As a non-member of the supporter’s culture, though perhaps more invested in the fortunes of the team than many, it is not my place to call into question the why’s of how one chooses to support the club.
There are protests which are valid and worthy, when a section is persecuted and their rights as a vibrant part of the club – and as a marketing gold-mine – are improperly handled – say by irrationally rising ticket prices or cracking down on certain behaviours (the fact that the atmosphere has significantly decreased since streamers were banned is not lost on some observers – no streamers, no party).
There has been a gradual change, an exhaustion amongst the TFC faithful, and perhaps it is time that some are reminded of the exuberance with which they once attended these matches.
Salt Lake, a team who have historically struggled in Toronto, earned their first win at BMO Field at the end of June.
Post-match Jason Kreis and Nick Rimando, both experienced and respected members of the MLS community, commented on the win.
Kreis – “It’s always been difficult [playing in Toronto]. This year for some reason it’s been very, very quiet. It seems odd to me because the first couple years you literally couldn’t talk to anybody because it was so loud. So the atmosphere’s become a little bit more playable for us. Maybe that has some contribution to the win today.”
Rimando – “I love Toronto. They have great fans. They have some good one-liners out there and you know the goalkeepers have to sit there and listen to all the fans. They are good to play in front of, they have some good fans. I love playing up here it’s a great city with great support and the fans are awesome.”
While Patrice Bernier had this to say on the impact of the home fans, “When you’re down and times are tough, you need to stick together and the supporters are a part of us, our unit. At home, we know that there is that extra energy, even if we are behind in the score. So the 12th man is extremely important, especially in tough times, as they show their continued support. Our fans will be key to help us get out of this little hole we are in and find our winning ways.”
One gets out of a transaction that which one invests; perhaps it is time that we re-evaluate the priorities.
The supporters carried this club through those dismal early days; are slights – perceived or otherwise – preventing them from doing the same these days?
Recall all those late goals earlier this year. How quiet did the ground get at those tender moments? Did that hesitation inadvertently encourage the opponent?
The club must take responsibility for its failings, but how about the fans?
Are we happy with being paying customers? Or would you rather be more?
Tomorrow night – a rare evening match (more on that in a future post) – is a chance to make that decision; are you a customer? Or, are you Red?
Couldn't find the right song, but this one always reminds me of happier days in TFC land.
Parts One and Two