CHESTER PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Philadelphia Union fans cheer during the game against the Chicago Fire at PPL Park on September 11 2010 in Chester Pennsylvania. The Union won 1-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Sons of Ben and Philadelphia Union have butted heads on profanity in chants a couple times this year, but the front office of the team did not go anywhere near where the New England Revolution went with their own supporters groups on Saturday.
Words from the Union came after the use of the popular USA men's national team supporters "You Suck, ***hole" chant was loudly heard on ESPN, CSN and abc6, along with throughout the stadium earlier this season. The Union have claimed that the reasoning behind the request to the Sons of Ben was the loss of a suite holder, showing that the team wishes to protect its financial interests if threatened (along with trademarks, as seen with DOOP). Sons of Ben leaders - known as Elders by members - were not happy with the supposed censoring, but attempted to get the River End to cease and desist on YSA chants.
Of late, YSA has been relegated to small groups of dissenting fans who are shunned by those around them. Around the country this is not the case. Many fan bases use YSA after every goal kick because, as mentioned previously, the chant is ingrained in American soccer culture through USMNT supporters. It's an uncreative chant that is easily, and quickly, picked up by any person at a game, which makes the quieting of the chant at Union games all the more impressive.
In New England this situation has been magnified tenfold. Revolution supporters groups in The Fort, New England's version of the River End, found themselves under assault from members of Gillette Stadium's TeamOps security forces. All over the use of YSA in the Fort.
People in The Fort were arrested by Foxboro Police Department officers, season ticket holders were banned from games and others were thrown out for profanity - namely the third word in YSA.
Both the Sons of Ben and the Union need to learn from this situation and prevent it from ever happening in Philadelphia.
There are 16-year season ticket holders who are on the verge of not returning to another Revolution game. Fans are accusing the front office of conspiring prior to Saturday's game to have the crack down happen. Some felt that it was a setup, since more and more TeamOps members surrounded The Fort throughout the game, and supporters were ejected without actually participating in YSA.
It all comes down to a perceived lack of communication between two (or more) sides. So far, all outward appearances show that the Union front office and the Sons of Ben have managed to keep a fairly good relationship going, even prior to the official establishment of the team.
The Union have chosen to use the Sons of Ben as the focus point of nearly all of the team's marketing campaigns, which does not hurt the situation in the least - except when the front office tries to change the ways of the supporters group.
Every attempt should be made, on both sides, to make sure that neither the front office or the supporters find themselves in a position to feel aggrieved in any way.
The Midknight Riders and the Rebellion, the two largest supporters groups in New England, felt the need to walk out in the middle of the game to protest front office actions against members of The Fort. They've made themselves heard on the internet, through Revolution blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the Revolution's site about their grievances for how they believe they were handled.
There hasn't been a legitimate reason for the Sons of Ben to walk out on the Union en masse, and there hasn't been any talk to suggest that there ever will be. Hopefully it will stay that way.