Introducing a new feature to the Blues website – the True Blue HQ Fan of the Week, presented by Barfoot & Thompson.
Each week we’ll select one lucky fan from the True Blue HQ leaderboard who we think is particularly passionate about the Blues and find out a bit more about them and why they’re such avid fans.
In return they’ll win a Blues merchandise pack. Our first winner is Scott Hornell, a die-hard Blues fan from Whangaparoa who makes the journey to Eden Park for every home game and has even created his own Facebook and Twitter Fan pages.
HINT: To score more points on True Blue HQ make sure you follow Scott on Twitter: Follow @ScottHornell73
Read more about Scott below:
How long have you been a Blues fan for?
I’ve been a fan since school really, watching the Auckland team take that Ranfurly Shield back in 1985. Even when our family shifted from Massey up to Whangaparaoa, I made the natural choice to stay blue rather than support the Chiefs; as North Harbour were part of that franchise at the beginning of Super Rugby.
One of my best mates Bazz was a huge supporter like me and we had to suffer a few rough years in 2001/2002 but loyalty is a long-term journey, so the good has to go with the bad, and 2003 was our salvation, but yeah “TrueBlue”.
What makes you such an avid fan of the Blues?
In the last 3 or 4 years it has been tough but I’ve decided to be quite staunch in my support now, with the flag outside my house all season and showing that local support, It’s because the team deserve it and with the interaction we now have with the team and other fans through social media, I feel more engaged actually today then back in 2007.
But then I’ve always enjoyed “yelling at the TV” which is sort of like engaging with the sport.
What’s your game day routine, where do you travel from and where do you sit at Eden Park during the match?
My routine is pretty much determined by the kick-off time but I always get apprehensive which is a good thing.
I usually wear a polo shirt to my workplace and get my customers involved, create some banter with them that helps me build-up because coming from Albany, it can be a long trip over that bridge.
I normally drive but this season I’m going public transport all the way from the park-n-ride in Albany to reduce my carbon foot-print and feel connected with fellow fans and supporters. Once I’m at the ground, I’ll head to the West stand and sit just off to the side of the posts in GA.
I did watch a game from halfway but prefer to see some scoring action approaching, or maybe catch the ball from a goal kick. So either West or East is best and I’ll post comments & Tweet, share pictures and maybe catch up with the BLUESdude or see someone like Ben Lama or Jonno in their face paint (that’s true fanaticism).
Our Facebook (FB) account was started by Angela Lo in 2010, and she kindly asked me to co-admin Blues Super Rugby (BSR) at the start of the 2011 season, so its been a good couple of years now but shout-out to her, as I think we were both early devotees to social media and it has really been a great outlet for us.
On my own, I’ve got a couple of other FB pages now but Angela and I have built-up our page to 535 fellow BSR fans; which is a pretty good accomplishment. It feels as much mine but it’s a shared love and Twitter fed off the FB page activity.
Posting on both media now, we can share the same posts and I think pictures are shared more easily on FB to be fair and Twitter is good for fan/player banter and to hype up the pre-game vibe.
How do you enjoy using social media to chat with fellow passionate Blues fans and keep up to date with all Blues news?
We pretty much add links, photos and stories we like/hope that others like and we each drop posts before all the matches and then we will post our thoughts on the post-game analysis, but the more fans you gain, you start to be more organised I think.
I’ll normally put my name after a thread I started so they know its me but BSR has a friendly attitude, with very similar members from New Zealand and around the world, so Angela and I can rely on the other to promote BSR and the team – never dis the players or say anything offensive.
Team announcements are important, match/round statistics as well as our shared experiences, and that all creates a good melting pot of information; and my energy is matched by hers, and with external input from BSR fans.
And with Twitter, the fun of that is in beginning new trends or in leading with a story or re-Tweeted message/picture. The benefit of social media today is that you become involved and Angela and I have fun with the hashtags and nicknames.
Our Twitter page follows quite a few sportspeople so you can interact with your heroes more easily. You have a community feel now with the “TrueBlue HQ” and with this group and from their comments which I myself really try to promote and share.
What have you made of the Blues start to the season, and how do you think they’ll go this year?
In regards to this team, it all began with those last few games from last year. BSR tried to support Pat Lam, and we all respect his efforts and that was something that was out of our control.
But as soon as the short-list was led by Sir John Kirwan (JK) then we all saw a future leader who could rebuild the region from the ground up, and like he said “It’s gonna be a roller coaster”
He put together a great management group that was of instant benefit because all Blues fans bought into the journey, with an emphasis on passion first – that’s a great culture and “full credit” to JK.
The first trial match was a bit harsh to swallow but the players were mature enough to hold their heads high and after the pre-season and going to North Harbour Stadium for the “meet the players day”, I felt energised and transmitted that on the FB page.
That’s the beauty of BSR to be fair, that anyone can make a comment or share a post and nobody has said anything negative. We’re all behind the management and believe in the team of 2013, so hey “roller coasters are fun JK.”
I’m on board Coach and so are all the members of BLUES Super Rugby.
Good luck to all the boys and we’re bloody proud of you.