We call them the finite fans, the unconditional ones, those who have “the badge tattooed on the heart”.
They are sometimes treated as stage managers, but they do not care because, in a way, the club belongs!
All sports teams, without exception, have great followers of unfailing loyalty. Present at all matches, they defend their players against all odds, celebrating with them the victory, crying together a defeat. The Impact is no different from other Montreal teams: it also has its nucleus of diehards (the Ultras, the 1642, and several others, scattered in different sections of the stadium).
Among them, some crazy like Sebastien Ouellet who, in 2018, followed the blue-white-black in all its travels abroad. Or Neosk, ambassador of 1642 who, a good Saturday, left Australia where he is based to join his friends who came to encourage Remi Garde’s troupe in Los Angeles. And what about Oli, the nomadic teacher, who lifted his IMFC scarf around the world on his journey around the globe?
There are these fans, it’s true, but there are also others, less well-known heroes, more discreet but just as passionate: the supporters of the regions! And there are more of them than we think !
Like, for example, Marie-Eve, Nicolas and Karine who regularly “swallow” asphalt to encourage their favorite team. They live as far as Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup or Mont-Laurier. Some played football, a little, others did not know anything about soccer, but many, seduced by the World Cups of the 1990s, began to follow the progress of the team in Montreal CONCACAF .... hoping their entry into MLS.
For others, it was a lucky coincidence, a pair of tickets won!!
Then 2012 arrived: the big leagues. Since then, despite a slight penchant for some English or Mexican teams, they remain loyal to the position and present for the Impact.
It’s happening at Saputo Stadium in Montreal? Never mind, hop in the car or bus, we go! They therefore organize their week-ends to watch the matches. Nicolas makes the road even on Wednesday because: “If there is a home game and I’m not there, I feel bad!” Karine makes the round trip in the same day, returning home at 2 am. Marie-Eve is fortunate to have a flexible work schedule that allows her to attend about fifteen games a year, sometimes even away matches!
Some have season-tickets, others test the feasibility of moving before joining the subscribers club. But why the hell so much distance, when it is so easy to see or listen to the game on a multitude of media? It’s the atmosphere, of course.
It’s different at the stadium and it’s this collective madness that brings them back to the side! In the stands, they find their fellow, their soul-sister footballistic. They recognize each other, talk to each other, discuss, bicker, understand each other ... they are in communion. Strong friendships are created, nourished by a common passion, a foolproof love. This fraternity, yes, but also the proximity with those who make them so vibrate: the players.
Everywhere in Quebec, the interest and practice of soccer is growing at great speed. It would then be necessary to think more of the supporters of the cities far away from the metropolis. For example, there could be a form of public transit in a few cities that allows people to attend games more regularly and who knows how to attract new subscribers.
Others would like to have players visit their region. Young people love football and seeing their idols land in their city would be a great source of motivation. Because, for the moment, they live the Impact remotely: it’s a DE Montreal, FOR Montreal team, which does not help the feeling of belonging.
These initiatives could encourage people to become more interested in the club and come more regularly to “LIVE” the Impact experience at the Saputo stadium.
Of course, although the band is called the “Montreal Impact”, it belongs to a whole province. And lovers of the ball, well, there are in every corner of the Quebec territory.
Many people have appropriated this team, who cherish it and who ignore the hundreds of miles to go to encourage it.
But it does not matter when there is promise of pleasure and emotions at the end of the road!