The MLS is starting to pick up some steam in the UK. Need evidence? Look at the popularity of websites like Major League Soccer UK. We here at Section133 wanted to find out who in the UK was supporting the UNION.
Section133 are PROUD to PRESENT… Dean Ball the General of The UNION ARMY UK… In His Own Words!
The UNION ARMY in the UK
So, who is Dean Ball? This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis but that is more of an age thing, with me approaching the big 3-0 next year. I’m not a complicated chap, far from it indeed, as long as I can watch Football and travel about a bit then I’m happy and combining both of those passions makes me even happier!
I live in a moderately sized village near the town of Wigan, which lies in-between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester. I’ve lived in Wigan all my 29 years and I’m very proud of the history and heritage the town holds.
Football is my one true love. I adore it. I’m not one of these people that like the glitz and glamour of the game but the passion and the history draws me in.
I support Wigan Athletic of the English Premier League. I’ve given my love to the club for the past 16 years and had a season ticket for the last 6 seasons. When I went to my first game the club was in the 4th tier of English football and was just about to start it’s rise up the leagues. The “Latics” are the youngest club in the Premier League, only being founded in 1932 and are one of the youngest throughout the entire English leagues.
The team play their home games at the DW Stadium and has a capacity of 25,000, built in 1999 and officially opened in a game against Manchester United but we rarely get full capacity, for which this is a shame but being surrounded by so many well established Premier League teams it’s hard to get supporters to switch alliances. Within a 20 mile radius we can count, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers as our neighbors. So you can see why it’s hard to get established football supporters down to the DW Stadium but the most important thing is, I go every week, that’s all that matters to me.
I try and get to away games too and again we don’t get a huge fan base travelling to these games.
One of my many passions is collecting football jerseys. Especially Wigan ones. The reason I love collecting Wigan shirts is because the older ones are so very rare. With the club only playing League football since 1978, there are not many of the older shirts in existence! I’m in the process of building a website site to showcase my collection, i’m very excited about this project!
Major League Soccer (MLS). I love it. I’ve followed the league for about 10 years now but I have never really had an affiliation to one club. That was until 2010. At the start of the 2010 season I had read all about the expansion team that is Philadelphia Union. After reading about the team and how passionate the fans where to the a team to Philadelphia, this team was for me and what a first season the Union had. A football specific stadium is always a huge sign of where the owners of a team want their club to be and with PPL Park, the vision for the club can only be forward!
I watch the games every weekend. This does often mean me being awake at midnight and beyond on Sunday mornings to watch the games but I do it all for the U!
In October 2010 I attended my first game at PPL Park. Union v NYRB, with the guys coming away with a superb 2-1 win. The atmosphere was immense! The SoB’s are one passionate set of fans, other teams supporters groups from around the world should take on board just how good these guys are! At the time I wasn’t a member of the Sons of Ben, so I sat in Section 126. I was amazed to see, after the game, the majority of players walking around the stadium signing autographs, this is something you just don’t see back in England. I managed to get my jersey signed by a few players, one of them being Sebastien Le Toux! I was happy at the end of that day!
Ever since my first trip and the start of the 2011 season I’ve been itching to get back over to PPL Park. My scheduled games for this season are;
May 21st v Chicago Fire
- Sept 10th v Portland Timbers
- Sept 17th v Columbus Crew
I’m now a full fledged Member of the Sons of Ben and with this in mind I decided to grab a ticket in The River End for the Portland game in September, Section 136. I can’t wait! I’m hoping I get a warm welcome from the SoB Family!!! Can’t wait to attend my first ever tailgate!
Just for the record I’m a proud owner of;
- 2011 Home Jersey
- 2011 Away Jersey (Peffer 27’)
- 2011 3rd Jersey
- StacheBash T-Shirt from Barktees.com
Hope to see you guys soon and until then, DOOP!