They started out as a group of young fans who were going to cheer on their team at every game. A form of encouragement that earned them the recognition and affection of the rest of the fans who came to the Camp Nou, as well as that of some players at that time. However, with the passage of time, that sector ended up transforming into the Boxwood Boys (Crazy Boys, in Catalan) managing to sow panic in the stands and awakening the rejection of all Europe.
The arrival of this group of fans originated during the 1981 season. In the midst of a negative streak in which Barcelona had not been able to lift a league title for seven years, several fans were linked in principle to the fight against the Catalan independence movement they took over the area Gol Sud of the stadium with the aim of motivating its players, including the great scorer of that time, Quini.
However, their purpose in the stadiums was to rapidly mutate, to the point of becoming the hooligans of Spain, starring in various incidents, including the first death by violence in the history of Spanish football, when five of them beat, stabbed and murdered a young Espanyol in 1991.
“Most of us were young minors, the oldest would be 20 years old. We started to make demonstrations and decided to stand up to the Blue and White Brigades from Espanyol who had just been born ”, explained a former member of this band in an extensive interview that he published Doll in 2016.
The name of Boixos Nois was involved in different crimes (Efe)
For the 1983/84 season, the group was made up of about 700 ultras, who were already beginning to bother the rest of the fans after carrying out a series of confrontations with other fans such as La Ultra On (Real Madrid), or Bilbao during the final of the Copa del Rey that year.
“At the beginning almost all of them were punks and heavys, but skins began to gain ground,” recalled the character interviewed in question, referring to the tribe that predominated in that sector. “At that time the image expressed many things: respect, strength …”, he explained, at the same time that he hinted that his greatest enemies were the followers of Espanyol.
Little by little they were gaining ground in the stands of the Camp Nou through beatings and prevailing over the rest of the spectators who arrived at the stadium without the intention of causing incidents at home. Of the Gol Sud were transferred to the North goal and as time passed the neo-Nazi tendencies became more and more present among the members. It no longer mattered if they were in favor of the Catalan independence movement or against to be part of the tribe, it only interested that they be rude and reckless
“On match days you ended up knowing that you would go to fight with the other bars; it took advantage of the fact that the party gathered many people. It was a street war, we distributed the groups throughout the city “, commented this follower that the sports magazine decided to call DV
The Boixos Nois were gaining ground in Barcelona over time
These violent episodes were going to reach limits beyond the human, when on January 13, 1991 a group of the Boxwoods went to the vicinity of the Sarriá Stadium (Espanyol compound that was demolished in 1997) and stabbed two supporters parakeets after the match against Gijón.
Fréderic Francois Rouquier, 20, unfortunately became the first violent death in Spanish football when he was hit three times, while José María Arboleas (16), who tried to escape at the time, was seriously injured but managed to survive the attack.
“I have driven the machete to the handle. Give me a cloth to clean myself ”, would have been the words that Josep Antoni Romero Ors (The Jaro), told Francesc Xavier Calaf (The Lupitas) after getting into the car with the other three assailants, according to information compiled by The vanguard at the time.
“That day Barça was not playing. We had arranged to go from one bar to another and then we did different routes. We wanted to avoid passing in front of Sarriá because Espanyol was playing, but in the end we found ourselves with three bands. We grabbed each other, got out of the car and three of us went to chase one and two others went after the other. What happened happened about 40 meters from where I was, ”DV told Doll and he added with total coldness: “I didn’t get to see the victim, I was somewhere else kicking another follower.”
The aggressors were arrested a couple of days later and three years later the Barcelona Court tried them. The five defendants ended up being sentenced to 76 years in prison. Two years later, the Supreme Court increased the sentence to 140 years, determining that the conduct of the Boxwoods it was “primitive and almost animal.”
In any case, and for some strange reason, the inmates received a third-degree prison classification seven years later, which allowed them to have a certain air of freedom. One of the characteristics of this rank, being the first degree where they are the most dangerous, was that they could leave prison during the day and return to sleep.
The Boixos participated in other illegal activities
The Boxwood Boys They had already ceased to be a group of fervent fanatics to become a trademark of crime, crime and constant aggression, to such an extent that in the 91/92 season a new faction was created within the tribe known as the Los Casuals, made up of criminals and thugs who went to the stadiums without Barcelona insignia to attack rival supporters with impunity, as well as to commit other illegal acts related to drugs and extortion.
“The Casuals They are an evolution of the hooligans, to the hooligans they were detected by the police and Casuals they went more unnoticed through a different aesthetic ”, acknowledged the former member of the Boxwoods in 2016, who also spoke about one of the most shocking events that this group starred in while he was in jail.
On December 20, 1997, before the start of a Barcelona-Atlético de Madrid, extreme tension was unleashed at the Camp Nou when the entity chaired by Josep Lluís Núñez decided to observe a minute of silence for the death of Sergio Soto, one of the leaders of the gang, with clear nationalist ideologies.
Automatically, some fans belonging to other clubs blaugranas They expressed their rejection with whistles and shouts of the style “Nazis out of the Camp Nou”, to which the Boxwoods they responded with violence, in what was one of the first most heated battles between members of the same club.
“I knew Soto. Politically it changed a lot, like many… I was in prison but I found out. Who allowed that minute of silence? Well the directive, I suppose. But let’s see, why can’t a minute of silence be given to a Boixo who had died? I am amused by this. Why couldn’t it be asked? Why was it one of the Boxwoods Didn’t he have the same rights as someone else? ”asked DV
Painted against Laporta during his first term
The arrival of Joan Laporta to the first presidency in 2003 marked a before and after for this group of ultras who maintained a certain friendship with previous managers, especially with Núñez. However, once the lawyer and businessman took the reins of the club, his position was blunt with respect to the Boxwood Boys: “I know who the violent ones are and I will finish them off,” he said at the time.
A warning that, added to the first measures he took, such as prohibiting them from entering the Camp Nou and withdrawing the privileges they obtained before him, cost him public scourges with graffiti in the streets, in addition to several death threats.
“The Boxwood Boys they had had the complicity of Josep Lluís Núñez ”, the Catalan media recently explained Sport, recalling the different episodes that Laporta had to go through: “Graffiti, death threats, several unwanted moves and living with a bodyguard every day.”
“We actively campaigned for his candidacy, we sympathized with him and collected signatures. But he deceived us, asked for our vote and promised us that there would be collaboration and that a young tier would be created, all this we negotiated through his sister. But as soon as he entered, he began to throw us out “, revealed DV to Doll.
Regarding the privileges with other boards of directors, he recognized that “what existed was feeling, a tacit pact: ‘we do not mess in the stadium, but you do not touch our balls’. That was the agreement ”.
It seemed that the Camp Nou had found some peace, although some members of the Boxwoods They continued to appear in the stands, but no longer as a group but as mere supporters camouflaged as fans, until Laporta’s first term came to an end in 2010.
“With the victory of Sandro Rosell and the subsequent victory of Josep Maria Bartomeu in the elections to the presidency of the Blaugrana club, the Boxwood Boys they saw the door open again to act violently ”, explained the newspaper Sport.
The incidents reappeared, to a lesser extent and generally in the surroundings of the venue where Barcelona played, since the entry was prohibited, the clashes were carried out on the outside.
Finally in 2019, and after an existing fear that they would reorganize and sow chaos that they managed to implant in the 80s, the Sports Anti-Violence Commission declared them a “Dangerous Group”, along with their two factions, the Casuals and the Puppies. This made the symbols and banners disappear, as well as the support or promotion of their activities. However, the hostilities continued and the last known was the one that happened on January 25, 2020 in Valencia, when serious confrontations took place in the surroundings of the Mestalla between Boxwoods and Yomus (ultras of the set That).
In this 2021, curiously coinciding with the new arrival to power of Joan Laporta in Barcelona, the Boxwood Boys They returned to the front pages of the Spanish media after the police reported on the arrest of 14 of their members, considering the organization’s “radical leadership” dismantled.
The detainees in this operation, carried out on November 2, are accused, among other crimes, of drug trafficking, prostitution of women, illegal possession of weapons or money laundering: “His face is football, but his face b is crime, “said one of the investigators from the General Information Commissariat who dealt with the case, in statements collected by The country.
Regarding drug trafficking and its distribution, the agent explained that, “the first thing they made clear to keep their territory under control is that they were boxwoods, and that you had to be careful with them “.
Among other illegal activities carried out by this group also appears the prostitution of women, whose economic income was used to finance their “attendance at musical and sporting events to spread hatred, hostility and violence” against others, detailed the National Police. Of the 14 detainees, some had participated in the latest clashes at the Mestalla.
In the operation, the authorities entered 18 homes and premises in which they seized ten firearms, knives, about 300 thousand euros in cash and different types of drugs (5 thousand marijuana and cocaine plants), in addition to “numerous material of a supremacist nature ”. Finally, it was learned that the judge investigating the case blocked more than 20 bank accounts, seized three homes and 27 vehicles, acquired from suspected suspicious activities.
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