Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Friday 9 August 2013

First Person View – Midseason Friendlies should be Celebratory -- Part Three - A Call to Arms

    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


  1. Interesting take on it all.
    I'd say that yes, it should be a celebration kind of game, one where the pressure's off and you can just sit back and enjoy some football, and yes, celebrate the fact that you have a team that you enjoy seeing and get something out of. there are two factors involved in making it that way, you like the team, and the club seems to appreciate you, who could get angry at that?

    I'd say the first couple of years, it was like that, the games against villa, benfica, independiente, pachuca, were fairly well attended, without much grumbling. Those that didn't like it could stay home and roll their eyes but there was very little vocal outrage.

    At that time of course it was still fun, we did get something out of the team, and the tickets were 'free', even though they were built into the season ticket package, it seemed like a way to appreciate the fans.

    Then Real Madrid happened. a league game was moved, the free ticket was given to a river plate game and tickets for real madrid were jacked up massively.

    All of a sudden, the growing discontent with MLSE and how they view and treat supporters was neatly crystallised. sure that game sold out, but now friendlies had stopped being a free celebration for the fans, they were clearly a way to milk the fans for more money. exploiting, not appreciating.

    So, that's one of the two factors done for, the other one? about enjoying ther team, well 7 years of crap will suck that out of most people.
    So now we've got something that feels like a chore, and a club that exploits rather than appreciates, and that's not going to be a celebration for anyone.

    Thus, legitimate concerns (fatigue, risk of injury, wrong priorities, move from background rumblings to full on protetsting.

    Is it a bit misplaced maybe, a bit overdone? sure, but it's become a very handy example of what the club's doing wrong, one that they helpfully bring out every year, a good focal point that all the cynics can gather around and use to vent their frustrations.

    To get back to my original paragraph, I think you only need one of the two factors to be present for this to work, either it's fun so you put up with the exploiting, or the club shows it's appreciation so you put aside your frustrations for a night and accept the gesture.

    winning would solve everything and make things fun, but that's obviously easier said than done. Instead maybe the club should be the ones to make the first move, show some appreciation, book a big name and give tickets to season ticket holders for free. do some of the promo stuff you mentioned in part one, show the fans some love. Your'r eobviously going to keep doing these things, don't just say get used to it, give us a reason to get used to it and actually look forward to it.

    do supporters whether individuals or groups have some sort of responsibility to bring the passion back? perhaps. at the very least they can control their own experience and if they have fun or not. But 7 years is a long time to do that when you're getting nothing back from the other side.

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