Author: Robert Creenan
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, a group of people are gathering in Més Que on Hertel Avenue. The groups have come to watch the Seattle Sounders play a friendly match against Tottenham Hotspur, a North-London based Premier League club. The thing is, only one person there is decked in a Sounders shirt and scarf. The other people wear Tottenham on their collective sleeve.
The Buffalo Spurs, as they call their official supporters’ club, though they’ve only been around for one year, follow in a long line of soccer tradition. Living the life of club supporters, Spur’s fans tend to mix it up with other soccer (or football) supporting fans that include followers of English clubs Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Sunderland, and West Ham United. Also the Scottish team Celtic FC, German club Borrusia Dortmund, and Spanish club FC Barcelona.
Spurs’ founder, Matthew Krajacic, an engineering student at University at Buffalo, started the group about a year ago, and now, with its 40 members, is a recognized supporters group by Tottenham Hotspur. “We pay $40 a year, and we get to be listed on Tottenham’s website” said Karjacic. All 40 members attended the match between Tottenham and MLS side Toronto FC on Wednesday, July 23rd.
One of the more widely supported clubs in the area, the Buffalo Gooners, who follow Arsenal FC, spends their Wednesday night at Més Que handing out club t-shirts, and planning a trip to New York City. Their team is playing the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, July 26th, and 22 of the hundred or so members are attending. “We’re going to be attending an Arsenal convention before the game, to meet up with other groups,” said Cliff Parks Jr., the head of the Buffalo Gooners.
Due to the rivalries that exist between teams, there can be heated banter between the fans at Més Que, which can be expected at Buffalo’s only dedicated soccer bar. Krajacic says that “Most of that comes during Arsenal games,” while Parks says that the fans are “mature enough to keep the peace.”
On whether they’re experiencing a post-World Cup boost in membership, both Karjacic and Parks said it’s too early to tell, given that it’s barely two weeks since it ended. But Parks said that hopefully it’ll boost membership. “Social media has helped us get to where we are now. We will be able to better tell when the season starts in a few weeks.”