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Defense and Justice, the club popularized by Florencio Varela’s bus drivers

Maradona with the bus drivers on line 148, El Halcón, who gave the nickname and the color of the clothing to Defensa y Justicia.  Diego had many points of contact with Florencia Varela.  His brother Lalo played there.  (Courtesy Gustavo Lienhart)
Maradona with the bus drivers on line 148, El Halcón, who gave the nickname and the color of the clothing to Defensa y Justicia. Diego had many points of contact with Florencia Varela. His brother Lalo played there. (Courtesy Gustavo Lienhart)

Florencio Varela is his place in the world. Proletarian area, populated by people who worship to earn their mango with effort and work. In its streets, back in the distance of 1935, this institution emerged, as a competence of Varela Junior, the other that had already been in the place for some years. Defense and Justice was born with the idea of ​​being a social club, which brings together the needs of a neighborhood wanting to feel belonging. Card games, bocce ball and especially basketball were the mainstays in the founding years. Soccer was only a hobby for some of the 1,000 members who promptly filled their facilities, like other people from the area, who came on weekends, magnetized by the great attraction of the ’40s and’ 50s: popular dances, with the best tango orchestras.

There is no absolute certainty regarding his particular name. The journalist Gustavo Lienhart, one of the people who knows the most about the club, mentions the closest idea about its name with which Within the group of founders there were several lawyers and those two words are directly related to the most important ideals of law.

In the mid-1970s a decisive moment (the first) in its history linked to football arrived. In 1976 they began to select players, looking at clubs in the area that only practiced soccer, with the idea of ​​presenting a request in AFA to be incorporated into the entity and start playing their official tournaments. The approval came on December 20, 1977 so that the festivities are even more so for Varela.

They all contributed something to make the dream grow. Not necessarily the partners, but any neighbor supported, donating wires, lanterns, paint or whatever was needed for the San Martín stadium to be a reality when taking part in the First D tournament. And it was there that made his debut on March 4, 1978, defeating Cañuelas 2-1 with goals from Cardozo and Giaché. In its new stands, one of the happiest was its president, Norberto Tomaghello, the main driver of that unstoppable engine and with whose name and surname, with justice, the stadium has been renamed.

Professor Kohan and Ariel Holan, a duo that was born in Defense and Justice and broke up in Independiente.  Now, the physical trainer works with the current DT, Hernán Crespo.
Professor Kohan and Ariel Holan, a duo that was born in Defense and Justice and broke up in Independiente. Now, the physical trainer works with the current DT, Hernán Crespo.

In 1982 came the first big joy, with the promotion to C. In that year, Eduardo Ricardo Pérez assumed the presidency, who also held it in the El Halcón transport company on line 148. A very significant fact in two directions: because of this link, he changed the color of the shirt, leaving behind blue and white and moving to green and yellow, which identified the groups of the company, by whose name, the institution received the nickname that it maintains to this day: the Varela falcon

There were three years in that category, where he was always in the top squad, fighting to reach the B, until he achieved it on November 23, 1985 by beating 7-0 as a visitor to Barracas Central and becoming champion in a full team of surnames that are historical for Defense as the goalkeeper Nazar, the defenders Ramírez López, Milozzi (champion in first with Quilmes in ’78), Montemurro and Ramírez and the forwards Bartelemi and Moles.

On Sunday June 1, one day before Argentina’s debut in Mexico ’86, Varela’s falcons flew up to high clouds in the firmament of number 5 in our country, since in Villa Crespo they equaled Atlanta in a bit and that allowed them to get a new promotion, the second in seven months and be part of the first edition of that National B. From the beginning, he was an entertainer, counting on good elements, with the outstanding mark of having had Ricardo Julio Villa, former 1978 world champion with Argentina and a prominent Tottenham figure for several seasons, towards which he scored in the company of Osvaldo Ardiles after the consecration against the Netherlands.

The ’90s showed him two very different faces, with a beginning of doubts and a fight not to descend, until he finally went down to the B Metro in 1993, to regain his place four years later.

But as in all rich history, there are moments that are burned, with the heat of emotion on the surface. At the end of the 2005/06 season, he had to compete for the promotion with Deportivo Morón to avoid relegation. The first leg ended 1-1 in the west and the rematch was a nervous breakdown and bad game, leading to a 3-1 loss when the clocks ticked 90 minutes and hopes were practically over. At 46 Ramírez discounted headlong lighting a small flame that was a bonfire of uncontrollable celebration when Ezequiel Miralles, in the last play, hung the ball from an angle in a free throw to certify that Defense was still in the category, signing the minutes of the second foundation of the club and that from there, June 3 is the day of the Defense and Justice fan.

The celebration at the Norberto Tomaghello stadium when Defense and Justice passed the quarterfinals.
The celebration at the Norberto Tomaghello stadium when Defense and Justice passed the quarterfinals.

Perhaps because the ledge had been too close, Florencio Varela’s team woke up and returned to the old path, which came from its origins of trying to play neatly, of good ball treatment with Ricardo Rezza as a coach. With the beginning of the new decade, a style that still lasts began, not only in terms of football philosophy, but also in giving opportunities to young technicians such as Jorge Almiron (had two stages) or Diego Cocca, who achieved the long-awaited promotion to the first division, in May 2014.

Recent times show him completely consolidated in the main category, where he beat Boca, River, Independiente, Racing and San Lorenzo in less than five years, with that healthy attitude of having an idea and taking it forward, with certain nuances, depending on who be the DT. In that bank they have stood out Ariel Holan and Sebastián Beccacece, architects of good teams. With the latter, he fought inch by inch with Racing until almost the final day, the 2018/19 Super League title.

The Defense fans who will not be able to be in the South American final, but who in recent years celebrated the growth of the team.
The Defense fans who will not be able to be in the South American final, but who in recent years celebrated the growth of the team.

But the Falcon seems to be content with nothing and its flight crossed the borders to nest in other lands of the continent and play international tournaments. The baptism could not be better: he eliminated Sao Paulo in the Copa Sudamericana 2017, a competition in which he was present in the next three editions and In 2020 he gave himself the taste he lacked: writing his name in the Copa Libertadores, with Hernán Crespo as coach.

The pass to the round of 16 escaped him in the last minutes against Santos, leaving great frustration, but that quickly turned into illusion, because when he finished third he went to the South American. There he was overcoming obstacles (Sportivo Luqueño, Vasco da Gama, Bahía and Coquimbo Unido) to be before the definition with Lanús, an old acquaintance from the southern area of ​​Greater Buenos Aires.

Get to the end to celebrate. And with good music. Why the institution has ties there, as in the case of Ciro Pertusi, who in the mid-1980s and before forming his mythical Attack 77, had a band called Defense and Justice. At that time, he worked in a factory in the Constitución neighborhood with many colleagues who lived in Florencio Varela and there his sympathy began. Even a recording of that ephemeral formation was recorded on a disc with various players called Invasión 88.

Defense and Justice is enjoying his lush 85 years, in the best moment of his life. In the rear-view mirror you see a journey based on effort, dedication and never-abandoned longings. It is seen there, with the dances of the ’40s and’ 50s, with the recitals of the unique and unrepeatable youth movement of ’60 and ’70 until the arrival of soccer that made it massive. These 85 almanacs were worth it, as those kids who liked the law dreamed of in the 1930s. The falcon people deserve this present. Because he always made Defense of an idea and now he smiles with Justice.

I kept reading:

Lanús and Defensa y Justicia define the winner of the South American Cup: time, TV and formations

Behind the scenes of Lanús’s youth project that led him to play the final of the Copa Sudamericana

About the author

Kim Diaz

Kim recently joined the team, and she writes for the Headline column of the website. She has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism.

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