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Time to Step up Columbus

hudson street 300x199 Time to Step up Columbus

In light of the recent incidents now widely reported at BMO Field during a match two weeks ago between the Crew and TFC, I have a simple question: Does trouble now follow the Crew around? The incidents are chronicled here.

This post is not meant to minimize the Crew’s accomplishment. Sigi Schmid has built his team the right way, showing patience with youngsters through a tough 2006 and 2007 campaign while adding some choice foreign players like Guille Barros Schelotto and making a trade for Alejandro Moreno.

But what does concern me is that a team that continued to lose market share and real fans has resorted to encouraging the sort of element MLS worked 12 years to keep away from games to follow the team.

The Crew are on the verge of winning the Supporters Shield for the second time in team history. They are also right now the biggest threat to Houston’s throne atop MLS.  Many in the American Footballing community love what the Crew has done on the field and wan to embrace this organization and team, myself included as an example of how it should be done in MLS.

Let’s Review Some Earlier Incidents:

When I discussed the Toronto situation openly and honestly and tried to engage TFC fans on my CSRN show the complaints about me being “too soft on TFC” all seemed to come from Crew fans. Days later several Crew fans were shouting racial obscenities at New England players as caught on You Tube. The Columbus fans also were caught throwing glass bottles and coins on the pitch during the 2nd half of the match.

In defiance of a league wide ban Columbus fans began sprayed confetti and streamers on opposing players while attempting a corner. Now I cannot recall the specific match but it was done. Why the security did not confiscate the items at the gate is beyond anyone’s comprehension. The league wide ban was more or less enforced throughout the rest of the league. When pressed on the situation at Crew Stadium, Columbus GM, Mark McCullers blamed Toronto FC for the trouble league wide and avoided totally the issue of racist fans.

July s infamous incident against West Ham United in a friendly: West Ham has a reputation for having rowdy fans, but we’ve hosted English clubs before and never had trouble. The poster promoting the match was an implicit call for some sort of nationalistic pride from the fans, which often times in the past has evolved into violence when West Ham is involved. I’m as nationalistic as it comes when this game is involved whether it be the US National Team, Superliga, or even the Caribbean club cup which USL side Puerto Rico participates in. But saying on an official poster promoting the match “we take on the Brits, you push us over the top,” is in fact way over the top  and can be seen as encouraging rowdy behavior. How would Tigres supporters have taken a poster in Denver prior to the Tecate Cup match in July ago that read ” Colorado fans put us over the top against the Mexicans?” The poster and its message strongly indicate to me the Crew management has no interest in stopping the continued incidents at Crew Stadium.

This is not to mention the incidents at MLS First Kick at Crew Stadium when TFC came to town in March.

Given all of this, no need exists for the Crew to continue allowing unruly and undesirable elements to follow the team at home and on the road. Regardless of what any Columbus fan may claim just from a layman’s perspective watching on television, the atmosphere around Columbus games has changed and not for better this season. With success on the pitch comes responsibility off it: Time to step up Columbus.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

13 Responses to Time to Step up Columbus

  1. Brutus112 says:

    I have read your piece. It couldn’t be more wrong. As a season ticket holder AND present for every home match this season I must say the Nordeke has done a fantastic job of growing the section while working with both the security, Columbus Police and club management to promote a vibrant supporters section while weeding out the unacceptable elements.

    I say – no fan base or club has done MORE to promote the game in America than the Columbus Crew.

    You sir, need to take in a match before writting things like this.

  2. Timon19 says:

    Wow.

    This is a tremendous hack job. From wild exaggerations to outright making-it-up-from-whole-cloth, you appear to be channeling MLSRumors.

    Pathetic. Show some integrity and bring citations of (for instance) “Mark McCullers blam(ing) Toronto FC for the trouble league wide” and “several” racist fans.

    Until then, you’re just another ill-informed sensationalist who probably revels in half-truth (and in truth, you probably are enjoying this comment immensely, as it got you a page view).

  3. MLS Fan says:

    Sir,

    Please come to Columbus, contact the Crew and the avrious supporters groups as well as stadium security and other fans. Take in what all of these relavent groups have to say and experience the positivity associated with the Crew fan base. Please do not sit on the other side of the nation and loft ignorant rhetoric against a group of fans doing something overwhelmingly positive for the game and the league.

    Your reporting and opinions on this matter are lazy and overly simplistic.

  4. Crewture says:

    Blaming us for Toronto fans for waiting outside our section and then assaulting a group consisting mainly of families and TFC for their security gaff. That’s just rich.

    If anyone needs to step up it’s CSRN by firing you.

    I mean come on, nothing else to report on a Tuesday? Instead of slamming Crew fans who haven’t had an incident in four months and who have gained control of the section in various ways. Talk about random.

  5. bandeeto says:

    I have to say that sure is fun watching your supports group when an opposing teams keeper kicks the ball.

    “you suck ***hole!” Hillarious.

    Columbus most passionate fan base may be riddled with dirtbags, but their blog comments and replies (which I read often as I am interested in these events) are usually well thought out and respectfull… though definately passoinate. From what I’ve read a total duch bag reply/statement from a Columbus supporter is the exception, not the rule.

    I may be reading too much into this, but I believe that, over time, you can tell something about a group of people by their conduct online.

    So keep up the good work Columbus… and work hard to learn those few young bucks that get a little too riled up. Stick together in support of your team and you’ll do alright.

  6. Nick says:

    This is laughable. Do you actually do any research or do you just spew out the first bias that comes into your head?

  7. Kiwi Yank says:

    At first I was offended by this piece and then realized it is a clever redirect. We all want to stamp out hooliginism and the chief culprit is TFC. Recently on the show and the site Kartik has talked more about Canada, covering the Montreal Impact’s Champions League run, the Canadian National Team, and yes even TFC, like they are not only American teams, but they are in fact home teams.

    This is an attempt by Kartik and his TFC allies to blame Columbus for all the problems. Not one word is spent on TFC in this piece- not one ounce of blame is directed towards TFC in this piece.

    Columbus fans do not get angry- this is simply propoganda from someone who for months now is trying to suck up to the Canadian Soccer establishment.

    Ignore it. I know that’s what I am doing.

  8. Berlin says:

    Isn’t it a little hypocritical that The American Soccer Spot disdains its own domestic league? Both DC United and Houston have CCL games over the next two days and yet the only MLS coverage we get is a retread of previous remarks demonizing Crew supporters.

    You can fight it as much as you want, but the growth of the beautiful game in this country is going to rise or fall with the success of the MLS. Indisputably, the success of the USMNT will greatly aid the profile of the game, but the majority of Americans only follow the team once every four years. The rest of us soccer fans follow the MLS year round. As a Houston supporter, I can say my attention to the MNT and soccer in general has drastically increased due to the presence of an MLS team in my city. Diehards will always follow soccer, but alienating the thousands of fans who follow their MLS team week in and week out is counterproductive.

    Oh, and the Crew have no chance of unseating the Dynamo unless the orange catch the plague in one of the four countries that they’ll play in over the next week and a half. When was the last time a team had that kind of schedule in CONCACAF (after a hurricane no less)? That’s something I might actually like to hear about.

  9. Jack says:

    You are fortunate to have an MLS team. Some of us follow USL because that’s where the grassroots emphasis is and we have teams. Don’t be an MLs snob above poster. Two USL teams are also in the Champions League which has been covered extensively on this site and both those teams actually won their first matches in the event.

  10. Brian says:

    It doesn’t matter who started what, any soccer related violence is deplorable and those involved should be shamed by the more mature supporters. I love Serie A on the pitch but loathe what the Ultras have done off the pitch. Let’s not follow their pathetic example over here.

  11. Steve T says:

    Btw, you may want to actually credit your photos. Sam Fahmi takes the pictures for the Nordecke and does a great job, deserves credit. I guess yourself or your MLS Rumors buddies can’t seem to figure out how to caption a picture or give credit where it belongs.

  12. RZ Moore says:

    Columbus has a problem but so does Toronto.

    My problem with this piece is it cleverly avoids the Toronto aspect of the situation.

    MLS fans and supporters are happy to have Toronto selling out games so they don’t want to pick on them. It’s easier to pick on the little guy and that’s what this piece smacks of.

  13. Talon926 says:

    Kartik, I would love to simply flame you but I’m sure you would attribute my response as an indication of what’s wrong in Columbus… I’m the one who organized the bus trip to Toronto and I can give you a clear and unbiased accounting of what happened. Even the Toronto Sun gave a good review of the incident and even the Toronto Sun didn’t blame Crew fans. The fact that you have arrived at your rediculous conclusions without firsthand experience is simply lazy and an attempt to preach to the masses rather than finding out the facts and reporting them as they are. If you have the ethical fortitude to hear the truth from me and the parents of the kids in my group, contact me. I doubt I’ll hear from you. I don’t think you want the truth…

    Since I doubt you read the Toronto Sun article – here’s the link:
    http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/20

    And, if you’re too lazy to click the link or scared to find what it says… Here’s the first 2 paragraphs that sums it all up!

    “Inside the stadium they were throwing beers, while outside they were throwing fists.

    Questions are now being raised about the security at BMO Field and the antics of some of Toronto FC’s notoriously rowdy fans after a visiting group of Columbus Crew supporters were led by security guards straight into a pack of brawler TFC fans, according to Crew and TFC fans who were there. ”

    Do you notice that it says Crew AND TFC fans agree what happened?

    My e-mail address is talon926@hotmail.com… I’m waiting…

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