The Vitriol of the RBNY Town Hall Meeting

Ali Curtis, Marc DeGrandpre & Jesse Marsch took the brunt of the anger very well
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, January 19, 2015

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

On Friday night, January 16, over 400 season ticket holders were invited to Red Bull Arena to meet with new Sporting Director Ali Curtis, new head coach Jesse Marsch and current General Manager Marc DeGrandpre. It was a town hall style meeting for the club to hear the grievances of their supporters, mostly centered around the club’s decision to fire former coach Mike Petke.

I listened to the audio of the meeting and I heard a lot of very upset supporters who were not happy with how they heard the information about Petke getting fired after two successful seasons, in which he gave RBNY the most success this side has ever had as most seasons beforehand were inconsistent.

The anger and the fire from the supporters were rightly on a scale past 10 and beyond as most were yelling at Ali Curtis, who did the deed. There were some photos from the event that these men wore their Red Bull New York Jackets, it felt like they should’ve worn white t-shirts with red targets on their chests waiting for the darts to hit the bull’s eye.

Curtis tried to answer the questions in a diplomatic way and when he made a long winded answer, the supporters shouted him down and threw swear words in his direction. They even threw in his face his 300-page plan and many who went up to a microphone to express their displeasure at him on why he and the club would throw away a man that has done more in 2 seasons than what Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley, Ocatvio Zambrano and Juan Carlos Osorio have done in their tenure.

Jesse Marsch came out on top as someone the crowd could trust as he told them how much he loved their passion and what his ideas are for the club to start the 2015 season and what he wants to do. While there were some that were shouting him down and mocking him that he has one year to get all of this right, the majority warmed up to him as they knew this wasn’t his call.

With all things looking like it was going downhill, there were a few that demanded a refund for their season tickets, but that was never going to happen with a state law in both New York and New Jersey once they gave their deposits. Once again the insults and the anger at this town hall meeting were palpable and the questions were brought back up about the identity of this club.

At the moment my answers may not be simple, but I can deduce it very easily. It’s unfortunate that Mike Petke got thrown away because of someone else’s ideas to run the club. But, at the same time, I think Marsch will do a good job and it wasn’t his call to make this move. But when it comes to Ali Curtis taking over the sporting director’s job from Andy Roxburgh, all I can say is this: the man is over his head and he created a firestorm with his first important decision that went the wrong way.

It didn’t matter if the story broke out at 11:30 p.m. at night or 11:30 a.m. in the morning, the lava flow of emotions was going to get that high and he was going to face the people regardless. I understand it’s Curtis’ first job trying to build a club. I’m sure he has a lot of great ideas on making them better like going towards the academy kids and bring them up to the senior team, but Petke said the same thing after the last group stage home game of the CONCACAF Champions League at his post match press conference.

So if Curtis didn’t hear or read those comments by Petke, then his decisions are seriously flawed. We could see a change of direction going the wrong way again as we get ready for the 20th season of this club.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.