Fans' View

Fans’ View: I still “Jungite” but fear Union may “Perite”

Photo: 215pix

I read almost daily here on PSP how previously loyal Union fans intend to stop buying tickets: Season, nine-game plans or otherwise. Reading what these Talen émigrés have to say has led me to question my sanity, if not my economic sensibilities. The boycotters make a lot of sense.

Why then on this good, green earth are my son and I (actually, my son) still buying season tickets? Is the almighty “Game Day Experience” really that good? Is it the four flags waved at the corners of the field by some hapless Union supernumeraries? Or the pre-game field banners? Is it the drum line? The dust from the parking lots? The smoke from roasting animal flesh wafting through Section 101 throughout the game? The chintzy annual STH scarf (really, there have been few good ones since the original in 2010 – we have them all).

Er, No.

How about that great roster of 2018 players? C.J., David, Ale, Haris, Jack and Andre.  That’s almost half of a pretty good team right there, right? Not exactly Toronto or NYCFC or Red Bull or Orlando or Atlanta caliber, but almost competitive, eh? Or is it the promise of the future – kids who might help us reach the USOC finals and make it to sixth place so we can be one and done in MLS again? That is, if Jim actually plays them.

Is it the well-experienced and proven coaching and great scouting team? Or the owner who’ll shuck out anything the team needs to win big?  (Hey Jeffrey Lurie, can you please talk with Jay and tell him what it takes? Or better yet, just buy him out?)

Is it the stories we tell of Le Toux, or Nogs, or The Calm that keep us coming back? Or the memories of the so-close-but-yet-so-far USOC finals? Or the yearning for what could have been: Jordan Harvey, Shea Salinas, Michael Orozco.

Standing at Dilworth Plaza for 5 hours waiting for a line of green-clad buses and confetti cannons to go by, two Union-related realities hit me:  One. I have a lot of equity in this team, but it seems like I’ve invested in overpriced junk bonds. And Two: It’s too late for me – save yourselves.

I elucidate:

I want to be at every game, but sometimes work and family obligations keep me from going. Unfortunately, as long as the Union continue to slog through the lower half of the table, they won’t sell out often enough to make my seat worth anything like a valuable commodity. In other words, if I put my seat on Marketplace, I can’t come close to recovering my investment. High Supply, meet Low Demand.

Basic economics dictates that in such a situation, the Union should either make the product more desirable, or lower the price, especially for the long-time loyalists.  If only….

My second point is that I’m old. I was in the stands for the Uke Nationals, the Spartans, the Atoms, Los Atomos Mexicanos, the Fever, the Fury and the Kixx.  I haven’t had a footy championship fix since 1973.

In the crowd there at Dilworth Plaza, our fellow standees were talking about the ashes of loved ones they brought with them. Or how their friends had draped family tombstones with Eagles jerseys for those who never got to witness The Big Win themselves.

The Union brass and staff talk a lot about Philly Tough, but I’m not sure they fully understand Philly Passion. Their tone-deaf pronouncements would argue that they don’t get it. We’ll live and die with our teams, but we’ll turn on our coaches and owners.  Hell, LaSalle students once burned their basketball coach in effigy.

So Jay, Earnie and Jim: time’s up. It’s morning in Chester. Put up or shut up. Fish or cut bait. Relieve yourselves or get off the pot. Time is money. Jungite aut Perite.

Or in the words of our Founding Patron Ben:

“There are no gains without pains.”

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

“One today is worth two tomorrows.”

“He that lives upon hope will die fasting.”

“Think of three things: Whence you came, Where you are going, and to Whom you must account.”

We may be Union til we die; we just don’t want to die waiting. I don’t want my grandkids to feel they have to drape blue and gold on my tombstone.


  1. Very well said, I feel your pain. And I have fond memories of the Fever.

    We gave up season tickets after 2016. For every home game I watched on TV last season and thought “that would have been a fun game to be at” there was at least one other game I thought “thank god I didn’t pay money and haul myself to Chester for that garbage”

  2. Well done Matt, as usual. From my perspective there’s a point at which one’s support for a team can be taken advantage of. The Union and Jay Sugarman have reached this point. They have had years of goodwill with little to offer in return. At no point do I think that we should be just happy we have a team. That’s just a ridiculous sentiment in my opinion. That is not enough return on one’s investment for season or partial game ticket plans. I shy away from telling people how to spend their money. Do what you want with it. It’s yours. Though if you want real change, and a honest effort from the owner, you have to stop giving him your money.

  3. I totally feel that. I had season tickets for the inaugural season and have gone hot and cold since. For everyone out there though that is thinking of jumping ship, the only way for a better product is to support it. Stay DOOPed

    • Not really. If people stop going an owner could choose to invest in the product if they are leaving money on the table from lost revenue.
      Me? I probably won’t be buying a ticket package after this year because it’s honestly not that fun anymore. Not that I won’t ever attend a game again, but I’ll be more of a casual fan.

  4. Nice post, Matt.

    It’s such a weird thought that fans are required to support their local teams through thick and then.

    If I get a bad meal at a restaurant, I’m likely not going back and even if I do, that restaurant has a higher standard for me to become a repeat customer going forward.

    If I buy an article of clothing that doesn’t hold up or provide the value for the price, I don’t buy from that provider anymore.

    If I go to a hotel and the room is dirty, the food is bad, etc, I don’t patronize that brand anymore.

    Why should a sports team not get treated the same? I’m sure that other posters will write that “sports are different”, but they really aren’t.

    I’ve been a STH since day 1 and opted to not renew this year until the Union have proven to me that they are worthy of me buying their product again. It might take a while as they have a higher bar to clear with me than they did in 2010.

    • I think sports are different as it’s just better to support the home team than to switch to a different team. That said, not buying season tickets any more is not the same as not supporting the team anymore. You just aren’t choosing to spend your money on them anymore, which they haven’t proven they deserve.

  5. Philadelphians are entirely too loyal. We need to stop going, stop watching, stop buying until this manipulative ownership leaves.
    All posts should end with #slumlord.

  6. I think it is possible that they are actually spending less this year than last, despite the promises of more spending. (Transfer money for Accam, although well spent isn’t new money, it’s old, use it or lose it league money.)

    • I asked this the other day. We won’t be able to have a semblance of an idea until the salaries are released, but to me it seems like we have to be at best spending about the same.

    • Have we even reached 28 players on the roster yet? We got rid of a lot of players at the end of the year (9?), and to my knowledge we have only signed 5 so far (3 of them homegrowns).
      Unless players got major raises, we are nowhere close to last year’s budget by my sloppy math.

    • Accam salary is probably equal to what Edu + Pontius cost. The Allocation Money used was all league given, none was the club funded TAM

      Burke will make less than Davies

      Fabinho, Ilsinho and Herbers were resigned, but no way they received raises (if they didn’t have to take cuts)

      Alberg and Carroll gone, replaced by USL (Najem)/homegrown (Fontana) and not replaced.

      Blake got a raise. Other returning vets may have had raises built into their contracts.

      No need to wait until the salaries are released. The Union will spend near the salary cap and use all the money MLS gives them. They will not fill all their DP spots nor will use spend out of pocket to pay a transfer fee or acquire more TAM.

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    For me, as a Founding Member – full season every year – I think the word is: exhaustion. I am just exhausted of thinking this year will be the year… and I don’t even mean for MLS Cup (obviously that would be nice) I really mean to just be competitive and to spend the money that is required in order to show your fan base you give a shit. I know they spend in the Academy and I know my several years of ticket membership helped that, and I know that is all part of the grand plan.
    But for too long the first team has suffered and come August, is usually not in a position to make the playoffs.
    The shine has worn off. The stadium, a great place to watch a game – yes, is no longer enough to attract people. It’s been eight full seasons. People that want to come “check out the Union and Talon” have already done it and made the decision whether to come back or not.
    Winning is the only answer. Winning makes you relevant. Winning attractions fans… new fans, fans who left, etc. This is the year. It has to be. Or for me, I’ll be watching every game, especially the HOME ones, from my couch.

  8. I told Jason Davis on SiriusXm recently (after he had Accam on the show) that I did not renew out of protest and want Sugarman to sell the team since we are not competitive and are going backwards instead of forwards. 15 minutes later someone calls in telling him that he has 4 seats and will stick with the team since they are doing so much in terms of youth development and practice facilities. So there are a lot of different opinions out there.
    As far as I am concerned it was ridiculous in the first place to start the team without proper practice facilities and the youth development should go hand in hand with great scouting and purchasing of some great talent; talent that is raw and good value. Atlanta and several other teams have shown this is possible to find such talent; the Union is not even close.

  9. Thanks Matt. We need more Ben Franklin quotations on this site.
    “Well done is better than well said.” The Coach should keep that one in mind.

  10. el Pachyderm says:


  11. Blessed are the STH for they shall inherit the… shitheap??? Waitasec… is that what STH has stood for this whole time?????

    Someone get Jon Oliver to do 45 minute deep dive on this

  12. I had 4club seats, ROI? HA, there were a few games I literally could not give them away.
    At this point I feel like I would sound like that one guy you knew who actually went to Soul games trying to give them away,”no really it’s a lot of fun. Yeah they’re great seats, I’ve got a parking pass too…yeah yeah free. Tell you what, there’s a food credit on the card too, I cannot expect you to buy your own hot dogs and beer. Oh. Still a no? Yeah it’s cool.”

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