Peterborough showed its full support for Electric City Football Club at the team’s inaugural home game on Saturday, with 1,565 fans attending — a new League 1 Ontario record.
I spent the match with the team’s first independent supporters’ group, The Current 1819. “A supporters’ group is like an organized group of superfans, above and beyond your average fan,” said Dave Barney, who is one of the group’s lead organizers. “As for being organized, this allows us to have things like songs and chants, banners and flags.”
After putting up flags and preparing song sheets in the supporters’ section, we met at the top of the hill above the pitch for a pre-game march to the game. The Current’s Facebook group has around 130 members, and many of those attended on Saturday. As our group of about 20 marched down the hill, overlooking fluttering ECFC flags and bleachers steadily filling up with fans, black and gold smoke released by The Current billowed around us. Fans and assorted pitch-side photographers spun their heads and craned their necks to get a good look at ECFC’s supporters.
From that moment, the atmosphere was — yes, I am going to say it — electric.
Throughout the game, supporters on separate bleachers took it in turns to chant “EC!” and “FC!” The opposing goalkeeper, Anthony Santilli, was more than gently ribbed throughout: “It’s not your fault, Anthony!” “Sorry you have to go back to Windsor after this, Anthony!” A choreography of waving flags, smoke and songs met each of the three goals scored as Peterborough secured a 3-0 victory.
“My phone has never been so busy,” said Barney the day after the game, noting the buzz that Saturday has generated for the group. “People are in awe of what [we] are doing.”
Barney is a seasoned football supporter who often leads chants for Toronto FC’s fan group U-Sector. He emphasizes that everything about The Current is natural and organic. There’s no hierarchy, and everyone has a role to play in the group, he said.
“Everything from the smallest part on match day of just lending your voice, jumping and stomping with the beat of the music, to actively wanting to help make flags and banners. Come up with new songs and chants. Anyone can throw in their two cents. We want to be inclusive and everyone is welcome.”
To anyone who liked what they saw in The Current on Saturday, Barney invites questions, and encourages people to get involved in the football.
“It’s wonderful to have that sense of community within the stadium. We want people to have a fun matchday.” This past Saturday was certainly that.
Photos by Dan Morrison.