athletic club OMONOIA Nicosia, pronounced Omonoia ), with one and only goal, to limit the fascist and nationalistic influences in football and in extent the Cypriot society. 4th June 1948, was the date which marked the creation of the club soon to become the most dominant and powerful within the island. From then and on, a wave of opposition begins and the nationalistic society of Cyprus clashes with the ultimate and powerful to become, communists.

OMONOIA gets more and more powerful and is rapidly established as the dominant team of the island. All these elements together along with the political tensions and situations evolving within the island take the hatred between the rivals to disturbing levels for the society of Cyprus. In the mid-sixties, OMONOIA was labelled as the communist team of Cyprus, both in club level and within its fans, who were originated from the lower layers of society, workers and oppressed. The separation of fans within the island continued throughout the seventies and the rivalry between OMONOIA and the fascists was increasing day by day. Throughout the years, OMONOIA stands were always a form of gathering of the oppressed of the island, and fans would and still do, carry their flags and symbols of the left. Stands would be decorated with the red flags along with hammer and sickle symbols, the banners and pictures of Ernesto (Che) Guevara, and the fans would chant leftist and communist songs. OMONOIA as the queen of football in the island since the club succeeded fourteen championships, seven cups, and eight super cups, an unreachable record which can never be broken. Throughout the years OMONOIA became the first power of Cypriot football and until today has conquered nineteen championships, twelve cups and fourteen super cups, while the club also succeeded five doubles within what is described as the ‘Golden Era’ of the team.

The political situation in Cyprus is a bit confusing for the foreigners especially in Nicosia, with the border with the occupied part by Turkey. What’s the influence of all that in sport? In Bilbao it’s remembered that fixture against Anorthosis Famagusta that had to be played in Larnaca. Are there more examples of clubs playing in the exile?

Cyprus since 1974 is divided into 2 parts. In fact 38% of the island is occupied.

Attempts are made from 2 sports federations to join the Turkish Cypriot groups in our championship. But this seems difficult, first because Turkey does not agree, and second because the right fans react. (the president of the federation is a fan of APOEL wants to join the Turkish Cypriot groups because of money.

many Cypriot footballers (non-professional), agreed to play teams from the occupied territories. The reason is because they give more money from our own categories (except the first). again groups the right reacted with threats came up with a car bomb explosion. The level of the championship in the north side is lower and the teams are not so good.in the past(before the war in 1974) there was one team “tsentin kayia” that played in the Cyprus first division and won one championship(1950)

The first group only two teams suffered from the occupation. Both teams are from Famagusta. Anorthosis and Nea Salamina. First one, with right-wing preferences and the second one, left with but few followers.

Is there any project of a future creation of a league that includes the whole isle?

I’ve already answer this question. The 2 presidents of the football assossiation have meetings for a common league but as the Cyprus problem does not solve is impossible to apply.

Let’s talk about your group. Being a team from a minor league at a European level, the colouring and the level of the group is huge. How many members do you have and how do you organize yourselves? Do you follow any particular style (English, Italian, Balkan…) or is it genuine?

1992 is the historical landmark for OMONOIA fanatics. It is the date which marks the creation of the official hardcore part of the OMONOIA fans. Within the years that part is transferred to its natural location, the legendary north stand of the stadium. Although Gate 9 took its name from there, its number was completely due to another reason. Nine was the number of the greatest football figure of OMONOIA and Cypriot football in extent, Sotiris Kaiafas; Hence Gate 9. From the first years of its creation, Gate 9 clearly showed its ideological direction which was radically leftist and communist. Within Gate 9 you would often see the red flags along with hammer and sickles, while the historical figure of revolutionary Che Guevara was seen imprinted in flags, shirts, and scarfs all over the Gate 9 stand. Our chants, our banners and our actions would always give the stigma of the left, anti-racist, and oppressed. Our fathers nurtured us with those values of the left and the working class. We learned to respect our fellow human beings without distinguishing according to race, colour, social class, religion or sexuality.

Within all cities and districts the numbers of Gate 9 members were rapidly increasing while new divisions of Gate 9 begun to emerge. These new divisions are branches of Gate 9, all following the path of our main organized core. Gate 9 branches make their appearance to several cities of the country a fact which endorses the fanatic core’s diversity even further. Gate 9 has reached about 1000 members, eight official branches all around the world and multiple ones within every corner of Cyprus.

There were many cases were Gate 9 took onto the streets to protest and oppose against the injustice within Cypriot society and all around the world. In many cases we took on the initiative of voluntarily painting the walls of our training centre and stadiums.

A significant point of reference is an OMONOIA game against our rival Apoel (hereon called the unnamed), where five hundred Turkish-Cypriots were seated with us on our stands, in Gate 9. In that match, Gate 9 along with the Turkish-Cypriots launched a common action with banners written both in Greek and Turkish. The banners wrote the word PEACE. From that moment and on our hated rivals call us Turks and traitors but we feel proud since once more we showed the way of the ANTIFA movement.

The year 2008 is another significant landmark of the Gate 9 ANTIFA actions. It is the year our fanatic core makes its first official brotherhood and the first ever in Cyprus. Gate 9 and Ultras Hapoel are since brothers in battle. This was shortly followed by our second official brotherhood with the Ultras Inferno 96, thus launching the famous IH9 (Inferno, Hapoel, Gate9).

Now our style is more like the Balkans.we follow our team in every sports (football,basket,volley,mini football). We use pyro,drams ,flags choreographies and when we have a chance we fight the enemy(police and the right wind scums)

The group is antifascist and antirracist, not in vain is part of Alerta Network. The rest of your fans goes in the same direction? How is your relation with other fans of your league? And with your club’s board?

As Omonoia creates by lefts athletes,the people that supporting the team are left! Recently Gate 9 organized food and clothes collection for Syrians refugees. In the past Gate9 do the same for Greeks people after their economical problems. Also the board try to do the same , after our initiative.

There are 6 main ultras groups in cyprus except from us. Our rivals and shits apoel ultras.this group is the main enemy. Others are : Maxitec (Anorthosis Famagusta), Gate1(Apolllon Limmasol), Gate3 (AEL Limassol), Guardians(AEK Larnaka), and Red Rebels(Nea Salamina). All the groups except red rebels are right wing! Gate 3(AEL) are said that are non-political group. As I said before Red Rebels are a small group but are trying to be antifa and antira.

Away games against Apollon, Anorthosis and ael are the best! Specially in Limassol. Almost 5 thousand fans are sitting in the away sector!(you will see photos and videos below)

We have bad relations with all the groups. There was only one exception. When the  minister of justice decide to create the id of the fans(in italy was “tessera”) “all” the groups cooperate to fight this asshole. Only one group decides to fight alone and separate from the others! Our fucking rivals. The reason is simple. Ionas Nicolaou, The current Minister of Justice, He controls the legal system and the Police. He is member of the Nationalist Party “DISI”, whose president is currently heading the Republic of Cyprus following February 2013 general elections. Ionas is a well known supporter of  the scum of Nicosia and had for years served as a lawyer for the Ultras of the scum!!! the minister is a fan of Apoel and the lawyer of their ultras!

In early July 2013 and after close coordination 6 Ultras groups marched together outside the Cyprus Parliament in Protest of the voting of the Law. (first video below). The Ultras which participated in the demonstration where: GATE 9 (OMONOIA), Ultras Famagusta (Anorthosis), Gate 1 (Apollon), Gate 3 (AEL), Guardians (AEK), Red rebels(Salamina). After agreement each group participated by bringing 20 of its members to the demonstration. As expected, this HISTORIC and UNIQUE event was NOT documented or published by the local Media, but through the power of social media, the message and images of this event quickly became Viral.

On Tuesday 22nd July, at exactly 19:00, ALL major Cypriot Ultras groups (including the scum ultras) staged a co-ordinated rally in a nationwide scale! At exactly this time, all groups set out from their respective fanclubs in their respective cities to go to specific roads and close off main junctions. This was planned to create havoc and finally get the attention of people and the media against this common enemy

The third common action was on the international game Cyprus against Israel. All the ultras groups except the shits went to the game.Chants and banners against the id of the fans.(gate9 was responsible to pass the banners inside the stadium J)

For the board things are very bad. The old president,he don’t want us! He don’t give us a tickers , he stopped the function of the our shop in the north stand.Things are weird because normal fans knows that have wrong but don’t do nothing.the committee is there because political party “akel” which is the left party of the island wants to control the biggest team in Cyprus.they do not love the team. So recently gate9 decides to collects voting cards from the members of gate9 and from fans that agree to remove this board.in 2 months there is Parliamentary Elections and and should our absence from the elections to stigmatize the appointed of the board.

Recently we’ve seen Girondins’ fans visiting Cyprus making good relations with you. How was the atmosphere? What other fans at a European level gave you a good impression? And a bad one?

I enjoy it too much to met lads from others antifa groups. Of course guys from -ultramarines was not too many (first game finished 3-0 and cost of the flight was expensive) But it was good! We have traditional Cyprus barbeque at their place we drink some bears and we discuss about teams and ultras.

The day of the game Omonoia also played against brondby 1 and a half hour earlier. I went to Bordeaux game last 15 minutes. They didn’t bring drums and they use plastic mug! (really it was very clever J)

I went 2 times to ultras Dusseldorf. Their supporting is really amazing! First time was against glandbach (rival) in first division. A punishment from previous year from the association was lower tickets from the capacity of the stadium. It was difficult to get inside (I went with 2 brothers from g9) because there was only 25000 tickets and the season tickets was 27000. But the lads from kopfball help us to get in!I wasn’t expect so good atmosphere. The other time was an away game against arminia Bielefeld. Around 5000 fortuna fans went to the game!

Ultramarines

Short time ago you organized the group’s festival. Do you do any other activity? What’s the level of involvement of the group within the social environment it’s based?

Gate 9 festival created before 5 years! So every September the most important event for our group is getting place.

Preparation for the festival starts one day after the festival finished. You must to run and work it in a year so all to be perfect!

In the festival there are many functions that you can do. For example in 4th festival there was an organization to cannibalize a child from africa

Every festival has a different slogan.I can describe what happens in every festival.videos can:

Gate9 many times collects food and clothes for poor people. Visit hospitals and gives toys to children that suffering from serious diseases.also organises a blood donation to our local

Changing the subject, your journey through the Basque lands has been intense and we know you took good advantage of it, including other visits like Vallecas or Barcelona. How was the trip in general? And more importantly, did you take your chances for eating and drinking enough?

My holidays was amazing! Its bad that its over that trip.i was 25 days with my girlfriend and we enjoyed it both! I still remember the days that we woke up 5 o clock  in the morning to take the train to visit san Sebastian,Vitoria…

In Barcelona I was alone only for few hours but I took this advantage to visit sant andreu and mets Desperdicis lads! I went to their local,we discuss about our groups,we trade gifts. Unfortunately most of them was in bilbao for the festival J

Also in Vitoria…we was looking the center of the city from a map and an old man stop and tell us “I’m from here.where you wanna go?” I noticed that he was very proud from his origin. In a restaurant we eat 2 plates meat one plate chips and 2 larges bears and the receipt was 12 euros! Haha in Cyprus 2 larges bears is almost 12 euros.

Guys from Iraultza that I know was on holidays and I didn’t and I did not manage to have a meeting with them.but in our last day in vitoria we went to the stadium Mendizorrotza

In Madrid we stayed for 3 days. A dream comes true when I realized that we are going to Vallecas! Ok it was on my plans and a promise that gave to myself years before. I don’t have too many to said, only one thing. I completed as an ultra fan when I was enter to the local of Bukaneros!

You were direct witness of the victory in the Supercup against FC Barcelona. Rumours say you were in flames with your group’s t-shirt on, very well integrated and in an unbeatable company.  How did you experience the match? Were your expectations met?

What an amazing day! I knew that Barcelona was tired after the game against sevilla,and was on my mind that was the chance for bilbao to win.but I wasn’t expect that victory!!!

The game was at 22:00 and we started drink bears 5 hours before the game.

In the beginning at herriko tavern and the place where Iñigo was murdered by the police.

After to the new local of herri norte taldea.A really big local with 3 floors.i know that when is ready will be really beautiful. The first scarf to the new local was a gift from me. unfortunately gate9  didn’t create new scarf design so I bring something else.

Lads there explain to me the style of Herri Norte Taldea , their history and how difficult is to be all the members to the stand.(because of the tickets).

The security of the stadium didn’t let to pass banners that shows Herri Norte or Iñigo.

I saw and heart what HNT lads told me earlier. Their style is English.no drums.only flags and chants!

3 days after was the second game in camp nou. HNT lads invited me to see to the game to their local. I knew that it would be a long night! It would be difficult to Barcelona to win 5-0. After game finished 1-1 celebrations to Bilbao start!

What did you like the most about San Mamés and the Athletic fans? And the least? Be honest, please.

First of all I would like to say a big thanks to all the guys that helps me to see the most historic victory of athletic! I looked to find lads that speaks English a long time before booked the tickets to come to Basque Country. All lads without exception came and talked to me even they didn’t know english. That was really great for me. As our style is different, in the beginning of the game was difficult to use that style. But the rhythm and the tempo of the chants was high ”what if Llorente go…J”

I expect after the winning of the super cup at least to have a pyro in the local. I understand that police is not the same like here, but in a close place they can’t do nothing. Maybe is because I used from our celebrations. You can see what I mean from this video. Omonoia scores an away goal in Moscow.

We have a similar problem with the tickets. Our president don’t want us. He don’t give tickets to us. But we find ways to get them, so every game we are in a good quantity to support the team. I know that the prices are higer and to be a member of the team is also expensive.

Sadly you couldn’t watch an Alaves match in the Iraultza stand. Did you attend any other matches?

Was so bad because there wasn’t any game at that period I visited Vitoria. As I wrote before, it was also bad that the lads I know from Iraultza were also on holidays! Never mind it would be ok next time.

As you saw from the photos I went to Rayo against Valencia match. It finished 0-0, but it was a good game with a great support from Bukaneros!!

To end your visit, you could enjoy Bilbao’s Aste Nagusia. How did you experience it?

What an amazing event! in Cyprus we have some similar events with celebrations and fireworks but are not so big and not so many days!unfortunately i only went for 2 days in the festival. it was nice.i drink so many beers! we bought some accessories from the festival. I also visited HNT shop there.

Add what you want

Here are some links that you can find us:

https://www.facebook.com/gate9.com.cy?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/Gate9Fanclub?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/Gate9Shop?fref=ts

And some videos from our actions:

*corteo against football association and referees.

*OMONOIA-jagellonia

away game in limassol

*riots against nazi scums of apoel.

*away game in larnaca! Another great victory against fascists enemy

 

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