Converting Football Fans into Futbol Fans
It does not take much to get people to become fans of the Union, just a little passion, some knowledge of the game, and loud fans that know how to have a good time. When I have brought casual fans of soccer down to the games, many decided they wanted to get tickets for next year. Now I was on to my second step, turning the people who may have watched a World Cup game, some by accident, into the casual fan. On August 28, I had a small family birthday party to attend in Sea Isle City. The start time was 7pm, the Union/New England game was 7:30. There was no way I was going to miss this game, so I knew I had to commandeer the TV right away when I got in. You see, I married into a family of football players, not that there is anything wrong with that. When they think of soccer, they think of their 8-9-10 year olds running around a pitch on Saturdays and Sundays.
I walked into the party wearing my "Join or Die" t-shirt (which happens to be my favorite family party shirt) proceeded directly to the television, and turned on channel 6. The Union game began shortly after, and since I had control of the TV, people had the option of watching or moving to another room.
When the game started, the questions began as well, mainly:
“Why is the Ref holding the flag up?” “Is this at home?” with the follow up “Then why are there so many people cheering for Philly?” And of course: “Why are you cursing?”
I tried to explain my utter disdain for referees that take the game away from players with phantom calls and bad acting. I tried to explain the 3 substitution rule. I successfully explained (thanks to the SoBs who traveled to New England!) that our supporters club is very loud; that this is not a home game (or I would have been at the game instead of the party); that there are only about 30 supporters from our team at the game; that the supporters are very passionate; and our games typically have 17,000+ fans. It took till about half time for the questions to slow down, then I realized people were watching and enjoying the game. With my own critiquing/cursing/cheering came the critiquing/cheering from others.
After the game finished, one of my wife’s cousins came up to me and said “You know, my buddy has been trying to get me to go down to a game. He said they are a lot of fun. I think I am going to go after watching tonight.” This is how a team gains new fans. You show them a product that they can enjoy, and let the product talk for itself. The Union did just that with the win. Let’s keep the wins and fans coming!