Post by Luca Morganti
It’s the first week of the Premier League and real football, so I know everyone dropped in to check in on MLS and New York City! Even the Americans have forgotten the domestic league this week, littering message boards with multilingual blessings and filling the streets with countless club shirts from places you’ve never heard of. It’s a beautiful part about living in such an international place.
But back in reality, the nightmare of being an NYCFC fan continues. We’re only here because we have a Hudson Derby this week, making NYCFC relevant for the last time this season (or until they play the LA Galaxy because “oh that’s marketable!”). Oh, and we had a fucking fight.
In New Jersey and immediately encounter crowd trouble ahead of the New York derby (Red Bulls-City). Video: pic.twitter.com/slY3hYn5aM
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 9, 2015
But first, speaking of marketable, our third matchup with (and opportunity to lose to) Red Bulls gained pre-match publicity for how much the tickets cost because this is America and money, money, money (as the song goes). Said article’s tagline called it “a great MLS rivalry” because, you know, that happens over the course of two matches due to the clubs’ proximity? Besides proximity and a terrible name, what could we possibly have on the Red Bulls? They wiped the floor with us in our only two matches ever, and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen again. So… are we mad, bro?
As I write the introduction to my article the night before the match, I have a feeling I could continue without the match having been played yet and get a decent picture of what’s going to happen on Sunday night. But I refrain and pick up for you post-match and find I am not at all surprised to be disappointed by a 2-0 loss that should have been much worse. It was a typical NYCFC match where we found ourselves playing poor defence and on the wrong side of grotesque officiating a few times.
I could go on about the horrendous refereeing that we were all subject to this Sunday or Mix Diskerud being highly overrated (interesting tidbit: NYCFC have lost in 8 of his 12 starts but gotten results in 8 of 11 games he hasn’t). But what happened off the pitch has overshadowed another NYCFC match.
Let me start you off with a quick NY Post (a vile NYC tabloid that we all not-so-secretly love) excerpt from a person they interviewed about the fight: ‘“My best friend from high school is the head cop here, and he took off today because he said he didn’t want to have to work for his money. He called on the way in and said, ‘We’ve already arrested almost 30 people.’ … The point is, there’s a rivalry now.”’ Does anyone in the class see anything wrong with that statement?
FIGHTING BETWEEN FANS DOES NOT MAKE A RIVALRY. See above re: previous ass-whoopings: both of the teams being good helps make a rivalry. Idiots like this person and the “fans” who decided to get into a pushing-and-object-throwing-match outside of a Red Bulls’ supporters’ bar in Newark, NJ, are so beyond unacceptable in modern American sport. While New York and New Jersey have reputations as “tough places,” that doesn’t give anyone an excuse to start fighting over a fucking game. And let’s be honest: this is one of the safest metropolises on earth. For everyone trying to bring in fabricated ultras culture instead of taking the privileged opportunity to be a New Yorker and let it happened naturally: no one in Colombia, Italy, Japan, or Saudi Arabia would get into a pushing scuffle outside a bar in front of a journalist or a cop. The machismo is quite genuinely so last century. It is embarrassing and reeks of overcompensation.
Here’s the worst part: the cruel irony of what helped birth this bullshit. NYCFC supporters lost 1,000 seats in Red Bull Arena because our few fans were throwing smoke bombs on the field at the last Hudson Derby; one asshole ruining it for a thousand – sound familiar? The lack of segregated seating meant more fans mixed in, meaning more ability to plant the seeds of confrontation. Then, right before kickoff, half the stadium was red from Red Bulls’ smoke from their supporters’ section. The inequality between fans and the leniency given to the majority – where anything they do is seen as OK because this is “their home” and anything the minority does is wrong because they are “guests” – is all too familiar a reminder of how we treat people in our own country. So we don’t have segregated seating in America because thanks to our stellar Civil Rights record, that phrase can’t even enter our language. But then the results of such blending are an unintentional, ironic paradigm of your country. Happy Sunday! Disgusting political realisation aside (but with the penalties given to NYCFC in mind), the last thing an NYCFC fan should be doing is going to a Garden State Ultras bar to pick a fight. What many NYCFC fans are failing to see is that their individual actions reverberate to all of us.
We do not have a full-fledged supporters’ culture yet. We do not have concrete songs or traditions for match day. So is this what we want to be known for? Do we want to be the 1980s-1990s English hooligans – which they are accurately being called (and somehow offended by, even though the dictionary backs me up). Do we want to be the little brats who piss and moan after every match and sometimes resort to violence (while listening to Oasis and Blur)? I sure don’t. Twenty-five thousand of the fans who come out week after week don’t. But that’s what we will be when fans – however many few they may be – threaten to (and sometimes try to) seriously hurt people over fandom or, even better, writing an article.
All we hear from this match is “(2-0) Red Bulls – Fans Get in Brawl in Newark.” If you know any of these people, you should scold them and make them spend more time with their wives or husbands or children or grandparents or whatever they hate doing that isn’t being a part of NYCFC. The negative coverage is what we deserve, but honestly, I feel bad for Red Bulls fans. Say what you will about their inability to get fans in the seats throughout the year and their gross bastardisation of modern football, but the environment at last night’s match was incredible. For this positive experience to be soiled by the actions of so few is a sad theme that is all too common in this season’s edition of New York football.