TFC 2010 | Week#4

TFC Fans the Best?

Toronto FC

Who Are Ya?

Another week of controversy and despair among fans is upon us. Two defenders have been added to the roster, without much hullabaloo, and PR has focused on the stadium’s new surface. As Toronto FC takes to the real grass surface for the home opener today, it will be more than their win/loss record or the coach’s strategic wisdom on the line. Filling BMO Field’s stands will be thousands of expectant fans, and the tone this crowd will set may have a strong impact on tomorrow’s game. Positive or negative, the fans might establish an atmosphere and spirit with season-long implications. The players may drive the outcome tonight, but our attitude in the stands could effect the play on the pitch, the business at the gate this year and the Club’s stewardship moving forward.

Without letting that thought run too far ahead of us, it’s important to think this through as we all file into BMO Field for the game against the Union. There’s no doubt our team is in transition, and that their trajectory on this new course is hard to gauge. Beneath all the grousing about Preki, Mo Johnston, the thin roster, Nick Garcia and the two poor match-day performances thus far, there’s an element of entitlement rising out of the fan-base. It’s an ugly mood that churns up bitterness and frustration, and its driving a toxic rancor back at the club and at our guys in red. This might be understandable in September when a playoff run might be out of the question, but in April, with 28 games to play, it seems unjust.

We Toronto FC fans have taken pride in being great boosters for our side, and bragging about our status as the league’s best fans. Truth is, that declaration is so 2008. Seattle’s stadium, sell-out games and boisterous home crowds can certainly make a claim for the same titles and self-image that we hold as inexorable truths. Maybe we raised the standard of fan support for MLS teams with our enthusiasm, but that doesn’t automatically entitle us to a team that wins perpetually.

Our first three seasons were an experiment that failed, and this one is the first concerted effort to change our course and find a winning path. There are no guarantees that the Preki era in Toronto will bring us glory, but there’s also no hard evidence yet that he won’t. It’s still too early to tell.

As fans, we owe it to our side to find a bit of ‘hope’ and ‘faith’ today and bring it in support of our team. What’s on the line tonight is a performance from the stands that will put a 12th man in the game for our side. That’s the test of being the best fans in the league; win, lose or draw we will fill our stands and use our supportive voices to encourage them on. Our squad is down right now, and instead of carping and hectoring we need to come out and cheer them on.

Come on you Reds…

This is no Leafs game. Show up and be heard today. Show up and be a boost for our guys on the pitch. Put aside your infinite wisdom about managing football clubs. Put aside your prejudices about the MLS compared to leagues outside North America.

Come give your best so our guys find some added inspiration in their game  tonight. I’m tired of resting on old laurels. Let’s earn the title of League’s Best Fans – now, more than ever, our team needs us.

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