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Tiago Rech: The lone fan who later became his team’s president

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Tiago Rech
Tiago Rech: The lone fan who later became his team's president. Photo/ Fanpage.
  • Tiago Rech, who is from Brazil, is the star of one of the most enduring and indelible memes in the football world
  • His love for Santa Cruz offered him the opportunity to become the club’s president
  • Under his presidency, the club won their first-ever title – the Copa Federacao Gaucha de Futebol

If you love reading football articles, there is a good chance you have come across the name Tiago Rech and his inspiring story. Rech, who is from Brazil, is the star of one of the most enduring and indelible memes in the football world. This is a feel-good story told in two pictures.

In the first photo take in 2012, Tiago Rech is seen sitting alone in the away section during a match between his club FC Santa Cruz and Gremio. According to reports, there were about 5,000 fans in the stadium that evening, but Rech was the only one in the away end.

Tiago Rech

Tiago Rech. Photo/ Fanpage.

He is wearing a football jersey, combat shorts and an oversized glasses. He is seen gazing out into the middle of the distance lost in thoughts as his team plays Gremio. Next to him is a half-drunk little cup of cola.

In the second photo, Tiago Rech is again seated in the stands of a football ground. This time, the Brazilian who is in his early 30s is wearing a grey polo shirt and sensible trousers. Next to him is a gigantic silver trophy won by his team. Unlike in the first photo when he was just a fan, this time he was FC Santa Cruz president.

A Lifelong Fan of Santa Cruz

Tiago Rech has watched Santa Cruz play for as long as he can remember. Born just five blocks from the club’s 5,000 capacity stadium, Tiago Rech and Santa Cruz love story began when he was still a small boy. He was a regular on the concrete steps of Estadio dos Platanos from the age of ten watching his team play.

His love for Santa Cruz continued in his teens and even at university as he still created time to watch his team play. After completing his studies, Rech started his life in state capital Porto Alegre, which is 120 kilometres away from his home. Due to the distance and work, he couldn’t find time to travel back home and watch his team play.

The Lone Fan At The Away End

But in 2012, Tiago Rech had the chance to watch Santa Cruz play Gremio in his new resident city. This was a golden opportunity for him as he would watch his side face one of the biggest clubs in the state.

The game was to start at 9pm and Rech left work at 8pm to travel on foot to Gremio’s stadium. He stuffed his Santa Cruz jersey to his jacket to avoid landing in trouble with the Gremio fans who were so many on the way.

When he arrived, he noticed that there were no fans on the away end of the pitch. It was 20 minutes before the game and he thought to himself that they would arrive immediately before the game starts.  Unfortunately, the game started and no Santa Cruz fan had showed up. He was the only one on the away end.

Tiago Rech

Tiago Rech. Photo/ Maisfutebol – IOL.

Could they be still drinking beer at a nearby bar? Or was the fan bus delayed because of jam? But no, the game started and he was the only Santa Cruz fan.

At 15 minutes, Santa Cruz opened the scoring and Rech was the only one celebrating on the away end. The game went on and Gremio equalized before adding three more goals. Rech was sitting there all by himself feeling lost and dejected.

The television team soon noticed him and picked him out. Immediately, his phone started buzzing as he received calls from family and friends. The following morning, Tiago Rech story took a different turn as he appeared on the front page of a local newspaper with the headline: ‘Don’t Leave Me Alone’.

Soon, the image was going viral and Rech received calls from various journalists around the world. He even gave interviews on Brazilian television. The reaction Rech received was universally positive and he quickly turned to a minor celebrity in Brazil.

How Tiago Rech Became President Of Santa Cruz

Tiago Rech story took a different turn as he went from the lone fan in one of Santa Cruz’s matches to being the club’s president. It all started in 2013 when he became Santa Cruz’s press officer. He was fit for the job since he had background in journalism.

Rech became the fifth person to be employed by the club at that time. The club only had the president, manager, supervisor and secretary. Then the time came for Santa Cruz to elect a new president, and the then 27-year-old was the only man fit for the job.

The club wasn’t doing well at the time and Rech had a lot of pressure as the president. In his first year of presidency, Santa Cruz struggled financially but managed to avoid relegation. He was so depressed but things would later work out for him and his club.

Under his presidency, the club won their first-ever title – the Copa Federacao Gaucha de Futebol. Tiago Rech story is a perfect example of how a fan’s love for his team can lead to unexpected opportunities.

Tiago Rech

Tiago Rech. Photo/ VisionsMag.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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