It is safe to assume that most reasonable, and knowledgeable fans who follow the MLS knows that the New England Revolution isn’t the most well liked team in the league with their home fans. And the last few years hasn’t been kind to their owners either.
The Kraft family, who also owns the New England Patriots, own the New England Revolution. The New England Revolution, just like the Patriots since the Krafts bought them, haven been competitive since the league started. It’s not like they fail to make the play offs year after year with no way to improve. The Kraft family will probably one day be in a soccer/mls hall of fame for their contributions to the sport and league. The Revs have made it to five MLS cup finals, despite not winning it yet. They made the Open cup finals last season, and on two other occasions, 2001 and winning it all in 2007. Not bad for a “bad owner”, right? So what is the big deal?
Well recently, Fox sport’s Rob Stone made some headlines with his remarks about the Revolution and the way they are managed.
“I am so annoyed with the New England Revolution right now as a club. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s driving me mad. And I’m a New Englander, and I get it.” Rob Stone SiriusXM FC
Here is the link to the whole story and quotes, you be the judge:
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 28, 2017
Everything I say, I say out of love.
— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) February 28, 2017
To most Revs fans, this isn’t even news when someone takes a shot at the team. It is done in a daily basis by Revs fans.
— Corey Capoccia (@coreycapoccia) February 28, 2017
@RobStoneONFOX As a long time fan, it's something they don't hear enough of. Don't stop calling them out, nobody in the local media does.
— Seamus, you know me (@jimmystagger) February 28, 2017
— Steven Erickson (@StevenMErickson) February 28, 2017
— Michael Alssid (@MikeAlssid) February 28, 2017
But not everyone agrees. There are some fans who still believe and wont give in.
— College Town Sports (@CollegeTownBos) February 28, 2017
— Syl B ???⚽ (@WhiteZinWench) February 28, 2017
And lets not forget in 2014 when Boston magazine published an article that wasn’t flattering, calling them the worst owners in MLS. This got so much attention back then, that Johnathan Kraft had to go over to the Felger and Mazz show on 98.5 sports hub to defend his team, since he is the president.
So what is the big deal? There are two, maybe three big reasons depending on who you ask. Reason number one, and this is the big one I feel, is the fact that the Revs still play at Gillette stadium. With the recent ground break for DC’s new stadium, the Revs are now the only a few teams left if any, with either no stadium of their own, or one under construction. They play in a stadium that holds 66,829 but only averages 20,185 (2016 average). During the fall when NFL football kicks back up, there on football lines under the soccer lines. They play on turf, which always seems to claim a player injury at least once a season. After hearing rumors of proposed sites for a new stadium in several communities through the Boston suburb for over 10 years now, most fans just seem to ignore any new news regarding a stadium site.
But since 2010, when the average attendance was only 12,987, last season that average was 20,185. That is almost double in 6 years. Some fans would dispute that number, but what sports team haven’t fudged the attendance numbers? (Redsox?) So why spend the money for a soccer specific stadium in Boston when plenty of people can clearly find their way down to Gillette in Foxboro? At that gold mine of Patriot place? Sure I want to see them play in their own stadium, just not in Boston (FYI i’m anti SSS boston).
But it’s not just the fact that almost every team in MLS (22 team league) are either getting their own place or have their own place, fans want to see stars wear their clubs badge and colors. And its not like the Revs haven’t had any stars play here. But in the last several years, most MLS teams are signing international players in their primes or just before. Many MLS teams are investing in youth development with scouting trips, youth academies and “B” teams in the lower leagues of the American soccer pyramid to get their youth players real playing time. As a fan this is frustrating to see. The kids have to play at their skill level. Its the only way to ever get better, even at a lower league. The Revs do have a U-18, U-17, U-16 teams and are signing players to home grown contracts, just like every other team, but there is no “B” team to send these kids to play, but instead they go to college. And college isn’t the best method of measuring a players ability.
The Revs do sign foreign players, but are mostly unknown players, not to knock the players. Former captain Jose Goncalves was an unknown when he was first signed, played 4 good seasons here. But most MLS teams are aggressively signing international players either playing in Europe, or South America, ponying up the money to do so where the Revs have been reluctant. With the immigrant population here of Portuguese, Brazilians, Central/South Americans, you would think the Revs would be more aggressive chasing from these countries, especially those who played or current national team members. It was good seeing a fellow Portuguese player when Jose Goncalves played here, but even he didn’t have the buzz and helped moved the needle.
I don’t want to bash the Revs and only focus on the negatives. They have made plenty of moves and even coughed up some money to either sign players or keep them here. They re-signed Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, Chris Tierney, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, traded for Juan Agudelo and brought him back after his Euro stint, traded for Kei Kamara, spent the money to bring in Jermaine Jones, Xavier Kouassi, Antonio Mlinar, Benjamin Angoua.
Let’s let this season play out and we’ll see where they’re at.