By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
  1. Dan Loney

    Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 10, 2000
    Cincilluminati
    Club:
    Los Angeles Sol
    Nat'l Team:
    Philippines
    #1 Dan Loney, Aug 3, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018

    Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

    By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
    If you think I'm going to insult your intelligence by talking up how great Zlatan made the Galaxy look against Orlando, well, I don't blame you. For those archaeologists who are reading this hundreds of thousands of years after humankind has fallen, I'm referring to the hat-trick win this past weekend, extending the Galaxy's unbeaten streak to nine.

    If you were for some weird reason a fan of a different team, you might point out that the Galaxy were at home. The Galaxy had all three designated players on the field. Orlando had played on Thursday and traveled across the country, while the Galaxy played on the road on Thursday and maybe got caught in traffic on the way home. Orlando is averaging a sexy one point a game overall, and have been a beached whale fire for a couple of months now.

    So the Galaxy turned a gimme into freaking Thermopylae, and we're jumping around like happy dolphins around suicidal sardines. We look like fans of a twenty-minute-old expansion team, and not the Lakers/Yankees/Cowboys/Coyotes of MLS.

    Well, let me tell YOU, fan of Brand X. You are 100% right. No apologies.

    MLS is such a fun league. It's going to be tough to give it up.

    One of the jarring things I've noticed since focusing back on MLS this year is the constant hostility between front offices and fans. MLS is at war with its own supporters.

    The most obvious example is in Columbus, and at this point I assume you, Gentle Reader, agree with me on how important it is to #SaveTheCrew, or have arrived at a different conclusion for your own reasons.

    At this particular moment, the situation in Ohio is mired in dueling lawyers, while the situation in Austin is…well, read Kevin Lyttle's American-Statesman article here if you want to be confused. https://www.statesman.com/sports/so...mls-stadium-idea-cota/4R7RusDZnHjiBeEOTuiZpK/

    Most, if not all, stadium proposals fail long before a vote is taken, let alone before dirt is shoveled. (Cf., Miami Beckham United.) Precourt Sports Ventures and MLS seem to be addressing this problem by having every stadium proposal put forward all at once, thinking one will get through. If you have better metaphor for this than millions of sperm trying to break through a giant rubber wall to get to the egg, please let me know.

    I think I understand the situation in Ohio better, although I think lots of things. Either ORC 9-67 (the "Modell Law" when it's at home) is valid law, or it isn't. I think it has a lot of wonderful advantages. If you think your team has no community responsibility beyond putting the city name on the shirt – great! Build your own darn stadium, ya chump. But if you take one sip of the public teat, then you owe the public something in return.

    Wiser legal and economic minds than mine – AS IF! – point out that such things either should be expanded beyond sports entertainment, or probably shouldn't be on the books at all. There would probably be little preventing individual cities and counties from passing similar laws, and the idea of (to pick an example completely at random) Foxborough, Massachusetts claiming (another random example) the New England Revolution for all eternity is pretty scary.

    Without the Modell Law, though, the #SaveTheCrew fight would have been a great deal tougher for all the great fans involved (sorry, can't even pretend to be unbiased on this puppy). Your state and community should pass one. Looking at you, Missouri.

    The Modell Law, whether you see it as fans' rights godsend or unconstitutional abomination, might even force Major League Soccer into the obvious and sensible solution – an expansion team. Common sense would demand the currently-empty community get the expansion team. Ohio does have what I consider to be a reasonably bitter memory of seeing Art Modell win a Super Bowl with a team where the core came from Cleveland.

    But because the current team would usually be the more valuable one, it would be understandable if the current owner would want to take the existing team and saddle the jilted with a startup– certainly if the current owner is a slug like Anthony Precourt.

    Fortunately, Major League Soccer has come up with a solution, however unwittingly. If MLS is actually back on its BS about "investor/operators," then the problem doesn't arise. Anthony Precourt can open a branch office in Austin, but the current Columbus location stays open and nobody is forced to move. Since that solution would case mild inconvenience for the rest of the league's investor/operators, and since I expect MLS to go right back to calling them "owners" the microsecond this case is decided, I'm not putting a nickel on common sense here.

    There is one significant problem with the Austin expansion team option, though, and that's the ongoing MLS expansion process. Having Austin jump the line would be aggravating for at least six other cities and groups of rich people, not least of which are also in Texas.

    I have a solution, and, like most of my solutions, I do not expect it be entertained for a moment. San Antonio, however, is objectively a good market, has been on the Major League Soccer radar for longer than most of us have been alive – oh, only fifteen years? Fifteen years in MLS is like fifteen years on Neptune. I'm not telling the other expansion candidates no, I'm telling them later. I also don't buy the idea that Austin and San Antonio will cannibalize fans from each other, just like no one thinks Cincinnati and Columbus will fight over each others' fans. (And they won't.) (But not because Columbus won't be there.) (Because they will.)

    The perfect solution, of course, is Precourt sells the Crew locally and gets the hell out of soccer entirely. I'm willing to settle for short of that, if it will #SaveTheCrew. But there has to be a Columbus Crew in MLS, or I'm no longer supporting MLS.

    Yeah, they'll survive without me. Good for them, good for the sport. But an MLS that would move the Columbus Crew is not the league we could and should have.

    And I do think the Austin controversy has alienated fans outside Columbus, because after all these years we probably still do have more in common with each other than not. And I really, really do think that the Austin controversy has warped other front offices. It's never good when other fans are the enemy, and if the team you work for is likely to be moved for profits that you, the employee, will never see - well, what's your fan engagement going to be like? (EDITED and expanded; per comments, below, initial version read "I hate MLS fans, they all suck", which, wow, where did that come from, that wasn't the message)

    This should be DC United's grandest year since their last trophy. Oh, God, no, not that year. Since 2004. Adumania! Um, okay, grandest year since 1999. What the gods of capitalism have decreed Audi Field is open, and the league's original flagship and jewel has a permanent home.

    Except the place is leaky as hell, and the front office and fans hate each other.

    Fine, I'm sure they'll fix the place up in the offseason. What the kids nowadays call Toyota Stadium and new home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, but what I will always think of as Pizza the Hutt Park, is by all accounts a delightful, if inconvenient, place to take in an association match. And it was opened, oh, about four years before it was finished.

    Pizza the Hutt. It's a "Spaceballs" reference.

    What will take a little more time to heal is the self-inflicted wound DC United gave to itself and its supporter culture. As nutshelled expertly by Ryan Bacic of the Washington Post :

    After 22 seasons with an amalgam of independent supporters’ groups, United announced an official partnership with one original supporters’ group, the nonprofit Screaming Eagles, that assigned them “the lead role to manage all aspects of the supporter culture.” The agreement prominently entailed charitable work with DC SCORES, but the Barra and Ultras were outraged at two other aspects: primary responsibility for game-day atmosphere and control over single-game ticket resales.

    Per Bacic's colleague Kendra Andrews, the Screaming Eagles get tickets at $20 a pop, which they are in charge of re-selling to other supporters groups.

    Now, class, who can tell me the flaw with this plan as described?

    That's right. Everything.

    “When I got here, we wanted to revise the model,” [DC United President Tom] Hunt said. “We did not want them to be ticket brokers for the club. We wanted them to be the supporters’ group that would come and bang the drum and lead the chants and not necessarily make a profit off the club.”

    Well, let me tell YOU, Mr. Hunt – yeah, you're right. Supporters groups should not be ticket brokers. It was a stupid and lazy idea that never should have become part of the club culture or tradition. Sit down with your fans, treat them like adults, and don't ask them to do your jobs for you.

    This is where – and we'll be returning to this theme – we need front offices and management to talk to each other, and compare notes. Fans do, after all.

    Fine, so Seattle or Portland rolling up to the DC mansion and telling them how to run their shop might have come off wrong. But the older MLS clubs like San Jose, Dallas, Colorado, Kansas City, Chicago, the Red Bulls and the Galaxy managed some painful transitions from NFL stadium to soccer-specific. Sometimes it went smoothly, other times it didn't, but when eleven other teams have done it previously, someone must have some notes.

    Yeah, the Red Bulls are rivals. But not for fans in Washington, DC, that's the point. You want a rich and popular rival to make you rich and popular in return.

    Okay, so don't take advice from Precourt. Or the Galaxy these days.

    And certainly don't take advice from the Chicago Fire on how to manage an unhappy fan base.

    I understood the task Nelson Rodriguez faced with Chivas USA, which was basically to drag the Exxon Valdez back to port for repairs. Sure, their tickets sold about as well as bacon cheeseburgers at the Wailing Wall (stop me if I've told you that one), but Chivas USA never finished last after its first year. Despite budgets and leadership intelligence that could both be described as shoestring.

    I have no idea what Nelson Rodriguez is playing at with the Chicago Fire.

    Front office reactions tend to overshadow the fan shenanigans (or "shefanigans," if you like, which now that I see it actually printed out I'm fairly sure you won't) that brought on the responses. Usually because what the fans did is usually some feat of childishness it wouldn't be worth the trouble to type out.

    Unless you set fire to the other team's stadium or something. Good job, Toronto FC Inebriatti, you've given the green light to every security crackdown in the sport for the next five years. But I digress.

    Otherwise excellent recaps of the current situation from Dan Santaromita of ProSoccer and José Luis Sánchez Pando from some rag called the Chicago Tribune don't address what Sector Latino or its members did in the first place. But then…neither does Nelson.

    From Santaromita's article:

    “The group and its leadership to the time I’ve been here has never voluntarily submitted those who were guilty of breaking the fan code of conduct,” Rodriguez said of SL. “In one particular incident, the number of participants in the incident was large. It was more than a few people, many of whom were trying to obscure their faces, many of whom were wearing a sweatshirt identifying them as members of Sector Latino. The leadership was given every opportunity to bring forth those who violated the code of conduct. They did not. That’s what led to the final warning. That’s what led to: if you can’t control your membership, if you can’t modify your behavior, if you can’t identify those few bad apples who are ruining it for all of you, you will leave us with no choice.

    “And on the very next opportunity, there’s a violation of the code of conduct, there is no submission of the guilty party and everything was clear. So we made good-faith efforts, but in the end what I’ve said and will continue to say, we cannot allow a group to hide or allow to be hidden within them, those that endanger the safety of others.

    “From our perspective, we gave multiple opportunities for the leadership to step up and they didn’t. The last thing I’ll say is we have reason to believe that members of the leadership engaged in violating the fan code of conduct.”

    Since it's Rodriguez himself who chose to focus on both the collective punishment and the vagueness of "code of conduct," then it would be fair to judge Rodriguez by that alone.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Rodriguez is being an idiot. As general manager of a private business, it's his right to be, but casting a net to include season ticket-holders who had nothing to do with the violation of the code of conduct would be poor business practices for a band of Tusken Raiders.

    What Sector Latino did, as it happens, was set off a smoke bomb in the supporters section.

    If Rodriguez wanted to address that, in my opinion he had plenty of room. Smoke bombs are stupid. What do you think the other team is going to do, stop playing and gawk at the smoke long enough for the Fire to score a cheap goal?

    And this is the United States of America. Not because it's against things Latino, but because we are a lawsuitocracy. Here's a three-act play of every possible discussion of supporter sections setting off combustibles:

    FRONT OFFICE REACHING OUT TO SUPPORTERS: We love flares and smoke bombs!

    LAWYERS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES: No, you don't.

    FRONT OFFICE: No, we don't!

    But the entire section obviously didn't bring in and set off their own individual smoke bombs. So the collective punishment relies on the idea that the fans should have turned over the guy responsible.

    Ethics of snitching aside, that's just a confession of incompetence. If you don't have a camera pointed at your most excitable fans, and if your professional security are baffled by the Moscow Rules tactic of "covering one's face," that's a problem for the general manager. Outsourcing fan security to fans is, if nothing else, cheap and lazy.

    Those are the most obvious examples of misguided front office policies towards fans, but I'm sure there are plenty of others. In ye olden times, a lot of this was because inexperienced front offices were facing challenges no other pro sports team faced regarding fan culture. (Several universities could have given some helpful advice, looking back, but the kinship between student sections at college football games and soccer supporter sections remains unacknowledged as of this writing.)

    It's not acceptable any more, however. We are not Among the Thugs here. Treat your customers like you want them to come back.
     
?

As far as fan relations, who's got the worst front office (Crew off the board for now) and why?

  1. Atlanta

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Chicago

    19 vote(s)
    39.6%
  3. Colorado

    2 vote(s)
    4.2%
  4. Dallas

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. DC United

    16 vote(s)
    33.3%
  6. Houston

    1 vote(s)
    2.1%
  7. Kansas City

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. LAFC

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Galaxy

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Minnesota

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Montreal

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. New England

    5 vote(s)
    10.4%
  13. NYCFC

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  14. Red Bulls

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  15. Orlando

    1 vote(s)
    2.1%
  16. Philadelphia

    3 vote(s)
    6.3%
  17. San Jose

    1 vote(s)
    2.1%
  18. Salt Lake

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  19. Toronto

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  20. A Cascadia team (please specify in comments)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Dan Loney, Aug 3, 2018.

    1. aetraxx7

      aetraxx7 Member+

      Jun 25, 2005
      Des Moines, IA
      Club:
      Des Moines Menace
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      Despite everything about Toyota Park being more convenient for me than, let's say Wrigley, it's not worth the hour or so I'd save in driving from central Iowa to watch a game. Sure it's closer and the parking is much better for out-of-towners like me, but the fan experience is shit. The roster should perform better than it does; on paper, it's a great team. There is just something about the current iteration of the Fire that doesn't work. The last time it felt like a team worth cheering for and actually supporting was in the Blanco days... I'm a huge fan of Bastian Schweinsteiger and love that signing, but the front office is so shitty that it's pulling everything down.
      I'll travel to KC or Minnesota for live MLS games. The fan experience at the former - even if you're cheering for the "other" team - is exceptional. I haven't been to the latter yet, but it has to be better than Bridgeview.
       
    2. Beau Dure

      Beau Dure Member+

      May 31, 2000
      Vienna, VA

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I shopped local. It's difficult to trash what was the model MLS club 10 years ago but DC pulled it off.

      The good news is that the situation, like the Audi Field railings, can be fixed. Some of the other clubs are in difficult situations. I wouldn't know what to do with Chicago or New England at this point. Other clubs seem OK -- I know there's some anger in the Philadelphia fan base, but they're doing a lot of things right.
       
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    3. jack sticker

      jack sticker Member

      Rangers
      United States
      Jun 5, 2018

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      DC United because of how they treated their supporters group.
       
      Unak78 repped this.
    4. Todorojo

      Todorojo Member

      Oct 27, 2008
      South Weber, UT
      Club:
      Real Salt Lake

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      DC is pretty bad. I can't believe that they were charging fans money just to get a tour of the stadium. When RSL was building their stadium with an owner with much shallower pockets than DC's owners, I got to tour for free, and I wasn't even planning on buying season tickets.

      It's the little things that make fans love or loathe their front offices. Stop trying to make a buck on every little thing all of the time.
       
      Unak78 repped this.
    5. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      What I find absurdly galling in all this, is that last week we saw LAFC grossly mishandle its security detail in terms of keeping folks of the thug mentality from accosting opposing fans. Granted, due to the wonderful fact that Joe Six-Pack is more inclined to film an incident and post it to YouTube than actually intervene, at least one culprit was identified and banned.

      However, this doesn't change the fact that an MLS FO once again dropped the ball on managing fan conduct.

      There may or may not be rules on smoke bombs and flares at venues and that's fine. However, when you USE FOOTAGE AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF SUCH THINGS IN YOUR ****ING PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS, it sends a very mixed message.

      I sit with LARS. LARS members have expressed that sitting in 137 & 138 at the StubHub makes me a part of LARS. However, this is an informal arrangement and I'm not obligated to attend LARS tailgates, interact with LARS members, pay LARS dues, or let LARS know who in the hell I am. I came to sit in that section because a Galaxy rep in 2008 proposed it to me when I was inquiring about upping may partial-season plan to full season tickets, because they were trying to get people into that section.

      If I violated a rule and cameras didn't pick me up, I'm not sure that the LARS leadership would be able to ID me as anything but the slightly overweight English guy who goes from meekly chanting at the back to loud, profanity-laden tirades, depending on how much the Galaxy sucks that night. Clearly, this is no fault of theirs.

      There's a lot I like about MLS and I've defended the league often.

      I'm going to be absolutely livid if they give credence to the Europoseurish Anti-USSFMLS Conspiracy Twitteratti and their various conspiracies and accusation.
       
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    6. Mateofelipe

      Mateofelipe Member+

      Mar 10, 2001
      Spokane, WA
      Club:
      Seattle Sounders
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      If MLS adopts your proposed solution, I will present you with a laurel and hardy handshake.
       
      kgilbert78 and Dan Loney repped this.
    7. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      On the poll, I went with New England. For all the legit beefs others may have (and there are plenty), I feel like most FOs are at least trying to run a somewhat successful outfit, even if they're horrifically bad at it.

      Kraft OTOH, clearly knows how to be a successful sports team owner, but I just get the impression that for all his prior investment, he more than anyone, considers the MLS team an afterthought and I suspect is the prime advocate for keeping the league cheap.
       
      Cavan9 repped this.
    8. Draghignazzo

      Draghignazzo Member+

      Feb 24, 2007
      Columbus
      Club:
      Columbus Crew

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      @Dan Loney

      I found this bit enticing, but you didn't flesh out your thoughts. Care to elaborate?

      "And I do think #SaveTheCrew has alienated fans outside Columbus. And I really, really do think that #SaveTheCrew has warped other front offices."
       
    9. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Nat'l Team:
      Philippines

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I will rephrase! When I get a chance I will edit, I was using the hashtag as shorthand for the whole controversy. Fans often as not, Fire and TFC trolls aside, support the Crew fans, and have usually said so during games. It’s a bad look for MLS, and not just in Columbus.
       
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    10. Draghignazzo

      Draghignazzo Member+

      Feb 24, 2007
      Columbus
      Club:
      Columbus Crew

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I see what you were going for. I was truly interested though in the original perspective i thought you were going for. No worries. Thanks for clarifying. Great write up, BTW.
       
    11. JayRockers!

      JayRockers! Member+

      Aug 4, 2001

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      DC United fires, I mean let Tom Hunt move on and dropped a steel beam on another team VP, who hasn’t been heard from since.

      Replaced with another broadcaster. Restructures its ownership group with yet more Swansea!

      Security theatre and digital-only tickets aside (clear bag policy, coming to an MLS stadium near you: soon) the fact I can’t walk up and buy a ticket to sit with a supporters group anymore is ridiculous. And much like in LA as @barroldinho said, DC United’s ticket interns sold season tickets in the general admission “SG section” to lots of people without explaining that their seat numbers don’t really mean their seat numbers. Just because people wanted the cheapest possible option. As a proud SG member since 2001, I truly feel that DC United neither wants my business or cares they’ve lost it.

      Thx,

      Jay!
       
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    12. Bluecat82

      Bluecat82 Member+

      Feb 24, 1999
      Minneapolis, MN
      Club:
      Minnesota United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      MNUFC has had the clear bag policy for both seasons at T F Bank Stadium, largely, I would guess, due to the policies of the State Entity to whom they are paying rent.

      How did they turn lemons into lemonade? By sending every season ticket holder as part of their package this season a clear bag. Emblazoned on one side by the bullseye of our jersey sponsor and on the other by The Best Crest in MLS (pat. pend.)...we take it every game.
       
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    13. el mofles

      el mofles Member

      May 16, 2001
      Con un puñal abajo de tu cama
      Club:
      Birmingham City LFC
      Nat'l Team:
      Mexico

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      The league is a business entity as are all MLS teams with no loyalties to fans or players, once most people comes to terms with this they'll decide if it's worth supporting MLS teams despite the lackluster way of doing most operational functions.
       
      LIZZIE repped this.
    14. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      Truth be told, they're mostly businesses everywhere now.

      Sure, European clubs are careful to cultivate the supporter tradition, because to do otherwise would be a bad business decision. They've basically got built-in brand loyalty.

      Clear bag policy in place in LA for a while now.

      Thankfully, they stopped putting ticket numbers on SG section tickets a few years back. It mostly wasn't a problem until we had a big opponent (especially the visiting Superclubs), at which point you'd have people who don't attend regularly asking you to move.

      To compound this, the nature of the section wasn't made clear to security either, who would tend to concur with the person complaining.

      While I didn't let it get to the point where security had to intervene, I once had to move THREE TIMES in a single game.
       
      el mofles repped this.
    15. el mofles

      el mofles Member

      May 16, 2001
      Con un puñal abajo de tu cama
      Club:
      Birmingham City LFC
      Nat'l Team:
      Mexico

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      It's an illusion at the end of the day they're all businesses like you say. I agree they're businesses and that's what keeps them healthy and going and we should treat them as such. Let's show brand loyalty into the discard pile.
       
    16. SetPeace

      SetPeace Member+

      Jun 22, 2004
      SC Illinois
      Club:
      Torquay United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      When MLS got its start in the mid-90's, soccer was still seen as 'quaint' or 'quirky' on the American sports landscape. Many of the old-time sportswriters and broadcasters wrote the sport and MLS off and either bashed it or ignored it.

      Nowadays, soccer isn't bashed as much, but it's still pretty much ignored by many in sports media. I'm not suggesting it warrants overkill coverage like the NFL or NBA get in their respective off-seasons, but like the NHL, MLS has trouble getting even rudimentary coverage during the regular season on sports talk shows and newspapers in non-MLS cities, although it is much, much better now than it used to be, with programs like ESPNFC (which is still too Euro-centric for my tastes).

      Anyway, MLS today is established as financially solid and legitimate, but it's also swung heavily to the 'pro-corporate' side. In the process, it has sacrificed some of the charm it used to hold for me as well as old-time supporters of their various favorite teams. Maybe it's because I'm getting older? Don't get me wrong, I still like MLS. The players and coaches in the league now are better than they were 20 years ago, but when the story about the possible move of Columbus to Austin first broke last year, announcing teams on both ESPN and Fox stated their shock and dismay that such a thing could happen to one of the league's original teams. Within 2 or 3 weeks, their tone had changed to a more conciliatory one with regard to Austin while digging at the Crew fanbase for not doing enough to support the team in Columbus. Obviously, someone in the league offices or the home offices of Fox and ESPN 'got to' them so they'd change their tone.
       
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    17. Ch(Elsey)

      Ch(Elsey) Member+

      Columbus Crew
      United States
      May 2, 2003
      Green, Ohio
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      Major League Soccer. One foot forward and two steps back while stepping on longtime supporters and pissing on history.

      Sounds Soccer Hall of Fame worthy. And not the defunct site in Oneonta.
       
    18. JayRockers!

      JayRockers! Member+

      Aug 4, 2001

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      253A5B9F-E850-44CC-BC3E-08507FF1591B.jpeg
      Thx,

      Jay!
       
      kgilbert78 and Dan Loney repped this.
    19. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      It's Big Ten policy (as TF Bank Stadium hosts a Big Ten team). I can see where they would not wish to change that for an entity renting the facility. It keeps security consistent.
       
    20. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I'm still sorry my brother and I didn't stop in Oneonta when we were heading up to Cooperstown for the inductions of Schmidt and Ashburn--but we really didn't have the time as we had to stay in Scranton.
       
    21. Ch(Elsey)

      Ch(Elsey) Member+

      Columbus Crew
      United States
      May 2, 2003
      Green, Ohio
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I went for my 18th birthday. Good memories. A shame that it was closed down and then moved.
       
    22. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      I was in contact with one of the curators about donating some historical items to the museum--when it suddenly closed. Glad now I didn't--not sure I'd even want to donate now given that it has been kinda taken over by MLS.
       
    23. Cavan9

      Cavan9 Member

      Nov 16, 2011
      Silver Spring, MD
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      DC United's managing partner (owner who does all the talking) stepped in to try to improve the mess his manager made with the suppoerters' groups. That manager also immediately left to pursue other opportunities. The owner started the dialogue with my supporters group and got us back in the stadium. It's not perfect but it's gotten a lot better than it was on July 14 under that old manager. The new manager actually views fan relations as part of his job.

      While our club is flawed and needs work, it's at least showing some beginning signs of life and possibilities of going in the right direction. Whether we get there is still undecided but it's at least possible to hope.

      However, Anthony Precourt is beyond hope. The faster that trust-fund loser can be thrown out of owning a soccer team the better off we will all be. The Crew should exist as it's good for the game. They should also be without Precourt. While DC United has problems, it doesn't belong in the same conversation as the douchey bumbling incompetence and disdain shown by Precourt.
       
      Atomic Fury, garbaggio, song219 and 2 others repped this.
    24. Cavan9

      Cavan9 Member

      Nov 16, 2011
      Silver Spring, MD
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States
      #25 Cavan9, Aug 7, 2018
      Last edited: Aug 7, 2018

      Major Letdown Soccer?; or, the Zlat in the Hat Came Back

      By Dan Loney on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:40 AM
      The DC United FO f'd up and sold non-supporters' group folks tickets in the supporters' group sections WITHOUT TELLING THEM THEY'RE GENERAL ADMISSION! It was lots of fun telling new families and drunken dude-bro's that I'm not in their seat because sections 136 and 137 are general admission back on July 14. At least some of them bought Rooney t-shirts. Also, at least the security knew the sections are general admission.

      I'm glad that ownership hired a new president who actually seems to care about fan relations and experience. The previous president dug so many unnecessary holes that will take years to fix. It didn't help that the front office completely turned over in the past five years and ownership didn't even try to replace that talent.
       

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