It’s that time of year when things start to get insane in our lives. Weekends are no longer footy; they’re shopping and family events and trying to cram in days of effort into small windows. And every website/newspaper/twitter account gives the “what we’re thankful for” effort this week.
We’re no different, just better. 🙂
This time last year, we were anxiously awaiting news of the new team’s plans, signings, kits, and whatever tidbits of information we could get our hands on. We had a burgeoning relationship with Jeremy Alumbaugh, the GM of Saint Louis FC. So many questions were waiting for answers. And one was how big was this going to be?
In talking with Jim Kavanaugh, CEO, and Tom Strunk, CFO, they didn’t know either. And we all were pleasantly surprised with the results. What kind of fan base increases sales as the team’s on-field production goes DOWN? The attendance was amazing. And the size of our group grew larger than we ever expected. Based on the seating of sections 8 & 9, we probably had 300+ in our group at games. That is unreal to me; seeing 20-40 faithful at Lions games 18 months ago grow to this point is a testament to the efforts of the group that kept this going for 5 years and laying the groundwork for our success.
And so I’m thankful for 300 of my closest friends I don’t know. My dysfunctional second family. My brothers and sisters. I look forward to every saturday with you all. This downtime between the end of the season and the USMNT game, I missed most of you. 🙂 We have an amazing group that has made an environment that was a topic of conversation with families, with new people, with other supporters groups, with players, with the league. We do what we do well.
We have so many that contribute that it’s almost easier to name those who don’t contribute! From the tailgate setup to cleanup, gameday work, charity events, to even just spreading the word about us, we’re lucky to have great people involved. Please keep it up; we’ve always said the best way to do this stuff is a DIY-meritocracy. Once we start charging dues, expectations are different and the camaraderie declines. So chip in with the efforts, and keep us on the great path we’ve run.
And Brad and Matt Bird get a special thanks. Every two weeks we put out our silly little podcast. I look forward to just hanging out and talking the game with these two. Ideas are born from this fooling around that ends up being fun, like the chupacabra. We’re not the most professional, but we like to think we provide a service that people enjoy. And have some fun doing it at the same time.
I’m still amazed at the relationship we have with this team. How can you not be thankful? It all starts with Jeremy. He has been the team’s best hiring by far. Frequently he says if he gets fired, he just moves over to our corner and pass him a beer. Jeremy is one of us: he gets it, and is why we got our opportunities to be the best us. No other team has an accessible GM who’s as honest as he can be and as friendly to the group. And trusts his daughter to be in our midst, chanting and singing away. I think Sydney looks forward to our corner as much as we do! But that’s it: we’re all family, and Jeremy has given us so much. Thank you for the best experience we could have asked for. Please get us a striker so I have something to be thankful for next year.
The front office gets the next helping of thanks. Many teams in the league look at their supporters group the way the NFL looks at a neurologist’s report. STLFC repeatedly refers to us as “partners” and means it. From Jim and Tom down to lowly ticket reps like Pat Kelly (love ya Pat!), they all make our experience better because they want us there. They gave us a team, and keep giving with their efforts to keep us happy and engaged. And there’s a second season!
And last but not least I’d like to give thanks for our families, who’ve put up with our Louligan nonsense for years. When my job had me at my lowest, my wife knew I needed to go be silly for a few hours on a weekend. Now, a new job has me celebrating the weekend a bit more, so same level of silliness. Bringing them to a few games, watching my daughter standing on a rail screaming, singing chants still today, or seeing my son live in his louligan shirt and STLFC hoodie, they get it. My two families live together. I imagine many of yours do as well.
I hope you’re thankful for some of the same reasons, and likely more. Come be thankful at our holiday party at iTap Soulard on December 19th, and have a good holiday season. After all, signings are announced after January 1.