The End is Near
The End is Near, is a frightful phrase echoed by the villain Thanos in the latest trailer for Avengers: Infinity War. How ironic that movie will be premiering this week. How ironic for Philadelphia Union fans…
What really is the end? Or when is enough, well, enough? As Union supporters, we thought we knew answers to questions that simple. But match after match, year after year, we have to question what is the end. Let’s put that aside because none of us want the Union to “end”. How about, what is enough to change? Is it zero play-off wins in club history, is it only 2 play-off appearances in 8 seasons or is it 14 consecutive win-less road matches?
Earnie Stewart is in his third season as Sporting Director and Jim Curtin his fourth season as head coach. Yes, team training facilities have improved, the academy is growing, and… what else did I forget to mention? In this season of 2018, when Stewart and Curtin are the men in charge for their third season together, the Philadelphia Union look as bad as they’ve ever looked. Ticket sales are down (regardless of what your sales rep will say), those who’ve bought tickets are bailing on going to the stadium, which means merchandise sales are down, which means food sales are down. I don’t need to see financial statements to show me otherwise. If you don’t have consumers in the building, you don’t have anyone consuming – anything.
Humor me for a second. Imagine this. Imagine you were brought into a focus group and were told to give your opinion on a business/organization with no knowledge of its name, employees, etc. All you’re told is this company has been in existence for 8 years. You are then told the following:
The owner says his business can’t compete with the upper tier of businesses in said industry.
The director says that business is still a few years away from offering the capabilities of those in the top-tier of that industry.
The manager constantly reminds employees and stock holders that unless all of his employees perform perfectly every day, they don’t have a good chance of succeeding.
When they don’t succeed, the employees and stock holders are told, well, things just didn’t go our way. But I’m sure proud of you.
Are you looking to invest in this group?
All of these statements are from this season! After eight years of sub-par success and performance, those are the statements we can lean on to gain confidence. Someone tell me this is a joke.
The upcoming DC match will be telling. If Curtin has been told he is safe no matter what happens this season, we’ll know by the line-up he rolls out Saturday afternoon. If there aren’t major line-up changes for a club that’s scored once in its last 5 matches, we will all know the answers to our questions.
I understand at the present time the back line is young, injured and limited, but there are plenty of changes that can and should be made to the midfield. If he has any fear of his job security whatsoever, Anthony Fontana will replace Borek Dockal and Derrick Jones will replace Haris Medunjanin. The midfield hasn’t been working at all. If these changes don’t happen, we might as well have the auto-pilot from Airplane trolling the sidelines. If these changes don’t happen, he will continue to lose more respect from the fans, regardless of how nice a guy he is, and I agree he is a nice guy.
You know when you go to a restaurant and are surprised how bad the food is? You might mention how great the place looked walking in, the fancy décor, and perfect plate presentation. Then you taste the food and it’s horrible and bland. The search for a tattoo artist, the mascot decision, the “Achievements Unlocked” when there really wasn’t any achievement at all and now a promotion featuring a trash-truck outside of Talen Energy Stadium.
None of that would anger the fan base if we thought we were in good hands otherwise. Soon the club will run out of window dressing and affability and gimmicks won’t matter. Soon the actual food will have to be the best part of going out to dinner. And the last thing we ever want to see again is “Achievement Unlocked: Joe Blow makes his debut in his first road match vs a Canadian opponent”. It reeks of desperation. Please stop.
I’ll leave you with some words from Mr. Bowie. I think he must have been a Union fan.
Turn and face the strange
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Turn and face the strange
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time”
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports