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The Impact Against Free Speech


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The Impact Against Free Speech.

Text written by the UM02: 05-06-2008

We could talk about the match, about this wall we hit once more, about this ball that wouldn’t go in the net, but instead of talking about that, we’ll talk about the game that went on in the stands(which was, by all means, much more memorable than what happened on the field).

So we’ll talk about what went on in the stands. But this time, we won’t talk about our loud singing, our tifo, a festive atmosphere or something else. No. We aren’t talking about that because that didn’t happen this time. Instead, we’ll talk about the ridiculous things happening at Stade Saputo(Although they were pretty ridiculous in their own right).

We were now at the third match where we weren’t allowed to hang banners, due to some mysterious and unknown rule. We were in the dark about this, so we decided that until we heard an explanation, we would follow what we were told: “You aren’t allowed to hang anything, but it’s ok if you hold it up yourself.”

Just before the players came on the field, while our owner Joey Saputo was handing out scholarships, we hung a banner up saying: “Thank you for the Stadium. Now we want a coach.” We had that up for a good 5 minutes, until one of the massive gorillas that work under the guise of security guards came up and asked us to take it down, with force and threats of expulsion from the stadium(Business as usual). After we asked what exactly the problem was, he said that we were breaking the rules. The rules, always the rules, the rules that they either don’t tell us in their entirety or not at all. The rules that change every week, like the clouds overhead or the temperature of the overpriced panini sausage they pass off as food. Seasoned with threats, apparently.

Anyways. What is this damned rule anyways? After looking back at all that’s happened throughout the season, our error surely was placing a handful of banners on the revered rail. The legend goes that beneath its glorious blue paint it is solid gold. We’ll look into that. Well, if we can’t hang banners on it(According to the rule), we hold them up ourselves, in the front row. That would work, surely. We waited 'til the second half to try it out.

So we were in the 70th minute, and in the process of unfurling a banner that read: “Nique De Santis”(Our coach’s name is Nick, and Nique in French means “F***”). Although the banner rung true, we did not even get to completely unfurl it before around a dozen of the gorillas came into our section. The test was over, it did not matter what the content of the banner was, we’re simply not allowed to have banners. We could have a banner saying “Allez L’Impact” and we would have the same result. Repression, it’s that simple, without thinking, without asking questions.

Also, while they came into the section, tearing the banner without warning, the situation escalated. We wanted an explanation, they didn’t give us one, a scuffle followed, despite the efforts to calm things down. The path of brute force was chosen yet again. They took out their telescoping batons, put on their leather gloves, there was pushing and shoving, stomping and destruction of some of our property. There were some expulsions as well. What would pseudo police do without a pseudo arrest? Abuse of power, plain and simple.

The mysterious rule of not being able to hang anything became clear. It isn’t the banners, it’s us. It’s becoming more and more clear that the Impact heads don’t know where to go from here with the pressure of a debacle of a start to the season, with a terrible coach who will be around ad vitam aeternam, in a stadium that has yet to see the home team score a goal… If you are a supporter of the Impact, you only have the right to sit in line neatly in the “New Quebec soccer temple” and applaud when Tac-Tik(our godforsaken mascot) tells you to. Whatever you do, don’t pay attention to the field or what’s around it, it’s expected that you shut your mouth, except to yell out “Lets go, Impact!” once in a while. Just don’t be too loud, ok?

No, obviously it doesn’t work like that. They can threaten, expulse, or hit us as much as they want but we will always have an opinion and we will always express it on our “F***ing website” or in our banners.

Spread the word.

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From my own experiance with Legia Warszawa I can tell you be carefull guys how you play your cards. You need to do some PR otherwise you will be branded as Hools nothing more. Legia had a similar coach problem, we had banners, chants, shouting matches with security all it did was to turn the Media attention Against us. Do it differently:

1- Go to city hall and ask them what perimeter does the Stadium have as private which part of the sidewalk is "public" get it on paper

2- not sure how many entry points the Stadium have but setup your people there but still in the public side. Best to have 3people per entry with 1 of them being a woman. 2 handing out leaflets, while one answering any questions people might have or the gorillaz. Also the third person is usefull in filming in case something goes awry.

3- Have T-Shirts "Sauvez L'Impact" or some slogan that way people on the way to the stadium will approach you and you can state your case by giving them the leaflet. MAKE SURE You tell them it is a Action by FANS Not the Owner. Make sure the leaflet has an @mail to whom people can adress themselves. Also a note saying "PLS Discart into garbage". Once All leaflets are given out pickup any that people left on the ground.

4- Do it Before and After the games

5- Make sure you choose people that aren't hotheaded, avoid mentioning ULTRAS as it sounds Nationalistic and dangerous. Do so for 2-3-4-5 whatever games. If possible contact a newspapaer to have a reporter on the ground with you to interview people and keep security at bay.

It worked for us after 3games and the media turned their attention to the Club(coach) which had to do some PR themselves for the behaviour of their security company. hope it helps

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Although a smaller team than both Montreal and Legia, we had very similar problems for years at East Fife.

We had a running battle in the press where the club branded those fans who dared to criticise as "boo boys" "trying to destroy the club" etc etc. We hit back well with our own press releases but the ultimate result was a split in the support with some of us feeling ostracized whilst other acted more like ostriches and buried their head in the sand whilst the team went into terminal decline.

We wouldn't back down, put enough pressure on the manager that even the players backed us and he got sacked. Then we turned our attention to the Board and a very vicious period ensued where we ended up boycotting matches for over a year and eventually got rid of the Chairman and most of the board. We have since gone from strength to strength, won our first Championship in 60 years, set up a successful part club owning trust and the future looks rosy.

What we learned from all this and the only advice I can give you is that it might be short term pain for long term gain for you. Don't be too inflammatory, we made that mistake early on. The one thing you can't afford is a split in your support. You don't want your fellow "family oriented" fans turning on you. Take them with you through reasoned arguments and the excellent ideas of orletafc above.

You may have to hit them where it hurts most - financially. You may need to boycott. The last thing the Club needs when they are trying to get into the MLS is bad publicity, so I would hope they would sit down and chat with you guys and sort things out very quickly.

You need to try and get a face to face meeting between the club, the fans and the security asap or things are going to get out of hand pretty quick by the sounds of it.

Good luck! Anyone trying to create atmospheres at these stale games are neeing everyone's backing.

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I wasn't able to go Wednesday's game but this certainly doesn't surprise me. Saputo does not want any Ultras to be at the games and doesn't want any criticism. I have always been surprised by the amount of praise Saputo gets on this board. Yes he has kept the team alive and I give him credit for that but he also runs it like a dictatorship and in a completely minor league fashion. He is an owner in the fashion of the Hartrells of Lynx fame, yes he is better than they were but he is still far closer to the Hartrells than to Kerfoot or MLSE who as much as we Impact fans dislike TFC we have to admit they have done an excellent job in running the team (with the exception of hiring Mo, although I believe this was a directive from MLS itself. Actually even Mo is a better coach than DeSantis, thanks Saputo for hiring your buddies.). As I have often said, Habs fans would never accept Gillett running the Habs the way Saputo runs the Impact and I don't think we should accept this either just because we are a smaller club with a lower profile than the Habs. MLSE did such a great job in making contact with its fans and creating a real football atmosphere yet this positive relationship with the supporters groups has also allowed them to have control over limiting possible holigan behaviour. There has been little worse at TFC games than streamers or seat cushions thrown on the field and I think that has a lot to do with the relationship between the club and its supporters groups.

Saputo and his fascist security team have been provoking us all season. First before the season there was a list of things we were allowed and not allowed to do many of them pretty unreasonable, for example, a ban on any signs in English. Then in our first home game the security goons forceably eject a very young fan for throwing a streamer (thank-god it didn't kill anyone). Security's actions at the TFC game are well documented. Then there was the ban on any signs even though we had not hung anything remotely offensive. I myself got kicked out at half-time of the Portland game. What dirty deed did I commit? Well because of work I can't go to a large number of the games so I don't have season tickets and in fact I only knew I could make this match shortly before. I arrived at the stadium only to find out it was sold out though even from outside I could see that there were thousands of empty seats. So I bought a scalper's ticket like I had done many times at CCR and managed to get in, in retrospect probably because there were many people in line. Before the game I had tried to buy tickets for the Canada match but despite them having 5 open ticket booths since the game was sold out they said I would have to come back at halftime which meant leaving the stadium. When you leave the stadium they scan your ticket out and when I re-entered they noticed I had one of the thousands of tickets they sell to youth soccer clubs who don't come to the match and sell the tickets to scalpers. Here comes security, with whom no amount of arguing or offering to pay to upgrade the ticket would convince them to allow me back in. If the Impact doesn't want scalpers why do they sell these tickets to youth groups that don't attend the game. There were lots of pissed off fans at the gate who couldn't buy tickets yet could see the stadium wasn't full. As any good soccer fan would do I walked around the stadium to see if I could find an entry point and it is absolutely ringed by security (incidentally I also discovered the Saputo fun zone on this walk, a place where kids can play games during the whole match where they can not see even the scoreboard let alone the field.) I don't remember the Ultras having much problem at CCR with the security probably because the city controls the stadium not Saputo. Now we have what resembles a fascist force as our security.

I really hope Gillett buys into the team or even better would be if he bought it outright. This is someone who knows how to run a sports team and has respect for its fans. I often try and look behind the scenes at why Saputo does what he does and I have come to the conclusion that almost everything has a background motive that benefits the Saputos somehow without costing them very much money, for example the non-profit status. I don't see the type of owner like Kerfoot who just genuinely wants the team to succeed and is willing to spend to make it happen. I don't even see the type of owner like MLSE who want the team to make money and are willing to do what makes sense to achieve this. Saputo has had no vision in running this team. We could have been in MLS before Toronto if he hadn't been playing things so conservative and been so concerned with the financial benefits to Saputo corporation of having the team.

As Ultras we have to be very smart and careful. Saputo wants to get rid of us and we can not win this game if we try and fight him physically. We have to play by his rules in a sense but bend them every chance we get. We may not be able to post signs but we can still sing whatever we want. If we are smart we will win this in the end and he won't be able to do anything, if we are not he will get us all banned from the stadium.

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quote:Originally posted by GoF

...

We wouldn't back down, put enough pressure on the manager that even the players backed us and he got sacked. Then we turned our attention to the Board and a very vicious period ensued where we ended up boycotting matches for over a year and eventually got rid of the Chairman and most of the board.

....

This sounds familiar. Somehow I remember waaaay back in the day a nasty fight involving some English 2nd division side where a big block of supporters while following the team for away fixtures spent every other Saturday outside their ****-hole stadium listening to the match on their radios, singing, drinking and generally making very bad press while inside the grandstands looked mostly empty.

Seemed it went on for ages. Can't remember how it turned out.

Damn. This is going to bug me all day.

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Here's a silly idea for a media stunt:

Vancouver is sending a very small contingent of fans to Montreal for the Voyageurs Cup match (about a half dozen or so). Why don't you guys change allegiances for a match, and cheer the Caps? I'm talking flags, tifo, the whole bit.

Get organized and alert the press to the fact that you guys are so fed up with Saputo's iron fist, you have no choice but to support another team. Outline your beefs clearly and concisely.

Given the recent media hype concerning Montreal's MLS prospects, you might be able to cause a bit of a stir if you can sell reporters on a headline like this:

"Impact's most loyal fans say Saputo is not worthy of MLS."

Explain to the press how Saputo's efforts to silence fan support is absolutely contrary to what's happening in the MLS.

Most of all, get your Anglophone members to complain to the media about the English language sign ban. Last I checked this was an officially bilingual country with the Queen of England as its head of state. With all due respect to Montreal's Francophone culture, suppressing English anywhere in Canada is total *merde*.

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Hi.

The banner thing: Don't you think it is related to the offending banner in France (at a game of PSG lately)? They just want to break it in Montreal before having to deals with "future" issues about it (like in France...).

Just to be more "proactive"...

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quote:Originally posted by Johnnie Monster

Here's a silly idea for a media stunt:

Vancouver is sending a very small contingent of fans to Montreal for the Voyageurs Cup match (about a half dozen or so). Why don't you guys change allegiances for a match, and cheer the Caps? I'm talking flags, tifo, the whole bit.

That's more than silly.

The club might not love us, but we love the team, forever and no matter what.

One of our slogans is becoming more apt by the day: "Envers et contre tout".

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One thing I know from dealing with the media worldwide, and especially the written press, over the years is that they won't shun a good story. Some may be afraid to run it, but you'll always find one paper that will take up your cause if they think it's something they can run and get publicity themselves over - it may even have to be a national one.

Johnnie Monster's headline idea is a great one. Would certainly raise a few eyebrows in amongst the organisation and beyond. The Impact can't afford any bad publicity at this critical time.

Boycotting is one of the hardest things a supporter has to decide to do, but sometimes you have no other options.

Here's a link to some of the stuff we got up to and how things developed that may give you a few ideas: http://www.aftn.co.uk/protestseason.html

A protest march always gets media attention!

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Mr Saputo should not bite the hand that feeds. In the first game ever at the new stadium, when the majority of fans had gone home, the Ultras were there maintaining some atmosphere.

Keep in mind, in Italy, the name ULTRAS has a HUGELY NEGATIVE implication...maybe that has something to do with it.

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quote:Originally posted by Johnnie Monster

Here's a silly idea for a media stunt:

Vancouver is sending a very small contingent of fans to Montreal for the Voyageurs Cup match (about a half dozen or so). Why don't you guys change allegiances for a match, and cheer the Caps? I'm talking flags, tifo, the whole bit.

Get organized and alert the press to the fact that you guys are so fed up with Saputo's iron fist, you have no choice but to support another team. Outline your beefs clearly and concisely.

Given the recent media hype concerning Montreal's MLS prospects, you might be able to cause a bit of a stir if you can sell reporters on a headline like this:

"Impact's most loyal fans say Saputo is not worthy of MLS."

Explain to the press how Saputo's efforts to silence fan support is absolutely contrary to what's happening in the MLS.

Most of all, get your Anglophone members to complain to the media about the English language sign ban. Last I checked this was an officially bilingual country with the Queen of England as its head of state. With all due respect to Montreal's Francophone culture, suppressing English anywhere in Canada is total *merde*.

That is a wonderful and well thought out course of action which will speak to the sensitivities of Montreal's francophone population.

** edited by Mod. **

P.S. It's capital Q, small a by the way.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

^ There is an example of the kind of mindless, gratuitous gutter vulgarity to which I was referring. No wonder there are two solitudes.

Don't give me that two solitudes crap, Im a CANADIAN , on a canadian furum posting in English, so why dont you go join you're buddy for *edit*.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

^ There is an example of the kind of mindless, gratuitous gutter vulgarity to which I was referring. No wonder there are two solitudes.

Don't give me that two solitudes crap, Im a CANADIAN , on a canadian furum posting in English, so why dont you go join you're buddy for *edit*.

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Hey guys, i'm with the Stampede here in Rochester. haha don't flip out...

This is a travesty. The Impact have some good supporters and it's too bad what's going on. It's kinda funny because this is what we were told like 3 years ago “You aren’t allowed to hang anything, but it’s ok if you hold it up yourself.” We though that security/management was just effing around with us, but i guess it really is a rule. Go figure.

Johnnie Monster came up with one of the dumbest idea's ever. Yea have the Montreal Ultras cheer for the Whitecaps haha great idea.

Make bed sheet banners saying "WHY CAN'T WE HANG OUR BANNERS" and such. Boycotting is a good idea too. If you stand the whole game with your backs turned, people will notice and will ask questions. It's a very hard thing to do.

As long as you guys don't flip out on me being from Rochester and all, I might consider making a banner for our FOX SOCCER CHANNEL home game and hang it for a half. Our two sides hate each other, that's no secret but things like these are bigger then our hatred of each other. The way i see it, if someone doesn't allow you to hang banners today, someone else might tell me that i can't hang our banners tomorrow.

This is seriously one thing that i would suggest, reach out to other fans in the league and ask them for support and when that team is playing on FSC, ask them to make a quick banner with spray paint and a bed sheet.

I'm behind you guys on this.

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Hey guys, i'm with the Stampede here in Rochester. haha don't flip out...

This is a travesty. The Impact have some good supporters and it's too bad what's going on. It's kinda funny because this is what we were told like 3 years ago “You aren’t allowed to hang anything, but it’s ok if you hold it up yourself.” We though that security/management was just effing around with us, but i guess it really is a rule. Go figure.

Johnnie Monster came up with one of the dumbest idea's ever. Yea have the Montreal Ultras cheer for the Whitecaps haha great idea.

Make bed sheet banners saying "WHY CAN'T WE HANG OUR BANNERS" and such. Boycotting is a good idea too. If you stand the whole game with your backs turned, people will notice and will ask questions. It's a very hard thing to do.

As long as you guys don't flip out on me being from Rochester and all, I might consider making a banner for our FOX SOCCER CHANNEL home game and hang it for a half. Our two sides hate each other, that's no secret but things like these are bigger then our hatred of each other. The way i see it, if someone doesn't allow you to hang banners today, someone else might tell me that i can't hang our banners tomorrow.

This is seriously one thing that i would suggest, reach out to other fans in the league and ask them for support and when that team is playing on FSC, ask them to make a quick banner with spray paint and a bed sheet.

I'm behind you guys on this.

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Guest Jeffery S.
quote:Originally posted by GoF

One thing I know from dealing with the media worldwide, and especially the written press, over the years is that they won't shun a good story. Some may be afraid to run it, but you'll always find one paper that will take up your cause if they think it's something they can run and get publicity themselves over - it may even have to be a national one.

Johnnie Monster's headline idea is a great one. Would certainly raise a few eyebrows in amongst the organisation and beyond. The Impact can't afford any bad publicity at this critical time.

Boycotting is one of the hardest things a supporter has to decide to do, but sometimes you have no other options.

Here's a link to some of the stuff we got up to and how things developed that may give you a few ideas: http://www.aftn.co.uk/protestseason.html

A protest march always gets media attention!

East Fife, beautiful shirt you've got there. Good advice too.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

I have no problem with healthy criticism and I doubt the Montreal Impact has either but I suspect what triggered the club's response was the public vulgarity and on their premises as well.

Richard,

not very intelligent from your part to:

1) write about something you suspect without knowing.

2) assume it's an 'ethnic' problem.

You should present your excuses and come in Montreal to see how security is at Saputo's stadium...

Thanks.

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