Don’t Let Empire Farewell End With A Whimper

Empire Field will no longer be the place us Whitecaps fans call home after this evening.

I’m not going to be shedding too many tears at that. Goodbye, thanks for the fleeting memories and good riddance to some of the biggest security douches I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

AFTN’s Metro column yesterday looked at some of the highs and lows of our six month stint at Tempire.

Share your own highlights and lowlights in that piece or here.

Maybe in a few months, or years, time I’ll be looking back at Empire Field with dewy-eyed nostalgia.

It could have been so much more. So much better. And you know what? If the results on the pitch had been better, maybe it would have been easier to ignore the problems off it and I’d be looking back a lot more fondly.

Empire Field itself, as a stadium, was good. It had a great look to it for football, although some of the sightlines and distances from behind the goals to the pitch could have been much better.

It wasn’t quite the fortress of fear that we’d all hoped for, but our metal manor generated one hell of a lot of noise.

When the crowd were in full flow and banging their feet, that was loud. The place literally shook, but we’ve all lived to tell the tale and we’ve left it standing!

And today, on our last stand there, we all need to make as much noise as we can to cheer the boys on to glory.

Whatever our thoughts on the Empire era and the stadium itself, it was nice to return to our spiritual roots and remember, wherever we roam, there’s no place like home.

And today we need to give it a huge send off. For it doesn’t look like the Whitecaps are going to do that.

Today should be a day of celebration, but the Caps seem to be treating it like any other match day.

There was some build up to the farewell on their website during the week, but how many read that compared to how many will be going through the ‘turnstiles’ today?

The BC Lions said their goodbyes in some style a fortnight ago.

They certainly made a big deal of their last match there, with cheerio celebrations before, during and after the match. They even wore special jerseys to mark the occasion and then gave them away to the fans after they’d destroyed Toronto.

It was great. Made even better by the fact that I got one of the jerseys!

The Whitecaps appear to have nothing special planned on the concourse. There’s been activities for the Man City friendly and other less important games, but nothing today.

Maybe they’re going to surprise us all when we go in and give us special commemorative souvenirs. We won’t hold our breath.

The Lions had a pin and t-shirt to welcome their arrival at the new Empire and a special farewell t-shirt to say goodbye. Let’s see what the Caps have today.

I’ll tell you what we, the fans, risk having though. A pain in the ass and potential day spoiling line up to get the remainder of our season tickets for the BC Place games.

I’ll hark back to the Lions yet again. They sent me out the remainder of my season tickets. I didn’t have to go to the hassle of picking them up. Remind me what all these extra service charges and admin fees that we pay are for again?

Hopefully it’s not a gong show but since they’re opening the ticket tent just two hours before kick off, and ridiculously not at all after the game, I fear the worst.

Maybe the Caps just want to get the fuck out of Empire and write it off as a bad memory.

Let’s hope they at least go out with a bang ON the pitch.

The players should be so up for this match, that we won’t have seen the like since the opening day demolition of TFC. If they can’t raise their game and passion levels for a stadium farewell, a local derby and a Cascadia Cup game, then frankly they shouldn’t be pulling on a Whitecaps jersey.

Seattle are rumoured to be bringing up around 1500 supporters, well over the allocated 500 tickets. Many of them have decided to stick two fingers up at the ludicrous rules imposed on Cascadian away fans.

They’re likely to be spread out throughout the stadium, will be arriving at all times and once the drink gets flowing, the risk of trouble will increase.

It will be interesting to see how some of the more clueless members of PNE security deal with them. Maybe they’ll try and move all the extra 1000 of them to the Seattle away section. Maybe they’ll be there anyway and the Caps have decided they can’t turn down ticket sales.

Whether there’s 500 or 1500 there, one thing is certain – they will be loud as hell. They’re loud anyway, but whichever brainiac at the Caps front office decided it was a great idea to give the away fans a roof to amplify their noise really is clueless about football culture.

What we need to do as Caps fans is to be that extra bit louder today. To stand and cheer for the full ninety. Shout that bit more. Chant that big longer. Let these Sounders know that we may be leaving it, but Empire is still our home.

The players need us more than ever today and we need them to be on the top of their game to aid getting our only silverware of the season.

The Club may have let them and the stadium down. We can’t afford to as well.

Mon the Caps.

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Authored by: Michael McColl

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Krammerhead at 22:43

    At the height of the original NASL, there would be a lot more than 1,500 away fans attending the games in each others stadiums. This only 500 away allocated tickets rule is a load of crap.

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