Interview with a representative fan group Dolphins Gruppo 05 (FC Panamvrakikos)

Fans associations in Greece there are not only in big cities but also in a very small towns across the country. Most people strive to maintain the famous team, but sometimes ultras groups appear in the clubs of the regional leagues. Panambrakikos based in the resort village Buka in the west of Greece, it is an absolute backwoods where football exists only at the amateur level. However, local residents was founded a very good fan group. Some of these guys have responded to our questions and give an overview of its activities.

- Tell us about the village in which you live. What football traditions exist in your area?

- Our village Buka is known in the surrounding area about the amazing summer sunset. It is located on the banks of the Arta (Ambracian) Gulf. Also a lot of people visit our seaside village about the beaches, about the seafood and about the dew due to summer becaouse of wind. The village is not too big or too small. In winter, here lives 200-300 people, in the summer the number of residents increased to 600.

Football traditions in our village are not so different from other greek village. The county of Aitoloakarnania has many football clubs and a lot of them exist near to our village. Of course we try to follow our local team Panamvrakikos everywhere more  than other villages that their team is like a ghost but the differences arent so many.

- Tell about history your club.

- The club of  Panamvrakikos founded at 1983. A group of people who live in village had a meeting and finally decided to found Panamvrakikos. These years were difficult for club because the experience wasn't so much and the club after 5 years ceased to exist. After many years at 2005 the team refounded in the same way. Many people of village had a meeting and decided to refound the club. At 2005 the president who took over the club was Ilias Tsikriteas. He and the people who involved with "Panamvrakikos"  made the team with trouble and effort a team who takes part in the local league every year. After 8 years when the state started to becomes difficult again Markos Fourlanis took over the club. The team now plays very good football. Panamvrakikos the last season (2014-2015) won the league of  C Category. The results of team were only wins. No draws no defeats, only wins. That was a record for the Category.

- What are the political views of the fans Panamvrakikos?

- Our political views the last years are clear to others. We are supporters of solidarity, of respect, of self-organizing, of freedom and anything else can make this society and this world better. Each decision is taken through meetings with direct-democratic procedures. We don't take part in the parliamentary elections. We believe that the society will changed very difficult through parliamentary elections. So we try to make things out of them. There are people in our group that support left parliamentary factions, other are anarchist and others support nothing. But our common is that we don't want fascist in our village and as we saw we try to do this with no mercy.

- Tell us about the history of your fan group. Why did you chose this name?

- Dolphins Gruppo wasn't founded. Dolphins Gruppo has no incorporations and other documents. Dolphins Gruppo is a group of friends, supports of "Panamvrakikos" because "Panamvrakikos" is our local team. Due to the discussion at the meeting of 2005 about the refound of team we had another discussion. Our discussion was about what can we do for the team. We wanted to follow the team, to singing chants for the team, to make panic for our local team. We were watching the situation a bit different so we decided to call our group Dolphins. Since then Dolphins Gruppo exists. The answer about why we used this name of  gruppo is simple. The badge of team are the dolphins so we decided to have this name. The main pride of the group is that we are render high-level support for the club for many years. The failures of team did not deter us from continuing. These failures made Dolphins stronger.

- Where do you get money for the needs the fan club? What performance are you doing? Are you engaged in selling any merchandise?

- First of all as I say before we support the self-organizing so we try to find the money alone. We don't want money from sponsors and from presidents. We have made 3-4 t-shirts, 1 jacket but stickers not yet. The prices of materials are cheap. The Greece crisis so we can sell them more expensive. We don't want too.  From this money which collect we buy the pyrotechnics the beers and other things that we need to  support as better we can Panamvrakikos. With these money we orginzed 1st Dolphins Festival this August. We make often pyro show and the chants aren't stop. Think that the first pyro show of group was at 2011-2012 at the final match of league when we had a fiesta of team's relegation. After these you can understand that  the preparation of match is clear.

- How would you describe your local championship?

- The amateur league in Aitoloakarnania is a strong league. The county is the biggest of Greece and the number of teams is big too. The easy access to county and county's location made the league attractive for good players who want to finish their carrier. So there are many good teams in our amateur league.

- Which clubs do you have friendly or hostile relations? I saw in your sector symbols clubs Pas Ioannina, Panahaiki and Apifarhos. What is your relationship with the ultras of the nearest large city: Arta, Preveza, Agrinio?

- Other clubs that is supported by their people is Amfilochia and the name of their ultras group is "Blue Bad Boys".  The relationships between Dolphins and BBB are simple. We have a good communication since this summer 2015. The reason is explained in our article about our festival at the end of interview. Every person support a different team like Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, AEK, PAOK, Atromitos, Pas Giannina, Panaitolikos and Panachaiki.

Dolphins don't hate anyone. Krikellos is a village near our village that has also ultras but not so active as BBB and us, if we can say that we are so active. We can say that exist a small juxtaposition between us and guys from Krikellos but it isn't so important. We support Panamvrakikos and we don't want to have juxtapositions with other ultras.

Also as you saw we have some materials from Pas Giannina, Apeitharxos and Navajo. The drum was bought by some guys who belong to Dolphins live in Ioannina and support their local team Pas Giannina too. They sold us the drum and the price was very cheap. That was like a gift for us. The same guys are supporting Apeitharxos, and because of the similar views we decided to use this symbol for a match. We want the people to start searching about auto-organized football and about auto-organized teams to find again the real beauty of football. You can see also materials from Navajo  and Auto-organized football team of Patra (Aftonomi Podosfairiki Omada Patras). Our friends from Navajo and A.P.O. have helped us a lot to make our group better. Also they try as much they can to become known the act of Dolphins and we need to say to them a big thank you.

Our opinion about Panaitolikos, Pas Preveza and Anagennisi Artas is that they need their local people near to them. There are big teams with big history but the local people are indifferent to these teams. Althoughh Panaitolikos because of the last great seasons has managed to attract his people again.

- Is there Panavbrakikos fans in other cities of Greece? I have seen that there is some group of fans in Ioannina.

- "Ioannina Gruppo Dolphins" is a group inside our group. These guys from Ioannina for who reported previous with the first chance they coming to watch Panamvrakikos  and see the guys of group. We are all friends together. Many guys live in other cities like Athens, Patra and Agrinio but they have not make a banner like guys from Ioannina yet.

- Among your fans there are people of other nationalities? As far as I know the main flow of migrants to pass away from Aitoloakarnania.

- None of people for us is illegal. All people are the same so the immigrants are welcome to us. In our village have come some immigrants for work. For most of them their origin is from Albania. We can say that they working as much as the Greeks and they live a normal life.

As you saw the county of Aitoloakarnania has no so many immigrants like Athens and Thessaloniki. None of immigrants is coming from Amvrakikan Valley because the valley is looking at Italy.

Dolphins have 1-2 fans that they are immigrants but they are not so active. Of course they coming and watch Panamvrakikos but they don't singing chants so often.

- Tell us briefly about the Greek fan movement and what it views prevail.

- Generally, ultras-scene in Greece is very strong and very popular. The chants the pyroshows, the choreographies, the tours, the clubs are many and very wonderful. The rivalry is big between clubs. The violence also is high but last years some weapons have putted in their fights (knifes, brass knuckles) and this is crazy. These are modern fights and we don't like them. Look, in Greece the most of fans in our opinion are against fascism and Golden Dawn. But Golden Dawn the last years grew up. We don't fear and we don't stay uninvolved.

- Does your area have any problems with the Nazis?

- In Buka yes we have some people who voted Golden Dawn but they are very few. In Bouka and Amfilochia there are no clearly formalized movements of anarchist or antifascists. We can say that our group is classified to movement of antifascists. Our group looks first not to grow up a fascist movement or group in our village. But if this will happened we will use mercy. It's the only way. These people don't understand and they don't change minds. But first of all we try not to grow up. Because of this reason we believe that belong to the movement of antifascists. Fights with right wing there aren't exist. And that's because we have not many fascists in our location.

- How did you react to the murder of anti-fascist Pavlos Fyssas 2 years ago?

- These are the cases where the violence takes place. Pavlos was known for some of us as rap artist. When we learned about his murder by Golden Dawn's member our hate about them became more. These fascist members were to prison but nothing happened. They are still here. They are living between us. Nothing happened. This is the reason  why these people are dangerous. Anyone who has a different opinion is their next victim. A victim was Fyssas. Another victim was Lukman. This situation is crazy like these people.

- Is your tribune open to women and young children?

- Yes of course we have girls and children on tribune. Our choreographies and unstoppable singing is attractive. Also it have fun. So, yes we have girls and children and we want girls and children on tribune.

- What is your relationship with the club and the players?

- Our relationship with players and leadership is good. We have no problem with them. They help us and support our action. Although we have some reservations about them and the reason is that we don't know their attitude at the future when Panamvrakikos will going through difficult times. But today our relationship is more than better.

- Is it hard to develop the fan movement in the periphery of Greece? Especially if we are talking about a weak team from the local championship.

- Yes it is very hard. Think that Athens is inhabited by 4.5 million peoples and stadiums like OAKA and Karaiskaki with capacity 70.000 and 32.000 seats aren't full every match. Last years sold out in these stadiums is rare. So think a village which is inhabited by 200-300 people. This is the reason why is it so hard. Although more than 20-30 people come every match to watch Panamvrakikos. We believe that every team big or small have some fans. The problem is that they support more the big and popular teams. They don't support their local team as much as the popular team because is not popular.

-  Is the fan movement of Epirus and Aitoloakarnania from other regions of the country?

- Epirus hasn't difference in football culture. The only difference we can say is that the wine during the match  is drinking more than others :)

- Do you participate in any street protests?

- In Amfilochia the street protest actions aren't many. But when it happens we take place of course. Although we don't take place if it haven't equivalent procedures.

- Do you have a problem with the police?

- Because of the amateur league the attention of the police is very low. Although nothing is excluded because at Eleftheriakos Volou fans (self-organized team at Volos) they gave fine for a political banner. The political system sucks and as you saw yes the laws are strict for the fans.

- How often do you attend away matches? At what transport you prefer to travel?

- Our tours are many. The greatest tours were to Athamanio at Tzoumerka, and to Ioannina. You can find photos at our facebook link (Dolphins Grouppo '05). At Tzoumerka and Ioannina we travelled by bus. But when the tour is near to our location we travel by car.

- Is there anything in your area any initiative against modern football? By type Apifarhos and similar projects. Do you have contacts with the Radical Fans United?

- As we saw before we support self-organizing so we support Against Modern Football too. The Football was more wonderful without sponsors and lifestyle. Teams like Apeitharxos aren't exist in Amfilochia and Arta yet. As the years go by, self-organized teams become more and more. This summer except Apeitharxos, Aftonomi P.O., Eleftheriakos Volou Liberta, Asteras Eksarxiwn, Proodeftiki Toubas at Thessaloniki and Marinos Antipas at Larissa founded "Tiganitis" at Crete. So we will for some years to see a team at Arta or Amfilochia like them or we will try we to create a team like them. Our relationship with Radical Fans United is the same as other clubs which have the same actions and opinions.

- How much is the ticket to the football at our stadium? Can I go free?

- The Divided ticket of Panamvrakikos costs 15 euro. In B Category are 16 teams so the devided ticket is normal. Although in contrast with other teams which their ticket of a match cost 5 euro our ticket is 3 euro this year. That was a victory of Dolphins that tried to make affordable the prices of tickets. We discussed with the president and finally they changed the price of ticket. We live in economical crisis but we don't want to get out the people from stadiums. We want the local people to support the team. Yes anyone can get in free.

- How do you feel about the use of alcohol and marijuana?

- We are in favour of decriminalization of marijuana. We want the decriminalization of marijuana. And the reasons are obvious. Although we like to drink alcohol more than marijuana at matches because marijuana chill us and we don't want this. We want to sing loud and to stand proud for Panamvrakikos.

- Do you have your room? Draws you own graffiti and banners? Spend your festivals?

- We haven't a room but we want last months to have. Although we have a local bar where take places our discussions and meetings. We make graffities and we like too to create banners. Banners are more than people of group :)

Other important achievement of the group is that we had organized 1st Dolphins Festival. That was a festival who took place in Bouka this summer 2015. Beach soccer 3v3, graffiti actions, summer cinema and a lot of beer. Also anyone could bring some clothes and to take others free. That called Solidarity Bazaar. During this month of capital controls and political and economical crisis in Greece we managed to organize this festival. These actions for such small societies are very important. More information about festival you can see at our Facebook Page (Dolphins Gruppo '05)

- What do you know about the fan movement in Russia?

- Our opinion about Russians fans is not clear. We have saw only videos on youtube about your tribunes. Your tribune is great, your choreographies too. Although we must not tell more because we don't know so much. It will not be good to say lies.

- Your plans for the future.

- Our only purpose of the future is to remain unchanged. We want to continue fierce to exist with more chants better tribune and more actions to change society.

- A few words in conclusion.

- Thank you a lot for this interview. Our wishes for your Russian antifa and we waiting you to drink a beer.

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