I am sure that smarter people than me can explain this article by Kartik Krishnaiyer of Major League Soccer Talk. I have seen Mr. Krishnaiyer post several items in regards to the Crew supporters this year, but his most current item seems to full of misinformation and misunderstanding. Mr. Krishnaiyer cites this article in the Toronto Sun about ongoing troubles with supporters, to which he throws in Crew supporters.
Unfortunately, the cited article does really bear out his explanation of the events. As my understanding of the situation, no Crew fans were arrested (or detained) by the Toronto police department. It also appears that the situation was created (and escalated) by a very few Toronto fans who took it upon themselves to “escalate” the rivalry between the teams. The traveling “hooligans” also included several families taking looking to take a weekend vacation. Troublesome indeed.
Mr. Krishnaiyer also points to several incidents this year that deservedly given the Crew and it’s fans a black eye and a few incidents that had nothing to do with Crew fans. Firstly, the team has reacted, perhaps slowly, to the rowdy behavior of certain fans in the Nordeke and came out quickly to catch and ban the fan who yelled a racial slur at New England’s Shalrie Joseph.
He then goes on to comment about the West Ham scuffle, which Mr. Krishnaiyer beleives was brought upon by the front office, pointing towards some copy that the Crew front office put together for the match. This ad copy said: “we take on the Brits, you push us over the top,”. I am pretty confident that the phrase was directed to the casual European soccer fan, that the Crew continue to court. Hardly indicative of a conspiracy to fan a hooligan atmosphere in the stands at Crew Stadium.
I also am compelled to respond to his non sequitur regarding the first home game of the season. He seems to imply that the trouble at Crew stadium was in some way related to the Crew fans, but as I recall much of the trouble was related to flairs and smoke bombs thrown from the Toronto away section and a couple arrests for public intoxication by a few drunken Toronto fans.
The original premise that Mr. Krishnaiyer poses is a fair one, but he does very little to answer his own question. I also believe that this question could be posed to Toronto FC and other teams that are struggling with the new issue of dealing with troubling elements of their fan base. I continue to feel confident that the Columbus Crew front office, Crew Union, La Turbina Amarilla, and Hudson Street Hooligans will continue to work to prevent issues that happened at the home game involving New England and build a positive atmosphere for all fans of the home and visiting teams.
I would leave the security issues at BMO Field to the front office of Toronto FC, the Red Patch Boys, the U-Sector, and other associated supporters groups. I hope that they work out these issues so that traveling fans from Chicago, Columbus, and around the league can visit the wonderful city of Toronto and enjoy the atmosphere in BMO Field. I also know that away supporters have been treated to the hospitality of the Crew Union tailgate or had a beer at Ruby Tuesday.
Mr. Krishnaiyer’s assertion just doesn’t meet with the reality that I have witnessed this season. I am sure he may dismiss my comments as that of a blind Crew defender, but I think he is missing the bigger picture as he gets bogged in the details of a few incidents that have either involved Crew supporters or are tangentially related the Crew. The Crew and the supporters groups has and must remain vigilant for any hint of hooliganism, and to lump 99%+ of the people in the Nordecke with a few bad apples is not the way to build a vibrant positive supporters culture.
As a “real” fan (I am not a member of any supporters group or sit in the Nordecke) who has stuck by the team through three non playoff losing season, I appreciate the loud and raucous support that comes from the corner. I love that others share my love for the team and look forward to each match for the beautiful play on the field and the chanting and cheering from the stands.