A Letter from Phil Tobin, RPB President, with a supporters’ take on what it means winning the Shield
Like many of you, I was there in Year One.
A new team, excitement in the stands, that atmosphere!
Many of us celebrated just having a club that really was our own. It also came with a motto: All for One. We see it in the shirts the teams sell, on the kits and nearly referenced in almost every communication from the team to its members – the season ticket holders and attendees in general.
But really, what does it mean? One being the team? Sure. One being Passion? Well, that’s evident throughout the stands both home and away. One Purpose? I think that’s it.
The purpose being to win. Of course, we have valuable trophies during a season: The Voyageurs Cup, the MLS Cup, but one stands out to supporters and football fans above the others – the Supporters’ Shield.
You see, in every other league, there are no playoffs or flashy compressed competitions to attain hardware – there is only one true test: win the regular season schedule, defeat the most opponents in a single season, get the most points and sit atop the table.
My original seats in 115 had a special blend of a community. Most of the people there are from around the world and have one thing in common – their love of football.
A song came out of the stand very early on, often sung in jest when we were getting trounced in a game, but we had a blast singing it and always hoped it would one day be true: You’re never going to believe us! We’re going to win the league!
Well, after some very entertaining seasons and teams, and some forgettable ones, that pinch me moment is here for every person in that stadium today, or was there in the past.
It really did sneak up on us, and its hard to really understand or appreciate the gravity of this achievement.
To dominate the standings, to punish teams the way TFC has, to grind out the road results and make BMO Field the fortress it is has been. Let’s not forget the atmosphere so many enjoy and the many that have put their blood, sweat and tears into creating; this is an unparalleled accomplishment for everyone involved.
For me, this Shield represents more than the MLS Cup–that is essentially a reward for the owners and team, deservedly celebrated and shown–but the Shield is made by supporters for their respective teams. It comes from the heart and embodies 11 seasons of struggles, desires, small victories, disappointments and absolutely epic games.
This is a moment the team has worked hard to earn, and more than any other trophy, we get to share it with them.
Years ago, when the Shield was relaunched in its current form, we thought we really didn’t have a chance at ever seeing it within our lifetimes, holding it as ours. We even made a scarf – ‘Just one before I die’ to express our desire and belief in the team.
That day is here and I think it’s reasonable to expect a few more before getting that final whistle.
President, Red Patch Boys
(article originally appeared on torontofc.ca)