Friday, July 24, 2009

7/24/09: "Maybe They Can Bring Their Own Police If They Don't Like Ours."

That's what Robert Warzycha had to say, hoping to jokingly find a solution for Toronto FC fans. It appears nevertheless that around 200 Ontarians will pack up the car and head South to Columbus today. Although a few are coming, this police brutality affected attendance could have, in all probability, been larger if Toronto was permitted to bring banners and drums.

However, a one game ban appears to be in place as the Crew front office apparently believes that the Jesus middle finger and 2 Girls, 1 Cup banners unfurled in the March game encited(or played their part in) the altercations after the contest. Also there is concern about Toronto fans using large banners as cover to light flares (as they did in March), Columbus Crew GM Mark McCullers said this to the Toronto Star and also stated that the ban on drums and other items are because the Crew had damage to their stadium from TFC fans and therefore "privileges needed to be minimized." The large banner as flare cover issue seems to be something MLS teams are starting to harp on and become aware of (read about Chicago below). However, I think there are other ways to go about removing flares.

Also, I would have to disagree with banners playing a role in after game shenanigans, a banner has nothing to do with post game altercations. I have never been enraged(nor I assume has my fellow brethren) with a banner, I either think "sweet, nice banner" or "that's a really stupid banner." Also, I'm not sure I get the reasoning for the drum ban? You could make some spurious connection for banners equaling trouble but drums? I think that is a bit heavyhanded, especially when the Crew(reportedly if you can believe TFC fans) have been calling up Ontarians for the last few weeks about buying tickets.

Anyways, the real solution on this one in my opinion is pretty simple. Keep Toronto's egocentric fans in their section for thirty minutes after the game. As no Crew fans have an interest in sitting around and waiting for them, the only confrontations happen on the way back to the car and bar. If TFC fans are not around when the Crew fans are walking out there will be no problems. This security tactic worked like a gem in Toronto in May, as apparently if you keep Crew fans away from the Toronto melee of death outside no problems arise. Who knew?!

Getting to the point here, I just hope the bans on banners and drums are just an attempt to keep Toronto FC fans docile so they don't ruin CCS's bleachers, and not an attempt to stifle the atmosphere. The Crew have been calling Toronto fans all week begging them to come back. Well, if you really want their money then you're going to have to allow them to bring their banners and drums, and you're going to have to give them adequate security.

There is a reason why Toronto's away attendance at Crew Stadium has dropped from 2,300 to 1,400 to 200. If The Crew want this rivalry and want Toronto fans to keep making the trip, as much as I hate to say it, they have to start listening to TFC fans and catering to their needs a bit.

Especially with a throng of new, visit worthy stadiums nearing completion in Philadelphia and New York for the 2010 season, two away games that Crew fans could substitute as well, cutting out some trips to a rival too.

**This is a good response on the Crew's thinking behind the ban, the problem is that TFC fans don't really get that there are consequences for their actions. They will be fine with replacing Columbus with Philadelphia and New York. Well, until they get out of hand there and have the same restrictions, after three games, at those new venues as they now have in Columbus.

**Speaking of banner restrictions, Chicago Fire's Section 8 has some new restrictions coming straight from their President Dave Greeley. Greeley is considered to not know much about soccer. A baffling thing is that many MLS teams have people working in their front office that don't really particularly know or like soccer. Not surprising that someone that doesn't understand soccer fans, would come up with some stupid, or rather unnecessary, restrictions.

This may be okay for away fans, but no banners for your home team?! Really?

1.) Anyone found to have a flare in their possession will be banned from Toyota Park indefinitely. Okay.
2.) Monterrey Security will have an increased security presence in and around Sections 117/118 where incidents involving flares have taken place during recent games. Okay.
3.) Until further notice, banners larger than 3x5 feet are prohibited at TOYOTA PARK because such items have been utilized as a cover to ignite flares and they could be highly flammable. What the hell? Not okay.
4.) Investigations into past incidents involving flares are currently in review and any individual identified will have their ticket privileges revoked and will be banned from TOYOTA PARK. Kind of a witch hunt, but okay.

A 3 X 5 banner is this size:

So, as much as I would like to chuckle about Chicago's ill fate, it's ridicoulous to pretty much take away the bread and butter of a supporters group. Taking away banners, takes away their creativity and voice. If Mr. Greeley doesn't understand how much of a slap in the face that is and how much of a fight he will probably have on his hands because of this unnecessary step, then he probably should just get out of soccer.

I'm starting to see a trend. As apparently 2008 was the year where MLS allowed supporters groups extensive freedom and 2009 was when they reigned it back in quite a bit(thinking we had too much.) Well, Dave Greeley is going to kill the atmosphere there and who knows what team is next. If some drunk idiots start chanting the f word again in the Nordecke, we might be. If that happens se le vie season tickets. I'm just of the opinion that front office's in MLS need to worry about two things in regards to supporters groups, security and comprimise. While ceasing the micro-managing of supporters sections as if it were a simulation game.

You treat your hardcore support well by comprimising, finding solutions, listening, and not taking away the things they do well the most; and if you do this, they will treat you well in return, and comprimise where need be.

What Greeley has done isn't a comprimise, and hopefully it doesn't become a trend among the brass across MLS, otherwise they are in for a protracted fight. As supporters are smarter than MLS gives them credit for, all that Section 8 needs is plenty of 3 X 5 sheets of fabric, already painted, and some liquid stitch. Do it up in the stadium stands and they are not theoritically violating the rules. Secondly, MLS can't search everyone's pants. Supporters will always get around whatever barrier a team puts up, because they are already invested and they usually care about it more than the suits. They are in it for the love of the team, not the money, and because of that they won't lose. If someone tells them not to do something(especially when it's a ridicoulous request like not to have banners), that will just be more incentive to do it. So, MLS teams should just comprimise otherwise I think there in for a real mess.

**Here's a few other interesting articles on the day:
Angry TFC Fans Boycott Columbus
TFC to Invade Crew's Den
Someone should tell this genius that a backline of Hejduk, O'Rourke, Brunner, and Padula isn't our Reserve backline. TFC actually will have more reserves with Attakora and Serioux out.
Good to see that other MLS fans realize that Toronto fans are a bunch of crybabies.


  1. If the supporters leave MLS the league will fold because you'll see plenty of teams averaging 5,000 a game.

  2. OK, I thought that a supporter should only care about the team. Well of course everyone wants a big giant warm welcome when they go to an away game. But in Columbus, that won't happen for them. My point is that forget about how the police treated. Do you care about the police, or your Team! You travel that far and the main thing you are concerned about is the police? I will fight the police to see a crew game. Get over it, canucks!