Fans' View

Fan’s View: My three wishes for next season

Photo: Earl Gardner

It wasn’t the prettiest of seasons, or the most exciting, but I don’t think any of us can argue that the players on the pitch didn’t give a massive amount of effort. That fact alone is enough to bring me back for next year, but I’m feeling wishful today so I thought I’d share my pipe dreams.

Wish 1: Not one, but two, high-quality DPs

This is a no-brainer. One needs to be an exciting, big name player that can bring some impressive skills to the pitch and fill the seats at PPL Park. I want a player that I’m excited about watching every week. The second DP needs to be a difference-maker on the field. I don’t just want someone that fills a need nicely (CAM), but someone that can put the game on their shoulders, inspire the locker room and make things happen; a player that opposition teams need to create specific game plans to manage. This will cost money, but the Front Office would earn a great deal of trust from the fanbase that translates into good business for the future. It’s time that the ownership matches the effort our players showed us this season and start spending enough to put out an attractive, quality product on the pitch.

Wish 2: A bigger, badder, River End for the Sons of Ben

The latest we’ve heard is that the FO plans to put some kind of a bar/party deck above the River End. Meh. While improved access to libations could help enhance the noise, I’d rather build another level of seats and see more Sons of Ben in a larger, covered section of the River End along the lines of the north end of Jeld-Wen Field. I’ve heard that it won’t happen “because everyone loves the view of the river.” Really? I like pretty views as much as the next guy, but I’m not paying season ticket money to look at it. If you must, leave the bridge corner open so that the TV crews can still set up their nice pregame shots, but fill the rest of the picture with a mosh pit of blue and gold.

The FO should do everything in their power to help the Sons of Ben increase their ranks and fanaticism. Improving transportation to/from the city in hopes of bringing in more of the college crowd would be helpful. Perhaps offer reduced ticket prices for students. Members of the Sons of Ben need to keep actively recruiting their friends and making converts of them. The River End is one of the best aspects of the game day experience and one of the most likely to draw in new fans. We need to push to the next level in creating an atmosphere that intimidates the opposition and inspires our boys.

Wish 3: We should buy the team

OK.  Hear me out. This one is a bit outlandish and would likely never happen, but…what if?  We have arguably one of the most passionate and knowledgeable fan bases anywhere in MLS. We also have a small to mid market team with ownership that has been constantly criticized. So, if the time should ever come when the ownership group persistently fails to spend adequately, makes bizarre management decisions and drives the club into the ground (ie, Toronto, Chivas USA), we, the fans, should organize to buy the team and create the first-ever supporter-owned franchise in MLS.

As a fan, could you imagine knowing exactly where the team stands financially and being part of making decisions about the club’s direction? How awesome would those shareholder meetings be? We want a DP; we buy one. We want to fire a coach; done. We vote and majority rules.

Bad idea? It would never work, you say? Let me tell you a little story about a fan-owned team that has sold out every home game since 1960, has a season-ticket waiting list of 86,000 people with an average wait time of more than 30 years, and has won more championships than any other team in its league, despite being in one of the smaller metropolitan areas in the country. They go by the name of the Green Bay Packers. It’s worked pretty well for them, so why not for us?

To be sure, the particulars seem a bit daunting. For one, I can’t see Garber ever allowing a mass-ownership group. Yet if the club was floundering and there was still enough fan support, given his love of the Sons of Ben, Philadelphia would surely be the place for him to allow it. Second, with recent franchises being sold for somewhere between $40-$100 million in the last few years, chances are the share prices could be quite steep. For instance, let’s pretend the franchise is valued at $40 million, and we needed to buy a 51 percent stake. Let’s also assume that we currently have about 10,000 season ticket holders who were all willing to invest in ownership. That would mean each person would have to chip in about $2,000 on average to make it happen.  Shares could be broken down to the $250-$500 range allowing some passionate fans to buy more votes and those on the fence to get in on the fun at a reasonable price. Doesn’t sound that outlandish, does it? Don’t answer that. Like I said, I’m just dreaming here, but it would be pretty amazing, and if there’s a city where it could work, I think Philadelphia is it.

So that’s my wish list. What’s yours? In the end, I’m looking forward to an off-season full of speculation, rumors and hopefully a few shiny new players under the Christmas tree.

20 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m in the minority but I do not care at all about getting a DP; the idea does not particularly appeal to me. Let’s not forget that we have already had two DPs and they were both busts. If we can put together a threatening team without one that would suit me just fine.

    • Freddy Adu accomplished one thing – he brought some initial excitement, but you’re absolutely correct – he ended up being a bust. Kleberson was just the solution to the Adu problem, so you can’t really count him. And…I wouldn’t exactly call him a bust since different management options might have had a different result. When I think DP…I’m not thinking $500k. I’m thinking in the millions of dollars range.

      • Unless you’re trying to bankrupt Sugarman and bring about Idea #3 sooner (which is not a bad plan BTW), I don’t see how spending for a Clint Dempsey-level acquisition helps. There are very few players with enough name recognition to really bump attendance, and they would be cost-prohibitive. And the single super-superstar plan doesn’t seem to resonate well in Philly (I’m thinking Eric Lindros).

    • I agree with you completely about our 2 previous DPs, but the first – Adu – probably shouldn’t have gotten that title (although he’s the reason there’s a “young” DP spot) and the 2nd – Kleberson – was just filling his spot. I don’t think either of them is what a true DP is or should be. A DP does not have to be a Dempsey or Keane-type acquisition, but it could be a Bieler from SKC, or even better a Higuain from Columbus type of player, one who has experience playing high levels of soccer and is a difference maker, but who earns the title and paycheck on the field.

      • Bieler kind of proves my point a little. Has he really been a difference maker for SKC? If I’m not mistaken last night was the first time he scored since like July or something. He hasn’t been a dud but I’m not convinced he is remarkably better than any other random non DP forward in the league.

      • We don’t need a DP for the sake of having a DP. We need a play-making center-mid, and if that means the Union have to bite the bullet and give that player a DP-contract to get him here, then that’s what they have to do.

      • Wholly agree with John Ling, but the point is that impact typcially requires investment, and the vehicle for that is the DP spot. The market isn’t so skewed that more expenditure doesn’t significantly increase your chances of getting an impact player.

  2. Fan ownership is a great idea, and I’m all for it. I believe that bundesliga (tried to be auto corrected as bundles pita by the way) teams have to be 51% fan owned. I think the fact that the team could be fan owned would even attract more fans and would increase the rowdiness of said fans.
    In regards to the sons of Ben, I love the group and have no intention of leaving or giving up my tickets, however the new Capo in 137 has to go (I’m sorry I don’t know where else to send this). I sit in 138, and the last half season with the exception of a couple games was the quietest I have ever heard. Just the final game against Kansas City (when we still could have made the playoffs and therefore should be extra loud) I can remember vast swaths of silence broken up by singing about someone’s, who I don’t know or give a shit about, mouth. I shouldn’t have to start chants about the team I love and have come to watch (I did which is fine, but I don’t want that job), but if you aren’t going to do your job as a Capo and lead to Riverend, then you shouldn’t get any perks that come along with it. I don’t want to hear anymore stupid inside joke chants, I want to hear songs about the Union.

    • My daughter got a chance to go on the field post-game for autographs again, courtesy of the Jr. Supporter’s Club. As part of that, you get to watch the end of the game from field level, right in front of the SoBs in 139-140. Both times we were down there, I was disappointed by the noise. And I think it’s what you’ve said here – a lack of organized singing/chanting.
      .
      I certainly expected it to be much louder, especially against KC, when standing in front of the River End. But we were able to converse at a near-normal volume while standing there. That shouldn’t be the case…

  3. Hell yeah on item #3.
    .
    #HostileTakeoverBitches

  4. I sit in section 119, directly across from the River End, and I can’t see the river from my seat and the bridge has lost its appeal after 4 seasons. I would MUCH rather look across at a double-decked River End, complete with a roof funneling the sound right onto the opposing goalkeeper in the 2nd half. Sometimes the sound just gets lost in the warm breezes on those summer nights, and neither end looks very intimidating to opposing players. The river is great, but if they really want PPL to be a fortress it needs to look and feel intimidating BEFORE you even hear the SoBs.

  5. I’d be all over #3, that would be awesome.

  6. Another level of seats over the Sons of Ben would be great. Especially if you could put an exposed concourse on top so people could circulate on that end of the stadium while still watching the match.

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    If I hit the lottery I’m buying this team… even if I over pay. Mark my words.

  8. James lockerbie says:

    Not If I win first been playing regularly just for the chance to buy the union and no more 12hr shifts nights weekends holidays

  9. Those are all things I can get behind!

  10. …I'm thinking she did give him the blowjob, that's what I'm thgg&ing…>>>>>>>>kgt;>>&nt;⁢>>I think you're right. And what really happened was that Cain PUT her a$$ out of the car because she didn't service him properly, LOL!!!! She got a 'tude, and her we are years later with a sexual harassment charge!

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