The defending MLS Champions went to 0-0-2 by tying rivals Toronto FC yesterday on a heartbreaking, freak own goal by Gino Padula in the 84th minute. Before the final whistle was blown, casual fans may not have noticed that they had already lost something much more precious than a single soccer match. Signs were all around at the home opener that Crew fans are losing the battle to maintain a stadium atmosphere that is free from fascist, bourgeois commercialism and controlled by a cartel of fear-mongering security thugs.
Just a few examples:
- Remember when you could go into Nordecke whether you had a ticket there or not? The wink-and-a-nudge “open seating” tradition has always been part of the collectivist, progressive spirit that defines America’s hardest working fan base. Anybody try to do that yesterday? Not only were they enforcing assigned seating with two security guards at every section entrance, they were doing it with the L.A.P.D. attitude that one expects in places like Chicago and Toronto but has always been absent at Crew Stadium. “Sir, SIR. I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you do not sit in your assigned seat.”
- Remember when you could stroll along the terraces unrestricted? Anybody try to meander on down to the south section where the Canuck’s were camped out? Twice El Luchador was accosted by pushy, wannabe Officer Francis Llewellyn “Ponch” Poncherellos barking orders to evacuate the area immediately, blah, blah, blah. This is our house?
- Remember when to get thrown out of the stadium you had to commit at least a misdemeanor? A peaceful El Luchador had his pacifist values challenged like Billy Jack by two Crew security goons who went to the Laurence Powell School of Social Graces. El Luchador suffered the humiliating indignation of being ejected from his home in front of jeering drunken Toronto fans by two Columbus Police Officers merely because the two security guards pictured above didn’t want their photo taken.
Shawn Mitchell reports in the Dispatch that multiple arrests were made yesterday, multiple Crew fans were ejected from the stadium and “at least twenty Columbus police cruisers and helicopter were still patrolling the lots 45 minutes after the game.” This is total overkill, and it is a classic example of where excessive security and police presence doesn’t keep the peace, but causes problems.
It was clear yesterday that the Crew management have decided to take a hard right turn in their approach to security in the stadium. This is a sad day for every foot soldier in the populist soccer revolution.
Columbus Till I Die.