November 8, 2006

On soccer: "We don't play football just for fun. It's a marketing policy. Tradition doesn't play a role." On MLS: "There's no tradition in the U.S. You can start from fresh and you have the franchise model, so teams can move where they want." On Red Bull Salzburg: "As long as the team has success, I can cancel a television commercial on a Monday because the Red Bull brand is everywhere."

The above are all quotes from Danny Bahar, Red Bull's head of corporate sales. And while we don't know on what level Bahar is involved with Red Bull New York, or on how much of what he speaks echoes the sentiment of the club. In fact, there is nothing new here, except for blatancy with which Bahar comes out and says it.

We knew from back when word got out that Red Bull would buy and re-brand our MetroStars, that they are doing it for one reason and one reason only, to sell more of their beverage. They would care about winning for one reason only: winning will present the team and the brand in a positive light, which will result in more sales.

But we accepted that. No matter how Red Bull ideas about a soccer club differed from ours at the core, at the end both of us have one goal -- winning. And while some embraced the new overlords and some abandoned the team altogether, this website decided to put up with them. Since we've watched Metro suffer for so long, that winning carrot made us if not accept, then tolerate the garish takeover. Never mind the fact that winning in MLS usually takes time, especially when you are one bad bounce away from exiting the playoffs, no matter how good your regular season is.

"This is still your team... Your ten years of support have not been forgotten and they certainly haven't been wasted." Yes, Alexi Lalas is long gone, but those were his words spoken on this very website a few days after the takeover. We thought he was sincere then, but right now it looks like just another one in a long line of Lalas double-talk.

For Red Bull doesn't care about us. It could care less about our ten, now eleven, years of support. But really, who can blame them? Our fanbase has dwindled through years of losing, absentee ownership, and clueless front office. How many of us are still left who can honestly claim eleven years of support? Or ten? Or five?

And where does it leave this website? If anything, we spent the last year trying to strengthen our link to the past, to make sure Metro is never forgotten, to make Metro live through the re-branding and beyond.

At the end, we don't run this website to please Red Bull, just like it was never ran to please MetroMedia, AEG, or MFO under both regimes. We run the website for you, the fans, the fans who've suffered for eleven, ten, five, or even one year. And if anything, we'll keep running the website in spite of what Red Bull says, and try to maintain the Metro tradition amidst giant yellow circles, free beverage offers, and oblivious pitchmen.

At least we hope to do so.

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