It's been a long time in the making, but it didn't set in until the soccer lines were washed off the pitch at BMO Field: the Toronto Argonauts are coming. The CFL team is set to play their first ever match at the stadium, a preseason exhibition game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, this Saturday.
The game will be the first test for BMO Field's grounds crew as Toronto FC play seven days later at home against the LA Galaxy. TFC supporters will be watching with baited breath to see if the field is in good shape for that match and whether CFL lines are visible on the field.
One thing is for certain, with Football just days away from arriving at BMO Field, the war of words between two already at odds fanbases has heated up. Toronto FC supporters remain cautious about their new stadium mate's potential side effects. Argonauts fans, meanwhile, think that Toronto FC supporters are too entitled.
Former Toronto mayor David Miller weighed in with his thoughts on Twitter in a three-tweet rant. Miller mentioned that BMO Field is Canada's only major soccer specific stadium (forgetting about Saputo Stadium in Montreal, perhaps) and is technically still the national soccer stadium. He then mentioned the aforementioned risks in having football and soccer co-exist. He finished the rant by suggesting the Argos should have instead found their own "intimate" stadium.
/3. CFL needs Argos. SkyDome built for Argos (650 million public $); surely can find $ for intimate outdoor CFL field, w/o risking soccer— David Miller T.O. (@iamdavidmiller) June 6, 2016
Miller has long been a supporter of Toronto FC. He was in office when BMO Field was built, primarily for soccer as the host of Toronto FC and the 2007 U-20 World Cup. The agreement on the stadium did, however, include the fact that it would be "capable of conversion to a football format".
If Miller was the champion for Toronto FC supporters this week, it was Toronto Sun writer Frank Zicarelli for the Argonauts faithful. Zicarelli wrote a controversial article on Tuesday night about the possibility of inclimate weather during Saturday's preseason Argos game.
The article essentially welcomed the possibility of the combination of rain and football ruining the field to teach a lesson to Toronto FC supporters. It later went on to call soccer culture "soft" and, as per usual, cite diving as the principle reason. It also called Toronto FC supporters "entitled, selfish and insecure souls". He may have been right on that last one, but only because TFC faithful have had to live through a decade of headache and heartbreak.
In reality most fans on both sides of the equation are somewhere in the middle. As long as the two teams can co-exist without any noticible damage to the field the vast majority of Toronto FC supporters will be happy. They are the primary tenant after all, get preferential scheduling treatment and a new-look stadium still primarly designed for soccer.
But with the first hint that the Argonauts residency will come a massive outcry from Toronto FC fans. For now time will tell, but the hour of reconing draws closer by the day.