Ignacio Ramírez Leyva from Mexico
„Through the rough and the smooth“
Ignacio Ramírez Leyva supports VfL all the way from Mexico
Real fans really love to show their true colours – they go to the stadium, buy their team’s jersey or even set up their own fan clubs! Throughout Germany, over 80 fan communities have been created in this way by supporters of VfL Wolfsburg. But the support for VfL is not confined to the Germany border but rather well beyond – as one particular fan club in Mexico proves. And all thanks to Ignacio Ramírez Leyva.
It was back in 2004 that he and a number of his Latin-American friends founded the fan club, with now over 40 members having joined the group – although it’s not always easy to follow the exploits of the Green-Whites from the other side of the globe. “In Mexico you can only rarely get to see VfL on cable television,” explained Ramírez Leyva. When the opportunity does present itself though, the fans gather to watch in their local. The Mexican explained: “For me the best thing is to be together with a big group of friends. They are all true VfL fans and support Wolfsburg through the rough and the smooth.”
VfL in Mexico
His time as a VfL fan has been something of an emotional rollercoaster - beginning with the club’s promotion to the Bundesliga, through to the near relegation, the German league title win and the subsequent Champions League participation. Leyva from Puebla has been following the activities of the ‘Wolves’ since 1995 – with the Green-Whites then playing in the second division. But that issue was on no interest to Ignacio, whose enthusiasm was unyielding: “During my time in Wolfsburg I was deeply impressed by the passion in the city and surrounding areas.” The 54 year old and several of his fellow fans were in Wolfsburg in 1997 when the team finally won promotion to the top flight. Leyva explained: “I was at the Allersee, when the final game was shown live on the big screens. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing as VfL got the win to seal promotion. I was just so happy to be there.” In the meantime, the Mexican has become a regular visitor to the ‘Autostadt’ and always takes the opportunity to watch the ‘Wolves’ with other fans and friends.
Unthinkable at the time, Ignacio Ramírez Leyva had his first contact with VfL in 1988. VfL played a friendly game against Puebla FC in Mexico. Back then, the complete first team travelled to Central America, with VfL legends such as Frank Plagge, Olaf Ansorge and Peter Ament in tow. 5,000 spectators were hugely impressed by the German side – including Ignacio Ramírez Leyva. Puebla FC play their games at the Estadio Cuahtémoc stadium at an altitude of over 1,200 meters above sea-level. Striker Frank Plagge recalls: “The flight of the ball was different, we could hardly catch a breath and I think that my direct opponent had previously been an American Footballer.” In spite of all that though, it was a wonderful experience stated Plagge, who at the time made the unusual move of exchanging jerseys with an opponent.
More than just a football fan
Through his affinity with VfL, Ignacio Ramírez Leyva has also developed a deep affection for the city of Wolfsburg and for Germany: “In my free time I gather as much information as possible on VfL Wolfsburg and Germany in general. I’m especially interested in the culture and the technology. Above all I am interested in renewable energy sources.” In the coming season, one of the club’s most distant fans will be back in Germany to enjoy the country, the people and VfL.