Jamie Sutherland and John Holt are two avid Everton fans, who recently decided to embark on a journey following MLS. They have chosen Toronto FC, as their team to support, and will be documenting their chronicles in a podcast named, Finding Toronto. With the first episode already available, it is clear that the duo will be adding some comedic flair to the roller-coaster that is being a TFC fan.
Waking the Red sat down with Jamie and John to get more information on the reason behind this adventure.
1. Give us a little bit of background about yourselves?
(Jamie) I'm a comedian on the UK comedy circuit, and very prominent on the after dinner speaker circuit, working with some of the country's finest sport stars. John is a magician, specializing in close-up table magic at corporate events. As well as this, both of us are part of Everton FC match day corporate hospitality team . Jamie is the MC for 4 of Everton's 8 corporate lounges, entertaining the fans, and doing interviews with former players and members of the current squad and management. John is our lounge magician, he entertains in all of our lounges, including corporate boxes and the players' lounge.
2. Why did you choose MLS as a league to follow?
MLS is promoted very well in the UK, a lot of that has to with a lot of transfers both ways over the years. Also as an Evertonian, MLS has always been discussed due to huge stars like Landon Donovan and Tim Cahill being massively successful Blues. Also, one of our biggest legends from Everton, Adrian Heath is the coach at Orlando. MLS lends itself well to both of our working lives too; we mainly work evenings so as we are getting home the games are live on TV.
3. Why Toronto FC?
(Jamie)I have a friend, Mathew from Toronto, and when he visited our home he requested the game to be on TV. I couldn't say no! When the game was on what first struck me was how full the stadium was. The standard of football that Toronto played was the biggest surprise, it was excellent, fast moving, and they won too. The first player that stood out was Michael Bradley, the midfield general, he completely bossed the game, and the effort and running that he gave was fantastic.
That's the team, but also I'd like to mention the people of Toronto. On the comedy circuit and also on my travels I've my lots of Torontonians, and I've never met one I don't like!
It's an easy choice in the UK to follow LA Galaxy, all the stores stock their shirts, and some high profile premier league stars have moved there, so they feature more than most on UK tv. We wanted to follow a team for the football and fans, not the glamour! The fact that Toronto have only qualified for the playoffs once, yet continue to have sellout, supportive crowds, tells us this is a real team, with real fans. At Everton we are known as the People's Club, and this is a tag that could be easily given to TFC
4. What do you hope to gain out of following and documenting your journey with Toronto FC?
A fellow comedian told me he didn't watch the MLS as he found it boring, I don't think that statement is true. We wanted to show that if you embrace a club and league any game can be exciting. Any event can be boring if you don't care, yet any sporting event at any level can be exciting if you do care! That's our aim, we want to care, we want to feel happy when TFC win, and we want to feel frustrated when they lose!
5. Are there any parallels you can draw yet between Everton and Toronto FC?
The fans. Obviously Everton have been playing football since 1878 so in terms of fan base and success they are hugely different. However there's a passion that we see in both clubs, a desire from the fans. Also, both sets of fans are respectful to the game
6. What have you heard about Canada or Toronto in the past? Do many people know of it from your neck of the woods?
Only the tourist bits to be honest. There's a a large amount of Brits who have gone out to Canada to live over the years, and in my experience we have lots of Canadian comedians working over here on the UK circuit.
7. What is the perception of MLS in the UK? Do many people watch?
The old perception was that it was where premier league players went to retire, this is mainly due to the likes of David Bekham, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard etc. It isn't high profile on TV, that's because of the time difference, it's hard to keep up with weekend games when they kick off at midnight.
Our podcast will hopefully show how much homegrown talent there actually is playing in the league .
8. Do you plan to attend any matches?
We'd love too. What a podcast episode that would be, live from BMO field !
9. What is your opinion on Toronto FC fans?
After the first episode, the TFC fans showed us how great they are. The response was fantastic. Also, the amount of help that has been offered has blown us away. We always knew Torontonians were decent people, and this has just cemented this fact to us.
When you go on the forum boards and listen to other podcasts, it is clear that TFC fans are passionate and crave success on the pitch.
10. Finally, what is the most bizarre or funniest thing you've seen about Toronto FC, Canada, and/or North American soccer in general?
Bitchy the hawk! We didn't actually realize she had a job, which was to keep other birds away from the field. That makes her like some sort of nightclub security officer! Telling the other birds they're not welcome!
When we first found out about the mascot we envisioned a big fluffy outfit, not a bird with a 1.2 metre wing span
There you have it! Some fun and interesting comments by John and Jamie on why they have chosen to embark on this adventure. Make sure to check out the Finding Toronto podcast on iTunes or http://findingtoronto.podbean.com/
Let us know what you think in the comments below.