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Backers bring Buffalo to Boston on gamedays

Posted Sep 29, 2012


Ask any good Bills fan what their favorite parts of a home game are, and they’ll probably mention the camaraderie amongst good friends and fans, the hometown food and drink, or the traditional post-touchdown “Shout!” sing-a-long.

It’s all part of that one-of-a-kind Orchard Park gameday experience.

But you might be surprised to find that some 300 Backers gather weekly to eat Mighty Taco and Sahlen’s, drink Labatt Blue, and yell “Let’s Go Buff-a-lo,” and they’re not at the Ralph.

Four-hundred miles away, in the heart of Patriots Country, a group of dedicated fans have found a way to bring that traditional Bills gameday experience to Boston.

“It’s great because for a couple of hours you make Boston feel like Buffalo,” says co-president Tim Sweeney. “When we play the shout song, you don’t have to hold back.”

Sweeney used to bring a boom box to the bar to play “Shout!” from a CD, but because of their huge turnout and a great relationship with the owners of their home at the Harp Restaurant & Pub near the Boston Garden, they’ve graduated to an in-house DJ on gamedays. Watch this video of the club in action, and you wouldn’t guess they’re outside of Western New York.

“It's always funny to see Boston fans react to a couple hundred Buffalo fans singing "Shout!" as they try to get into the bar after a game at the Garden,” Sweeney says.

Their dedication doesn’t only extend to their beloved Harp gatherings. Sweeney says the Bills Backers of Boston holds the record for the largest ticket purchase ever at Foxboro Stadium. One backer bought out an entire section of the stadium for a game in the 1990s – a cool $18,000 worth of tickets. Van Miller showed his appreciation for the sizeable crew when he ended his call of the game by putting on a Bills Backers of Boston hat that was thrown into the radio booth.

One of the oldest backers clubs on record, the Bills Backers of Boston were unofficially founded in the mid-1980s in the upstairs room of The Fours. As word spread and the group of 15 turned into a packed house, they outgrew The Fours and found their way to the nearby Harp where they’ve been ever since.

“We have a really enthusiastic group that really enjoys being together for the games,” Sweeney says. “We do as much as we can to make it a fun gameday experience.”

If that video of their lively sing-a-long is any indication, it’s safe to say they’ve succeeded.

If you’re in Boston and want to join in on the fun, email backers@bostonbillsbackers.com, visit their website, or head to the Harp Restaurant & Bar at 85 Causeway Street in Boston this Sunday to watch your Bills take on the New England Patriots in Buffalo.

Not in Boston? Click here to locate your local Bills Backers club.