Toronto FC needs to control its idiot fans right now

Toronto FC fans were misbehaving yet again Saturday in Columbus. From the Columbus Dispatch:

I am not pinning this one bit on Columbus or its fans, except to say that maybe the police should’ve done a better job of ensuring TFC fans didn’t move en masse towards Crew fans. But the rest of my criticism goes towards TFC, and their escalating fan conduct problems.

When I envision the worst possible PR incidents for MLS and American soccer, I come up with these three items:

  1. MLS folds
  2. USA fails to qualify for World Cup
  3. MLS fans take part in hooligan-inspired violence that causes serious injuries to other fans or the police

You’d surely agree that disasters one and two are fairly far off possibilities, but TFC is pushing us closer and closer to possibility no. 3.

TFC must immediately begin putting pressure on its supporter club leadership to stop the violence and property damage. If the supporters clubs won’t show leadership here, then TFC itself needs to begin removing their privileges to force the issue. I am not sure TFC management takes this issue seriously enough. Where is the statement? Where is the plan to work with the supporters clubs to find the guilty individuals and discipline them?

I took a quick swing by the Red Patch Boys’ forum and here are some comments from there verbatim and just because my grandparents might read it, I should warn you that some of the language is quite obscene.

Quote 1.
Quote 2
Quote 3
Quote 4
Quote 5
I should also add that there were plenty of folks on there expressing displeasure with the kinds of comments and actions posted above.

The fan who threw that piece of metal off the back of the bleachers should be a) charged with a crime, and b) have his season ticket stripped and face at least a season-long ban. What happens if that railing maims or kills someone? This isn’t a slippery slope argument. This is violent and potentially lethal behavior on the part of Toronto fans.

I am sorry, this simply doesn’t happen with other teams. Chicago’s fans always travel in large numbers and I don’t think they have these kinds of continuing problems. DC fans travel everywhere and I can only think of one incident that has ever caused an injury – and the guilty party in that incident was banned immediately after being identified by other DC supporters.

The onus is now on TFC management to make clear to the supporters clubs that there will be serious consequences if violent activity and property damage continues. If TFC management is ineffective at that, then the league should involve itself.

I suspect that Saturday was as close as we’ve ever seen to someone being killed or seriously maimed at an MLS match. We cannot allow for us to get that close again.

Below are some more photos and video I found on Flickr and Youtube:
<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=68975&quot; classid="clsid27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″>

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=68975

[ame=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pN2AvgFcHA”%5DYouTube – Police at Columbus Crew and Toronto FC game[/ame]
[ame=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clt80KpHx7c”%5DYouTube – Toronto FC Fan Being Tasered in Columbus[/ame]

Editor: And here’s Bill’s take on it.

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41 thoughts on “Toronto FC needs to control its idiot fans right now

  1. Some of this is clear exaggeration, but there were definitely some problems present at the stadium. Let’s face it, a majority of Toronto’s male fans were probably drinking since getting on buses to go to Columbus that morning. This probably had the most profound impact on fan behavior.

    Secondly, the security detail for this match was horrible at best. If Toronto FC had been detained in their seats for 20 or 30 minutes following the match while the rest of the stadium was cleared in an efficient manner the post match crap would’ve been kept to a minimum.

  2. US Soccer has finally made it (Even though they were Canadians). We have hooligans. Just like Europe! Promotion and relegation here we come!

  3. People can talk all they want about security details and drinking and whatever, but there is one and only solution to this problem and it can be applied immediately and by anyone.

    Don’t be an idiot.

    That’s it. That’s the solution. Don’t start fights and arguments over soccer games. Don’t push people. Don’t throw things that might hurt people. Don’t clap sarcastically at police officers. Don’t wave your flag at someone because they wear a different color. Don’t think holding a scarf gives you the right to belittle someone who doesn’t.

    Cheer, yell, jump up and down during the game, but once it’s over, don’t be an idiot. It’s really that simple.

  4. Don’t taze me, guy!

    FWIW, 100 Toronto supporters came to KC and couldn’t have been much better to deal with, and that’s me speaking both as a staffer and as a supporter. A plane trip does not equal tens of buses, I know, but it takes two to tango, and the only serious problem our visiting supporters have ever had was also in Columbus.

  5. A few comments on the Red Patch boards indicated they think the idiots tend not to pay for the fly-away roadtrips and end up on the cheaper bus trips.

  6. Not taking sides here, but opposing fans shouldn’t need to be kept forcefully apart to avoid incidents. I don’t know if TFC’s supporters have any central leadership like many of the other supporters groups do, but they need to work toward stamping this type of problem out quickly. Furthermore, I think responsibility now falls to the league office to prevent this from happening in the future. An official warning toward TFC threatening to dock points for future incidents would be no way over the line.

    Drunken idiocy happens. I’ve been hit by paper cups of beers at matches from both supporting and opposing fans, and really couldn’t care less. But violence and property destruction in ANY form is absolutely unacceptable, no matter how minor the parties involved believe it to be.

  7. Um, the altercation happened at our exit where a mass of your fans (pictured above) came seeking a confrontation. Perhaps before you point a finger at us you should explain what the Hudson Fake Fooligans and other Columbus s.g. members were doing en masse, the length of a the field away from where they exit the stadium.

  8. Agreed. This article is ridiculous sensationalism. Stadium security allowed a whack of Columbus idiots to march straight into the area where TFC fans were exiting. Look at the video Mr Stollar, thats the TFC fans exit. Get your facts straight before you start blaming TFC.
    WHAT WERE CREW SUPPORTERS DOING EN MASSE IN THE TFC FAN’S EXIT????????

  9. There is no TFC fans’ exit at Crew Stadium. That area, outside the South end of the field, is where I’d guess 95% percent of fans leaving any Crew Stadium event go through to. To call it the “TFC exit” is simply ludicrous.

  10. The only thing that’s ludicrous is this blog. It only tells one side of the story and the video itself doesnt even tell you what exactly happened. And to say that tfc fans are practising hooliganism is absolutely rediculous, especially when columbus supporters call themselves the “Hudson Street Hooligans.”There were “bad apples” on both sides no doubt about it, but you cannot be putting all the blame on tfc fans

  11. i agree with adam1001, you have no idea what the columbus fans could have done during the game, and how the heck does this do anything to make it look like Toronto Fc is going to start hooliganism in the MLS, this is only one minor insident.

  12. You can only play the “it takes two to tango” card so many times, TFC fans…

    You guys know who’s causing the problems. Stop letting them onto the bus. Or at LEAST cut them off when the bus reaches Marion…

  13. “You can only play the “it takes two to tango” card so many times, TFC fans…”

    And Columbus fans have so much sportsmanship to brag about, what with racist taunts from the supporters’ section and fighting West Ham fans in the stadium during an friendly.

  14. I don’t know what happened, but I do know those banners don’t exactly garner much sympathy. Making fun of Frankie Hejduk? Make a World Cup first, then talk.

    mmbt0ne, give it a rest. I’m African-American, and I don’t give a damn about 2 guys and the N word. An isolated incident that was more than reasonably addressed and dealt with.

  15. I believe the worst possible PR incidents for MLS and American soccer that you come up with were misordered. I would put them in the following order:

    1. MLS Soccer News Topics folds
    1a. MLS fan hooligan-inspired violence
    3. USA fails to qualify for World Cup

    There’s no place for violence against others by supporters groups, etc. and it would be a deep black mark if such violence comes to our shores. If we didn’t quailfy for the WC, soccer would survive just fine. If supporter group violence became a way of life in MLS, who knows where it would lead and/or whether MLS would ultimately survive? Whosever at fault, it’s unacceptable and all the people in charge have to take responsibility.

  16. Beside the point. It was the ONLY exit available to TFC fans. We had no choice but to exit where we are told to. If the Hudson Street HOOLIGANS(?) absolutely have to exit that way then police that concourse better. But they had other exits available to them and chose to come where the TFC fans were exiting. Fact. Stop being lazy and think the crowd (non)management situation through. Crew Stadium staff and the local police were pathetically organised as well as heavy-handed and panicky in dealing with the very few incidents that actually occurred. Considering that they had a year to think it through its just embarassing.

  17. Aaron Stollar who are you calling a “idiot” ? you sir are a moron! ….. i was at that game and only seen Columbus fans looking for trouble when the game was over they marched over to our section …… Aaron get your facts first before you start critizing people you hypocret!

  18. Right. So why do we ONLY SEE THIS ONCE A YEAR IN MLS, WHEN TORONTO VISITS COLUMBUS?!

    Yes, the Columbus police suck. However, it does not take away from the fact that this ONLY occurs when the TFC idiots visit the Columbus idiots. At BMO field, it’s not an issue, because not as many Crew fans travel and the security is much better. But, for some reason, the TFC fans like to take advantage of weak security in Columbus.

    What’s my proof? Well, whenever any other team brings supporters to Columbus, there are no issues (save for the West Ham game, which was caused by, yes, idiots). Chicago brought 600 supporters for the playoffs last year. United brought about 100 for the last game of the season. KC brought a big group for the opening round of the playoffs. I recall seeing Dynamo and Revolution fans there, as well, in fairly large groups. However, there has never been a problem unless TFC fans are involved. Coincidence? Maybe, but an awfully suspicious one, especially when the comments from their “fans” are practically ringing endorsements for hooliganism.

    I’m not condemning all Toronto fans. There are undoubtedly many classy ones. However, the idiots are the ones who stand out, no matter where you go, and TFC seems to have thousands more of them than any other MLS team.

    Do you have another side to this story? Let’s hear it. I’m very curious.

  19. Can’t everybody just be wrong in this case? I’ve seen a lot of he-said, she-said and I-saw-this, but I was there and I think we can all agree that many Toronto fans were belligerent, a certain number of Crew fans were looking for a fight after the game (I imagine HSH didn’t just magically end up at one of the south staircases after the game), and the police/security didn’t do much to help the situation. MLS and the Crew are partially responsible for that for not taking the possibility of this seriously.

    The thing is this overshadows the 99 percent of fans who weren’t causing any trouble. It also will almost certainly end up hurting the Crew at the gate as well because who wants to take a family to the game to hear profanities yelled for 90 minutes, then have their kid get pepper spray in their eyes while they’re waiting for mom and dad to get the car unstuck out of the parking lot mud.

    Certainly I don’t want the atmosphere at CCS to become sanitized 100 percent, but can’t we get to the point where large groups of fans are loud, passionate, more creative than vulgar and mostly civilized?

  20. I have three problems with the “everyone’s equally to blame” theory:

    1-In general, it’s an easy way to avoid dealing with the tough issues.
    2-I think the standards are higher in someone else’s stadium–especially when we get into the realm of physical damage to that stadium, as we did here.
    3-This incident will wind up being judged by the most visible evidences, so it’s at least very bad judgment to be so much more obvious about your loutishness than the other guy.

  21. If there isn’t a separate exit for visitors, there should be.

    MLS security (rent-a-cops) are the major problem. They have no clue how to safely and peacibly secure soccer crowds.

    That’s not saying fans cannot be problematic – but two idiots don’t make a right – especially when both of them are in security uniforms.

  22. First off… It amazes me that one of the tags to this blog is “stupid canadians” (by the way, that’s Canadians, with a capital ‘C’ —learn some respect!!!). As always it takes an obnoxious american to push our buttons with stupid comments and statements that in the end incite violence. Also, love the “USA… USA… USA… ” chants just to add fuel to the fire. Then have the nerve to march over and push TFC fans even further.

    On a side note, I also think it’s rather hilarious that you think that if the usa doesn’t qualify for the WC that it is a catastrophic PR incident. It’s that level of flag-waving, egotistical bullsh*t that make the rest of the world despise americans (I guess there’s not much for you to feel proud of these days… ie—the economy, war you started, etc). Anyway, the more you guys talk trash about us… the worse your going to make the situation. I don’t approve of any violence, but as always, you yanks are your own worse enemy.

    Canada!!!… Canada!!!… Canada!!!… TFC!!!… TFC!!!… TFC!!!

  23. as I’ve said elsewhere, I was at the game w/ my 6 year old and parents. Aside from the violence above, the signs (see the well-circulated–and very accurate, I might add–pictures), language and behavior have made this dad declare TFC games in Columbus NC17… no more kids when Toronto comes to town (and we were loooong gone before the stuff shown above happened!)

    If enough parents start feeling that way about TFC matches (or enough soccer moms have the ill luck to bring their kids to their first MLS match when TFC and it’s “fans” come to town), it’s going to kill more than the reputation of MLS.

    TFC supporters need to start policing their own, or TFC needs to go before it ruins the whole league…

  24. The sad thing, I might add, is Ontario was one of my favorite places my family vacationed as a kid. (So no, I don’t “have it in for Canadians”!)

    Saying better cops are needed, or management should fix it are lame excuses. The stuff that made me embarrassed to be there with my parents, and made me regret taking my daughter, were not things “rentacops” were the cause of. Jesus flipping the bird? References to disgusting internet stuff? Obscene gestures and slogans from the top of the stands to random people walking by? Beer being thrown on four year olds because they happened to be wearing black and gold? (yup, it happened!). This isn’t because of police issues; this displays a complete lack of character, and a complete lack of class. No amount of police intervention, short of making the whole stadium a penitentiary, would prevent this.
    There was *one* idiot fan who posted a racial epithet on the internet last season; the rest of the league went bezerk–and so did the Crew supporters groups to single the person out. The management and fans worked together to solve the problem. Other teams have done the same.

    But the majority of what I’ve seen TFC supporters write is more akin to thumping their chests and saying “Hey, we’re f*ing awesome! And if you have a problem with it, you’re a girly man!”

    The actions of TFC fans this past weekend make me wonder if we don’t need to move the franchise and let some other city with reasonable people dwelling in it take their spot (if Canadians want to keep it in Canada, fine — I’m optomistic Montreal or somewhere else could police themselves better!).

  25. @Robbo: The problem is, every team in every city in every sport in this country and Canada has fans you wouldn’t want to sit near or be subjected to. Every team has a few fans that sometimes, usually when alcohol is added, act like idiots. It’s less than 1% of the league-wide fan base, but it’s there.

    I don’t know who started what and who hit who in the what, I wasn’t there. It seems to me that while MLS is touting its code of fan conduct, it might need to have a sit-down with the folks who manage security at stadiums around the league to ensure everyone’s on the same page with regard to what should be done to prevent this in the future.

    That’s not to absolve anyone of blame on either side in this case if it’s warranted, but what starts out as something between one from each side escalates quickly if you throw in security/police folks who aren’t clear on the prescribed way to handle such a situation.

  26. Robbo… If you can find Montreal on a map, then we’ll talk. Secondly, if any TFC fan used the words “girly man”, we’ll slap them for you.

    Otherwise, your solution of moving our MLS team would greatly hurt the league… seeing as we sell out every match. You can’t even sell out your home opener!

    We don’t have to bang our chests, to prove we’re great!

  27. Good grief – to their fans really call themselves “The Hudson Street Hooligans”? ROTLMAO

    How can they be allowed to use such a name? Do they rename themselves the “Hudson Street Gestapo” at a US/Isreal friendly?

  28. So, it’s an incitement to VIOLENCE to chant “USA, USA”?

    Wow. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculous insecurity it took to post that. Evidently, many Canadians cannot handle generally innocuous words being shouted in their direction (and yes, since you deigned to speak for a large chunk of TFC fans by emphatically stating that chants were inciting you to vandalism and worse, I am justified in making a bit of a generalization).

  29. Ahem, during CONCACAF Olympic qualification in Nashville last year, I sat on the edge of the (very large) Honduran supporters section. When the Canadians took to the field against the USA (It was a double header), all of the fans, Honduran, American, and Guatemalan, to a man, roundly booed the Canadians and booed and hissed profusely when Canada had the ball.

    I am not saying this to be petty, but I am saying that while you may not respect the US for her politics, that’s fine, but most of the world has no respect for Canadian football. No respect is levelled at the players, the federation, and the fans of Canada. And yes, that made me sad.

    I want Canadian football to succeed, and believe me, the actions of your fellow supporters of TFC are a blight on Canadian football and don’t do anything to really improve the respect other nations (Including mine) will levy to you.

  30. Timon – I just think that it’s hilarious that you make it a “USA” event rather than a Crew event. You know damn well that you know what buttons to push. It is also quite funny that you think we’re so insecure though… nice try.

    As I clearly said, I don’t approve of the violence… and NO the chants didn’t cause the problems… but I’m sure they helped add fuel to the fire.

    wessoman – It doesn’t surprise me whatsoever that the hillbillies in Nashville were booing us. I find it a bit odd that you could clearly see every fan including Hondurans and Guatemalans booing. Funny how I’ve not heard that when they come here to play…. I guess I’ll just have to take your word for it. Anyway, enjoy your footy in Nashville… you can certainly count on us not making the away game over there!

  31. The chant broke out a grand total of twice over the course of the game. You’re an idiot.

    So were the chants contributory or not? Why is “USA, USA” a “button”? Your compatriots should have simply laughed it off. Apparently, you’re contending that they didn’t, and it added to the rage pile they had been building up all afternoon.

    Oh, goody! You’re a generalizing ********************! I guess I can paint all Canadians as cro-magnon rageaholics! Huzzah!

  32. I have to totally agree with you, I don’t know what it is but the TFC fans love to try start a fight when I had my nephews 6 and 8 with me. They were looking so forward to the game but I know that I will not go any game that TFC is playing.
    I would give TFC some credit if they turned in all the people who ripped up the railing, but they won’t. I am also glad that the FO of the crew had sense and did not alow any kids birthday party’s in the tent below were the TFC supporters were.

  33. you missed my point: your post is exactly what I was talking about. In the face of reports of:
    -4 year olds having beer dumped on them by TFC fans (Brutus112’s son)
    -old men and their granddaughters being assaulted by TFC fans (as reported by other TFC fans!)
    -vandalism to the stadium that results in large pieces of metal being thrown onto the field
    -classless/offensive signs displayed by TFC fans (pictures all over this board)
    -obscenities / obscene gestures directed at me and my 6 year old and 60+ year old parents when we were walking by, minding our own business… (guess my kindergarten age daughter was “inciting” the TFC crowd with her yellow rain coat!)

    your response is “We don’t have to bang our chests, to prove we’re great!”

    You prove my point exactly.

    TFC is a cancer. I don’t care if you sell out all of your own games — the actions of a large segment of your supporters section has the real possibility of damaging the league’s image in a number of other cities, and making it so families with kids (the biggest fan base for soccer in the USA) want nothing to do with MLS. That is bad for the long-term viability of MLS.

    BTW: HSH is mostly a bunch of youngish loudmouths. I am not part of them, but I can say while they are vocal, their bark is worse than their bite. (And I’ve never seen or heard of them assaulting children or senior citizens, which TFC’s own fans admit TFC fans have done!) Plus, remember, they are only one of the 3 major supporters groups.

    Moreover, when one moron posted his racial slurs on the internet, and there was a problem with fans throwing stuff on the field, the supporters groups and managment of the Crew stepped up and addressed the problem.

    I don’t see that happening with TFC (management or supporters groups).

    My proposal: in 2011 another Canadian city is going to get an MLS franchise. TFC has until September 2010 to clean up their fans. If not, their management gets canned, and their players become the new Vancouver Whitecaps.

    This would:
    a) rid the league of the cancer of TFC “fans”
    b) the Canadian players on TFC still get to play in Canada
    c) delay/spread out the problem of talent dilution for the league (two teams coming in 2011, after new ones in 2010 & 2009).

    Now mind you, I’d like to see TFC succeed. I’m not out to see Canada removed from MLS. But if having TFC in MLS is at the cost of games where large segments of fans (not just a few here and there) are vulgar and violent, I say the cost is too high.

    If TFC wants to start it’s own league, one where the police show up in riot gear en masse and the fans are treated like felons, fine, go form your own league. But the rest of us in MLS liked it better before you came, thank you… so please either step up, and clean things up, or go away.

  34. It was probably worse in Toronto in a sense. Since they were waiting outside for the Crew fans and we took a step outside by security before blows were being thrown. Security marched us right into them. So, both CPD and Toronto Police have no clue. Also, not the whole crowd of 110 to Toronto wasn’t young men, there were definitely at least 5 or 6 families in that trip. That was like a gauntlet and it got no press. And, I agree there is a little bit on both so just seperate the fans better. Problem solved.

    At least this time the cops had a chance to stop it as it was just some tame pushing and talk for about 30 minutes before it started to get bad. But, they didn’t stop it and when they tried they overreacted.

    The solution is to hold the away fans over for 30 minutes before the home side clears out. No exceptions and an escort 30 minutes staight to their bus. Simple as that.

  35. And if you think that Columbus had nothing to do with this then you are out of your mind.

    And do you really think that posting hate pieces about Toronto’s supporters is the right way to go about it.

  36. Goaler – if the railing hadn’t been thrown, the banners hadn’t been shown, the smoke bombs hadn’t been lit, etc., do you really think the police would have been necessary?

    The police were only necessary because people were acting like idiots.

  37. I am a football fan first, TFC (and other clubs) fan second.

    Hooliganism is a blight on the whole sport and not just TFC fans. To address the issue by suggesting a ban of TFC fans is to treat the symptom instead of finding a cure. Preventative measures are in order, not punitive ones.

    This should be taken as a lesson by the MLS, TFC and Colombus oprganizations, as well as security forces policing the matches.

    We all need to do our part to promote this game that we love in a positive manner. I implore TFC and Colombus fans alike not to participate in this mob mentality. RPB, U-Sector, HSH, whoever. I don’t give a **** what colors you wear. The game is bigger than you. Respect it.

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