Viva er Betis manque pierda! Long live Betis even when they lose!
El manquepierda is a unique philosophy. It evokes both a slightly pessimistic attitude that something bad may be just around the corner, but at the same time it evokes an unfaltering, passion that is evident throughout the fans, stadium and the club as a whole.
In Reyes Aguilar Caro’s superb book – El manquepierda, una filosofía de vida – she describes how el manquepierda is a philosophy of life. Supporting Betis becomes part of your life, not just a habitual past time that gets turned on and off, it is a sentimiento – a feeling.
Betis legend, Julio Cardeñosa,
“Esa filosofía se te va impregnando y llegas a entender al Betis como parte de tu casa, como tu vida”.
“That philosophy impregnates you and you arrive to under Betis as part of your home, as your life.”
Former Betis President, Miguel Guillen,
“El manquepierda es una muestra de humildad y de trabajo constante, que el Real Betis Balompié ha sabido aplicar durante su centenaria historia, en años prósperos y en los desiertos de tercera”.
“Manquepierda is a sign of humility and constant work that Real Betis has been able to apply to their 100 year history, in prosperous years and in the deserts of the third division”.
You can see there is a lot more to it than just supporting a normal football club. Betis is an institution. It sucks you in. It’s sucked me in.
Reyes’ book is about how the legends of Real Betis have applied this unique philosophy to their lives, which are naturally intertwined with the club. All of the people interviewed display the same universal Betis feeling. Reyes herself is a shining example of this philosophy she speaks so passionately about. Una Bética from birth she names her idols as her father who took her to the stadium and Rafael Gordillo – one of greatest players to adorn the verdiblanco stripes.
Gordillo was a fantastic, left-footed rampaging wingback. He helped Betis to win the Copa del Rey during his first season, won many trophies with Real Madrid and represented Spain 75 times. He was undoubtedly a great. He returned to Betis as a director and became President in 2010, just around the time I was becoming inaugurated as a Bético.
Gordillo epitomises manquepierda, as does Reyes. As I have found, Real Betis Balompié is a special club, with fanatical fans. What happens on the pitch is important, but it is just one aspect of supporting this unique football club.