Some of the players of Romania FC
Romanians pride themselves in being good at two things: Football and politics. Since in their case it would be somewhat difficult to succeed in politics, some Romanians living in the UK formed a football team back in 2006. In just eight years, Romania FC has managed to jump from League 16 to League 9, and on the 16th of August they will participate in the FA Cup. See? I wasn't lying about Romanians being good at football.
As far as I know, this is the first time there's a team in the FA Cup that is named after a country, so I got in touch with their coach, Ionuț Vintilă, to talk about his plans of taking the English football world by storm.
VICE: Hello, Ionuț. How did the idea to form the team come about?
Ionuț Vintilă: It started with the pleasure of playing football in an organised manner. The idea came from some relatives of mine who helped me gather the money I needed to register the team's in the FA Cup. The team became more and more valuable, we worked a lot, we evolved and we are now semi-professionals.
Do you think you can get even better?
The team has great potential. Three years ago we found a sponsor too – the construction group Conarg Ltd. – so we have financial stability now. Eighty percent of the players work at the company. I think in three or four years we could be playing 7th League, Ryman Premier.
Does the team have any English supporters?
The support is more virtual than physical – we haven'\t managed to convince any English businessmen to give us money yet. We expected our community to support us more too.
You still have a gallery.
Yes, it's composed of English and Romanian fans. They are loyal to the team and come see us play at every game. The most popular slogan is: “Go, wolves!”
The strangest moment was at the end of the game between Clapton FC and Romania FC last season, when the supporters of the rival team – about 400 people – started shouting “FC Romania”.
Does the team consist only of Romanians or are foreigners accepted?
We organise trials to find new players before every season and nationality is not important. If the player is considered to be of help, our arms are wide open. For the moment however, the team only consists of Romanians.
Fans of Romania FC
What was your most important game to date?
Three years ago, we won the the Middlesex region final. It was a memorable game. We'll have another chance to do that, when we play the Haverhill Rovers in the FA Cup.
In the inferior leagues In Romania, things can get a little strange from month to month. For example, if the hosts lose, the referees are chased with axes and forks. It's clear there's a huge difference between Romanian and English football, but are there any similarities?
There's no such thing here. People here respect this sport, it's considered almost a religion in England. There is respect for the presidents, for the adversaries and the spectators.
Do you think Romania FC can help improve the image of Romanians in Britain?
I hope so. It seems we're on a good track, as long as we have English fans who buy FC Romania scarves.