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Indonesians 'fanatical' about Reds

By Paul Nizinskyj, Wombwell Reporter Friday 25th January 2013
The Barnsley FC fan club which has emerged in Indonesia.

A Barnsley FC fan club has emerged on the other side of the world - on an island in Indonesia.


Tweets from 'The Tykes Indonesia' (@indo_barnsley) began appearing from December 7 and have continued in large numbers since - all about Barnsley FC and all in Indonesian.


Supporters clubs have cropped up in some unlikely parts of the world in the past but these have mostly been established by Barnsley folk working abroad or ex-pats.


That Tykes Indonesia has arisen independently among Indonesians makes it highly unusual.


The Chronicle contacted the account's creator, Hikmatya faris Abdulhafizh who lives in a village near Bandung, on the island of West Java, to get to the bottom of how a Barnsley FC fan club popped up in the Javan Sea.


Football is an incredibly popular sport in Indonesia and 20-year-old Hikmatya said he would even go so far as to call his country's love of the game 'fanatical'.


As such, English clubs are as popular as the country's home-grown teams, though you'd be forgiven for expecting global brand premiership teams like Manchester United over the Tykes.


But Hikmatya said the club's support arose on a farm where he and other students study for an animal husbandry course - because they wanted a team of their own.


He said: "Indonesian people love football even to the point of being fanatical and we are fanatical about Barnsley FC. We want to be different to others because our way of life is to be a true supporter."


Hikmatya took the fan club online to let the rest of the country and the world know about its love for the Reds.


He said: "My intention in creating the Twitter account was so we were known in all circles of supporters' groups in Indonesia and to broadcast that Indonesia is not only a lover of the world's great clubs but also of Barnsley."


Which only leaves one question - when will Barnsley set up a Bandung FC fan club?

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