Making stadium 'party' place

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 13:00 20/03/2014
WANNABEES
PATRICK HAMILTON/NELSON MAIL
HOME TOWN STING: The Wannabees sound off in the Trafalgar Centre last year.

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The Fico Finance Giants support crew want the new Saxton Stadium to be a "party stadium" this basketball season.

Teamed with the responsibility to get the crowd pumping and support their favourite team, the Wannabees show up to Giant games to chant, yell and dance.

But don't call them cheerleaders - Wannabees leader Tom Gargiulo says he is not a huge fan of the term.

"We are a support crew", Tom says.

With about 30 members who wear supporters' uniforms to the games, this year Tom wants to see the whole crowd at Giants' games involved.

"I would like to see the whole stadium from start to finish, people up off their seats and jumping around."

He plans on getting the Wannabees more organised this year with its songs and chants, but mostly "it's all very ad-lib and about having fun", he says.

"We yell a lot, we have a party and try to help out the team, sometimes we get into it with the referees, but we like to support the Giants rather than put down the other team."

He has been involved since 2009, and, in his first two games as a Wannabee, the Giants lost. Another Wannabee joked that if the Giants lost a third time when Tom was supporting, he would be out.

However, the Giants won that one in the last second and Tom was hooked.

When not driving trucks for his work, Tom also plays basketball, he has trained with the Giants, and says it is every Wannabee's dream to join the team.

However, he was also happy to be leading the Wannabees.

"I used to go to games when I was young, the Wannabees looked like they were having lots of fun."

He was wanting to get more people involved with the Wannabees. They needed to be "loud, and enjoy making a fool of themselves".

"We'll take it as far as we can go, last year we went up to Hawke's Bay with the Giants."

This year the Giants move from playing the Trafalgar Centre to Saxton Stadium.

Tom had not seen the floor plan for the new stadium but is excited to see how it will be set up for the basketball games.

"It might be easier to get more of the crowd into it, maybe they will see us better to get more involved."

He has recently been inspired by videos of crowds at games overseas which Giants' coach Liam Flynn sent him.

"They were crazy, they just go bananas.

"We have our group; they have a whole stand."

The Giants regular season starts with a home game against Wellington on April 4 and runs until a June 27 showdown with Southland.

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The Wannabees are hoping their antics will help inspire a home town final.

- Nelson

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