fans vs. Fans

>> Thursday

With no disrespect to our fine blog's educated and not immature target audience, I'm willing to bet few of our readers even know where the hell the Faroe Islands even are. Hell, if I didn't follow soccer like some people follow religion, neither would I. As the map illustrates, the Faroes are essentially just a cluster of rocks sticking out of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of nowhere between Iceland, Norway, and Scotland. The national dish is whale blubber, and the entire population of the Islands could fit in Soldier Field with about 12,000 seats to spare. (Angry Faroese, you can send your hate e-mail to, but that won't make any of it less true).

When English club Manchester City was drawn against a club from the Faroes for a home-and-home series in the first round of the UEFA Cup, the prospect looked bleak for fans. Then again, Man City fans have spent most of their lives playing Clippers to Manchester United's Lakers, so I suppose it wasn't too big of a change.

Upon learning of the series, fans with a small f would have checked the airfare from Manchester to the Faroes, seen it was too expensive, and thought "Ah, we'll just watch the home leg then."

Fans with a capital F like these 12 Man City Fans drive 8 hours from Manchester to Aberdeen, Scotland. From there, they catch an overnight, 12-hour ferry boat to the Shetland Islands, off the Northern coast of Scotland. Once there, they rent out a fishing trawler ...IN MAN CITY COLORS, NO LESS and command it on the 26-hour sea voyage to Torshavn, in the Faroe Islands, site of today's UEFA Cup tie between Man City and EB/Streymour.

No word at press time on whether these people are employed.

Not only did the Fans manage to arrange all this, but they also arranged for soccer magazine FourFourTwo to pay for their booze . Now, I don't want to question these Fans' wisdom, but of all the places where I would want to have a boatload of free beer at my disposal, the high seas is closer to the bottom of that list than the top.

Looking at the picture, I also have to imagine that the boat may have been chosen for its relative inexpense rather than its seaworthiness. Just a thought. Hats off to 'em though.


Anonymous,  1:23 AM  

Where's the post on the Columbus Crew v Inter City Firm dustup over the weekend? Mike, I demand you take a ridiculously uninformed stance on the brawl without knowing any of the facts on what happened.

Mike 11:17 AM  

From what I've read of the incident, I'm putting blame on the West Ham fans/ICF whoever they are. West Ham fans have been around long enough to know that if you bring 30 guys into the home team's supporters' section, you are asking for trouble. If those same West Ham fans were ICF, then they were likely looking for trouble, and surprise, MLS was caught flat-footed.

As probably the only YCS staff member who has been to Columbus Crew Stadium, I can say that it is a hooligan's paradise. There is no segregation between home and away supporters, only a few rent-a-cops to keep order throughout the stadium, and aside from a resurgent Nordecke, a relatively docile soccer-moms-and-thundersticks crowd that would just as soon avoid the scene altogether.

It might be time for MLS to seriously consider meaningful segregation of home and away supporters. At the very least, there needs to be increased security protection of visiting fans. During a recent Chicago Fire away game in Columbus I had friends outnumbered and attacked in the parking lot by Columbus fans who had probably seen Green Street too many times, while the CCS rent-a-cops were directing traffic...if they were working at all.

It's a problem MLS can't afford to ignore. The arrival of the English Disease on American shores could potentially be a death blow to the sport. While there have been no reports of organized firms that I know of, there have been substantial impromptu fan violence in the past year, most notably the Columbus-West Ham game, the DC-New York game in 2006, LA-Chivas USA last year and the Houston-Chivas USA game earlier this year.

Thus concludes my commentary here on the Columbus-West Ham dustup. If you want a ridiculously uninformed stance, may I suggest MLS Rumors?

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