Galaxy News

Los Angeles Galaxy Front Office Watering Down Supporter Culture

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
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Dec 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Fans throw streamers in the first half during the 2014 MLS Cup final between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution at Stubhub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Just last week, the Los Angeles Galaxy announced that the Angel City Brigade has been banned for the first eight weeks of the season due to their conduct in throwing streamers at Bobby Shuttleworth’s goal in MLS Cup 2014. Chris Blakely of Playing For 90 broke the news regarding this decision by the front office. While I am not an Angel City Brigade member (I am a member of the press writing about the Galaxy with sentimental feelings towards the LA Riot Squad), I argue that this is simply excessive, is a deterrent to encouraging a supporter culture at the club, and that it should be appealed.

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  • I am reposting, word for word, the announcement from the ACB regarding this incident:

    "Hello ACB Supporters and Galaxy fans,It is our unfortunate responsibility to inform you that yesterday the Galaxy FO officially sanctioned us for throwing streamers during the game at last year’s MLS Cup final and what they deemed as a year filled with incidents.These sanctions include:1. No supporters privileges for the first 4 matches of the season, including the home opener. No flags, No drums, No tifo, No bannersFriday 6-Mar VS. CHICAGOSaturday 21-Mar VS. HOUSTONSunday 12-Apr VS. SEATTLESaturday 18-Apr VS. KANSAS CITY2. No supporters privileges at the first 4 away matches of the season No flags, No drums, No tifo, No bannersSunday 15-Mar TimbersSaturday 28-Mar DC UnitedSaturday 4-Apr White CapsSunday 26-Apr NYRB3. No streamers for the entire 2015 seasonWe want to make it clear, that disrupting the field of play by throwing objects on the field is never ok. However we strongly feel that extending the punishment beyond the scope of streamers is truly unjust.In addition to the streamer issue, much of their rational for these restrictions are from the past; actions that we believed were already sorted and settled (smoke throughout the season for example). Changing the rules midway through the season without notification is simply unethical. We were already penalized for the smoke incidents last season, and now this “encompassing” punishment is penalizing us again. We are truly shocked and disappointed by the severity of the FO’s actions!We will be discussing this at our board meeting on Saturday and ask that all supporters come to help us take the best possible course of action.ACB121 MeetingSaturday 1/31/15 6pm – 8pmPhantom Carriage Brewery18525 S. Main St. Carson CA 90248If you are unable to make it or are not an ACB supporter, but have an opinion, please write to angelcitybrigade121@gmail.com and we will read your thoughts and opinions at the meeting.If you would like to express your displeasure to the Galaxy/MLS please feel free to reach out to Sid Patel the Manager of Business Development at spatel@lagalaxy.com.The Angel City Brigade"

    For the record, the meeting was yesterday. But back on point.

    So what, Sid Patel, you never appreciated how the passion among the fans was shared in places like El Monumental, La Bombonera, the Centario, the Maracana, Azteca and all those places in Latin America where streamers are part of the game? This is discouraging in terms of fostering a supporter culture within this club. You don’t ban a supporters group outright and hope this will fix the problem, it’s only going to make it worse and there’s going to be some massive resentment.

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    Listen up, Mr. Patel, you must think the ACB are jackasses, for use of a franker pejorative term. You must think that they are LA’s version of Ultras San Jose and you’re trying desperately to curtail the passion and home-field advantage flavor that they and other supporters groups foster across the league and perhaps in other notable leagues around the world. If you haven’t done so, you should be in constant communication with the higher-ups of the ACB and discuss proper conduct.

    Why is it that the Timbers Army and Emerald City Supporters can get away with using smoke bombs and flares unpunished, yet the Angel City Brigade are suspended for the first eight weeks for throwing paper? It’s only paper. This is not how the Galaxy will succeed in defending their MLS Cup: by punishing the fans that help push the players over the line.

    Again, Mr. Sid Patel, this is not how you will win back or maintain the trust of the Angel City Brigade. You need to approach the group personally, face the music like Ali Curtis did when he fired Mike Petke at the New York Red Bulls, and come out with a more constructive solution rather than a ban, a solution that will satisfy both parties.

    The power of the largest bastion of Galaxy diehards cannot be watered down or crushed like this. The fans make the league. You kiss up to them. They don’t kiss up to you. It was the fans that put Chivas USA on a pedestal, and it was those same fans that took them down like fallen angels

    Look at how the front offices of Seattle and Portland and Vancouver and other teams work with the supporters to give the fans autonomy without outright banning them. You have a lot to learn from this, Sid Patel. If you want to burn a massive bridge with the supporters who bleed your club’s colors every day and night, well, you’re on the right path, but for Alan Gordon’s sake, don’t say I didn’t warn you if calls for your head are on the rise.

    As a matter of fact, I’m going to close this editorial with an appeal to all supporter groups: if you feel that you are being slighted by the front offices for being yourselves and showing your passion and support and home field advantage in any way…rise up, fight it, and challenge the establishment to make the experience better for all fans.

    Remember, a healthy club in Major League Soccer always has a healthy relationship between the front office and the supporter groups. It is up to both these parties to work together to prevent any form of sanction, and I do not want the Los Angeles Galaxy to see its partnership compromised beyond repair.

    Keep it right here on The View From Avalon for more Los Angeles Galaxy news and current events.

    Next: Los Angeles Galaxy Ins And Outs: Feb. 1, 2015

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