There is a symbiotic relationship within the supporter and ultra community. Often when something affects one movement it has impact on the others. Here #VanCity we know this well. During the #MLS era there have been tensions, misunderstandings, and poor communication; both amongst ourselves as supporters and of course with our Front Office (FO). However, the same can be said for when incidents take place in other cities across our country and in the US. In case you missed it, such an event has recently taken place.
In the District of Columbia, supporters and ultras of DC United planned a "unity" march ahead of their home match vs. FC Dallas on Saturday, March 26th. There is a history to the dynamics between the 4 movements in DC that we won't get into here. During their procession to the stadium some of the District Ultras used smoke devices. These are the same, or very similar to, the devices deployed on Robson street for every home match for Club and Country, the same ones used on Occidental Avenue in #MiddleCascadia, and in the north end in #LowerCascadia. An issue was raised over where they were used - a tunnel in a stadium parking lot. As a result the DCU FO has banned one of the Ultras for a year and MLS has done the same. Their claim is that these devices are illegal for where they were used…yet no citation has been given and there have been no arrests or fines from the police. You can read and listen to more perspective on this here:
The individual who has been banned has sacrificially not made this about himself and instead has pointed out that there is a bigger issue here. There is a fundamental lack of understanding as to what a Football Club is. People in FOs across MLS feel that they are the "Club". They fail to recognize that there is no Club without the people, without supporters and ultras. FOs are simply entrusted to be stewards of their Club. They have been given a great responsibility that goes beyond the financial well being of the Club. As one of the other District Ultras put it in a post on their Facebook page, it is about relationship. You can read his words here:
Why should you care? Because this is how MLS operates. They are, at their heart, a marketing company. Thus, they care most about perception. They want to not only dictate, but also control the message. They fail to understand that supporters and ultras will not allow their expressions of support for their Clubs to be dictated or controlled. It is not how this works. This is also about standing up to the #Hypocrisy of a League that uses the images of things they ban people for in their marketing. You should care because plenty of people have been fighting to stave off such control, here in our city and across the League. Therefore, we as a movement stand in #Solidarity with District Ultras in their struggle with their FO and MLS. Having reached out to them to hear their perspective on things this week, we know that they will respond appropriately and will be supported by others. We intend to be amongst those supporting them in this.
One of the Collective
P.S. Photo Credit: Neil Brandvold.