Better Know a Supporters Group – Midnight Riders (New England Revolution)
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.
MLS Club: New England Revolution
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
Year SG Founded: 1995, the year before MLS began.
Section Name (if other than SG name): The Fort
Any other SGs apart of your section? Rev Army, The Rebellion
Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Section 143, in the shadow of the “light house.”
The Meaty Questions
What are the origins of your groups’ name?
Everyone should take a second and be thankful for Paul Revere and his famous “Midnight Ride,” if it wasn't for him Tim Howard would have been in net this past summer for England and we wouldn't have been able to see Robert Green's famous flub. Further, Canada would probably have made a few more World Cups at this point, and really, who wants that? Look it up in your alternate-history books, kids. It's all right there.
Cheering on the ultimate Fort Favorite, Khano Smith with “Kaaahno, no, no, no, no…” to the tune of “Seven Nation Army.”
Also, more seriously, “From the Halls of Foxboro Stadium…” and one of most recent additions, “What New England's done to me…” which is sung to the United States Marine Corp's “Mama, Mama, can't you see.” (Shout out to the Rev Army)
Why is being in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?
In cavernous Gillette Stadium the Fort is the only place where you can stand and feel like you are actually part of something. Everyone is always packed in to this tiny little outpost in what is most likely the worst part of the stadium to actually view the action on the field. This, coupled with the horrible 45+ minutes a majority of our members need to drive to reach Gillette from Boston and you know that everyone is there because they are obsessed with the sport and with the Revs in general. We've heard a million excuses about why it isn't worth the trip but it doesn't matter, we're all there no matter what to support the team.
Just ask Atlante's keeper Frederico Vilar about his time in front of the Fort during the SuperLiga and he'll tell you that on our day we can support with the best of them.
Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?
We are the largest supporters group of the New England Revolution. We represent more states than any other SG out there. All six of the New England states have representation.
We also have about as long a history as you can have in supporting MLS. The group has existed since 1995, a year before actual play began. We started the Fort with the Rev Army and we were also one of the first groups to incorporate “tifo” displays into our game day repertoire.
I also think we have one of the best tailgates you can be a part of. We may at first seem like ornery bunch but just like any New Englander, once you get to know us, we're actually very friendly. Some supporters groups out there who have watched Green Street Hooligans a bit too much won't think this is bragging but I also think we are the most friendly supporters group in the country. There is always an open invitation that if you are traveling to Foxboro to watch your team take on the Revs you should swing by our tailgate to grab a bite to eat and try some of our top-notch craft beers (to rival those from anywhere in the country, though this topic may be for another blog post).
Greatest game(s) in team history?
We've had a pretty tumultuous history in terms of results but there have certainly been some pretty incredible highlights. In 2002, when we hosted the MLS Cup Final and the Revs played in front of 68,000 fans (still an MLS Cup record for attendance) is certainly up there despite the soul crushing final play.
The other two results that resonate with most of our members are the two times we have actually lived the silverware.
In 2007 the Revs won the US Open Cup and a large group of Riders were there to cheer on the cause.
In 2008, in front of a packed Fort, the Revs were able to get a bit of solace after their losses to the Dyanmo in the MLS Cup Finals by defeating Houston in penalties.
Predictions for this season?
The Revs were horrendous last season so it is nice to see that they realized something had to be done. It is still to be seen if what they did is going to make a difference. The team has added a lot of young, inexperienced players and a lot of older veterans. If they can get the balance right they could do okay but there is always the chance that the older guys will get hurt and the younger ones won't be ready to step in.
Rookie Ryan Kinne could be the surprise package of the season so watch this space!
Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?
We all love the game for one reason or another and supporting your local club is just too important to the future of the game in this country not to do.
Our stadium is very far away from Boston where quite a few of our members actually live. Everyone has a story of some fan who only supports a European club at a bar and doesn't see value in supporting his or her local side and it is one of the most frustrating things to encounter when you are trying to build support. They often say that the quality of the MLS isn't up to par with what they're watching at 7:30 am at the pub and we're am not trying to argue with that. We are saying that the only way that the team that you can actually watch live, week in and week out, is going to get better is with the support of any and all local fans of the game.
For more information and/or to join the Midnight Riders check out their website.
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