There are people who are better known by their nickname than by their name and by an object than by its properties. If someone in Argentina asked about Carlos Pascual, no one would know what to answer: he would be completely anonymous. If, on the other hand, the question was about Tula, the reaction would usually be immediate: a famous football fan, especially of the Argentine team, but not just any fan, but one who always traveled with a bass drum as an extension of body and mind. His breath, to the point that Tula wouldn't have been Tula without the bass drum.
In a country that makes stadiums a place of reverence, almost of national pride, his figure acquired particular importance because he was the pioneer who drew attention to himself: he was the first fan to support the Argentine team at the World Cup Westens accompanied Germany in 1974 and he did not stop there until his thirteenth World Cup in Qatar 2022, now 82 years old and in a wheelchair, a militancy that led FIFA to award him “The” award in January 2023 as the representative of the best fans Best” to be awarded from the previous year. The already 83-year-old Maradona or Messi of the hype, who was in the hospital for a week, died this Wednesday in Buenos Aires.
In fact, Tula began accompanying his team, Rosario Central. A photo published in 1971 by the magazine El Grafico shows him at the Peruvian National Stadium, following the villains in a match against Universitario de Lima for the Copa Libertadores. “The Hype Man: He's been following Central since he was seven years old. Today he is 27 years old and is always accompanied by his bass drum. His name is Carlos Tula and the instrument was given to him six years ago by Boerio (in reference to Adolfo, the former president of Central). They didn’t want to let him take the field against the “U”. Finally he succeeded and the public of Rosario treated him completely correctly,” the caption reads.
The Tula drums evolved and, in addition to the central colors, began to bear the coat of arms of the Justicialista Party, the political movement of Juan Domingo Perón. According to the fan himself, he also met the leader in 1971 during his exile in Madrid, when he was waiting to return to the Casa Rosada for his third presidency: Perón gave him a new instrument that Tula began to use for the national team. In what is known as Argentina's first fan trip to a World Cup, the 1974 World Cup, Tula appeared next to the players and in the stands with a drum with the double inscription “Argentina” and “Perón”, who would die during the tournament -. It was also the beginning of a modern postcard: the presence of Albiceleste fans, often together with members of the Bravas bands, at the World Championships.
For reasons that remain unclear, perhaps internal discussions or his sudden proximity to political militancy – even though he would never hold state office – Tula became separated from Central fans and attempted to become closer to those of other teams. One evening in 1974, always with his bass drum, he entered the Independiente pitch for a Copa Libertadores game against Peñarol of Uruguay. However, the members of the local bar did not like his presence and asked him to leave: they even considered removing his bass drum, which was already a reference. But even if he no longer belonged to a team, Tula would never stop traveling to the world championships – often financed by politicians, sometimes on his own initiative – nor would he stop appearing at Peronist rallies.
Tula, which was never known to be involved in acts of violence – increasingly folkloric and popular with fans as part of a criminal gang – also gained relevance due to the context: a few years later, the bars gained prominence and became more popular with them would do this with the bass drums and the flags as part of their reference. While until the Federal Republic of Germany in 1974, the mobilization of fans to the World Cups held in other countries was marginal – with the exception of the final in Uruguay in 1930, for which thousands of Argentines crossed the Río de la Plata – to Argentina in 1978, it was the trips of organized groups. Although the bars were born in the 60s and grew in the 70s, it was only in the 80s that they consolidated and began to use firearms, make pacts with politicians, expand their businesses, make extortion their preferred method and become uncontrollable become.
Although the Falklands War destroyed the initiative for Spain in 1982, 2,000 Argentines in Mexico 86 witnessed Maradon's heroic deed against England at the Aztec Stadium: alongside a handful of brats, Tula was also there, all alone and with great hype. The landscape of Italia 90 was similar, with high-profile bars among the small number of fans who escaped the hyperinflation of the first months of Carlos Menem's government until an increasingly connected world and the initial benefits of the convertibility plan – before its outbreak – made possible the first Mass travelers from the 90s onwards. Since USA 1994 and with the exception of South Korea-Japan 2002 due to the Corralito, the presence of thousands of Argentine fans at the World Cups, it has also been a regular postcard in France 1998, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014, Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.
Although rather hidden among the hundreds or thousands of Argentine fans, Tula was also a kind of creator of the club of “lonely” fans at the World Cup: in Spain in 1982, local Manuel Cáceres, better known as “Manolo el del Bombo”. got famous. , and in Italy in 1990 Gustavo Llanos, the “Cole” of Colombia – with feathers, without hype – both in a certain way imitators or continuations of Tula.
In January 2023, FIFA selected Tula as the representative of Argentina's fans to receive the “The Best” award, the previous year's winner for his support of the World Cup team in Qatar 2022. When the old fan took the stage at the gala in Paris, many of the people laughed Men in suits who occupied the theater seats talked about the instrument and the character's appearance in the stands at the World Championships since West Germany in 1974, as if he were a Martian on such evenings. Tula was a man of stages. But always with his hype.