Q&A with The Bulldog Supporters Group
1- Intro of group (When, Where, How, Why?)
The BSG was created in January 2010 out of the British Bulldog, Denver’s first true soccer bar when a group of friends decided they wanted to develop a pre & post game pub culture around Colorado Rapids games. The group draws a lot of its influence from British style soccer support, although anyone who wants to have a good time & support the team by standing & singing for the whole 90 minutes is welcome.
2- How is the group run? What is the structure?
Group is overseen a 5 man board of directors headed by a president. All directors are elected once a year by membership vote. Departments (e.g. tailgates, buses) are overseen by managers appointed by the board of directors. Most of the directors are therefore managers as well.
3- What is your groups relationship with the team like?
Generally good-natured & professional, however challenges do arise with the Colorado Rapids sometimes failing to consider supporters adequately in their decision-making.
4- What is the relationship with the players?
Very good. Players have acknowledged the club in interviews / publicity & a few always attend the annual close season party. Many members interact with the players on social media.
5- What is your game day ritual?
Members meet at one of Denver’s two soccer bars, the British Bulldog or the Three Lions & take one of the group’s chartered buses to the stadium about 3 hours before kick-off. A captain on the bus will welcome new & returning members with a beer & go through some of our most popular chants en route. We then tailgate until about 30 minutes before the game starts when we march in & the majority of members take up a position on the supporters terrace. After 90 minutes of roaring the team on to victory we then reboard the bus, grab another beer, crank the music up & take everybody back to one of the bars in high spirits, regardless of the result!
6- What does the group do for away games?
The group provides travel information & tickets for anybody who wishes to attend an away game. For the Real Salt Lake & Sporting Kansas City games, the group will work with the other Rapids supporters groups to charter a bus & provide discounted hotel rates. With the exception of Real Salt Lake, we generally reach out to a home supporters group request to mix with them as it saves organizational effort. The group enjoys a particular bond with Portland’s Timbers Army, having hosted them for their first MLS fixture. Because of this, Portland away is well attended.
7- What does the group do to stay in touch during the offseason?
Members gather at the soccer bars to watch USA games & the Premier League so keeping in touch is not seen as a big problem. The group has also organized a night out at the Colorado Avalanche in recent years as a Christmas event (not happening this year!). Finally a close season party in February works as a springboard for the new season where we announce our elected directors & launch the membership package for the coming year.
8- How involved is the group with the community?
This is something we’d like to develop more in the future. The group has supplied volunteers for Denver Street Soccer, a charity which helps homeless people get back on their feet through coaching & playing soccer. We have also raised money for various youth development charities in Denver.
9- Who is your biggest rival?
Real Salt Lake.
10- What is your relationship with other MLS’ Supporter Groups?
Generally very good. The group has actively tried to welcome visiting supporters with open arms (subject to security considerations). This has been successful & Rapids fans have generally been hosted & treated very well at away games. The group is also an active participant in the Independent Supporters Council (ISC).
11- What is your relationship with other Rapids SGs?
The BSG brought a new philosophy to the Colorado Rapids support in it catered to a slightly different type of supporter than those that typically made up the other SGs. This has led to a few incidents of misunderstanding between the groups although if it is clearly in the best interests for the Rapids SGs to collaborate, they will.