TIFOS and Displays
What better way to celebrate our shared heritage and our present-day leaders than by creating something visually spectacular. Displays or tifos are the most creative and vibrant way of doing this and are seen throughout Europe and increasingly in the UK. They honour the history and the culture of a club and when you have the Derby County story to inspire you, the possibilities are endless.
As a group, we have given this a go. We have captured important moments in the club’s recent past that would otherwise have gone without comment from the stands. In 2019 we created a banner in support of Tom Lawrence following the death of his mother. Tom managed to play through his grief and was instrumental in getting the club to Wembley that season. We were made aware by players that it had been greatly appreciated by Tom himself. It was crowd funded within the hour because it quite clearly hit the right note with the fan-base. When club legend, Jim Smith, died later that same year, we once again very quickly crowd funded a banner to celebrate his life.
We have also created homemade banners with messaging that has captured people's imagination. We displayed a “Bald Eagle thank you for the memories” at the midweek match immediately after his passing whilst waiting for our other banner to be manufactured. At the crucial behind-closed-doors match vs Sheffield Wednesday in 2020 that may have saved the club from extinction, the “Leave everything on the pitch That is all we ask” message was presented to players as they arrived in the car park and the enduring picture of this banner, back set by the pyro and the Clough and Taylor statue, moved many. When the entire city marched to raise awareness of the plight of the club just over a year ago at the time of writing, the banner “A founder member of the football league with 138 years of football heritage Save Derby County” ended up on the back and some front pages of national newspapers. These banners were simple to create and the messages on them were uncomplicated, but someone had to make them.
Our most ambitious plan to date has been TIFO for the last match of last season vs Cardiff City. After a gruelling campaign on and off the pitch and with uncertainty remaining, we wanted to create a message of hope. We wanted a sell out crowd to celebrate our strength and to leave the ground optimistic that, no matter what happened that summer, our community would never die. We also wanted to thank players and staff for their efforts and acknowledge that, despite tremendous adversity, they had conducted themselves with pride and dignity. This was again crowd-funded with relative ease.
We willingly accept that with regards to all our manufactured projects to date, there is room for improvement. Jim Smith deserved a greater quality banner than what still hangs over the gap between the South West Upper and South Stand. What was needed was contributions from the creative Derby County collective as opposed to a print of a photograph of questionable quality. In relation to the tifo vs Cardiff, the angle at which the banners were crowd surfed and the lack of colour and the busy nature of the banner made the content difficult to distinguish from a distance.
Another issue we note is funding. Whilst all these projects have been crowdfunded successfully, there is only so often you can go cap in hand to the same people. We’ve learnt lessons by doing and we intend to carry on until we’ve cracked it. With that in mind, we intend to put together an improved tifo for the home match of the season vs Portsmouth. We will look to reach out to those that are creatively minded and are currently in communication with the football club. We kindly ask anyone with knowledge of creating and selling merchandise, or those with fundraising expertise, to get in touch at the earliest opportunity.
We will shortly publish provisional designs of something spectacular.