Q&A with 127 Montreal Supporters Group
1- Intro of Group (When, Where, How, Why?)
- A small group of people began discussing on impactsoccer.com in 2009 about the idea of creating a new supporters group. A few meetings were held over some pints of beer, and a new group was formed, 217 Force Montreal. In 2011, the group held a tailgate for the home opener in April on a cold, and windy day. In 2011, the group was on top of sections 217 and 218. During the season, a drum was added. Banners started appearing, and people began to watch away games together.
- Once the new plans for Saputo Stadium emerged, it was clear that we wanted to be in section 127. It was perfect, right in the corner, and not too far from the other supporters group, the Ultras. At our general assembly in 2011, we formally adopted 127 Montreal as our name.
- The group was created because many of us felt that the Ultras were not the kind of group for us. They are always standing and singing at the top of their lungs for 90 minutes. We wanted to be a bit more laid back. We all enjoy tailgating, something that sets us apart in Montreal.
- As 2012 went on, many new people have joined the group, and we will be considerably larger in 2013.
2- How is the group run? What is the structure?
- We have an executive committee. It consists of a president-spokesperson, treasurer, communications person, tailgate person, and a couple of members at large. Our group is beginning to become more organized. We have no choice now that we are so many more people than at the beginning. During our annual meeting, things are informal. We discuss subjects with a beer in hand, and work out a consensus. We are lucky.
3- What is your groups relationship with the team like?
- Being the smaller supporters group, it has been difficult to get the team’s attention at times. We know that they are happy we are there, and that they want us to grow. We have been invited several times to events with the owner, coaching staff and players. Team owner, Joey Saputo has been very welcoming.
4- What is your relationship with the players?
- We are slowly getting the players to be aware of us. Twitter has been a great way for our group to communicate with players. A few players have been by our tailgates and have been very friendly. For now however, players tend to recognize the Ultras much more than us, but they have been around for 10 years, and are directly behind the goal.
5- What is your game day ritual?
- We arrive at our tailgate spot (next to the parking lot) about 4 hours before the game. We all have beer and grill some hot dogs. For special events, we do bigger tailgates, such as Oktoberfest for the last game against New England. We stay at our tailgate until about 30 minutes before the game.
6- What does the group do for away games?
- Our group went on 2 road trips this season. First we went to Harrison, NJ for the game against the Red Bulls. We joined the Ultras, and formed a very loud group. We had a blast even though Thierry Henry scored a hat trick against us. We also went to the final game in Toronto, once again with the Ultras. Once again, the weather was lousy, but we were just as loud. For the other away games, we have tried to find a pub to watch games, but nothing has worked out. We are considering watching away games with the Ultras in 2013.
7- What does the group do to stay in touch during the offseason?
- We just had our Annual General Meeting last weekend. We also play friendly soccer games every couple of weeks. Another way we stay in touch is though our forum at 127montreal.com
8- How involved is the group with the community?
- Being a new group, we are not really known in the community. Most people think we are Ultras. For one game, we made a banner supporting a child with cancer. Who knows what 2013 will bring?
9- Who is your biggest rival?
- Toronto FC, no question. Montreal and Toronto are rivals in every sport we play. It has a lot to do with Canadian politics. Montreal being a predominately French-speaking city, and Toronto being an English-speaking city there has always been conflict between us. We are thrilled that Toronto was the worst team in MLS this year. Our second rival is Vancouver, mainly because of our history together in the second division.
10- What is your relationship with other MLS’ Supporter Groups?
- This year we met representatives of a few supporter groups. They came to our tailgates. Things were very cordial. Everybody who came was very nice, and very complimentary about our city.
11- What is the relationship with other Impact SGs?
- The Ultras get along well with us, because we don’t see each other as competition. Over the course of the season, we even began singing together during games. On one particular game against Sporting KC, it was cold, and raining. We sang so loudly, that the whole team noticed. They told us that the players talked about it after the game. We have lots of respect for what the Ultras have done in creating the atmosphere at Saputo Stadium.
12- The future
- We would like to occupy the entire 127 section and make corner kicks for opposing teams very scary. We expect Montreal to become one of the most successful teams in MLS, with a full house for every game.