You’ve seen us on the local news.
You’ve read about us in the local newspapers.
You’ve heard about us from friends, family, or co-workers who have attended our games.
But you still haven’t been to a Detroit City Football Club match?
Shame on you.
I know. From the outside, we can be intimidating. Smoke. F-bombs. Loudly singing from Minute One to Minute Ninety. Unapologetic arrogance.
But you won’t find a more entertaining and fun sporting event, with the greatest people, anywhere.
This guide is intended to help you enjoy the full experience of a Detroit City FC match, from within the comfort and camaraderie of the Northern Guard Supporters.
A Little Detroit City FC History
Detroit City FC began in 2012, playing matches at Cass Tech Stadium on the campus of Cass Tech High School in Detroit. The history and experience of the Cass Tech experience can be found HERE. In 2015, the fan base outgrew the high school facility and had to find a larger stage. In September, the team announced that it put in a bid to renovate Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. After gaining approval from the Hamtramck School Board, team ownership called out to the supporters.
October 29, 2015, at the Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck, Detroit City FC pitched their investment proposal. The financial need to rehabilitate the eighty-year-old Keyworth Stadium was $750,000. Supporters were asked to make an individual investment through a crowdfunding source – as low as $250, as high as $10,000 – under the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption Act. The investor would then be repaid with interest over time from the team’s revenues. The team set $400,000 as the goal that, once met, would free the funds early and allow the renovation work to begin.
On February 15, 2016, the closing date to invest, Detroit City FC raised $725,500 from 492 investors.
The renovation began, and there were dates when supporters could volunteer their time and sweat in getting the stadium in shape. By its inaugural match on May 20, 2016, the first phase of the renovation was complete. All but two sections on the Supporters’ side could be completed, giving a seating capacity of about 7,000.
On that opening night of May 20, 2016, the stadium swelled at 7,410 fans.
To get in, you need a ticket. Detroit City FC season tickets are the best bang for your buck in Detroit sporting events. In 2015 at Cass, it was a must. However, with the increased capacity, individual game tickets can be purchased online or at the stadium.
Of course, you’re going to want to get there early. And by early, a good ninety minutes before game time. The place to meet is the Fowling Warehouse. Fowling is a sport which combines (American) football and bowling. It’s the place to hang out, have a few pops (or Detroit City FC-local brews).
The Northern Guard Supporters have a table outside where you can purchase all the great Northern Guard swag, the proceeds from which supports the smoke expelled. On average, over 130 sticks of smoke are ignited during a match.
It should be noted, the Fowling Warehouse does not serve food. However, there are high-quality food trucks at the stadium to satisfy your palate.
Between 30-40 minutes before game-time, the Guard gathers outside of Fowling Warehouse for the pre-match speech.
From here, we gather on Conat Road, blocked from traffic by the Hamtramck Police Department.
(There is a narrow stairway for those of us who’d rather not scale down the hill.)
And from here, the march begins.
Once Inside Keyworth
Grab some food at the food trucks. Grab a beverage to keep hydrated. Grab some Detroit City FC souvenirs.
There are two sides of the stadium. The Family-Friendly side and the Supporters Section.
On the Family-Friendly side, you can enjoy the experience without much effort. Don’t go too far down the grandstand. There is a section dedicated to the opposing team’s supporters. Their numbers are generally small, though.
And just because it is the Family-Friendly side, it doesn’t mean it’s without supporters and antics.
The other option is the Supporters Section.
The sign sums things up. But here are the details.
The chanting and singing run the entire ninety minutes of match play. The words to the songs and chants can be found at the Northern Guard Supporters’ table in the form of “Hell’s Hymnal.” Or you can download it from the Northern Guard Supporters’ website.
The important people to follow for songs are the capos. They stand at the front of each section, facing the supporters. Follow their lead, for that is how the entire section stays together, creating an imposing, single voice in support of our players and of intimidation to the opponents.
The famous Tetris song is performed twice – once in each half. Be prepared to be drawn into the lines, arms over shoulders, for what creates an awesome display for those over on the Family-Friendly side.
If you have health issues with smoke, this is not the side you want to be on. Furthermore DO NOT BRING YOUR OWN SMOKE TO THE MATCH! The Northern Guard has assigned supporters in charge of smoke and when it is released. Smoke is usually released at the opening kickoff…
after a Detroit City FC goal is scored…
and continuously from the 85th minute until the final whistle.
So there you have it. An evening at a Detroit City FC match can be the most fun you’ll have at a sporting event in Detroit. We look forward to having you join our family.