Welcome to The Bailey
Loud. Rowdy. Smoky. And you’re a part of it.
With the new season finally upon us, we thought we’d put together a ‘What to Expect’ post for any newcomers or even if you’re returning to the best supporters’ section in the country.
This is by no means a list of rules or mandates, but simply some helpful tips to make the match day experience enjoyable for everyone.
You do not have to be a member of a Supporters’ Group to be in the Bailey, pregame, or march. You also don’t have to be in the Bailey to be a member of a Supporters’ Group! While I can think of numerous benefits of joining an SG, it is by no means required.
Joining Die Innenstadt gets you a sweet scarf, access to our Slack page for communicating with other members, and other perks like early notice on limited merch. As with other groups, it also helps fund things like smoke, tifos, and road trips.
For some, match day is an all-day event. Whether you're a member of an SG or not, you may be indulging in beverages prior to the match. Luckily, Nippert’s location provides no shortage of establishments to imbibe, and most SGs have set up shop on the east side of campus. Die Innenstadt starts at Mecklenburg Gardens about 5 hours before kickoff (~2pm for a 7:00 game), and they have plenty of tasty beverages. These pregame events are a great way to meet fellow supporters, talk FC Cincinnati, drink, and be merry. Highly recommended.
Die Innenstadt kicks off the march to each game from Mecklenburg Gardens, and we pick up most of the other SGs on the way to Nippert. Most of these groups participate in the march from the bars to the Bailey, and it’s safe to say all will welcome you, member or not, to join in the pregame festivities.
Access into the Bailey
If you’re reading this, can we assume you already have Bailey tickets? Good. If you don’t and want to be part of the madness, there are options. Remember those SG benefits we talked about? Well, most SGs have some sort of ticket exchange set up within their organization so members can buy/sell with each other. The nice thing is most, if not all, of these groups limit the resale price to the face value of the ticket. Try to avoid third-party sites, as they usually mark-up ticket prices and we want to discourage scalping in the supporters sections.
These are your tickets
They're not just pretty pieces of paper
Any way you secure a Bailey ticket, you will get issued a wristband. THIS IS YOUR TICKET. It will have a barcode that will be scanned at the gate AND will be checked by the stewards at the top of the Bailey. Do not accept an e-ticket to a game, as this will only get you into the stadium, and not the Bailey itself.
If you don’t have a Bailey wristband and try to gain access to the Bailey, you will be denied entry. Please don’t give the stewards a hard time. They have a job to do and it’s pretty cut and dry: no wristband, no Bailey. If you lose your wristband, contact your ticket rep or email the club before match day.
Approximately 45-60 minutes prior to kickoff, the march begins from Mecklenburg Gardens with Die Innenstadt and continues to Short Vine where it meets the other SGs. From there it continues to the southeast gate (Gate 3a) of Nippert Stadium. We will typically have flags and 2-pole banners available to carry during the march and wave during the match. You’ll be asked to return them at the end of the match. So please keep an eye on whatever you borrow and leave any items in the stands after the game or return to a member of Die Innenstadt leadership.
The march will typically be led by capos and drummers. Capos are the folks with the megaphones and drummers are the folks with, you guessed it, drums. Sometimes the march will pause to chant and set off smoke/flares. This is good time to mention this: if you don’t like smoke it’s probably best to not be in the front of the march.
Once the march reaches Nippert and enters the gate, we’ll gather inside near the restrooms/concessions between sections 110-112. If you didn’t march from the bars, this is a good time to join the final push to the Bailey. We do everything possible to ensure we don’t start off until everyone has made it through the gate. This gives you a few minutes to hit the bathroom or grab a beverage if you’re so inclined.
Once we’re though the gate and formed up, we take a knee, get pumped, start chanting, and begin our final march to the Bailey.
This is important: STAY BEHIND THE DRUMMERS. We cannot stress this enough. And trust me this isn’t some ego trip where we want to be up front for pictures. It is a logistical and, more importantly, a safety issue. For one, they have to get to the bottom of the Bailey first to set up and being in front helps with that. But more pressing is trying to walk down the Bailey steps carrying a giant drum obscuring your vision is tough enough. This becomes more precarious if people are walking/stepping/stumbling in front of or behind us. You may see people without drums walking with the drummers. These folks are helping to carry supplies and guide the drummers. Please allow them to stay with the drummers. Please please please stay behind the drummers.
Didn’t march? That’s cool. The Bailey opens when the rest of the stadium opens so you’ll still be able to enter prior to the march arriving, but the middle section of the Bailey will be roped off. Here’s another important thing: if you arrived early and are standing at the edge of a section waiting for the rope to drop so you can scurry across, can you at least wait until the drummers get past? On more than one occasion last season, numerous drummers nearly bit it coming down the stairs because of some over-eager folks darting in front of them to get to the middle. Plus you run the risk of getting side-swiped by a large, heavy, unforgiving instrument. So just don’t.
Also, be careful if you run down the bleachers. Broken legs and concussions make it hard to enjoy the match.
Oh we love us some smoke. All the smoke. At certain points in the match you will see, and probably inhale, blue and orange smoke. The Front Office has allowed certain people to use smoke at kickoff, after an FCC goal, and after a win. Nobody outside of the designated individuals are permitted to set off smoke at any time inside the stadium. These folks have been instructed on safety procedures and signed a waiver with the club. So, don’t bring your own smoke in. Don’t buy your own smoke from somebody at the bar pre-match. You will be ejected. I know earlier I said this wasn’t a list of rules. This is a rule, and it’s the club’s rule.
If you have an aversion to smoke, I would advise against standing front and center. It tastes like crap, gets in your hair, and stains your clothes. By entering the Bailey, you understand that smoke is part of the deal. But usually the closer to the front, the heavier it is.
Anthem, Tifos, and the Match
OK so you’re there. It’s already been a long day. This is a good time to get a beverage, maybe some food, and take a breath. Because the next 90 minutes will be intense.
After warm-ups come the walk out and the anthem. During the walk out the drummers will typically do a beat with an ‘F-C! CINCY!’ chant. During the anthem we raise our scarves and sing along. You have a scarf right? Another cool benefit of belonging to an SG. We think ours are pretty swell.
After the anthem, AND ONLY AFTER THE ANTHEM, we may raise a tifo. Ok I see that weird look you’re giving me. What’s a tifo? A tifo is a large banner that is painted by the SGs with something clever/witty/significant to the match or opponent. If there is a tifo for the match, SG leadership will inform those in the section where it will be displayed. Typically, these are raised from the bottom rows up. When it comes your way, pass it above you and hold it up. DO NOT PUNCH THE TIFO. We want people to see it and punching it/waving it makes that incredibly difficult. Don’t punch the tifo. Savvy? Thank you.
After a few moments, you’ll hear someone say to bring it back down. Pass it down to the row in front of you. Good work. You did well. Especially since you didn’t punch the tifo. Not every match will have a tifo, and that’s ok. They usually mark important games against rivals, or recognizing important players or milestones. But all matches will have flags and two-poles!
The next 90 minutes are a whirlwind of chants, clapping, flag waving, etc. The capos (guys with the megaphones, remember?) will lead the chants and the drummers will provide the beat. At times, the drums will remain silent to allow the crowd to chant a cappella. Please sing, clap, chant, etc as much as you can. The whole point of the Bailey is to create an unforgettable atmosphere, and that’s only possible through your involvement. Your participation is necessary and, frankly, expected.
A note about chants: Got an idea for a chant? Let’s hear it! We typically try and stick with ones that everyone knows, but we always need new ones to keep things fresh.
Let’s talk about language real quick. Look, this isn’t church. Bad language is going to happen. Hateful, sexist, or racist language will not be tolerated. We’re better than that. I get this is open to interpretation, but we’re all adults here. And if people are offended, take their concerns seriously and discuss it after the game. Remember that like it or not, your behavior is a reflection of the Bailey, the club, its fan base, and the city as a whole. Banter is part of the game, and there are some incredibly witty people in the Bailey. Heck, we spend an entire half going after the opposing goalkeeper. But let’s keep hateful language out of it.
Oh and don’t throw anything on the field. Ever. Ok maybe streamers. Seriously though, don’t be that person that chucks a beer at a player or referee. If you throw things on the field, you will be pointed out by those around you and you will be ejected. Sorry, I guess this is another rule. But this one’s important, for the safety of the players, refs, game day staff, and other supporters.
At the end of the match, please return any flags or 2-poles loaned out at the start of the march to the bottom of the Bailey. Someone will be collecting them. Don’t take it as a souvenir. Flags cost money and 2-poles take time to make.
Oh you want to know how to make one? Well gee whiz that is another benefit of SGs! They organize ‘creative’ or tifo nights, usually to paint tifos. But you can almost always find someone willing to help you create your very own 2-pole if you bring a design! Neat, huh?
So that’s about it. It’s a lot to digest, I know. Have a question? Just ask! There are plenty of people willing to help make your experience as awesome as possible. You can reach out to Die Innenstadt leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org or post it in our Slack.
Hope this helps. Now let’s have a great season!