vasco langara the crow    Hernan Ordoñez, along with all the other clever witty stuff he does, is a collaborator here at thebalde and a Crow. Un Cuervo. A rabid fan of the San Lorenzo de Almagro football team. And that is why he has sent us this photograph of a painted wall mural, taken in the Boedo neighbourhood, from the streets of Buenos Aires querido. All football teams have their ardent fans, but The Crows are something special. There must be something special about a team that can turn a white Holy Father (Bergoglio) into a black crow. One element of that specialness is ¨El Vasco Langara¨. Isidro Langara lived a full life. On more than one occasion I have spoken to Hernan about both the Basques and others who have worn the jersey of San Lorenzo, for to speak to an Argentinean about football is merely an excuse to speak about life itself. Another Argentinean, Jorge Valdano, who scored his first goals with another special club, Newell’s Old Boys, said: ¨Of all the unimportant things, football is the most important¨.

Isidro Langara arrived in Buenos Aires on the morning of the 21st May, 1939 after a lengthy two-week journey. Most of the clubs around at that time, including the powerful River Plate, tried to sign him, but Langara opted for San Lorenzo because his Basque goalkeeper friend Angel Zubieta was playing there. As soon as he landed in the port he was whisked away to the mythical “Gasometro” football stadium to watch San Lorenzo play against River Plate. But rather than watch the match Langara declared he would prefer to play in it, so for the first time he pulled on the jersey of San Lorenzo de Almagro. The first 45 minutes of the game have been chiselled into the history of the game. Langara scored four goals in the 7th, 13th, 21st and 39th minute. The radio transmitted this big burly almost unknown player’s goals to the rest of the nation. The player who had three hours earlier arrived by ship and humiliated the almighty River Plate instantly became the idol of all the Galician, Asturian, Basque and Andalusian immigrants in Argentina. When they discovered that he had gone into exile from Spain because he favoured the republicans and had played for the Basque national team, they almost made him a saint.

Isidro Langara lived in Argentina, Chile and Mexico. He returned to the Basque Country in 1986, but by then the crow was unable to find a suitable cage in these lands and he returned to the Americas. He lived in Mexico from there on in. Nevertheless, he returned to his birthplace, Pasaia, occasionally, and he would go to the Atotxa Stadium, accompanied by the father of the mythical goalkeeper Luis Miguel Arconada, to see Real Sociedad play. The crow that, as a small child had begun to play football in a team called Bildur Gutxi (Little Fear), finally had his wings
give way beneath him on the 21st of August, 1992.