Many football fans across the world may have never heard of the Vancouver Whitecaps. So I will start by giving a brief background on the history of the football club.
Vancouver, a city on the Pacific coast of Canada, is most famous for its hockey team - the Vancouver Canucks (Stanley Cup Riot of 2011). Vancouver also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and overall being one of the best places to live (trust me, type best places to live into google and Vancouver will be up there).
Lesser-known is its football (soccer) history and its team - the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have garnered quiet a bit of a reputation since joining the Major League Soccer in 2011.
Before the Whitecaps joined the MLS and became the first Canadian team to reach the playoffs, they were playing in the United Soccer League and other lower leagues from 1993 until 2010.
The Whitecaps glory days had been in the 1980s when English players Tony Waiters (Blackpool) and Carl Valentine (West Bromwich Albion) came from England to play for the club.
Like most sports fans, the Vancouver Whitecaps supporters get a bit rowdy and the supporters group the 'Southsiders' are the main instigators of stadium chants.
A lot of the chants are harmless, like the presentation of names of the opposition, and chanting of 'w*nker', or when the goalkeeper is kicking the ball and the fans yell some derogatory, tongue-in-cheek remarks.
But apparently, at a recent MLS game at BC place, a letter was put into the editor of the Vancouver Sun regarding the chants at the game regarding the issue of sportsmanship and if a father can take his son to a soccer game for the enjoyment of the sport.
The letter can be seen here.
As a Vancouver Whitecaps supporter I was throughly impressed by the response on the blog site eightysixforever.com - those articles can be seen here.
This started a conversation with my partner that I ultimately lost as I gave up trying to justify my argument. I personally totally agree with the article by Jon Szekers, as it is not like Vancouver Whitecaps fans are beating up people in the streets like it was back in England during the 1980s and 90s, and it's not like the fans are chanting racial abuse.
Without the emotion of the fans screaming and chanting in unison or jumping up and down, the sport would not be what it is. I often find that in the crowd you lose yourself and join a group and although, yes, this can spark other violence such as the bully theory, it can be a good thing if it is controlled and only shouting.
It would be a pretty dull sport if people sat in their chairs and golf clapped every time someone did something good, or said good things about a player who cheated, you might even hear cricket in a stadium that calm which loses all the atmosphere of the sport and the stadium and the connection between the fans and what is going on on the pitch.
If some people cannot handle this then I am sorry, maybe another sport to go watch or watch the sport at the comfort of home with the mute button on, but you are not going to change the thousands of people who live, breath and die the sport and the team.
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