07 January 2015

New York Soccer Fans in Meltdown Mode...

On the day of the long-delayed publishing of a 2015 season schedule, fans of both the New York Red Bulls and nascent New York City Football Club are up in arms over the poor decision-making and management taking place in their front offices.

Red Bull Fans woke up to the startling news that Mike Petke, the Head Coach who lead the team to winning the Supporter’s Shield a year ago, had been suddenly fired by incoming General manager Ali Curtis, whose experience with the team and the fan base was all of two days. Petke, on the other hand, was seen by players and fans alike as the very heart and soul of the team, a local-boy-made-good who represented the team both on and off the pitch.

Social media sites burned with fan anger, prompting a ticket refund revolt and planned confrontation with the Front Office of the Austrian energy-drink owned management team. A sample of reactions:

“If you give a shit at all, you will cancel your season/partial/whatever tickets. This is the only power we as fans have, and there is no other way to let the FO know how fucked this is. Not one more cent until Red Bull sells this club.”

“EVERYONE meet at the corner of market st and jefferson st in front of CATAS tomorrow 11am.....Ali goes to lunch at 12pm we will march over and see him walking out of the arena then and make OUR demands”

“This team is in shambles. No signings, fired one of the best young head coaches in the league, lame duck sporting director, owners that could care less about the club... This team is going to be lucky to win 10 games next season.”

"One of the biggest things keeping many fans from converting to NYCFC was how the club finally recognized its history this year - and Petke was a major part of that.
Letting go of Petke now with no on-field reason after his success, is a disaster for the long term support base they were able to build up this year. There is now very, very little holding people back from choosing to support another team - especially the coveted Manhattan group. This decision is an absolute gold mine for NYCFC.
People don't support an energy drink company. They support a team with history. Petke represented that history."

But things aren’t exactly rosy on the NYCFC side of the street, either, where fans were stunned to find that at least one of their announced players - Frank Lampard - will not really be playing. The Third Rail, the NYCFC Supporter’s group, released a formal statement harshly criticizing their absentee Landlords in Manchester, England:

Statement on the Lampard Loan Extension

"Following reports that Frank Lampard's loan has been extended beyond the start of the MLS season, we are issuing the following statement:

On behalf of the Third Rail, we would like to publicly denounce City Football Group’s and Frank Lampard’s decision to extend his loan to Manchester City until the end of the Premier League season.

Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team, committed to season tickets, and bought merchandise under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club, not Manchester City. Many of those fans are rightly outraged by this decision, and we support any course of action they take to voice their discontent over this decision.

Our support for our ownership group has been unwavering until now, but this we cannot support. We reject out of hand any suggestion that NYCFC is in any way secondary to Manchester City FC, regardless of the source, and are disappointed that City Football Group would give such an appearance.

The Third Rail will forever act as a voice for the fans of New York City Football Club.

Let's be clear - this is not about one player, even a star player; this is about how City Football Group will treat our club going forward. It is also about defending the entire league and American soccer.

But we are still NYCFC fans. This is still our club. We want NYCFC to succeed for the benefit of all soccer fans in New York City. We trust this decision will be an aberration, and with your help, our voices as one, it will be."

Maybe Local, American teams need to be owned and managed by Local Owner-Invetstors for the benefit of Local Fans....