How to Improve the Cauldron

Cauldron

Not long ago I asked whether the Cauldron was the Heart of the Team or a Pain in the Butt. Here I take an outsiders look at how to improve the independent Kansas City Wizards Supporters Group, The Cauldron. Again the intent is to motivate leadership of The Cauldron to push to become the best Supporters Group in the league. In ( ) of each section is a number that says how important making this change is, 10 being very important and 1 not very important at all.

Change the Name (3)

A good Supporters Group name has some attachment to the team, but it also is an identity of the group. Consider some of the Supporter Group names around the league. My favorite is Toronto’s Red Patch Boys (and Red Patch Girls). Also great is LA’s Riot Squad, New England’s Midnight Riders. On the other hand some of the worst are Colorado’s Rapid Class VI, and every group that is named after the section they sit in, Section 108, Local 103 (I assume that is what that is about). This is a critic of the names of those groups alone.

Now, consider our name, The Cauldron. What comes to mind? Perhaps a big pot with a witch over it. There is nothing in the name that makes me think I’d like to be one of the Cauldrons or a member of the Cauldron. The Red Patch Boys (and Girls) have set a new standard in Supporters groups beginning with the name and I suggest (as an ideal) that the Cauldron re-brand with a name that is classic and legendary. When thinking of what they should be called I think of how one says they are part of the gro up. Now one would say they are a “member of the Cauldron” while in Toronto one would say they “are a Red Patch Boy.” So, what name? I don’t have the answer to that, but something historical and including “blue” might get us in the right direction.

Create a Cauldron Logo (10)

If you’ve read this blog at all you know I’m obsessed with logos, so the Cauldron not having one is a major issue for me. Logos help promote the identity of a group, The Cauldron name while not great is acceptable, however a logo is an absolute must. A logo is needed for t-shirts, scarfs, website, signs, promotion material, etc. Below I’ve posted a few of the better Supporter Group logos and then I’ve made one for the Cauldron. I am no artist, perhaps it is time the Cauldron approach Matteo (fake Wizards logos) with ideas for a Cauldron logo.

T o see more logos check out the sidebar at MLS Underround. Now an idea for our logo

.Cauldron3

Better Internet Presence (8)

The internet is a great tool or building/strengthening a Supporters group. While the Cauldron’s Website looks great there isn’t a great deal of interaction or even promotion of the group going on. Again, it does a bunch of things well. I love the people page with pictures (brilliant!), it does a good job of basic info, but not the details an outsider is looking for. How about a page on why I would want to join that tells me when y’all meet outside of the stadium, what it cost and what the benefits of joining are. How about an invite to the tailgate including what someone should bring, money/food. How about a new page with upcoming events, better yet get someone in leadership to post on Oz City Cauldron info/events/etc or make a Cauldron page in the sidebar. This is your invitation. And/or add a blog page to the Cauldron website. It works well because people and can post and interact easily with each other. Also add a links page to Facebook/MySpace Cauldron pages. The site looks great, it does many things well, but the internet presence is not as great as it could be.

Recruit New Members (9)

1. Make up fliers to handout at games with membership info (cost, what you gain, website info, tailgate, etc).

2. At half time take your festivity on the road, watching the Argentines march in to games is amazing, do something similar the last 5 minutes of halftime. All meet up at one side of field and march back to your seats with chants/cheers inviting people to come join you as you go. Some won’t care to join no matter what, but others simply feel weird doing so.

3.  Offer online or on promotion material to buy a ticket for anyone (first time) who will go on your Road Trips with you.

4. Use Video/Pictures to show what you do as a Supporters Group. Again, a Toronto group is a great example in the video below. Make a page on your website/blog that gives a recap with stories, pictures and video of the trip.

 5. Get more girls involved, start a sister group specifically for girls. As far as I know the Red Patch Boys are the first to have done this (Red Patch Girls) and it has resulted in their having more girl members. Get wives/girlfriends more involved. Perhaps working with the FO or Starting XI Girls a fun (not sexy) calender could be produced for a charity the team supports.

More Festive! (7)

Again, this is something the group does well, but can always do better. More confetti, blue everything. Perhaps more costumes, there is something great about seeing the crazies in costumes around the league, horns guy and kilt guy in Dallas comes to mind.

Prepare chants/signs that deal with specific star players on the other team. Not legitimately cruel or rude, but that looks to get some sort of reaction from the player. See what the FO will let you bring in, controlled smoke bombs, streamers, etc. The more blue the better.

Closing Comments

Don’t get bent out of shape, this is not a “the Cauldron stinks” post, it is a “this is how to make the Cauldron better” post. My personal opinion of Supports Groups has never been good, but what I’ve seen the two groups in Toronto accomplish has given me hope that other groups could really make a difference in the game day experience as well the general experience of being a fan. I look forward to what the Cauldron can be this coming season and in years to come.

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21 Responses

  1. Um, we are already doing all those things.

  2. btw – feel free to get involved to see what is done, what isn’t done, what the level of apathy w/in the group is, etc and so on.

  3. A logo is being worked on, see this thread on bigsoccer, Soda is already working on one.
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=643441

    Half time is the one break the group takes all game, it’s our one chance to sit , relax (smoke if it’s you’re thing), go to the bathroom, etc. People aren’t going to be too up for that.

    What’s the point of the Cauldron logo you created? As with the name it should have something to do with the group, the fist has nothing to do with it.

    Costumes? You shouldn’t have to do costumes to have excitement. Costumes are a lame attempt to add something and get on TV.

    Many of the website things are done during the season. Granted our website did go through some trouble because our website guy spent some time away.

  4. And as GS said, many of the other things you mention are being worked on. Just because there is no public discussion, that doesn’t mean it’s not going on.

  5. yeah i believe the cauldron does most of those things. except costumes cause that is just gay. one thing i would like improvement on is songs. we dont have enough good songs. and the we are kc wiz chant blows.

  6. Again, this is not intended to be a slam. It is someone who is on the outside of Cauldron giving an option on what would make it more appealing. These things may be going on, but if people on the outside (myself) don’t know about it then they can be done better. Strive for the best group in the league. And just to be clear this is one man’s opinion, you can simply blow it all off.

  7. OK, I’ll blow it off then.

    Who cares?

    Let the Caldron people do what they want as they are doing it.

  8. welcome to the kc cauldron scene futurgrace. Thanks for the input for someone who doesn’t care. Unfortunately your ideas are about 3 years late. Things like handing out fliers are pretty much skill level 1 ideas and don’t work in practice. We found handing out cups at the tailgate were much more effective than fliers.

  9. *shrug* Being from Wichita, I agree with most of the above. I’ve got no idea what’s going on except what’s posted on Bigsoccer and the Cauldron website. A lot of the chants are great, but I don’t know which ones are used at all anymore. I’d sit with you guys and gals, but my dad would freak. 😉

    Anyway, I’d really like to see one thing: a better website. I get that the website guy was gone, but the thing just ISN’T updated. I mean, I’m sorry, it’s not an issue of when, it’s an ‘if’. The little thing to the side that shows what game is next really doesn’t cut it for me. What would be an ideal thing (that obviously wouldn’t work right away) would be (in all actuality) a blog, like this one. New posts would be for the games, what happened there, and who came to the Cauldron. What cheers you used. Pictures. Maybe a video or two. That would be very interesting. As for the parts of the website that needed to be permanent, they could simply be created as separate pages within the blog, and you could link to them from the homepage.

    Those are the only real gripes I have, but I think you guys do a great job of cheering regardless.

    Much Noise,

    tz0n3

  10. tz0n3,
    I agree about the website, and a lot of what you suggest is all ready being worked on. The problem from last season, as you alluded to, is that the primary person responsible for maintaining the website was unavilable for the 2nd half of the season. This brings us to an ongoing issue: volunteers. Nobody was willing to step up and volunteer to make updates to the site last season. That is something we are hoping to correct this season. Rather than hoping people volunteer, we will be making more of an effort to actually recruit people to help…contacting them rather than waiting for them to volunteer.

    Hopefully, that will help in keeping the site updated regularly.

    As for content, we are working on that as well.

    Rovert

  11. These people take everything so personal. He’s trying to help. It’s a great article. The logo he drew sucks, but that’s not his thing. The website is mediocre and rarely up to date. Most of what the Cauldron does is great, but they’ve hit a plateau, and it’s time to take the next step. I’ve been to at least 10 games this last year, and not once was I approached about the Cauldron in any capacity. So Rovert is on the right track for next year. My one idea would be to pick one game next year, and make it a “Get to know the Cauldron” day. Get together with the Wizards and make that one game revolve around people trying out the Cauldron, tailgating with the Cauldron, recruiting, etc.

  12. Patrick that Get to know the Cauldron thing requires exactly what Rovert was talking about volunteers. Many people in the Cauldron don’t volunteer so getting them to help is a problem.

    Congrats on coming to games, but the Cauldron can’t go around recruiting every person that comes into the games, that’s impossible and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The people coming to games have to make an effort to be interested in the Cauldron, not just waiting for someone to invite them in.

    As for him trying to help, I understand that. But it’s not really a great article, especially when quite a few Cauldronites have come in here saying that many of the things are being done. This is a great blog, but FG needs to do more research for his posts. There was a thread on bigsoccer about the Cauldron, so it was public knowledge that they were working on that. Why not interview Robert Houghton about some of these things, and get an idea of what they’re doing to improve the section as well. Before coming in as an outsider, who himself says that he’s not a fan of supporter’s groups, he should take a little bit of time to learn about the section and what it is doing.

  13. some of these comments perfectly reflect what turns many of us off about the cauldron. Instead of welcoming someone into a conversation (ongoing or not), those who already aren’t in the gang are met with defensive skepticism. Is it any wonder this group has hit a wall and struggles to find volunteers?

  14. bfos7215 –
    or you could take your own advice and not assume that we aren’t open and welcoming…

  15. bfos7215 –
    ok, um, sorry to not be so nice with that last remark – it wasn’t meant to “not be nice”

    Let’s just say that it’s better to actually interact with people than to post about it. That’s the best kind of communication. I mean, people that aren’t in the group (and it’s not a closed group) .. they need to ask/talk about it with us… we are definitely open to ideas. But while you say “defensive skepticism” there’s also an element of “you need to do it this way” or “know it all…ness”… ha ha, if that makes sense.

    Interaction is better.

  16. I agree with bfox7215 100%. Trying to constructively criticize this group is just asking to get ganged up on, especially on the BigSoccer boards. From an outside perspective, the Cauldron is seen as a seperate group of people, whether you think so or not. It is difficult for somebody to just go up to the Cauldron tailgate to a bunch of people they don’t know and invite themselves into the group. It’s on the Cauldron members to invite people in if they want more people. I don’t join the Cauldron because the people just don’t seem that friendly, and this is a perfect example, to be honest.

  17. As an aside on the Cauldron website. I have volunteered to help keep the Cauldron website updated. I know Stu has been slammed with the twins so I have told him I will help him.

    If anyone has updates or wants things added let me know.

    Not a good idea to put my email address on a public blog, so send me a PM via BigSoccer, username as here – kopiteinkc

    or yell “Mark” really loud at the home opener 🙂

  18. Patrick, you’re right that there needs to be some responsibility on the Cauldron to recruit members, but it can’t all fall on them, there is only so much they can do to recruit people. There has to be people that show interest in the section, and those people need to take some initiative as well. Plenty of people just come into the section and enjoy themselves. Stop by introduce yourself. I’ve met plenty of people who just come by unprovoked, or drawn by the tailgate to join.

    Can the section be more open, sure. But people don’t always have to wait for an invite.

  19. I really respect a lot of members in the Cauldron and their dedication to the team. But, I guess it’s a little off-putting that a supports group that definitely needs a good amount of work would respond so dismissively to some outside suggestions. Regardless of whether they’ve already been discussed.

  20. OK, I am coming into this with head bowed as I have never been to a game. I hail from Omaha and currently live in Kobe, Japan, but I am also in a similar group for our local club, Vissel Kobe, and I think I have some things to offer. Just things that we like to do for the sole purpose of fun.

    Confetti – totally agree. Make more than enough for everyone. Keep your old newspapers, and put a place on the website which shows how to make it…something like this: http://kobe.cool.ne.jp/vikinghi/kamifubuki.html

    Banners and big flags…the more the merrier.

    What you said about girls. They made their own little splinter group (especially because there is not the sexual equality here that there is in America). It works great. The group is Viking, and the girls are Viking Angels, and used the old Charlie’s Angels logo on it, but tweaked it for our own use (can’t find that on the net).

    Name – don’t change it. Some people want to keep it and they will keep it if they want to. When some people decided they wanted to change the name of Viking, they ended up being seen as traitors and booted out of the group. They are now “Ultras”…boring.

    Logo – I’ve been in Japan too long and the only thing I can think of will probably have Hello Kitties all over it so I digress…. 😦

    Back to Banners – I forgot that a good way we get the announcers on our side is to make big paper cutouts of them. We are a small club like you, but when we do those kinds of things, they sometimes come down and have a chat with us after the game…quite fun.

    Chants – keep it short and simple such as “K C Wiz Ards XX XX X (one X being a clap). Apologies if you already have that.

    Chants against the other teams. My personal favorite is the Ole song. ” Oleeee Ole Ole Ole! Dallaaaaas, Merdaaaaa” or in the case of a one syllable team, like the cubs, “Oleeee Ole Ole Ole! Cubs suck! Cubs suck!” I LOVE that one!!

    Songs for KC. Something to jump to. Most important thing ever.

    OK, I’m sorry if I sounded like a dick outsider there, but I’m someone with experience in another group, so I’m just trying to offer suggestions. Can’t wait to hit up home and make it to a game and meet some of you.

    Forza Kobe! Forza KC!!

  21. Mash people up, it’s the only way to be considered a legit supporters group.

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