• Michael McColl

      Editor

      Michael McColl started "Away From The Numbers" as a printed fanzine in 1989 for his Scottish club East Fife. It became a website in 2003 and added a general football blog in 2009. The focus has always been to mix serious articles with off-beat humour pieces. The Canadian arm of AFTN began in 2009 and is primarily focused on Vancouver Whitecaps.


      Currently a weekly columnist for Metro News Vancouver, Michael has also written for many UK publications including When Saturday Comes, Four Four Two and The Independent.


    • Steve Pandher

      Assistant Editor

      Steve has been a soccer fan since the early days of the 86ers at Swangard Stadium. He started The Whitecaps Beat blog on the instistence of his wife, as she was tired of listening to his ramblings about the club. When he plays, his two positions are goalkeeper and striker, mostly because of the lack of running involved. In addition to the Whitecaps, Steve also updates the play of Canadian players abroad with the @TrueNorthSoccer twitter account.

    • Jay Duke

      Writer

      Growing up as a casual soccer fan, Jay became a fervent supporter after a move to Vancouver and a rise in profile of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Since then, his summer road trips revolve around Cascadia Derbies, and friends weddings are only to be attended if they do not conflict with a Whitecaps match.

      Jay attempts to share his thoughts from the emotional view of a supporter rather than by advanced analytics or number crunching.

    • Aaron Campbell

      Writer

      Aaron Campbell is our new face to the soccer blog scene. He started following the Whitecaps seriously when they joined the MLS and has been hooked ever since. Not afraid to speak his mind and prove he is right in his opinions backing them up with the stats of the game.

      Yeah right. The only reason he goes to games is to get away from his small army of kids that he has populated the Fraser Valley with. One day the kids and wife will catch on!!!

      Supporter of Whitecaps FC and FC Barcelona.
      Follow on twitter @AaCamp81

    • Whitecaps Marvel At BC Place Atmosphere

      The atmosphere inside BC Place yesterday was electric for Vancouver Whitecaps opening day win against Montreal.

      The passion of Canadian football fans has been very evident these last few days, from the 47,658 at Toronto's Skydome on Wednesday to the football-configured capacity 21,000 in Vancouver on Saturday.

      It's been a noisy week, with a lot of hoarse voices by the end of it.

      We reported a few days ago how impressed some of the new Whitecaps players were when they saw BC Place for the first time at training on Thursday, and the marvel continued for many after experiencing their first game at the stadium.

      For new boss Martin Rennie, both his team and the fans were praised in his post-match presser. So how did he find the occasion of his first MLS match in charge? :

      "Fantastic. I've been waiting a long time to have a game in front of the fans and to finally get it, it was beyond expectations. I hope we gave them a good show and I hope that they'll be back the next couple of weeks for the game against DC United.

      I hope we can put on another show and get similar support, which was fantastic and is a big part of this club.

      As the fan support grows, and the team grows confidence wise, this can be a much stronger club and that's exciting for all of us."


      There were six debutants for the Caps against Montreal, so AFTN caught up with some Whitecaps, both old and new, in the dressing room after the game to see how they found the whole atmosphere of 'First Kick 2012'.

      Sebastien Le Toux made a dream start, opening his Whitecaps account with a goal after just four minutes. The Frenchman is used to playing in front of noisy crowds. What did he think of BC Place in comparison? :

      "The atmosphere was great. I was a bit surprised by the big megatron on top because I was sometimes trying to look for the minute of the game and I was always in the middle, so I can't even see, so I was trying to run and look at it.

      The fans were fantastic. The fans behind the goal were cheering all day.

      I'm just lucky to play in this stadium all the time. The fans were great. They were great in Seattle, they were great in Philly and I can see in Vancouver it's the same. For a player it's just wonderful. It keeps me going and I don't get tired, so I thank them for coming today."


      'Man of the Match', Jun Marques Davidson, was another debutant who made an impression and he echoed Le Toux's sentiments:

      "It's great. Hopefully as we win more, we can put more people in the top area and make the full atmosphere. It's an amazing atmosphere to play in."

      Substitute Matt Watson is used to playing in lower league stadia and he loved every minute of his Whitecaps debut out there, after coming on in the 81st minute:

      "It was amazing. Obviously I've never experienced anything like that.

      The fans seemed to be behind the team for the whole time and when I came on I was kind of blown away by the atmosphere and everything.

      When I came on the pitch, my adrenaline was going and stuff. To hear them chanting and that, it was amazing. It was kind of overwhelming, but obviously once you get on, the adrenaline just takes over and you just gotta play.

      The fans are amazing and it's an amazing club. Glad we could get the win for them and hopefully it continues."


      Sometimes the noise generated at BC Place doesn't fully come across on the TV, due to the muting of mics during parts of the game. For those of us in the stadium it is loud as hell. The "booms" at Joe Cannon free kicks were echoing like crazy Saturday, but on the other hand, sometimes it is hard for chants in one part of the stadium to carry even just a few sections over.

      We'll leave the final words to captain Jay DeMerit. He experienced the Vancouver atmospheres at Empire Field and BC Place stadiums last season, but playing in front of a fired up crowd never gets old for the veteran:

      "It was good. It was very good. BC Place is a stadium that is only going to keep getting better.

      The times when we can get the fans on the same page, you can hear the noise.

      Now it's just our job, all of us, from the players down to the fans to start learning some new chants, to start getting together and make sure we're all yelling at the same time, then I think it'll be even better."

      Comments 14 Comments
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Strange, Impact fans who were there said that the atmosphere was, at best, similar to what we had in the Claude-Robillard stadium days.

        Well if that's good for Vancouver, that's all that matters....I guess
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        Strange, Impact fans who were there said that the atmosphere was, at best, similar to what we had in the Claude-Robillard stadium days.

        Well if that's good for Vancouver, that's all that matters....I guess
        the what stadium? what impact fans?
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        sounded so quiet on tv
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        There is much to like about Vancouver's support of the game -- crazed support is not really part of it though.

        If you were to rank stadiums on atmosphere Vancouver would be solidly mid-table.

        Also, what in fuck do you think the players are going to say when asked? “I think our fans are shit. I’d rather be in Portland”?
      1. Michael McColl's Avatar
        Michael McColl -
        As I said in the article, the noise doesn't come across on the TV as the mics are mostly muted, especially in the south end, due to worries about profanity and the noise doesn't carry well from sections to sections. Well noise carries, but it's not always easy to make out what's being chanted from say the north end to the south end. There are some great echoes coming off roof though, especially at goal kicks.

        Last year many opposition players commented on how loud it was inside the stadium.

        Ultimately, we don't really care what opposition fans think. We're generally happy with the noise and the atmosphere inside the stadium and it's only continuing to grow. I'd personally love more involvement from those in the east and west stands, and some more standing throughout the stadium. Not likely to happen, but those that do get involved are very loud.
      1. Diego's Avatar
        Diego -
        I wonder if they'd ever open up the upper deck. I mean you'd think for the season opener, which obviously sold out, that might be a good opportunity to do it, no?
      1. Michael McColl's Avatar
        Michael McColl -
        Unlikely unless we either go on a huge run or have a very big game (ala TFC last week).Reason is that the Vancouver public are a last minute lot. We didn't sell out Saturday until game day and last season Vancouver led the league in walk up sales on gameday (obviously some teams had no scope for walk up sales).

        Opening the top is a risk due to the extra costs involved for stadium staff.

        The blue drapings at the tops of each section will gradually be taken away. That way, capacity can increase to 27,000 in the lower bowl.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        It will take years before the Whitecaps crowd is actually "good", but you can't blame the players for compliementing them, because they're hardly going to do otherwise. Compared to Seattle and Portland, Vancouver is currently a nursery party. The Southsiders are growing that sort of coordinated singing, tifo, etc, but there is only so much they can do, and it's a struggle against a decades of fans being programmed by the Canucks and Lions to clap when they're told to, lead by PA announcers and cartoon mascots holding up sign cards. You can't undo that in a few short years. In our society, men don't sing out loud comfortably, so people are going to be self-conscious about doing so at Whitecaps games.

        Even the idea of standing during the game, and waving flags, is a novelty that some people complain about. It will take some time, but it's definitely moving in the right direction.

        Clubs themselves need to help by not blasting ads at people during stoppages in play, and letting there be some "silence" in the stadium for the fans to fill on their own. It's like how kids sometimes need to be "bored" in order to use their imaginations to entertain themselves.
      1. Michael McColl's Avatar
        Michael McColl -
        Well said. For those not at the game on Saturday, the Caps actually played an ad for EA during a quick stoppage in the second half, then kept the ad running whilst play went on for a good 10-15 seconds. Hopefully a mistake and we haven't become like some of the D2 and D3 American clubs.
      1. nicotine's Avatar
        nicotine -
        Well, I watched it on TV (with my sister who's never watched a soccer match) and I thought the crowd and the atmosphere was quite impressive. I love the Boom! thing that the South Siders do every time Joe Cannon does a goal kick. My sister was really impressed with the crowd size and the enthusiasm of the crowd (in comparison to hockey) and I think she liked them more than the game itself. Overall, thought the atmosphere for the Women's CONCACAF qualifying was slightly louder but the South Siders and the rest of the SGs and fans did the Whitecaps proud.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Quote Originally Posted by nicotine View Post
        Well, I watched it on TV (with my sister who's never watched a soccer match) and I thought the crowd and the atmosphere was quite impressive. I love the Boom! thing that the South Siders do every time Joe Cannon does a goal kick. My sister was really impressed with the crowd size and the enthusiasm of the crowd (in comparison to hockey) and I think she liked them more than the game itself. Overall, thought the atmosphere for the Women's CONCACAF qualifying was slightly louder but the South Siders and the rest of the SGs and fans did the Whitecaps proud.
        Agreed, the women's qualifying last 2 matches were louder.

        For Saturday's match, it sounded like the mics were muted everywhere other than in the Southisders section. So, the general noise that you normally get didn't seem to come through + the Southsiders seem to take long pauses between chants and didn't hear any songs.
      1. RRR's Avatar
        RRR -
        Game atmosphere was excellent -- even a couple pigeons dropped in to watch!

        I think the real reason the upper deck doesn't open is because 1/2 the crowd that would sit there would need to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation after the pre-match fireworks. I'd just as soon see the club save the money from these hokey Americanisms and donate the savings to charity or get tix out to disadvantaged kids.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Lets be honest. BC Place is a nice venue. It lacks the soccer specific stadium intimacy that the proposed 'BC Rail'-horseshoe shaped-ocean and mtn view-stadium would have. The roof is an expensive novelty item. A well designed "Reebok Stadium"-like stadium would be great, open air, covered seats, natural grass.......more beer options.....

        Who am I to argue with a $600M reno......
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        I think that the fans need more songs and constant chanting. Also I take offense being one of those american second divison fans. We go against that steriotype as much as we can but chanting and yelling is not something people generaly do so the clubs resort to those kinds of gimmicks.
      Comments Leave Comment

      Click here to log in

      What does water turn into when you freeze it?