Monday, April 18, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group – Red Patch Boys

We continue to expand our coverage of American soccer culture with our series “Better Know a Supporters Group,” just like Steven Colbert’s “Better Know a District” from “The Colbert Report“. 

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.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia’s Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today we feature “Red Patch Boys”, supporters of Toronto FC.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by RPB President Boris Aguilar (and others).

The Basics

MLS Club: Toronto FC

SG Name: Red Patch Boys (RPB)

Stadium: BMO Field

Year SG Founded: 2006

Section Name (if other than SG name): The Bunker

Any other SGs apart of your section? No

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction): Our home is section 112 in the south end, however, we have groups of RPBs scattered throughout the stadium

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

The name Red Patch Boys (RPB) was chosen as a way to pay homage to the veterans of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division of the Second World War, known as Red Patch Devils by axis troops in recognition of their bravery and perseverance. The name was modified and is now worn as a symbol of pride and to emulate camaraderie.

Favourite chants/songs?

We have quite a few and the full list can be found on our site here.

However a few favourites that have spread beyond the supporters sections including the bounce, the massive and most recently sloop TFC.

The Bounce

The Massive

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

This is where the energy of the stadium is the strongest – it starts here and then resonates throughout the rest of the stadium. Just as important you are standing shoulder to shoulder with individuals who all share the same undying passion for the club and for the sport.
Danny Dichio tribute banner.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

The Red Patch Boys, in its five year history have achieved a great deal. We have about 500 paid members, and 2500 registered users on our message board. We achieved what MLS considers the best supporter display (Danny Dichio tribute banner) and we firmly believe we had some great competition.

We also have a unified voice that can stir things up and cause change. Back at the end of the 2010 season, the supporters felt that they were being priced out of the stadium. We also felt that the ticket price increase was not justified. The membership was furious and after weeks of debate we as a group decided to launch the ‘Wear Green Campaign’. The reason why we chose green was because it was the colour of greed which we felt that our front office was exhibiting. This campaign gained recognition throughout the league and made headlines in local media and even the New York Times.

The Red Patch Boys are also proud to travel and support our team. Distance has proven not to be an issue for our group from the Cruz Azul game in Mexico City to somewhere closer like Columbus we proudly travel and cheer on our team.

Finally, RPB members come from across Canada and even overseas and the membership as a whole is composed of people that are more than just supporters. Our membership is a family.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

To win the 2009 Canadian Championship and secure a spot in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League the team needed to win it’s final game against Montreal by 5 goals. This kind of result is quite rare but June 18 2009 a large contingent of TFC supporters made their way to Montreal. On that rainy night in Montreal a “miracle” happened. Montreal was first on the score sheet but after that it all turned around and TFC pulled out a miraculous 6-1 win and secured the 2009 Championship

Predictions for this season?

We believe it’s a year of rebirth – we expect to see positive change this season, both on the field and in the stands. As fans we truly hope to see the playoffs however as supporters we also know this is another year of rebuilding from the ground up.

During Mo Johnston’s era, we felt that the team used band-aid solutions to our team which never really accomplished anything. However with the change in management this year and a new director of soccer who has a vision for the club we believe that the future is bright for TFC. With this vision new players have arrived, a new attitude is visible from the club on and off the pitch and frankly it is a breath of fresh air for supporters.

Why Major League Soccer? Why North American soccer?

North America is a sleeping giant for the sport and year over year though it continues to grow and expand. We believe that we’re on the verge of seeing big things in this league as it continues to focus on expansion in key markets and most importantly quality player development. Beyond just MLS and TFC an investment in this league results in investment in all the smaller developing leagues (CSL, USL, etc) within both countries which directly benefits our national teams.

For more information and/or to join the Red Patch Boys… check out their website.

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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
– Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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