Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Rapids Front Office

Recently the tension between the Rapids Front Office and the supporters groups, particularly the Centennial Firm and NCC, has increased. This is mainly due to a number of incidents between security and the fans in section 100 at The Dick. Smoke bombs have been lit, fans have been targeted, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly (No pun intended). That's not really the focus of this post though. I have my opinion about what's happened and what needs to happen to solve the problem but as I'm not directly involved its not my place to push my agenda on the parties. Class VI hasn't had nearly the issues that the other groups have had, and its best that those groups solve the problems themselves.

What I did want to talk about came out of my conversation with Rapids Sales Rep Marcus Myrick at the Everton game on Sunday night. I've known Marcus for a couple of years, he's helped me get tickets when I would fly in to Denver to see Rapids games while I lived in Arizona and we've spent time talking at the last 3 MLS Cups. He said that while the fanbase is currently anti-Front Office, for numerous reasons, just saying we're anti-FO is doing a disservice to those people in the Front Office who are getting the job done. I thought about that for a little while and realized he was right.

Now don't get me wrong, there are still a number of decisions that come out of the Rapids FO that I strongly disagree with, first and foremost the decision to keep Clavijo for the 2008 season. I think the fans have gotten into the habit of blaming the FO for everything though and assuming they can do nothing right. That's not fair to them, and it probably dilutes our feelings in the FO's eyes when they do screw up. If they think they can never make us happy then what incentive do they have to try?

There are some good people in the front office. Marcus has gone to bat for the supporters groups in the past. Kieran Cain was very helpful working with the Committee of 10 as we were getting the Rocky Mountain Cup off the ground, and they have continued to work with us in promoting the competition and arranging for us to have the trophy on the field during the games. Even Jeff Plush, who's decisions I question often, went out of his way to respond to my email after Clavijo's tirade in Columbus, despite it being a Sunday and he had just gotten home from the game himself.

Does this mean that the Front Office should be considered perfect in the eyes of the supporters? Of course not. I think the only time that happens is the week after a team wins a major trophy. I think that in general the fanbase should try not to assume the Front Office is completely clueless, and while we should stand up and point out when they screw up we should also recognize when they get it right.

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