MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis 901 FC returns for its first home game of the season Wednesday night and for Bluff City Mafia it will mean a return to normal for match day traditions.
For 901 FC, this is their third season at AutoZone Park but the dedicated fandom demonstrated by Bluff City Mafia would have people believing the team had been around much longer.
"We are a family of people who have come together to celebrate the game of football and tell Memphis about it," Molly Weldele, Lady CAPO and Co-President of Bluff City Mafia said.
Come Wednesday night, it will be the first time since the pandemic that Bluff City Mafia will fully be back in action with all of its match traditions.
"More so than ever this first home game is going to set a precedence of being able to move on and get back to whatever the definition of normal is now," Weldele said.
Each home match begins with a pre-match party at The Brass Door, the Irish pub located just a short distance from AutoZone Park.
Ahead of the match, Bluff City Mafia marches from the pub to the stadium chanting and singing along the way.
"30 minutes before kick off we will sound the drums, the alarms, the smoke bombs, the road flares and we'll be marching to the stadium full-force to support our boys in blue," Weldele said.
The Brass Door only recently reopened for the first time during the pandemic just in time for 901 FC games. Owner Seamus Loftus kept the pub closed until May 25th.
"It's a tough decision because particularly in the restaurant business, you can't make any money if there's nobody in the room," Loftus said.
Loftus said he kept closed with the priority of keeping his staff and customers safe.
"The decision was Irish influenced," Loftus said about staying closed. "My brother is at home in Ireland. My parents are there and they were ahead of us in terms of the size of the problem and so there was a lot of optimism here, maybe a month, and the information was no it's not a month."
Loftus said the time was right to return and they're ready to be back in action in time for the first home game.
"It's a tribute to 901 FC soccer one of the life blood parts of the city that now there's this momentum to be back and we're part of the momentum," Loftus said.
901 FC's first home game of the season kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Atlanta United 2. Ticket information can be found here.