Over the last few weeks, Waking the Red has been profiling the different supporters' groups that make up Toronto FC's unique atmosphere in the city. We've spoken to three other groups and found out what they bring to BMO, come game day.
Today, we profile Kings in the North as our last (but not least) supporters group Q&A. They call section 116 home at BMO Field and create an incredible atmosphere.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and the group?
Kings in the north was founded in 2012 by Dylan Doyl and Mike Newell with the purpose of keeping section 127 a vibrant supporters section. We are an eclectic group of supporters that have become like family over the past 4 years. We have now moved to the South End in section 116 and continue to grow and support TFC each game home or away.
2. What brought you onto Toronto FC and soccer, in general?
I think this answer is probably different for most of our members but for our leadership, there is just a huge love of the sport. Football in any league is watched, talked about, and sometimes argued over every time we get together and we are just very happy to have a team in Toronto that we can support 100% on a regular basis.
3. Are there any values and supporter vision attached to the group?
We like to keep our values simple: Racism, Homophobia, Sexism etc are not tolerated in our group in any form. In terms of a vision, our group like many others is built on a passion for our local team. What form this support comes in exactly is flexible but the foundation remains the same.
4. Tell us about some initiatives the group is involved in?
Over the years we have had canned food drives at Christmas time and we have donated tickets to kids in the past.
5. Turning to the match-day experience, tell us some things that your group does to make game day a livelier affair?
Well, match day for us starts 2-3 hours before kickoff and goes well after the final whistle. The camaraderie built during this time helps the group feel like a family. We often meet up pre-game, at a local pub and spend time watching other football matches and chatting over a pint and food. Post-game, we spend time celebrating our victories or commiserating over our losses. While at BMO, we contribute to the atmosphere with our drumming, singing, and banners/flags which contribute to a truly unique experience in the Toronto sports landscape.
6. How do you explain your passion to people who don't understand the amount of time and resources you dedicate to following Toronto FC?
It's nearly impossible to explain to people the time, effort and energy that we dedicate to the team. It's work, at times hard work in terms of creating banner and displays, or working on songs. The best way to explain it is to show them. We bring them to a game or event and have them get a sense of the passion we each have for this team and this city.
7. Over the last decade of Toronto FC, what is the one key thing you have learned when it comes to support and atmosphere in general?
We try our best to remember that we are supporting the players on the field and just as they come and play from whistle to whistle so should we in terms of our support. The atmosphere is determined not only by the players on the field but the supporters in the stands. The louder we are the more exciting the atmosphere!
8. What do you think about the current state of the atmosphere at BMO Field? Do you think it can be better?
The atmosphere at BMO is good, it's the best atmosphere you will get in Toronto without a doubt. Last year felt like an upswing in the general atmosphere, winning definitely helps that. Can good be improved upon? It certainly can be, and we will continue to make it the best it can possibly be.
9. How do you differentiate which supporters group a person should join? Are they all similar or do they hold different beliefs for different people?
Each group has an attitude and a mentality that is unique to them. Part of choosing a supporters group is finding one that fits you. Attending games and sitting in different areas can give you a small glimpse into how each group supports and make your decision easier. For Kings we are a more laid back group, we tend to attract people who are new to supporter culture, or have always wanted to join in, and now have the opportunity. We are also a pretty tight-knit group, which is an advantage of being one of the smaller supporter groups. Once you're in the stands with us, come and chill with us at an away viewing or Kings event, you become part of the family.
10. Lastly, how can people join your group?
To join our group, supporters can email us at email@example.com or they can come to one of our events that we host throughout the year. We often meet at the Wheat Sheaf downtown Toronto and are always open to new people coming by to watch a game or cheer on our Reds. People can also check out our website kingsinthenorth.ca for details.
A big thank you to Kings in the North. Those were some very informative answers and really paint a picture for what the group is about.
If you would like more information on Kings in the North, visit any of the below:
We hope you enjoyed this series on supporters groups. You can see them all in action on May 7th at BMO! If you would like more information on any particular group, each has contact information available on their own Q&A.