Photos: Supporters group cheers on ECFC with flags, smoke and songs

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.

“It’s just so exciting to do the chants, and learn all these songs and meet all these new people. Even if you have a little goose caller or a cow bell, it’s just really fun to be a part of it. It’s really nice to have my Dad help me learn the drum. … I want to bring more girls back to get involved.”

– Kira Lichter, One of the younger members of The Current

“The league and the city hadn’t seen the likes of us before. I am proud of how Saturday went, because we introduced something new and bold. We’re not just one voice in the stand, but a community of like mind and like spirit. We are a team, just like the club.”

– Jeremy Corke

“It’s about sharing our love of the game. I want people to see what I see in soccer. I bleed it. For a long time it was hard to love soccer, people would say it’s not a real sport. So on matchday, I want people to feel something special.”

– Adrian Smith

 “When the march starts, when you hear the drum and you see the smoke, it becomes real. You come alive. As I saw the fans from the top of the hill, I thought, ‘Holy shit, we need to give these people a good time.’ They may never sit with us, but they are part of it.”

– Adrian Smith

“We want to make it a place where the team feels invincible, a place where [opposing] teams dread coming to. Anything we can do to help the team.”

– Dave Barney

Photos by Dan Morrison.


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