Bob Weston wasn’t always an avid soccer fan, especially since he never had a professional soccer team in his backyard to support.
Weston’s journey to support the Wanderers began years before the team came into existence. Not already an avid fan of the sport, Weston started watching soccer on television in the early 2000s; mainly the English Premier League.
With a new found love for the game, Weston came to appreciate the sport not only for it’s in-game entertainment, but also for what the sport itself stood for; passion and joy.
This year the HFX Wanderers introduced the ’12 Days of Christmas Giveaways’ campaign that rewarded their Collective and Legendary members with 48 prizes over the 12 days leading up to Christmas. One of the winning members of a team signed jersey was Bob Weston.
In the spirit of the holidays, Weston contacted the club to see if he could donate his winning prize to a youth soccer player in the community.
“I have the jersey from the (2019 inaugural season) anyhow, although this one would be signed and more special, I just thought there would be a soccer player out there,” Weston told us, “a youth soccer player that might appreciate it.”
To tell us more about his kind donation and his journey as a soccer fan, Bob spoke with Wanderers Brand Manager Dylan Lawrence.
Dylan Lawrence: Bob, thank you for your kind donation. I think the recipient will be very happy! Can you tell me how you became a fan of the beautiful game?
BW: I became an avid fan watching soccer on television, in particular the English Premier League. So I was quite excited when I heard that Halifax would have a professional team. I go to the games with two friends of mine and just thoroughly enjoy the outing. It’s such a great atmosphere. The setting is so beautiful being down next to the Public Gardens and having a great view of the citadel at the same time. The atmosphere is so good there with the fans. Everyone’s friendly and you feel like you’re in a community. So it’s putting two things together, isn’t it? It’s the love of watching soccer and enjoyment of being with people who also enjoy the game.
What in particular makes you proud to support the HFX Wanderers?
BW: The HFX Wanderers in particular appealed to me from the very beginning – the team seems to be full of spirit and never stops trying – I’ve never had the feeling that we were out of it and I think that ties the whole thing together for me; the effort of the team, the spirit of the soccer community in Halifax and just the love of watching the game in the fresh air.
Could you tell me more about the experiences you’ve had at the Wanderers Grounds?
BW: Thinking back to the first game, it might have been chaotic but from my perspective I didn’t feel that way. At games in the Premier League it can be a bit chaotic because of the amount of people attending. It can be wild at times. But at the Wanderers’ opener even with smaller numbers, the excitement and anxiousness of everyone to get into the stadium and to their seats was very reminiscent of my experience in England. This felt normal – it’s soccer and this is what it’s like.
I enjoyed having conversations with the local fans when I was in the UK and I get the same feeling when I go see the HFX Wanderers, everyone is friendly. A true soccer experience.
Who do you go to the games with?
BW: Roy Gillis and his son-in-law, Christian Turcot. We go together and we have our seats together. We have made friends with the people sitting next to us, Lida and Per Lindquist. So that’s really neat to meet up at the games, get caught up with what’s happened since the last game, then you get into the game and you share the excitement of the goals and the agonies of the defeats. But it’s a shared experience – it’s fun.
What is it about the sport that you think brings people together?
BW: I think it is the game itself, it’s easy to enjoy, a person like myself who has never played can quickly become as avid a spectator as a boy or girl who grew up playing from an early age. The pace of the game and the tactics employed can draw the fan into the action, and make you feel that you are out on the field with the team. And that feeling I think is shared by all fans.
Did anything about the sport surprise you?
BW: Soccer is a game for me that can end in a 0-0 tie but you could still say ‘that was a great game’. It isn’t dependent on the score to make great entertainment. It’s still mystical to me that a goalkeeper can stop any shot because the net is so big but they do and that’s as exciting as a goal. The tension of a penalty shot and of course a goal for your team – it’s a mixture of all those things and I really enjoy it.
It was too bad we couldn’t share more memories at the Wanderers Grounds this year.
BW: For the circumstances I was glad they did it (the Island Games) and I appreciated that it wasn’t like being at the Wanderers Grounds – not having friends and fans around (watching alone) it was still good to see them and of course Halifax did great.