One of our own received a stadium ban till the end of 2016 for releasing red smoke following the match against Miami FC. He accepts that there are consequences to his actions. We are not debating TD Place’s Code of Conduct. For Stony Monday Riot the incident has led to a frank discussion within our group.
We have come to the realization that our motivation for everything we do, our passion for the Fury, has been damaged over the course of this year.
Today in the match against FC Edmonton we will not be providing our regular efforts to animate Lansdowne.
Many of us push ourselves to support Ottawa Fury FC by painting tifos and planning watch parties. We produce content and generate discussions during the week. We drum, sing, and chant for the whole match. We stand through torrential downpours and we give our voices to this team. We have noticed the regression in supporter culture this year. We see lower numbers in Section W and know less people in Ottawa are willing to give everything to support this club.
Our experience in Section W is not unique. Attendances are up but the atmosphere and passion throughout the stadium is down.
In the drive to the NASL Finals last year Fury President John Pugh praised a growing soccer culture as part of the club’s success: “[Our incredible fans] are the best in the NASL. The atmosphere at TD Place on Sunday is going to be incredible for the biggest match in our history. So many times this season our fans have helped power us to victory.” We have had lengthy conversations with OSEG about our mutual desire for a strong and vibrant soccer supporter culture. Yet, this year our passion has been subjected to cameras, more rules, more security, paid for drum-lines, canned music over the PA, and stadium employees telling us to keep quiet. A year ending ban for one of ours is just the catalyst: together with the club the conditions for a vibrant soccer culture are not being met and we are not creating the atmosphere we want.
We are looking at ourselves in the mirror, we want to be a strong part of a more passionate crowd in Ottawa and we can do better. Today however we will not be making the extra effort. We apologize to our players and hope they understand. Our passion is our motivation and we cannot take it for granted.
We continue to believe that supporter culture can and should thrive in Ottawa. This city needs a place where we can come together to be angry, happy, and passionate in public. This city needs a place where it escapes its stereotypical conservative culture. The Ottawa Fury FC should be that place in our city where passionate expression is embraced and allowed to flourish.