De Grandpre hopes to lend “comfort” to Red Bull fans at Town Hall

Curtis De Grandpre Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls General Manager Marc de Grandpre said the team planned a Town Hall with their supporters during the offseason — long before the firing of Mike Petke ignited backlash from their fan base.

This is most certainly not the way they hoped it would turn out.

In an interview with EOS, de Grandpre touched on the coming Town Hall.  It will be the first time the club has the opportunity to address their fans face to face after the controversial firing of their former coach.

“Part of how we move forward, we want to be open and transparent as can be with our fans,” de Grandpre told EOS. “They can ask questions, they can meet Ali [Curtis] and Jesse [Marsch]. There are going to be tough questions, there are going to be hard questions and we are going to answer them to the best of our abilities and hopefully they get comfort with this recent decision.”

Right now, fans are a long way from comfort.  The #RedBullOut movement has picked up steam since the firing of Petke, organizing most recently to pay for digital time on a billboard just outside of the Lincoln Tunnel.  They also plan on giving away #RedBullOut t-shirts at Friday’s town hall, encouraging fans to donate their Red Bull gear to charity.  Moreover, a recent EOS poll has consistently shown over 50% of participants voting for a change of ownership.

With the Town Hall, Red Bull hopes to calm the storm that has enveloped the banks of the Passaic since early last week.

“Hopefully we will give the fans and our supporters a forum where they can hear it straight from our guys,” de Grandpre says.  “We let go of a really popular coach but we are very confident as we look towards the future with Jesse and Ali that we are going in the right direction. Over time our fans are going to see this and we are going to deliver them a club they can be very proud of.”


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  • #RedBullOut

  • #RedBullOut

    Comfort deez nuts

  • Rob

    I took several things from the meeting, none of them positive for the leadership team:

    1) Curtis never answered the question regarding Petke’s firing and continues to show his disconnect to the fan base unlike anyone who has come before him. The term I keep hearing with regard to Curtis is “arrogance” and it appeared to me that Curtis’ behavior and answers during the meeting only reinforced that image.

    2) Curtis asked for time to implement his plan. Fair enough…however, he didn’t give Petke the chance to implement the plan. In other words, I believe we as fans are dealing with someone who can and will set aside principles for immediacy. That shouldn’t be surprising considering he is coming from working in an organization that makes ignoring principles a foundational philosophical standard. As someone asked, based on the behavior of firing Petke, will he do the same if Marsch fails to win the Cup, Curtis didn’t answer.

    3) The question I wanted posed to Marsch was in regard to his feelings on how there are now those out there in the coaching fraternity that feel he broke an unwritten rule regarding interviewing and accepting a coaching position when it hasn’t even been vacated. Marsch gave some answers that were appealing to the emotional side of the fans at the event but the reality is, he took someone else’s job before that coach was fired from his position. My take is that even if Marsch wins the MLS Cup in his first season that he needs to go. He, like Curtis, represents the business-oriented, lack of understanding of fan emotional attachment that is part of what has supporters angry…

    …which brings me to Luis Robles answers.

    1) Luis stated that “its a business”…with all due respect, you can’t say that to fans. By definition, fan is short for fanatic, and as such there is an emotional attachment. A sports franchise is not just another business. RBNY is not Prudential or ITT to its fans, and it would be prudent for both players and management to understand that…


    2) Reading between the lines of Robles’ answers it seems to me that the players are not happy that Petke is gone. There could be a variety of reasons, from the respect Petke engendered from much of the locker room to those not liking the way things were handled. However, when a player is asked about how they feel about a decision and their answer is “it’s a business” or something along those lines, that is player-speak for, “we\I don’t agree with the decision”. If he did, Robles would have said it, even if it were in a way that was subtle out of deference to Petke.

    All in all, everyone at the podium reinforced the idea that the members of the leadership team do not understand the idea behind being a supporter.

    Before this becomes an op\ed piece (if it already hasn’t), I am an athletic administrator and over the years I have made many hiring decisions. I have a pretty successful track record of hiring people who connect with our community and win on the field/court/ice. However, there was one hiring decision, which I based on a plan and vision, that went poorly from the get-go. It wasn’t the plan, but the coach’s lack of PR savvy. Essentially the coach was tone deaf to the community and his reaction to the community’s disapproval was one of arrogance and “I am right and you’re not”. In many ways, very similar, in my opinion, to Curtis.

    I admitted my mistake, paid the coach the full year’s contract but terminated them after about five weeks after they were hired.

    Will Red Bull Austria recognize its mistake? Doubtful, but there’s always hope…

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