Last night was an important one for football fans in Vancouver as the Southsiders supporters section became an organised body for the first time in the group’s existance.
From humble beginnings at the end of the last decade, when they were formed in the beer garden to be Vancouver’s “weapons of mass distraction”, the Southsiders have grown to become one of the best fans sections in North America with regards to the noise generated in relation to the numbers in attendance, the variety of the songbook and the fun to be had.
The group has grown organically over the last ten years into the Southside being the must stand place for many attending Vancouver Whitecaps games at Swangard Stadium.
What was missing from the Southsiders though was actual organisation and at times the group were more of a ragtag band than a well oiled machine. All that will soon change as after a couple of organisational meetings, the group has now appointed it’s first committee and set it’s first fee structure.
The move has been a necessity for the Southsiders. With Vancouver Whitecaps set to join the MLS in 2011, the group could soon find itself growing in numbers by over 1000% very quickly.
Supporting football in North America is very much a minority past-time and all the supporters group should be applauded. Toronto and Seattle have set the bar high since they joined the big show and when Portland’s Timbers Army (by far and away the most impressive supporters section in the US) join with Vancouver next year, they’re going to hit the MLS with a bang.
What the Southsiders have, that TFC and the Sounders haven’t, is a firm base to make the move with. Passionate fans, with a proud tradition and history. Although small in numbers at present, taking the step to organise now should see them in a better position than those previously mentioned when it comes to make the step up. It all makes for some very exciting times for the hardcore fans in the city.
Research into some of the US groups have revealed nothing more than soccermom friendly, ra-ra-ra style supporters and that’s what’s killing the game on the continent. Football in North America is badly needing some rivalry and some real hatred and animosity simmering at ALL clubs.
As a proud member of the Southsiders, I want to see the group become one of the most respected in the MLS, if not THE best. I want to see us hated by the rest (jealousy and all that) and the Caps to be the team that everyone hates and wants to beat. The Man United of North America. The Leeds United of Canada.
It’s up to us to grow now. To grow as a group. To grow the sport in the city. To grow the meaning of what it is to be a football fan of the proper shaped ball variety. To grow the understanding of why football is the best sport to attend live in the world.
Last night’s meeting certainly set all the foundations for that and the Club clearly appreciate our efferts judging by the impressive turnout after our meeting by players and officials from the Caps.
It’s exciting times in Vancouver these days and not just because the Olympics are coming!