Friday, June 5, 2009

6/5/09: Feedback


A Crew Stadium without a Nordecke would just be damn boring. The first step is admitting it. (Picture by Sam Fahmi)

Mark McCullers thanked everyone yesterday for the feedback, both good and bad, on the Black & Gold Standard.

Dear Crew Fans,

I have read the comments here, along with most of the Big Soccer threads on this subject, and I sincerely appreciate your feedback. Clearly there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and a number of the comments do compel me to try to capsulize our perspective and our position. The Nordecke has the potential to be a signature, iconic component of our club’s culture for a long, long time - which would be an ideal scenario for all of us. I have said repeatedly that the Nordecke provides the team with a strong home field advantage, distinguishes us from other sports and contributes an authentic soccer atmosphere which we all desire. I have meant every word of it and I do not want to compromise any of those very positive attributes.

However, we all must realize that - whether intended or not, whether desired or not - the Nordecke becomes representative of the club’s identity, image and reputation. This behavior will continue to become more and more associated with Crew soccer - part of our identity - if we don’t stop it now. We can not become known as the club whose fans chant GTFO. We can not become known as the venue where you can’t bring your family because the fans’ profanity resonates throughout the stadium in organized chants. That’s not who we are, and it’s not who we want to be as an organization.

This is not about rights, attendance, authority, parenting, complaints, etc. It’s about our club’s image and reputation in this community and throughout the league. That is one of the most important responsibilities and assets I manage and I can not stand by idly and watch it be tarnished.

Sincerely,
Mark


A solid message overall. But, if the front office wants things to actually change for the better, then they can't stand idly by(sorry but online messages and friendly chats on faulty pa equipment for one game won't cut it). Instead, the front office has to roll up their sleeves, do some dirty work, and have to come up with a plan with the supporters.

I have said multiple times, 3 megaphones to 3 respected people(one from each group) who have enthuisasm and can coordinate together in front of their sections. They introduce new creative chants. These new chants will make GTFO unfashionable because we would then have more interesting alternatives. Also, when necessary, the chant leaders could drown out swear chants with "We Love You" or another acceptable chant. Further, as an additional bonus, current and new chants would be louder because everyone would be on the same page at the same time.

It's just an idea that I think would help and couldn't hurt. There may be other ideas that work as well. But, what won't work is standing by idly, hoping that the supporters somehow get better organized chant wise on their own. When in the section's current configuration, with three groups who don't exactly want to get on the same page and who don't think it's cool to follow what another group is doing unless it's a mundane Columbus clap-clap-clap chant, it's just incapable of developing alternatives in it's current state. So, I just don't see the Nordecke changing without a soft nudge in the right direction.

And, I have said this for a while... The swear chants start up randomly because there isn't much of anything else in most of the section's chanting repitiore. The main reason some negative chants catch on is because they are simple and everyone knows them, and starting more we love you's and le soy le voz's is impossible right now unless you have a way to communicate them to more then 10 people around you. Because the section was smaller when those chants caught on. And, myself and others have tried to start a couple new chants, but it's not going to work unless it can be communicated to the whole section.

The best way I can think of is megaphones and it will cost around $100-150 bucks for three to save a bunch of headaches. I can't afford them, I know the supporters groups probably won't because they are disorganized and can't come together with a plan together. So, here's hoping the front office becomes proactive and works to push the Nordecke in the right direction.

As the section's main problem with swearing, lack of chants, inability to do things like the two sticks more often, etc. is lack of organization. The section would be a million times better if it could just get on the same page and become organized.

Also, I don't think we have much to worry about in regards to the section's future:
The Nordecke has the potential to be a signature, iconic component of our club’s culture for a long, long time - which would be an ideal scenario for all of us.

Especially, the team. They know they stand to gain and probably will not make as much money in the future off of an atmosphere like FC Dallas. It's just not a good image for a soccer club, actually in my opinion much, much worse then being known as the "GTFO" club. The club can gain more then anything from the Nordecke, that's why the team trademarked Nordecke. What would be beneficial to them is if it became as notorious as the Kop or the Dawg Pound or what have you. Because then they could roll in some extra money that way as it becomes part of the ticket, part of the experience, part of the attraction for coming to games. I don't buy that the trademark was to protect the name for the section. Everything is a business, and the Crew is a much more attractive business with a vibrant Nordecke in the corner, period (although some try to downplay it's importance). Not only that, I think the Crew would move without it. Without it there are not many signs of a passionate fan base in Columbus.

Without this change in 2008. We look pretty boring and bland to soccer fans around the world, in Columbus, and other fans in MLS. Just in a year and a half, Columbus went from the laughing stock of support to near the top. I just don't think there would be much holding back a move if it goes. I remember sitting in the stadium from 2005 to 2007, we go back to that and I think you can stick a fork in it.

Nordecke is not going anywhere. I just think they should be a little more pro-active. I find it funny that absolutely nothing was done on Wednesday to reinforce the message and they expected a different result. Online messages isn't going to cut it.

A grand longevity for the Nordecke is not potential, it's not a scenario, it's what will happen.

The Nordecke has some things to fix, but I disagree that it has tarnished any image, if anything it has built up the Crew's image tremendously. As McCullers finished the letter saying, I can not stand by idly and watch it(the team's image) be tarnished.

Tarnished? Sorry, I disagree. If anything I can almost guarentee that the buzz about the Columbus Crew around the world and in Columbus is much higher then before the Nordecke. Sure, Guillermo and winning helps, but the Nordecke was a part of it. If anything, McCullers should be thanking the section for the image boost.

1 comment:

  1. when you watch other teams play on tv, you can hear their chants and it sounds identical to crew chants. i beg for originality.

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