Almost since they were built in 1961, Frank Clair Stadium’s south side stands were home to Ottawa’s louder, rowdier football fans.
Perhaps it was because the home team’s bench was there, or because older people liked the sheltered north side. Whatever the reason, south-siders were considered rabid die-hards, while north-siders were considered more “sophisticated or posh.”
One day, during an Ottawa Rough Riders home game in 1985, the public address announcer chided north side fans for being too quiet compared to their cross-field counterparts.
“Then, almost collectively, the entire south side stands starts yelling ‘North side sucks!,’ over and over again, and it just became a staple of it,” said Robert Joachim, who missed only two home football games played at Frank Clair since the early ’80s.
The rivalry between north and south grew to the point where T-shirts were made. Joachim still has a “North Side Sucks” T-shirt, circa 1990. The rivalry grew until the Rough Riders folded in 1996 and briefly re-emerged with the ill-fated Renegades in 2002.
Joachim will be sad to see the now condemned south side stands brought down Sunday. But he knows it is necessary because they’re dangerous.
“Those stands were moving, whenever there was a touchdown or whatever was scored, and everyone would jump up, you could feel the stands move.”
Still, for an old south-sider, it’s rough to see the north side prevail at anything.