As a newcomer to Monterrey forget the masses asking you about your past life, education or basically anything relevant to your conscious being. Be prepared to know, and I do advise you to do your research to be able to answer the age old Monterreyan question to any new expat, are you Tigres or Rayados?
People who asked me were met with blank stares for the first few weeks, what the hell are they all on about I thought? What is this madness!
Being from a sporting nation I get rivalries, England vs Australia in cricket, Man U vs Man City in the Premier league or Arsenal vs Tottenham, it goes on and on. I should have known the third largest city in Mexico would have such a thing. I wasn’t prepared at all, as it’s a rivalry up there with the best of them, I was getting scared and needed to do some research quickly.
Here’ what I discovered.
The Rayados, belongs to the Private and most prestigious university in Monterrey, ITESM. The other one, Tigres, belongs to the state university UANL. Who is better? God knows! Here however are the facts.
Rayados was the first team to be founded in 1945 however they didn’t ascended to the premier league until 1955. They call themselves La pandilla (The street gang). They are owned by FEMSA, one of the biggest companies in the state. The Tigres call them Pingüinos (Penguins) or Rayadetes and they are considered snobs.
Tigres were founded in 1960 they ascended to the premier league in 1974. They call themselves Los incomparables (The incomparable). They are owned by CEMEX probably the biggest company in Monterrey. The Rayados call them titeres (marionettes) and they are considered the low class.
Rayados apparently call themselves the father of Tigres which angers the Tigres obviously. The Rayados are well known for being full of themselves (this explained to me by an obvious Tigres supporter) and unable to see when their team is just not performing. Tigres is always being considered the underdog. At the end of the day to a foreign person they both seem the same... Tigres spends a lot of money bringing super starts from Argentina and from Europe but they don´t seem to work once they are in the city, some claim they have too much fun in the nightlife the city has to offer. (Can´t really blame them!).
Rayados current coach Antonio Mohamed is known or believed to have a curse against Tigres because in his entire career as a player and now as a coach he has never been able to win over the Tigres.
Back to my dilemma of choosing my team, half the girlfriend’s family were Tigre’s the other half Rayados, I was in a pickle. Had a look at the colours of the teams, liked the Gold and blue of Tigres and hell they were the Tigers but also like the blue stripes of Rayados as they were similar colours to my Football team back home…OK colour wasn’t going to do it for me. Maybe a coin toss?
In the end I went with the most sensible option (only option really upon reflection) of going with the girlfriends fathers team Tigres. I mean you are already with his daughter why go annoy him even more? It was a political decision in the end, one I’m glad I made.
Will this weekend’s El Clasico be Antonio Mohamed’s time? Who knows , but if you are in to football you have certainly come to the right place as the city stops to watch the match. If you are not into football then go to the movies or some restaurant with no TV, you are likely to have a nice and quiet time during those 90 minutes. But whatever you do stay away from Guadalupe, the traffic to get in and out of the Rayados stadium is going to take your entire Saturday.
It’s really not that big of a deal for me personally but I understand some people live for this match against the 2 giants of Monterrey football and I am sure it will be a great game and very entertaining.
So this weekend, think of me sitting in the shadows of a local bar or quietly at the kitchen table watching in ignorant silence and maybe giving the odd cheer when my beloved adopted team Tigres score a goal. Go Tigres!