These are all questions that Clinton Ifeanyi McDubus asked himself while growing up in Lagos, Nigeria.
"I was the only fan around!": The story of the only Valencia fan in Lagos, Nigeria
Imagine growing up thinking you’re your club’s only fan for hundreds of miles. How would you watch their games? Who would you watch them with? How would you show your support? Is it all worth it?
“Back in 2001 I was watching a game at Highbury between Arsenal and Valencia and I fell in love with the team,” he says. “Mendieta, Cañizares, Kily Gonzalez… I loved the fans too, their passion, the team’s style of play. From that day on I was a fan.”
But following the club once he returned to Nigeria wasn’t easy for Clinton. “When I was younger it was really difficult for me to watch their every game because I was the only fan around!” he says.
He didn’t give up though. “I’d have to go to viewing centres and internet cafes and it was really difficult,” he adds. “I’d have to watch replays after the games had been played. But now at least I can pay for my own cable subscription, so I can watch them in the comfort of my own home.”
In a part of the world in which fans are more likely to cheer for Barcelona and Real Madrid than any other club, it wasn’t easy for Clinton to find club merchandise. “It was so difficult getting Valencia jerseys around, I’d go everywhere looking,” he explains. “Different stores, different neighbourhoods, even other states. My brother even travelled the country looking, but nothing!”
But that was until one very special day he’ll never forget. “Back in 2017 someone was mocking Valencia on Twitter and I was so angry that I responded and defended the club,” he says.
“I got a reply from the official club thanking me for defending Valencia. I saw it as an opportunity, so I said, ‘It’s very difficult for me to get jerseys here in Nigeria, how many retweets do I need to win a jersey?’ They said 5,000 to win one, then eventually 10,000 to win two jerseys. I was able to get my friends to get 10,000 retweets, I won the jersey and it was sent out to me here in Nigeria!
Despite his social media fame Clinton is yet to see a game in person at the iconic Mestalla stadium, something he says is his lifelong dream.
“My biggest dream is to go someday to Valencia and watch a game at Mestalla,” he explains. “It would be an awesome experience and I can’t wait!”
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