Be Sure to Cheer on the Boys in Green with the Official FAI Supporters Club of Vancouver
By DANIEL TINNELLY
VANCOUVER – With the influx of so many Irish people to Vancouver in the last few years, and more to come this year, there is an ever growing appetite for Irish sports and yet there is no dedicated bar for Irish soccer.
To address this, the Official FAI Supporters Club of Vancouver was set up in December 2011 with the aim of creating a big enough group, in association with other Irish interest groups in Vancouver, that would enable us to negotiate with a number of publicans to ensure that there would be somewhere that will show all Irish soccer matches live and ensure every Irish soccer fan knows where he/she can watch the game.
When canvassing the general opinion among Irish people over the past few months it became clear that price was an issue.
While Setanta ensures that each bar charges $20 in to see a pay-per-view game some Irish fans choose to watch it at home, to avoid the cover charge, when they’d rather be enjoying the atmosphere in a packed bar.
This became our number ONE priority. The other issue was the lack of consistency from the bars themselves.
You’re guaranteed they would show the playoff games or the big group games but if you turn up to see Ireland v Faroes and they wouldn’t be showing it. This leads to confusion amongst the supporters and frustration towards the Irish bars themselves.
To this end we have partnered with Mahony & Sons at Burrard Landing, establishing the Official FAI Supporters Bar of Vancouver.
We aim to create an unrivalled match day atmosphere for all Ireland games. They will be showing all the games, including the WC qualifiers and are looking into providing some additional value for the mandatory $20 cover charge if the game happens to be pay-per-view.
Obviously in the short term we have this summer’s European Championship to look forward to, the first international competition we have qualified for in 10 years!
On the match days we will have face painting, drinks promotions, après match, flags, scarves and plastic hammers on sale and a number of great raffle prizes. It will be the best place to watch the games in Vancouver.
With the first game against Croatia on a Sunday – June 10 at 11:45 AM – there is no excuse to miss out.
We play Spain on Thursday, June 14 and the final group game is on Monday, June 18. The final will be on July 1 – Canada Day.
It will be 24 years since we last graced the European Championship with our presence (who can forget Houghton's goal against England in Stuttgart '88).
An interesting fact: 24 years is a record. We're tied with France (1960 - 1984) and Greece (1980 - 2004). Both France and Greece won the competition upon their return. Good omen?
With three games guaranteed we have decided to raise money for three separate causes; St. Vincent de Paul, the Irish Benevolent Fund and the BC Cancer Foundation.
All three causes are closely linked with the Irish community here in Vancouver, with great work being done by various members of the Irish community, across all generations.
As the games are free to air there will not be a cover charge to get in. However, a $5 donation at the door will get you a complimentary beverage.
Mahony's have also donated two Irish soccer jerseys along with a number of official scarves, per match, for a raffle.
All proceeds from the raffle will go directly to the chosen causes. In addition 15 percent of all merchandise sales on the day will also be donated to the three causes.
With the purchase of an official scarf you will receive a membership card for the FAI Vancouver Supporters Club. Post-Euro 2012 we are looking forward to a successful WC qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014.
All games will be shown live in Mahony & Sons and your FAI Vancouver membership card will let you enjoy any specials being run on the match days.
We are already planning for a number of non match day events as another way of raising money for charity. Look out for an Irish themed pub quiz/trivia night sometime in the future.
This project illustrates how powerful the Irish community is in Vancouver – if we all work together.
With the ever increasing Irish population it’s only going to bolster the influence of the community even further.
Creating Irish interest groups like this is a great start. In whatever we do, if we can give a little back to our adopted community, all the better.
Join us on June 10 for the celebrations and Come on the Boys in Green!
More info about the group and the three causes we are raising money for can be obtained from facebook.com/FAIVANCOUVER. Like us to keep up to date.