Hello to all.
First off, I love SOME of the atmos at world football games. Let's be honest, it's part of why we love the sport. I've watched games live in the UK. The singing, the cheering, the solid wave of one colour - those things are great. But let's not romanticise it into more than it is. There is an ugly half to such tribalism. Violence, intimidation, drunken-ness, disgusting language, bigotry, racism - all these things accompany football culture. Think of everything that disgusts us about the behaviour of, say, Central American fans. The challenge is to maintain Canadian civility, decorum, and respect for officials and opponents without introducing the bad elements. At the same time we want something that is genuinely Canadian - I know I don't go to games to "pretend" I'm a foreign hooligan.
There is a genuine concern about the lyrics used in the end zone. I won't let my boys (2/6/7) go there for several years yet. As an aside, although the Bravehearts can be rude, the Vancouver fans made even them blush with one song. To the tune of "She'll be coming around the mountain when she comes" they sang, "I'll be riding (goalie's) mother when she comes." That will never fly in the main stand, and will offend 90% of the paying customers. Personally I'm not there for that, and don't find it appropriate. I don't need to abuse the opposition (unless it's both witty and clean). I also don't think we need so many Britishisms in our songs either; after all, I don't use "tosser" in normal speech, so I don't need it in a football chant.
I've worked on atmos in the local scene for several years now on and off, eventually with the resignation that it wasn't getting anywhere. The piping, however, always works. Ted, Nate and I tried to generate atmos at Vic Utd several years ago. Our songs were good, humorous, and clean. The problem was that only us and our wives would sing. Nobody else would. At Canada games in Victoria the crowd is willing, but unfamiliar with how to cheer, primarily because we have had no "club" to form a nucleus at. But we now have that club.
As one of the three pipers this year, the hand-clapping while we play is, unquestionably, the most effective noise the fans make. It's just a case of people staying in tempo with the piper. Nathan is there to pipe first and watch the game second. I try to watch the game first, and pipe second, so I'm not as active as he is.
Soccermum, you won't want to repeat some of the Braveheart songs, so you don't need their lyrics. We just need to get a few good chants and songs onto the web site. But really, simple chants are, well, simple.
Because of all that, I don't think the club or the stadium is "too big" for two supporters groups. I'd welcome that. Bravehearts as is, behind one net, with plenty of beer. They need a drum and a piper. And I'd have another supporters group in the bleacher section at the other end of the main stand. They also need a drum. And obviously a piper.
But the thing is that we as fans need to organise that. Soccermum, my email is (firstname.lastname@example.org
). Send me an email, and let's ensure we get a few like-minded people in the same area for next year. If my and Nathan's families are there, and yours, that's a good start. If you want to sing, I'm glad to lead. But until my boys are older, I'm not going to be part of the Bravehearts.
Ted and I wrote "It's a long ride, home on the ferry", to "It's a long way, to Tipperary." That's a good one. I set "Two R's, Four E's, One F in Referee" to "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music. That's as rude as I ever think you should be to a ref, and quite frankly that's a funny line. I think crescendo rolls at corner kicks should be easy to teach the crowd. "Well be coming" is a great, simple, clean song that the whole stadium should learn. We used to do "Come On You Whites" to "Auld Lang Syne" for Vic Utd, and that was excellent. Most of the chants that large numbers will join in have to be simple by definition. Some of my best chants were player specific: like "Josh Simpson. Do-dut-dut-duh-do-do" to the theme from The Simpsons. In fact, I'll bet that song is the sole reason he is now playing professionally in Germany, and for Canada. We need more of those (the one for Jose this year was a good start).So, for next year: a simple, one page song sheet for distribution to the stadium, with the request that those who want to sing go to the East end of the main stand. Any here with family as takers? Arsenalian? Finn? Email me.
PS: Finn, I watched Killie play Greenock Morton at home in that cup that's only open to Tier II and below teams in 1992/3, the year "my" Dons lost all three titles to the Huns. Don't let Ted tweak you - up the diddy teams! That's where I first understood that fans of Killie, St Johnstone, Raith, etc didn't "have" another allegiance to a bigger club, something that surprised me at the time.