Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | Portland Timbers

Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | Portland Timbers | The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.

Today we speak to Steven Lenhart. Steven is a photographer based in the USA and co-host of the @5mTKO podcast. Follow Steven on Twitter @soccer_watcher


What team do you support?

My local team, Portland Timbers [MLS]

[Also: US National Team, Udinese, and Chelsea]


How often to you go to watch your team?

I’m a 13-year season ticket holder to the Timbers, so I attend every home match and 5-7 away matches a year.


What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?

By American standards the Portland Timbers have a long history. The club was originally founded in 1975 as part of the old North American Soccer League [NASL] yes, the league of Pele, George Best and others. My parents took me to matches in those early days. I don’t specifically remember individual matches but instead I recall the overall environment. The Timbers had [and still have] a large and rowdy fan base, with sold-out crowds nearly every match. I just remember being in that type of setting as a child.


What do you think of entrance prices at football?

Here in Portland it’s quite affordable compared to other professional sports leagues in America . The Timbers play 17 home matches a season and to stand in the North End of the stadium, where the Timbers Army gathers the average ticket price is $20 a match.


What’s your average spent on match days?

I probably spend way too much for alcohol & food on match days both inside and outside of the stadium. Thinking anywhere between $30 to $60 on average.


Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?

Yes, one or two official club items a year. I do buy many items from the No Pity Originals tho.


Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?

We have a very hands on owner in Merritt Paulson. Overall the club does a good job connecting with fans.


Do you play at any level?

Not now, but in my younger days I did.


What do you think of the cost of playing?

In the states it’s expensive. The clubs tend to be elite and catered to more of the middle class.

With the development of the academies, the costs are becoming much lower and in all honesty the players are getting better.


Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?

Yes. It would be great to work with a group between 12 and 16. Never have but would like to.


If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?

Better officiating all around.


Favourite moment following your team?

It’s hard to pick just one, however the Timbers first MLS match in Colorado in 2011. We lost, but we had a sold out section of supporters who made the trek to Denver .

We were just so happy to be there.


Favourite football moment not featuring your team?

Gotta say when Landon Donovan scored the last second goal to advance the US National Team in the 2010 World Cup I went mental.


If you could have been at any game in history what would it be?

England versus Argentina in the 1986 Mexico City World Cup. Classic match for so many reasons.

I was lucky enough to have watched it on TV with my Dad so that was pretty cool as a 16 year old kid.


The thing that annoys you most about football?



Portland Timbers had a Scottish influence for a time with Ian Joy, John Spencer, Kris Boyd and Stevie Smith, how did they fare?

It was a mixed bag. Ian Joy was the captain when we were in the second division and was a fantastic captain. John Spencer was passionate but lacked the needed coaching experience for a formative team. Kris Boyd started well but suffered when Spencer left. Felt bad for the guy. Stevie Smith did a great job once he got settled and I wish he was still with us.


Any players currently playing in the MLS that you can see making an impact in Europe ?

Midfielder Graham Zusi from Sporting Kansas City .


What signing do you think has had the biggest impact on the MLS and why?

David Beckham really opened the door for other top level Europeans to consider coming over.

He may not have been in the prime of his career but he brought the spirit of traditional “football” to the US and helped make it more of an interest here.


How far do you think the USA can go in the World Cup in Brazil 2014?

No predictions right now, we’ll just have to take it one step at a time. Klinsmann is under some fire to fulfill the promises and ideas he made to the National Team setup.


Whats the best bit of “banter” you’ve heard or seen at a football game?

When we chanted “Singapore Prison Whore” at Lutz Pfannenstiel (a German goalkeeper) who played for Calgary in 2004 when the Timbers were playing in the second division.

(read why)


What makes your club so special?

The dysfunctional atmosphere. Just kidding. It’s the sum of the parts: the history, the stadium, the colors, the supporters passion for the home town team.


Anything else you want to say?

GO Portland Timbers!!!


You can find Steven blogging and podcasting about the Portland Timbers at the 5 Minutes To Kickoff website.

Living proof that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said “all men are created equal” although considering Thomas Jefferson also said an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000 why should anyone listen to him? Bryan has a passion for Celtic, a love of football and a tendency to make completely absurd statements in such a way that you might actually agree with them. Follow on twitter @bryanmcmanus

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