Daniel Bidmead is MLS UK’s Columbus Crew convert. He releases a weekly video blog on his view of the Columbus Crew from across the pond in Stoke-on-Trent, England. In his latest video blog, Daniel announced that he would be making a trip to the glorious city of Columbus, Ohio. He will be going to the Crew’s game against Toronto F.C. on September 10th and the September 14th game against the Houston Dynamo, both of which are at home. I was recently able to email Daniel and ask him some questions which he so kindly answered for me.
Question: How did you become a soccer fan? Were teams you support passed through your family?
Well, I became a soccer fan at a very young age. My dad has always been a big soccer fan, and when I was old enough, we started to go and support what was a new team near us called Rushden and Diamonds. I went to my first game at age 4/5. I believe it was Rushden vs. Shrewsbury which we (RDFC) won. And from there it was history. I remember something my dad once said to me; “There are a few things in life you just can’t change. One of those is the team you support. You get the highs and the lows (with Rushden often lows), but you go through it because you know they are your team and you will follow them no matter how they do.” This has always stuck with me through the years.
2: What team(s) have you supported in your lifetime?
From my dad, I have always followed the progress and games of Manchester United, but the only team I have truly supported in my life is Rushden and Diamonds (until now that is)!
3: What was it like supporting a lower division side in England (Rushden and Diamonds FC)? Was it difficult?
In the lower leagues, there is always the chance of going up and down the leagues, and Rushden has been a club that had a great skill of either being at the top end of the table pressing for promotion, or at the bottom end struggling against relegation. We rarely sat in the middle doing nothing, so it is always been a passionate club to support. From one end of emotion to the other. But I love/loved the club and am always there cheering for the Diamonds.
4: How involved were you with Rushden? Did you go to most games? Any away trips?
When I was younger, I went to every game that I could get to, which were mostly Saturday games, but not many away games. At around 15, I started to go to virtually all home games and then all close away games. Then from age 16-18, I worked on the RDFC radio site doing radio before the game, and then live commentary of the games. For this, I got to go to all the home games during these seasons, and as many away games as possible. Unfortunately, for the last three years I have been in Stoke, so I’ve only able to follow from a distance, bar the away games near my neck of the woods.
5: How did you get involved with the MLS UK website?
I got involved in www.majorleaguesocceruk.com through chatting to Jon Parker, who is a good friend of mine and also the Revolutions convert. He was telling me of his experience of being involved in this site, and I thought what a great thing it would be to do it.
6: Did you select the Crew as your MLS team to follow, or were they chosen for you?
The choice of team was entirely my own. I had a few limits in the sense that I couldn’t pick a team already chosen. This was not a problem for me though, as the only team I wanted to pick was the Crew. The reasons behind this where mainly; A: they wear black and gold which was the iconic colour of Rushden’s away kit; B: they have the first soccer specific stadium in the U.S. and obviously; C: their badge is the coolest in the world.
Daniel is right there, the Crew do have the best badge in the world. In my opinion, they also have the best mascot. No one wants to mess with Crew Cat.
7: Were you surprised by the level or hardcore support every MLS team has?
To be honest, I was never really sure what to expect from the fans in the U.S., as all I was really aware of was that soccer was, in comparison, one of the lesser supported sports in the U.S. However, I was not aware of the real level of passion from the fans. I think the biggest thing that surprised me was the welcoming nation of all the fans. As I know, it’s a strange thing for some random guy from England to suddenly decide to follow your team. But I can say from every single person involved in MLS UK that the support and advise coming over is mind blowing. I personally can’t believe how much people have been supporting me and chatting to me and welcoming me into one MASSIVE family.
8: What were your first thoughts when you heard about the Nordecke? What did you visualize?
Well, I think the Nordecke was something I heard a lot about from all the Crew fans that spoke to me, and I got a fantastic impression of the atmosphere involved. I have always seen that the Nordecke is a really important part of the support of the Crew, and I think this has always given me a great impression of the Crew fans and the passion, but above all the togetherness that the Nordecke brings to them.
9: What was it like for you when Rushden went under?
As you can probably imagine, it is a difficult feeling to describe. You support one team in your life and they are your team. To have your team essentially die is just like that, having something that has been a massive part of your life just stop, it’s a very strange feeling, and a difficult one to deal with. It’s a really difficult feeling to describe, but most certainly not a nice one.
10: What were the fans’ reactions to Rushden going under? Any major events take place?
Due to the process of the way that the club went down, it was almost a foregone conclusion, so therefore we went down quite quietly. We basically got brought out by a criminal who then slowly ruined the club and built us into a situation of unpayable debt and then we died. The biggest thing to happen really is that the fan groups are now forming AFC Rushden and Diamonds and are entering a youth league next season with the aims of getting into a senior league after that and working up, similar to AFC Wimbledon.
11: At what point did you start thinking about coming to visit Columbus?
I think when I was getting involved in the MLS UK site, I always thought how cool it would be to be able to go across the pond to catch a game. I discussed it with Jon Parker with the aim that we could go across and try and get to some games, but obviously money has always been a massive issue. But recently I was getting asked what I wanted for my 21st birthday present and suddenly I found the ideal thing and managed to work out with my parents a time and a way to get across. So really, I have been wanting to do this for ages, but suddenly found a good chance to get across which I couldn’t be more excited about.
12: What all do you plan to do during your time in Columbus?
Well to be honest, I don’t really know. The bar, the games. I’m obviously going to the Toronto and Houston games. But other than that, I’m just looking to get to enjoy Columbus and Ohio and generally do whatever there is to do. And I want to drink with as many of you guys as possible. I’m open for any suggestions, so if you have any let me know. I’m open to all offers!
Be Massive, Daniel.