Opinion: Nycfc’s Need To Forge Its Own Identity Is More Important Than Any Single Player

KevinL

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Note: Hey all. This is my first blog post for this site. I'm relatively new to football/soccer, so any criticism is highly encouraged.

With all the talk on twitter, fan forums, and other mediums about the Frank Lampard debacle, what is often lost in these conversations is the need for the New York City Football Club to forge its own identity and—New York City being what it is—this is not that difficult a task.

New York City has always had a vibrant culture. It is perhaps not as deadly dangerous as the old Lou Reed songs made them out to be in the 70’s, but all the same with NYC there is always a sense that we are made of tougher skin than most other cities, towns, and states. The tragic events of September 11th further solidified this into people’s minds. We’ve gained a reputation for being tough, fast talking, and unapologetically proud of it.

The problems arise more from the reliance on English football teams to promote an American football club rather than on the club owners utilizing their knowledge and skills to carve out its own place. The kit, for example, does not allow the fans (especially those not inclined to support Manchester City In the first place) to feel as if it is THEIR club. This is a problem because if New Yorkers don’t feel like the club is truly theirs, then it will not survive because nobody who supports a team of any sport wants to feel like they are ‘owned’ by another team. The Lampard situation, similarly, has created a schism between fans and brings into question the legitimacy of the club owner’s practices.

Despite this, NYCFC has every opportunity to forge its own identity and to stand alone, as NYC itself does. The most important thing though is to at least partially democratize the process that some of the decisions regarding the kit, chants, club songs, and other things that can be broadly spoken of as ‘club culture’. It is not important that the club owners get fan opinions but that the club owners really listen and act on those opinions. After all, those that run the team need the fans more than anything else. If you alienate them, then a small problem can soon become an unresolvable issue.

I believe that NYCFC has the chance to do something really historic here. It is my hope that they will not bungle it up because of club ties, politics, and greed. After all, what works for the fans will ultimately pay off for the club in terms of monetary interests. The best thing for the fans is, ultimately, the best thing for the club as well.

On that same token though, something that is often overlooked is the need for the fans themselves to actively create their own culture. In order to do that, permission is not needed. What is needed is to engage with each other and try to bring their own talents and creativity to the table. However, from what I’ve seen so far, that won’t be a problem as long as people put their differences aside and become determined to work together.
 

DM-Belfast

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Great article. A club is not a club without fans; no matter how big or small, you won't survive without a fanbase that really cares about the club so your owners would do well to heed the sentiment expressed above. Sadly football fans the world over are well-used to shaking their head, gritting their teeth and ignoring the idiots at the top of the tree, for the sake of the game. But hey it could be worse, you could call yourselves 'New York' and play in New Jersey... ;)
 

Blue

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Jan 18, 2015
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For being new to football you quite well grasp the beings of it.

I live in Estonia, which is in Europe. And for me Football has always been THE sport, I've of late become interested in the NBA aswell, but football will always be my one and only true love. As I do play myself on a semi-professional level.

You're arguments are spot on. I think the first problem the club is facing is being owned by CFG, which as I take it is the very same organization that owns Manchester City, right? There's no middle man there, so it's obvious you're going to face embarrasment right off the bat, it seems to be the motto of the business as clearly demonstrated by Manchester City.

But on a serious note though, the business side of football is always there and can't be evaded, however I feel like the business and the game has been horribly mixed into one big pot with the kits, the lampard saga and the lot of it.

What the fans can do right now is go to the games, support the team, sing your heart out and be there through sun and rain. Create an atmosphere, don't just sit and watch the game, stand up, wave your scarves and sing and scream until you don't have a voice anymore.

In recent year's I've witnessed 42,000+ fans boo at their own team at their own stadium, because of the business side of football, and what I've learned is, no matter what happens in the offices, when it's time to play football, it's time for the supporters to go and create an atmoshpere, because as said, what's the point of playing football to empty seats.

I completely agree that the club should become more fan-friendly and allow the fans some more input, saying this mostly ignorant to what the club is allowing or not, based on what I've read on the internet.

But I also believe that in the current situation it's important for the fans to impose their will and show that they are willing to stick up for the club, create a movement, demand a place in the club's running and come game day, enjoy the beatiful game.
 

TabascoDiva

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I am still dubious about the Lampard saga. My concern is that these stars come to MLS not fully committed to the fans and the league. I feel betrayed not personally but as a committed fan. We love many of these stars and we also want to see and enjoy seeing those great games and beautiful Golazos. I want to say, " I was there at the stadium seeing and cheering and being part of a little bit of sport history". When they decide not to show up, we feel let down.
What's a king to a god? What's a god to a nonbeliever?(quote from fan Blue)
 
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KevinL

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I think the situation is more delicate because NYCFC is a completely new club. Otherwise, I agree with most of the comments.