The ritual of going to Can Misses on Sundays

Going to the football on Sunday mornings has become a ritual for thousands of Ibizans. It’s taken less than one year for this to happen. A simple look at the numbers tells the whole story. Atlético Sanluqueño, Recreativo, Marbella, Melilla… The opposition teams that visited Can Misses during the first half of last season attracted less than 1000 spectators in the stands. The crowds were bigger than during the team’s spell in the Third Division and, over the course of the 2018/2019 campaign, this increase was also noticeable. Real Murcia (1246 spectators), Cartagena (1127) and Atlético Malagueño (1089) were the stand-out clashes that brought Ibizans out dressed in Sky Blue before Sunday’s traditional family lunches. The seed, so to speak, was planted and it only required for this seed to be nurtured and watered with excitement for it to grow bigger and bigger in size. As summer approached and with it the heat, new player signings as well as contract renewals of players with an already established identity and close connection with the fans prompted supporters to flock to the club’s offices to sign up for new season memberships. During the season-ticket campaign, more than 1500 people signed up as new club members.

During August, Ibiza’s friendly with island neighbours Peña was the first chance for fans to see the new team as well as the new jersey in action. One week later, on 1 September, 1749 people took their seats in the main and general stands to witness the club’s first victory of the season against Rayo Majadahonda. Pablo Alfaro’s team soon turned Can Misses into a fortress with a string of wins, resulting fans to flock to the stadium in an average number of 2000 spectators per match. That unbeaten home record was maintained until the home fixture against Atlético Baleares. Unlucky in the first of two Balearic derbies, Ibiza fell short by the smallest of margins. The fans saw a side that tried everything to win the match with a strong performance and rewarded the Sky Blues with a massive turn-out of 3500 sold tickets for the derby. That benchmark number enticed Ibiza’s supporters to once again turn out in good numbers against Atlético de Madrid B two weeks later (2891 spectators).

Christmas arrived and so did the cold, but that did not deter people from visiting the club’s offices as the half-season ticket campaign had been launched. Soon after, the draw of the Copa del Rey was made, sparking a frenzy and a spike in interest that caught everyone’s imagination. On 8 January, the Sky Blues eliminated Pontevedra away from home in Galicia before taking on Segunda Division side Albacete at Can Misses a mere three days later. 4345 spectators saw the epic second round clash which culminated in a spectacular penalty shoot-out where Diego Mendoza’s experience and cool head from the penalty spot sent the stadium and its crowd into delirium. The half-season ticket campaign was temporarily put on hold as Ibiza was drawn to host FC Barcelona in a round of 32 Copa del Rey clash at Can Misses on 22 January. In just one week, Can Misses’ capacity was increased by nearly 50%. The club and all of its resources worked tirelessly to ensure that 6445 fans could be accommodated for an historic match-up that will be remembered for many a year. The most recent fixtures played at Can Misses in the league – vs. Coruxo (2891) and Sporting de Gijón B (3016 fans) – demonstrate that Ibiza’s principal football ground is one of the best visited venues in the division.

One of the characteristics that defines the ritual of going to Can Misses on Sundays is the undeniable party atmosphere found in and outside the stadium on match-day. This positive and jovial vibe is largely attributable to the club’s two fan clubs. On the one hand, the Corsarios start their match-day ritual by having breakfast together before congregating in the Can Misses parking lot. It is the site where the fan club’s tried and tested chants are belted out several times to the beat of the drums and flags as well as the many banners the vocal supporters bring to the stadium each weekend.

When Ibiza plays at home, the Corsarios are joined at the stadium by the equally vocal Penya Pagesa fan club. Founded last summer, these supporters have quickly made a name and established themselves at Can Misses with their unique and noticeable rituals. At the fan club’s headquarters, the pagesos get together early to hit the right tunes for their own chants which they create during joint mid-week dinners between members of the group. From the headquarters, they head to Can Misses one hour before kick-off dressed in Sky Blue gear and string hats before making a grand entrance to the fan club’s specially designated area in the general stand. They do so to the tunes of traditional Ibizan musical sounds provided by castanets, drums and flutes. The fan club has also become known for their man-of-the-match ritual at the end of a game whereby one of Ibiza’s players is selected to receive a traditional Ibizan specialty sausage, a sobrasada, accompanied by strong applause and chants of appreciation from the stands. The delicacy is then hung around the player’s head as a trophy and makes its way to the dressing room where it is shared among the playing squad before Monday’s recovery session. Rituals, they say, are here to be respected and upheld.