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Supporters Week - Introduction

What is a Supporter and why do they matter?

Members of the Caps supporters group wait to present the Cascadia Cup to the players
Jay Mayede - Curva Collective Photographer

Welcome to 86Forever’s Supporters Week, where it’s all about what goes into supporting the team.

“Think about this for a second: Sons of Ben create a supporters group for a team that doesn’t exist. Think about the caring. Think about the wants to do that” That is the part of the opening voiceover of the Sons of Ben Movie.

Okay, so there is no relevance between the Sons of Ben and Vancouver Whitecaps supporters, but it shows that the passion that has been synonymous soccer fans around the world and it could manifest itself in North America.

Is it safe to say that a supporters group, when properly focused, can influence things? For sure. Ask any player or any coach and they’ll tell you that they can draw from the energy of the supporters and sometimes it ends up directly in a goal or build momentum into scoring said goal. Up until 2010, The Sons of Ben had no team, so all their efforts went into spreading the word about Philadelphia wanting the MLS. Both are very different examples of how the belief of the supporters can influence things.

People often ask me what it’s like being a supporter of a team in an inferior league? Well, I can only speak for myself, but I liken it to being insane. Albert Einstein, with some debate over whether he actually said it, has been attributed with this definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results”

If that’s the case, I guess all football supporters are the same. It’s how that emotion is channeled is what makes us different.

Being a supporter is much more than just going to games. It’s partaking in chants, painting/drawing/aiding in the production of any tifo (small to large displays, simple flags, “two-sticks” and any other signs of support for the team and players), it’s travelling to see your team play a rival (if you can afford do to so). I won’t liken it to life and death, but there’s times, in poker parlance, your team takes a brutal beat, and you just feel dead inside. You’re stunned for days and possibly longer and it eats away at you until you get back to the stadium to try again.

Here at 86Forever, we decided to take a look at the 3 groups that help make BC Place “the best sporting environment in the city”

Those three groups are:
Vancouver Southsiders (established in 1999)
Rain City Brigade (established in 2010)
Curva Collective (established in 2011/2012)

We did request participation from all 3 groups and the Whitecaps front office, however, we did not get feedback from Rain City Brigade, so their piece will be significantly shorter.

The individuals who have provided input are:
Vancouver Southsiders - former Board Member Scott Misfeldt
Curva Collective - Michael Gomm
Whitecaps Front Office - Manager, Fan Services Josh Nanavaty

I would like to take this moment to thank Southsiders Director of Communications John Knox for allowing us to pick and choose which Southsider we interviewed and Whitecaps Communications Coordinator Piccolo Ocampo for forwarding and following up with Josh Nanavaty in the front office in our questionnaire completed.