Day one Toronto FC supporters have spent a lot of time being red and the face, and no not because of face paint. Over the past ten years this franchise has existed there has been a lot to be angry about. At other points it was downright embarrassing to be a Toronto FC supporter.
Fans, the lifeblood of what this club has been able to accomplish, have been alienated at almost every turn, especially in the early years. They have seen ticket prices raised while the club’s performance does not follow suit, they have seen the players they get attached to mistreated and dismissed. All the while, they have been used as an advertising tool.
Even when the results started to improve significantly for the club, there were issues between the team and the fans this season. Fans staged a protest at multiple points after being given sanctions that they felt were unfair. They stayed seating and silent during matches.
This week, on the eve of the biggest game in club history, when Toronto FC fans should be the happiest they have ever been, a lot of them were still angry, and for good reason. MLS Cup is a league event and therefore saw a number of fans displaced from seats where they have watched TFC games for several years.
It is enough that a faction of supporters going into today certainly have the right to be a little ticked off at both the club and the league. Waking the Red heard no shortage of stories from fans who were frustrated this week. But for one game, one day, one special night in Toronto FC history, it is worth setting that aside.
Toronto FC fans, after the years of being let down by the club both on and off the field, don’t forget to enjoy the moment when things finally came together.
Today is the day that Toronto FC, the little brother of the city’s sports market who was constantly being laughed at and picked on by fans of its older siblings, comes of age. Nobody is laughing any more.
After years of Toronto FC fans pleading for more coverage, more respectful coverage and more exposure in a market that constantly brushes them aside for Hockey, Baseball and Basketball, it is here. Reports are that around 250 media members have been accredited for today’s match: every major outlet in the city and country will be there.
It isn’t just Toronto, or Canada for that matter, that is watching either. The soccer world is taking notice of TFC, and this time for the right reasons, not because of how badly their marketing campaign involving Jermain Defoe blew up in their face.
Walk around the city of Toronto right now, and one is as likely to see Toronto FC gear as that of any other sports team in the city. Toronto FC has finally become fashionable once again within the city.
So take a moment today, before the match and reflect on what all this truly means. These whole playoffs seem like they have happened so fast, with each result being the most important in the club’s history until the next one comes along.
After all, this is what Toronto FC fans have been dreaming about since the club was first awarded a franchise a decade ago. Even if some of the details of that dream, where fans are sitting and who they are sitting with, aren’t perfect.
When all is said and done, when the champagne has dried, when the confetti, whether it is red or green, has all been swept up, supporters can go back to holding a grudge, they have been wronged more than enough. But they should enjoy every minute they can of today, because it is earned.