Sherrilynn Dawson, BLUE FAIRY GODMOTHER

Portland, Oregon, The United States of America.

November 2012 remains a landmark in football history.

Real Oviedo is saved by tens of thousands fans worldwide and some of them get to trigger a massive response in their local communitity.

Meet Sherrilynn Dawson aka Sheba @shebainpdx,  an Oregonian Oviedista who instilled the Carbayón spirit into her fellow Portland Timbers fans to make such a massive impact there that she ended up inking Real Oviedo crest on.

Interview by @ruudresistor

-Had you heard about Real Oviedo, Oviedo or Asturias before November 2012?

I first heard about Real Oviedo back in the spring of 2011. Alberto Mateos, a graduate student from Oviedo, asked some questions online about my home team, the Portland Timbers, on a Timbers discussion board. We started exchanging information about our clubs and towns. I heard a lot about Oviedo and about the team that reminded me of home–the same weather, the same fierce independent streak, the same ENORMOUS love for a small team.

We kept exchanging information. I shared about the Timbers’ short history from 1975 to their joining US Major League Soccer in 2011. Alberto shared the book “El Espiritu de 2003.” I fell in love with the team and the town, and started following the games on RPA over the internet (and RTPA when I could).

-When did you first hear about Real Oviedo’s increase in share capital?

I’m not sure exactly, but pretty early on. I had been following the campaign to oust Alberto Gonzalez, so I knew of the club’s financial troubles. And I’m sure I saw something pretty early on Twitter about the increase in share capital.

-Why did you decide to become a Real Oviedo shareholder?

Right away. I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. And I knew this was a team that, like the phoenix, had risen from the ashes once before. I wanted to be a part of the solution that helped Real Oviedo to thrive.

That’s why I challenged my Timbers Army friends in Portland to buy shares as well, promising to get a tattoo of the RO crest if they purchased at least 100 shares (in the end Timbers Army supporters purchased close to 500 shares in all).

-What football team do you support? Do you attend any matches?

My first team is of course the Portland Timbers. I attend every home match and as many away matches as my schedule and my wallet will allow. My second team is Real Oviedo. I watch every RO match I possibly can, and listen to them online when I can’t.

-How do you keep up with Real Oviedo’s developments?

I read about the team online, I listen to Miguel Fernandi call the matches on RPA, and of course all of my Oviedo twitter friends keep me up to date as well.

-Did it cross your mind that you would end up being such a committed fan?

I have heard it said that you don’t choose your football team; it chooses you. That is definitely the case with Real Oviedo! The club chose me, and I am a fan for life.

-You still have not been here but you have already become a big icon for Real Oviedo fans, have you got any plans to come over?

I really, REALLY want to. As a school principal my work calendar is unfortunately not well matched with the 2B league calendar. But I do get a week off in March, and I have been saving my air miles. All I need is money for once I get there. 🙂 If I can afford it, I REALLY want to make it out for Supporters’ Week in 2015. We’ll see; fingers crossed!

-Do you think this club is, as Michu said, ‘like no other’?

No question. Oviedo clearly has a fighting, independent spirit. Whether we are talking about the miners back in the dark times of 1934 or the fight to save Real Oviedo in 2003, the town is clearly one that fights back in the face of adversity. That same fighting spirit was evident during the increase in share capital in 2012. Whether 1st or 3rd division or anywhere in between, this club is clearly unique, and I am honored to be able to share in even a small part of such a special club.

-What kind of reaction do you get from people when you tell them you support a Spanish side in the third tier?

(Laughs). They are usually surprised when they hear that I have never been to Spain myself, and they ask what could possibly have been so interesting about the club to me in the first place. Then, of course, when I start to explain, they ask where they can see the matches themselves. 🙂

-Is there anything you would like to tell Real Oviedo fans?

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to be even a very small part of something so special. And cross your fingers for me. I REALLY want to come to visit!

TONY BOWES, 9,350.9 MILES ARE NOTHING TO SEE REAL OVIEDO

What to say when an Australian football fan is invited to a wedding in Scotland? The most likely answer might be that Europe is too far away . Not in the case of a Real Oviedo fan who jumps at that opportunity to come over and make a ten-day stop in Asturias: Real Oviedo are about to kick-start a promising season and he cannot miss it.

Please, meet Tony Bowes, an Australian Oviedista whose home team, Western Sydney Wanderers, have just made it to the Asian Champions League final.

Interview by @RuudResistor

-Had you heard about Real Oviedo, Oviedo or Asturias before November 2012?

No I hadn’t. I had heard of the big two in Spanish football obviously and some of the more popular Spanish tourist destinations with English tourists.

When did you first hear about Real Oviedo’s increase in share capital?

I’m a shocker with dates etc but it was when Sid Lowe was spreading the word all over twitter. That was in the lead up to Christmas 2012.

Why did you decide to become a shareholder?

In all honesty? The main reason was the novelty factor, a small part was also to help the club.

I was thinking of presents for my wife for Christmas and I thought this would be a perfect gift. After all how many women can say they own a Spanish football side, she works with an Italian football fanatic and it does his head in that she owns part of a club and he doesn’t.

At the time I decided to purchase some for myself and my son, too.

-What football team do you support? Do you attend any matches?

I’ve supported Liverpool FC for nearly 40 years now but have never been to a proper match.

Two years ago my area of Sydney got a local football side called Western Sydney Wanderers, I am proud to say I am a foundation member and in my third season as a season ticket holder and attend every home game possible.

-How do you keep up with Real Oviedo’s developments?

Mostly through Twitter. @RealOviedoWFC @RuudResistor and @RealOviedo_IRE do a fabulous job of keeping me up to date. I also follow other Oviedistas from Spain and England and they all combine to make me feel a real part of this great club. Google Translate gets a real workout on my tablet 🙂

-Had it crossed your mind that you would end up being such a committed fan?

Not at all. In all honesty I thought once the club was saved we would fade into the background and left to drift so I personally didn’t invest to much emotionally into the club at the start. But slowly the people listed in the previous question and one or two others who were also passionate about Real Oviedo dragged me in so that by the second season I was getting up at 2am to watch games. I am now a proud member of ROST.

I sometimes think they might regret it as I pester them to much.

-You have already been here after having travelled half way through the world from down under, what has surprised you most about Asturias, Oviedo and Carlos Tartiere Stadium?

This question would take a book to answer but I will start with the short ones first.

Carlos Tartiere Stadium: The peanuts 🙂 no seriously the passion. Even outside of game day the work that is put in by your active support in painting and recording the history of the club on the stadium walls is incredible and the fact that the club obviously feels that is important to allow the fans to do this is important to me. Game day was special, full of expressed passion. Some of the language used in the chants we would not be allowed to do in Australia.

Asturias: The beauty of the land. I flew into Madrid and I remember thinking I didn’t realise there was this many shades of brown. I then took the train to Oviedo and slowly watched the terrain change till we started passing through those beautiful mountains and I was in love. I grew up in a dairy district in Australia and as you and your lovely family drove me around Asturias I was struck by the similarities to the part New South Wales I still refer to as home even though I haven’t lived there for 40 years. Heaven.

Oviedo: We discussed this whilst I was there and one of the things I loved was that even with the language difference people are so similar. The people were just amazing. So friendly, I originally thought it was because I was giving them money but they went above and beyond normal especially the staff at Ayre Hotel Oviedo.

As I wandered about the city more though I realised it was the people, from the couple who let me play with their beagle for 20 minutes because I was missing mine so much to the drunk teenagers who I spent 30 minutes talking to at 6am about how much I was loving Oviedo and the food when they didn’t speak English nor me Spanish. There was the odd rude person but that just highlighted how friendly the vast majority were. In Australia also we are very conscious of personal space, I’m not sure they know what that is in Oviedo and that took a bit of getting used to, in the end I liked it.

-Do you really think this club is, as Michu said, ‘like no other’?

When he first said that I thought “oh yeah every fan thinks their team and fanbase are special” but seeing how you support the team through thick and thin was pretty special. More than that though there is that old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, well you guys managed to learn that lesson and still keep your team and it shows with how you embrace us international shareholders even after 2 years, it is special.

So Yes!

-What  kind of reaction do you get from people when you tell them you support a Spanish side in the third tier?

Mostly surprise that it was even possible and even some jealousy. My wife has an Italian work colleague who is a football fanatic and he is very jealous, my daughter has a friend from Portugal and her little brother knows of Real Oviedo and is very jealous.

After my visit to Oviedo I went to Edinburgh and I spent over an hour talking to one person there about how it all unfolded he was very impressed with the effort put in by all involved.

-Is there anything you would like to tell Real Oviedo fans?

Yes there is.

The welcome I received at the stadium was immense, it was then matched at El Desvan where I went to watch the away game but for me it’s sometimes the small things that make the biggest impact and one day I was walking down a street alongside the railway line and someone jogged past and shouted “Proud of You” at me, apart from being surprised that he seemed to know who I was, I was very touched.

So Thank You for welcoming me with such open arms you have no idea how happy you have all made me feel.