Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye Revs, Hello Marksmen!

Courtsey of BumpyPitch.com
The situation in New England has gone from bad to worse in a matter of weeks and at this rate what little fan base is left support the Revolution may be gone by the end of the season. There have been numerous pieces about the "defend the fort" supporters' effort that came about from some New England fans being banned from Gillette stadium due to "MLS-standard" chanting. In the week following the crackdown, MLS supporters groups from every major team have shown their support online or in the stands, expressing solidarity with their brethren. Yesterday was the latest chapter in the saga when "The Fort" staged their "Black Sunday" boycott of the match by not standing, cheering, or chanting for the first 15 minutes of the match, and then quietly walking out of the stadium. The supporters group wrote an open letter to the ownership and other media outlets explaining their protest in advance, and honestly, it takes some organization to have that large of a group pay for tickets and then be willing to walk out of the match. Eventually, Don Garber and the MLS brass will have to get involved with coming to a reasonable solution between the ownership group and the supporters. However, I think that time has come and gone, like an abusive relationship how many times are you going to take them back just to get beat down again? I think the time has come for MLS to start discussions with the Krafts to transfer the team to another ownership group. On a message board earlier today I read of one suggestion to get Fenway Sports Ventures involved (i.e. John Henry, owner of Liverpool) as a possible suitor, kill the Revs and rebrand them a new team playing in Boston. That got us thinking, what would be the best situation to come of this effort... the return of the Marksmen!

This isn't meant to be a history piece on the Marksmen, if you want that check out the Wikipedia entry or this great piece on FRHsoccer. The short version of it is the Marksmen of the 1920's are right up there with the Cosmos of the 1970's as far as shaping the development of soccer in America. Any New England soccer fan knows of the Marksmen and knows of their branding potential as the "original American soccer franchise." So here's the plan, MLS force Mr. Kraft into letting go of his "beloved" Revolution franchise, convince Mr. Henry of the synergy between owning a EPL team and an MLS team, then find a permanent location for the team in the city limits of Boston. Sure it's a pipe dream, but so is thinking that the fan base can be rebuilt with the current Revolution situation. MLS doesn't allow teams to share stadiums with baseball teams, for obvious reasons, so either the team would play with permission at Fenway or make do with the narrow confines of Harvard Stadium for the short term. Perhaps with a new brand and new ownership fan support from this traditionally strong soccer market will swell and force FSV and local officials to push hard towards a stadium deal. Maybe pick up on the option for the MBTA site in Somerville just north of the Zakim Bridge in the shadows of the Bunker Hill Memorial. Much like the quintessential MLS franchise (Seattle), the supporters can meet in the North End and march along the Freedom Trail to stadium for each match. Now that would be a fort worth defending.

What are your thoughts on this option, let us know!

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