Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Skipper Urges Fans, Club to Resolve Differences and Come Together

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Skipper Urges Fans, Club to Resolve Differences and Come Together

Article excerpt

Bradley urges club, fans to come together

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TORONTO - Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley is urging feuding fans to get behind the MLS club in the stretch drive of the regular season.

Some of Toronto's supporters groups joined forces in going silent during Wednesday's home game against Orlando to protest recent sanctions against the Inebriatti group.

The club has been at odds with Inebriatti most recently over an obscene banner that was raised in its section during an August loss against visiting Montreal. TFC called the banner "an embarrassment'' to the club and its supporters.

Bradley, whose team welcomes D.C. United to BMO Field on Saturday, says he hopes the club and fans can work out their differences.

"My message to the fans is we need them, more than maybe they even realize," he told reporters when asked about the conflict.

"On behalf of the players I really hope that there can be a solution that is found as quickly as possible so that our fans are happy and feel like they are valued and realize what an important part of the club they play," he added. "And I hope the people upstairs in our club get the reassurances that they need and we can all continue to move forward together.

"A club is everybody. It's not just the players, it's not just the front office, it's not just the fans. It's everybody all together ... As we go into the most important games of the season, we need our best and most supportive fans behind us in the biggest way."

Wednesday' protest was noticeable despite an announced crowd of 23,805. The normally raucous south stand, home to loud gyrating, flag-waving fans, was silent and prop-less. The drum-beating that usually echoes around the stadium was also absent.

The two people deemed responsible for the offensive sign have been suspended by the club, which has asked Inebriatti members to sign a code of conduct. Until they do, they will have to do without their flags, banners and drums.

In a Facebook post, Inebriatti said its silence is a protest against sanctions "excessively punitive in nature, and far-reaching in their negative implications."

"To the players: We love you. We are with you, even in silence, and it pains us not to sing for you. …

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