Year End Message from the President
I hope this message finds you and your families well.
It has taken me a couple of weeks to reflect on the season, the team performance - not only our beloved LFC, but the amazing LFC Toronto team - and literally everything in-between.
Before I get into the LFC Toronto season, lets chat a bit about our teams performance. 63 matches played in all comps, 46 wins, 13 draws, 4 loses, 147 goals scored and 48 goals conceded.
Second in the Prem, second in the Champs League, FA and EFL cup winners...let that phenomenal season settle in a bit.. Of course there are levels of disappointment in being soo close to a quadruple - but I could not be more proud of the team and the performance, we are just soo lucky and thankful of what we have, compared to seasons of the past. Literally in Klopp we trust.
Ok.. lets chat about LFC Toronto.
This past year was all about try, try, try. The rationale was let's try and do what we can for LFC Toronto and its members, learn, document, adjust, and then apply lessons learned to the future years to come. In our LFCTOVision campaign, we had an initial goal of 250 members, which was surpassed within the first few months of 2021. Feeling the momentum, we subsequently adjusted the number to our stretch goal of 500. With that amazing Liverpool FC year, we finished off with 760 paid members. Such an impressive number and we are just getting started! Another goal was to become the best Official Liverpool Supporters Club in the world. Last year we got member tickets to Anfield for 25+ members and are well on our way to making sure Liverpool FC Toronto is on the world map.
A few words on our Executive Committee. Firstly I am sincerely humbled and honored to be working with such selfless, passionate, hard working, vibrant and amazing team. Collectively Sam, Reagan, Dan, Yvi and I took on this LFC Toronto start-up as I like to call it (LFCTO Vision), applying our day job experience, our immeasurable love for our club, and our city to this endeavor. All of this in the midst of one of the most difficult times in the world and in Toronto, the pandemic.
Let's talk about the fabulous exec team for a moment or two.
There is our illustrious Vice President Sam Fiorella aka Samoochie, Silver Fox, Man of Many Talents, lover of Andy Robbo and Mr. Dependable. Sam is the heart and soul of LFC Toronto. His infectious love for the club stems world wide and many things for the members would not have happened if it was not for Sam and his incredible staunch character. I hope many of you got the honour of meeting Sam on match days this season, so you can see what I am actually talking about. I will say, you will never meet another human being such as him and I sincerely thank him for his efforts and support.
Then we have Reagan ZuZu Zuzarte, what a technical wizard he is. We are soo blessed to have some amazing skill sets on our team and Reagan completely pushes that envelope to another degree. As the member experience director, he is always looking for new ways to make our experience the best it can be, spinney wheel raffles, web and technical updates, various decks to sponsors and vendors. His calm demeanor lets loose on game day and we are happy to have him as part of our team.
We now move on to Dan Fernandez of Dan and the Bennyman aka Burn it down Dan, who is our fiscally responsible LFC TO treasurer. Many of you know this larger than life voice as he was belting out the LFC tunes at our Crimbo and our rewind party. This smiling tiger is a larger than life personality, who has a heart of gold and gives selflessly, which is a testament to who he is, tiger and all! Oh and he does love some brisket.
Moving down to our world renowned and vivacious Yvi Laramee, she is literally the glue that keeps us together. This consummate professional applies her Project Manager day job to all of the exec and the members. You see this lovely soul on our halftime member giveaways, as well as running around for our 50/50 and raffle draws. She is a crowd pleaser, literally sharing a shot of sambuca with anyone around. We are truly lucky to have her as part of the team.
I wanted to share with you a bit of a day in the life of our exec team. We spend thousands of hours a year on our exec team meetings, status updates, pretty much a weekly stand up, social media, membership and ticket requests and that is just during the season. We also spend countless hours during the offseason to prepare for what is to come for the new year. Yes the entire exec team meets weekly to help us manage all of the happenings for LFC Toronto, no matter where we are in the world. Weekly, Yvi creates an agenda with all of the inputs and task items, she also creates a project plan, Dan has created a phenomenal dashboard, where we capture all our social media, member and financial metrics.
Then we move on to the extended volunteer team - we have Aizaz, Zazzy, Zazooo Sheik, who is such a talented and significant force. This amazing influencer has created our Youtube channel, our much loved branding campaigns, the rewind, crimbo, champions league Paris and the list goes on. Sherif Youssef is our Professor at large, this enigmatic personality manages events, being our pseudo pub liaison at the Slye Fox in Burlington, social media updates galore etc. Then moving on to our hard working Social Media team with Christian and Yousef who are both larger than life characters, these die hard Reds manage our social media and then some. I would also like to thank many others Kosta, Erika, Vasu, Arben, Fatos, Munish, Roham, Taz, Daniel C, the travelling KOP and many others for all their efforts for the year.
So many things were in such a disarray in the city and all across Canada, lock downs, mask wearing, social distancing. That chaos caused our much beloved Scallywags and Jeff to close its doors, leaving us without a home. In full transparency as we always are with the membership, that was such a daunting task to find a location in the pandemic time. Many establishments reached out, several did not have enough space, many would not open up for early matches, venues didn’t have enough staff, they didn’t want to give us any member discounts and the list goes on and on.
That brings us to the Madison, what an interesting journey that was. I can remember at the beginning Greek Peter, Jason, Fares, Fatos, Kosta and others, bitching that the sound was not right or the internet was poor (Get off the Wifi), the beer was warm or the staff.. well the staff.. lets leave that one for now. That was quite difficult for us all going in and out of lockdown, back and forth to the Madison, all under severe pandemic conditions.
We took all the feedback and Sam pushed that envelope, you have no idea, how hard he alone worked to get the Maddys on track. In the end, we got Madison hardwired, removing the internet issues and the service with Melika was much better, Ravi tried a bit harder to get the food in a better state, but all of this still not to the level we needed. Regardless, we made do with what we had. Remember, even though there were Liverbirds in the stained glass windows, Maddys was not a football pub, but they tried their best for us all.
Madison provided us with some memorable good times, those 5-0 and 4-0 Manchester United thumpings, where people were jumping on the tables, the trashing of the blueshite Evertonians, the double vs the gunners, were amongst a plethora of great moments at the Maddy’s, all with hundreds of member and non member’s alike, coming out to support the team. All you have to do is take a look at our Instagram with the umpteen video’s and stories, all showcasing the environment created at the Madison. So much so, we were the envy of many LFC supporters clubs around the world, no really, the feedback has been incredible and many want to come to Toronto to experience our TO game day magic.
What is really amazing is to see all the friendships formed from our amazing community. Our expats, folks from Denver, Albania, Cypress, Greece, all over India, Africa, then you have to mention the next generation die hard souls like Lawson, who all made this a special family season.
As our membership started to grow, we had many calls for expansion. Part of our 2021-2022 Exec plan was to expand our LFC Toronto footprint and see which venues could be considered under our umbrella. With the Carabao cup, Champions League final and several other matches, we decided to add the Elephant and Castle in downtown Toronto as well as the Slye Fox in Burlington for some test events. Both Josh and the E&C staff, Jacqui and the Slye Fox staff, were absolutely fabulous, really trying hard to provide a fantastic member experience. We are excited to continue on this journey with them for the new season.
If you have perused our LFC Toronto members perks page, I wanted to give a big thank you to Pig Out BBQ, The Madison Avenue Pub, Elephant & Castle, The Slye Fox, Premium Soccer in Montreal, Anfield Shop in the US, O’SESAME, Guinness and Carlsberg for the generosity, corporate support and donations through out the year. We look forward to your continued support for the next campaign and our membership, Thank you from us all!
We will share some of this detail at the AGM, but a portion of the raffles and membership dues, goes to charity. Last year we chose a fantastic organization www.thefriendshipbench.org, which does amazing outreach and advocacy across Canada for Mental Health. Take a look at the link and use the hashtag #YellowIsForHello on social media. Giving back is part of the Liverpool FC and LFCTO mantra’s and we are proud to donate to this meaningful cause.
Our AGM is scheduled for June 28th, we will provide some details of the past year, while munching on a few appetizers. All of our hard work is for us to get closer to the club and for our LFCTO membership, so please do share your voice with us. We are only as good as our community and if you are interested in running for a position, please click the link https://lfctoronto.com/event/olsc-toronto-annual-general-meeting-summer-cocktails/, read our bylaws/AGM details and try your luck.
We have done some incredible things this year, but are always looking for additional support and assistance. I implore you to take a look at the link and apply to our volunteer roles to be part of our amazing community - https://lfctoronto.com/volunteer/. We can use all the help we can get, as we continue to grow our amazing community!
Before I close this off, the exec has many exciting events planned for next year. I won’t share them all, but an LFC Legend visit, some amazing contests and draws, just to name a few. We will be selling our memberships for the new year shortly and trust me, it will be worth your while to be a member and part of this fantastic community.
OLSC Toronto President