The Vancouver Southsiders, the Whitecaps’ main Supporters Group have elected their new board.
Rebecca Contant will supervise away travel and Wendy Turnbull will be organising their social events.
Brett Bird has moved from ombudsman to the hands on role of stadium operations whose job it is to liaise withe club about displays and tifo inside the stadium.
The board now has nine elected members and will select a President and a VP from within those.
The new office bearers are:
- Club Secretary – Peter Czimmermann;
- Club Treasurer – Kris Hetherington;
- Director of Away Travel – Rebecca Contant;
- Director of External Communication – Brett Graham;
- Director of Internal Communication – Paul Sabourin-Hertzog;
- Director of Membership & Recruiting – Dan Olson;
- Director of Merchandise – Chris Withers;
- Director of Social Events – Wendy Turnbull;
- Director of Stadium Operation – Brett Bird;
- Ombudsman – Scott Misfeldt.
According to their press release, the groups charitable work was the best received item on their agenda:
“Some of the largest applause of the evening followed a report from the Charitable Causes Committee (CCC) on the results of its 2012 fundraising efforts on behalf of the Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL), an organization providing healthy recreation opportunities for vulnerable residents of downtown Vancouver and neighbouring communities facing issues like homelessness, poverty and substance abuse.”
John Knox had stepped down as President in 2011 to oversee charity work.
However there was a vibrant and upbeat tone to the end of the release in which the Group described their AGM.
“The Vancouver Southsiders hold firm in their belief that when it comes to football, their city and their nation are out of step with the rest of the world. They refuse to conform to Vancouver’s inherently quiet and reserved nature. They are fierce in their support for their football club, and they shall fearlessly lead newcomers by example.
They will welcome all who wish to join them, and they will extend to them the same friendship and camaraderie that has been the foundation of this organization from its humble beginnings. The Southsiders are not to be confused with Ultras or Hooligans, as they are vehemently against violence and racism.”
One could interpret this as a declaration that they will represent supporter culture to a reserved populace rather than be the face of the City of Vancouver and its attributes to the rest of North American soccer.
Their clear and unambiguous final statement that they will actively oppose racism as a Group principle will also be welcomed as proof that football fans do not live inside a bubble of indifference to events around the world, especially the world of football.
Supporters Groups have been occasionally accused of an overabundance of self-importance and lack of self awareness about their surroundings. The Vancouver Southsiders press release with its forthright statements on, and opposition to, racism and violence is a welcome reminder that this is not the case.