Tuesday, 16.01.2018
 Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line
Google+    
The people who make a difference in the Canary Islands
   The people who make a difference in the Canary Islands

Spotlight on Armada Sur
It’ll be blue and white on the night
Chris Todd is much more than the dedicated CD Tenerife columnist in the sports section of Island Connections, he’s also a passionate follower of the team, co-editor of a popular ‘fanzine’, and founder of Armada Sur: the CD Tenerife supporters association in south Tenerife.


Chris Todd with Ayoze Perez, now of Newcastle United
Chris Todd with Ayoze Perez, now of Newcastle United

line
03.06.2015 - Armada Sur now has over a thousand group members and nearly a hundred of them visit each of CD Tenerife’s home football matches at Santa Cruz’s Heliodoro Stadium – with many even travelling from the UK and elsewhere abroad.  

Chris Todd, the man behind all this, was brought up in Aldershot in the UK, where the town’s local football club became the first team he followed – though the first match he attended as a young lad was a pre-season friendly between Barcelona and Glasgow Rangers at Camp Nou in 1974. 

As a teenager he regularly visited Aldershot’s Recreation Ground, until his father accepted a job in the Canary Islands when Chris was 21-years-old and he decided to come with his parents, moving here in 1989. 

He soon replaced trips to see his English fourth-division team with visits to the Spanish second-division local side, CD Tenerife.  His love for the ‘blanquiazules’ was instant, especially after his first ever visit to the stadium saw Tenerife beat Mallorca 2-0, and by the end of the season they had gained promotion to the top-flight.  Team hero Rommel Fernandez scored twice that day and the experience of those early, heady visits to the Heliodoro cemented Chris’s newfound passion for Spanish football.  “It was brilliantly chaotic”, he said of the first game he saw in Santa Cruz, “and absolutely anything went!  Fans parked cars in the middle of the street, bangers and flares were going off, and crazy bustle was everywhere – but it was always in really good spirit.”  Chris went to his first game with five friends from Callao Salvaje, and it proved to be the early beginnings for Armada Sur, as the group travelled regularly to matches during the next couple of seasons.  However, he recalls the exact day when the supporters association was formed: “It was June 6, 1992, and Real Madrid were in the capital for the final game of the season.  We were 2-0 down but went on to beat them 3-2.  Coincidentally, Real Madrid was in Santa Cruz on the final day of the season the following year and needed to win to claim the league title.  We beat them 2-0, which handed the championship to Barcelona, while we finished fifth and qualified for the UEFA Cup.  There were 20 of us there for that first Madrid game, although we were called ‘LA Army’ then.” 

As the popularity for a south-based supporters group increased, so did the demand from Canarians and other non-Brits, and to cater for the growing number of nationalities joining the ranks they decided on a more Spanish-sounding name: Armada Sur.

Despite CD Tenerife’s rollercoaster performances over the last few years, Armada Sur’s popularity has continually grown, with over a thousand members now involved.  Chris was “extremely proud” when 25 of them recently travelled to Catalonia for a match against Barcelona B.  “Nearly 20 of those came from the UK”, he said, “We have many members living in other countries, including countless season ticket-holders, and a lot of them plan their holidays around matches.  Football-tourism could be a really good market, if the club would only listen...” 

His frustration with the CD Tenerife board doesn’t only extend to their refusal to listen to new ideas and the team’s current poor standing: like many fans, Chris believes that a change at the top is needed.

CD Tenerife has endured a tough season in Spain’s second division, are currently battling relegation, and many fans are now saying that it’s high time for change.  “I don’t like to criticise what happens on the pitch, but off the field there are a number of serious issues that aren’t being addressed.  It’s been the same president and directors since 2007 and there’s very little communication, and no reaching out to other groups on the island that can help with revenue and incentives.  Also, marketing is non-existent, and that’s so vital in the game today.  It’s a shame there isn’t even a name on the outside of the stadium, or any statues to give their home ground a sense of its history.  I have contacts at the club and I’ve bent their ears on a few things in the past, but always remained helpful as they have looked after us on occasion.  However, the ways things have been lately, I’m not sure we should just sit back anymore.  It may be time to use whatever influence we have to put forward our ideas.” 

Ideally, Chris would like to see a German-model structure at the club, where fans have a greater say on the club’s priorities and plans for the future, and to help bring CD Tenerife into the modern era.

Alongside Bob Gant, Chris also edits the fanzine, Armada Sur, that’s produced for every match and which helps raise money for an annual barbecue event through an organised ‘golden goal’ competition.

Similar to other CD Tenerife supporters groups, Armada Sur also does a lot of charity work on the island, organising collections for underprivileged children and raising funds for cancer organisations.

If you would like more information on Armada Sur and their association with CD Tenerife, visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/armadasur.

 



Gallery: It’ll be blue and white on the night
Chris Todd with Ayoze Perez, now of Newcastle United 
 1 picture found: Go to gallery
Canary Property Guide
ic media group