Persija Jakarta indeed had experienced a deep decadence before their resurrection that began to be experienced since the middle of last year. Even so, it is undeniable that the capital club is still one of the largest club in Indonesia. And while all this time have an image that is not good enough in the eyes of the public, their supporters, The Jakmania, is still one of the largest in this country. Just look at how orange tribune stadium Gelora Bung Karno when Persija found permission to play there. Or how easy orange clothes we see on the streets of Jakarta each time the day the game Persija cage arrived. Also see how #PERSIJADAY hashtag becomes trending topic every time they play in Jakarta or outside Jakarta.
The Jak and Persija are indeed two inseparable affairs at the moment. But the situation is not infrequent like that. There is a time when Persija has not received spectacular support from Jakmania because the group of supporters who are identical with the thumb and index finger of the right hand that compose the letter J was only established in 1997. Persija itself has stood since 1928 (as Voetbalbond Indonesische Jacatra or VIJ), until – until the time when Persija does not have Jakmania is certainly much longer.
The problem is, Jakarta is not a city with a soccer supporters so thick soccer. This is not a city like Bandung, Malang, or Surabaya which has a strong supporter culture, where the prevalence of supporting a football club representing their city is carried on for generations.
Of course the affair does not mean Persija (and VIJ) has no supporters since the first. Contrary to some people’s assumption that Persija did not have supporters before Jakmania era, the club that once was identical with the red-and-white color has been a supporter since VIJ era four times winning the Union in the 1930s era.
“The entry of a number of national figures like MH Thamrin strongly provoked the Betawi and native people to support VIJ,” said Gerry Putra, a journalist who is also a observer of the history of Persija
“The Newspaper Landscape, which at that time became VIJ’s unauthorized media, indirectly helped the VIJ propaganda through its wording and advertisements, which the Betawi people want to support VIJ.”
Supporters culture is also seen from how some great supporters since the past era formed in certain areas like Tanah Abang, Jatibaru, and Kebon Jeruk. These are the areas that give the masses a lot when VIJ and Persija compete, whether they play in Petojo, Ikada or Menteng.
Interestingly, these symptoms are caused by the demographics of indigenous people of Jakarta. Since the era of Dutch colonization, Kebon Jeruk and Tanah Abang is indeed an area inhabited by indigenous communities. And the magnitude of indigenous support for VIJ when it is indeed inseparable from the history of VIJ itself, which stands as a stronghold of resistance over VBO, club formed by the Dutch in Jakarta.
Historical evidence even indicates that in those days, the term ‘VIJers’ for VIJ advocates has emerged. Again, this is the propaganda of all the founders of VIJ, Soeri and Alie, who continue to struggle to “heat up” the nationalist spirit of all indigenous people in order to provide support for VIJ.