Hey New Guy! – Hey Old Guy!
The TFC v New England game on Saturday night past saw the debut of Latvian defender Raivis Hscanovics. The young Latvian defender played at left back and had both good and bad moments in the match. He made some strong tackles early on in the game but was caught out of position unfortunately a few times in the second half, indirectly contributing to two New England goals. Those of you that watched the post game interviews on TFC TV might have seen how visibly upset he was with the performance and especially the result.
Raivis was signed the very morning of the game and was unknown to a large number of the fans I was watching the match with. Add in the relatively difficult/unfamiliar name to pronounce and you might guess what happened next. After a nice tackle in the first half the entire pub starting chanting “COME ON NEW GUY!!”.
At the Season Kick-Off event yesterday I had a few seconds to chat with Raivis and I relayed the story of the “New Guy” chant to him. He absolutely loved it. A supporter/friend of mine at the event (Emil) even had him sign his TFC soccer ball with an “Hey New Guy” autograph as you can see above! Raivis appears to be a great young man. I think if his performances round into shape, his attitude and friendly demeanour are going to see him become a fan favourite this season.
Nick Garcia has taken on the mantle of TFC player a lot of fans love to hate. He has become the personification to many fans of the problems with our club. And I must say I personally cringed watching his performances on the pitch during the first two games this season.
A lot of the message board chatter online has been about some fans planning to not cheer for him, or to get on him and maybe even boo him during the home opener tomorrow. There may even be signage made by fans directed towards Garcia and his poor play to date.
I understand the sentiment to a degree that some fans have towards Garcia, but I do not understand in any way what getting on the man personally is going to do for his performance and for the team tomorrow. Whether we think he is not good enough is one thing, wishing him to fail is quite another. That is not the definition of “support”.
If Nick Garcia is the lightning rod for anger that he appears to be then I would respectfully suggest that the anger be pointed where it deserves to go. Mo Johnston is the man who signed him to guaranteed money. Mo Johnston is the man who has not (to date) provided worthy alternatives at the position. Preki is the man who keeps running him out there on the pitch.
The players, especially when struggling, need support. Whether the player should be there or not is not the player’s decision. I want Toronto FC to win and with that in mind Nick will be getting my complete support tomorrow. I hope he gets yours as well.