Today was meant to be a milestone day in my part as a Vancouver Whitecaps supporter – my first Caps away game.
I’ve touched on this on the blog before, but for me, an essential part of being a football fan is the ability to follow your team both home and away. Following a team in a continent as vast and varied as North America makes this an impossibility on a regular basis unless money and time are no objects.
There’s nothing like an away game. You sing that little bit louder, you shout that little bit louder and there’s just a great feeling of watching your boys in the opposition’s patch, hopefully, coming away with the three points and sticking the fingers up to the home support (metaphorically speaking of course!!).
The fans that have made the journey are like a special little club. I hate to use the term “real fans”, as there are many reasons why many true supports can’t watch their team away from home, but inwardly we all feel that way.
My days of travelling all over Scotland watching East Fife have been fantastic. Seeing all the grounds, the towns, the pubs and social clubs. There really is nowt like it.
We’ve been lucky that we have such a great and vocal travelling support that put many a bigger Club to shame. Remember how many we took up to Aberdeen in the Cup this season on a Wednesday night. More than most SPL teams outside the Old Firm and when the Dons fans started singing to the Dunfermline fans in the next round as to how we brought more fans than them, well, that was special!
Supporting Vancouver (or any number of MLS or USL teams) is not that easy in this regards.
There are two Canadian teams in the USL, ourselves and Montreal, and well, they couldn’t really be much further apart really! We lost our closest away game, Seattle, to the MLS for two years, so that leaves Portland as our nearest rivals and our best shot at an away game and they’re over 5 hours away plus horrendous border wait times that can be another three hours on top of that.
With Portland gaining MLS entry along with ourselves in 2011, we have a lot more years of continued rivalry to come with the Timbers and two possible away matches within semi easy reach.
There was a bus load and some cars heading down from Canada for the game today. We were here already, checking out the beautiful Oregon coast and beaches. Unfortunately my car completely died just before I had to head back from where we were to the motel and then leave. By the time Triple A came out to fix it, it was too late to catch the whole game as Portland is nearly 2 hours away from where we are staying. Aarrrggghhhh.
I decided the head through anyway and got there in time to see the end of the first half, in theory, but the city was at gridlock and there were no parking spaces ANYWHERE so I just had to head home again after trying to find parking for 50 minutes! A long way to go for fuck all!
I ended up listening to the game on the radio and with Portland getting five figure crowds and the Timbers Army being one of the noisiest supporters groups in North America, it sounded like a cracking atmosphere.
Vancouver played pretty poorly and they lost 2-0, so perhaps missing the game was a good thing after all. Still a right pain in the ass though.