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Unflattering Portrayal of the Montreal Soccer Experience by UK Football Mag...

Football Weekend writer left unimpressed by Montreal visit

Football Weekends writer Alan Price was less than impressed by his visit to watch the Impact in 2019.

Montreal’s football club was left somewhat disparaged and a little beaten up when the city featured in UK magazine FOOTBALL WEEKENDS’ regular ‘Globetrotting’ feature in its February 2021 issue.

The magazine generally provides a valuable service and carries fan stories of visits to various cathedrals of football mainly in Europe, but also all across the globe. It’s really a must-have for anyone intending to embark on what are commonly referred to these days as ‘football weekends’.

Montreal is the 42nd city featured in the magazine’s ‘Globetrotting’ series.

The article on the city where I watch most of my football these days was disappointing and unflattering. For sure the match-day football experience in Montreal is not perfect, but not so bad either, and it doesn’t help when the feature’s author includes quite a few inaccuracies in his text. Makes you wonder how much research work was actually carried out.

In the writer Alan Price’s opening paragraph he talks about Montreal being a strange city.
I would say it’s fairly unique, certainly different, but if you want to travel and experience other cultures, surely this is something you come to expect. In fact if that’s not the case, why else would you travel?

I certainly wouldn’t label Montreal ‘strange’.

I have never felt intimidated in this city as an anglophone living here since 2005, so really must exaggerate Alan Price’s exaggerated sense of intimidation upon reading swathes of rules, only in French, on the bus into the city from Dorval.

“We rode public transport from the airport and noticed an intimidating swathe of rules plastered all over the inside of the bus. But not a word of English - only French”.

Harsh! And distorts reality... yes the signs probably are entirely French, but intimidating? Come on... I hope he never has to use the Underground Metro in Kiev or Donetsk...

I guess Mr Price was expecting to arrive in a bi-lingual province, but generally even if unofficially that’s how it is, Quebec’s official language as we residents and anyone even carrying out even a modicum of research would know, is French - only.

So, does he expect signs on public transport in England to carry French, German or Spanish? No, I expect not.

Then we learn that Impact de Montreal is a very young club, only formed in 2012 as an expansion franchise of MLS, the third in Canada. No mention of the previous 20 or so years and the fact that the Impact is the longest, continually existing professional soccer club in Canada.

Former head coach in MLS days Mauro Biello (right) donned the Impact jersey from the club’s inaugural 1993 season and was captain from 2001, yet Football Weekends claim the club only existed since 2012.

Being in touch directly with the club also proved a frustrating experience for the man from Football Weekends. He’d requested the club provide a pre-match mention to his niece who he was taking to the match on the occasion of her graduation from McGill. The club refused, responding by email to say they didn’t do that sort of thing, but instead suggested the visitors should try to get spotted by the in-stadium camera and have their faces displayed on the large screens.

I can partially understand the frustration with this one as it’s quite common in UK stadiums for this to happen, but if it’s not something Montreal is set up to do, then fair enough. But you also must wonder if it’s not a nice touch, quite simple to organize, and so, why not?

Running around a stadium before the game trying to be camera-spotted to celebrate your graduation, as allegedly suggested by the club? Well, do people really do that kind of thing?

The match attended was the 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in 2019, a game in which I recall each club either rested players or were decimated by international duties.

But the real kicker in respect of misinformation in the article was contained near the end of Alan Price’s piece... and I quote...

“Montreal.... had to wait for added time to score, Omar Browne shooting low across the ‘keeper. This caused The Ultras to to ring the massive North Star Bell installed behind the goal”.

I expect had that really happened the East Stand invasion by The Ultras would have provided the writer with a much more interesting evening to describe.. If there was a takeover of sorts on that balmy end of May evening, I certainly never heard of it!

The Ultra’s rang the North Star Bell, purportedly, on the night the Impact defeated Real Salt Lake, May 2019. Really?

To be fair, the writer was otherwise complimentary of the city, even going so far as to suggest it’s well worth a visit, but that was away from the football. He was quite taken by the Oratory, the world’s tallest inclined tower at the Olympic Stadium and loved his pre-match meal at Poutine Centrale on Rue Hochelaga.

But he wasn’t tempted to return to Stade Saputo... “... although the Impact had another home game the night before we flew home, unusually for me, I decided not to return,” then adding, “You won’t be surprised to learn that this club did not have a positive Impact on me.”

For more about FOOTBALL WEEKENDS magazine you can check out their website

The issue that features Montreal is from the February 2021 issue (#63).

Check out the latest The Ball Is Round Podcasts. One, a Special, recorded on Thursday evening (25 Feb) on the ramifications of Thierry Henry’s departure (Ep 17) and....

... the other our regular Wednesday edition (Ep 16) recorded 24 Feb (before news of the Henry departure), in which we cover #CFMTL squad strength and depth heading into the new season and other Montreal soccer news... as well as the Canadian WNT at the She Believes Cup.

Every Week - The Ball Is Round...
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