Just when it looked like the New England Revolution were preparing to put the whole "Fracas in the Fort" incident in their rearview mirror, it came roaring back on Sunday. The team's various supporters groups, which collectively occupy an area of the Gillette Stadium nicknamed "The Fort," staged a protest, bringing their displeasure with management to the forefront again.
In case you forgot, this all stemmed from an incident about a month ago when local police and stadium security forcibly removed several supporters, ostensibly for continuing to the use the ever-so-trite YSA chant. In the coming days, the supporters made their case rather public and pointing out that they had done just about all they reasonably could to stop the chant, which in recent has been widely rejected by many organized supporters groups.
Although team officials met with supporters and unaffiliated fans alike, little appears to have been worked out, at least not to supporters' liking. And really, can you blame them?
From the sound of it, Revolution officials have not really acknowledge any wrong-doing, but have instead stood by their lawful right to enforce whatever code of conduct they see fit on their private property. It's almost beyond dispute that the Revolution CAN do this. What is in question is whether or not this is an effective way to run their soccer team, which despite being located in an area with extremely soccer-friendly demographics is annually near the bottom of the attendance table.
If no MLS team existed in the New England area, the league would be falling over itself to put one there. In the greater Boston area, there are 52 institutes of higher learning with a combined student population of nearly 200,000. It's also an area with a reputation as having some of the most passionate fans in the country. Just this week, more than 50,000 people trucked out to Foxborough to see Manchester United take on a horrible Revolution team. It's clear, there are many, many people willing to support soccer.
Yet, the Revolution front office seems more intent on alienating their most passionate fans, seemingly to please the handful of delicate sensibilities who are offended by hearing harsh language at a sporting event.
Obviously, the Revolution have a right to run their business however they see fit. But maybe it's time they let someone else give it a try.