He’s Back: Petke returns to Red Bull Arena as “20 in 20” honoree

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

Apparently time does heal all wounds.

The New York Red Bulls have announced Mike Petke will be on hand before this weekend’s Columbus Crew encounter as the team’s latest “20 in 20” honoree; a designation commemorating the top 20 players in club history as voted by fans.

While there is no question that Petke deserves to be amongst the pantheon of Red Bull greats, his return to Red Bull Arena and his effort to work with the Red Bull organization on this distinction will be a surprise for many. After all, it was the current management group that unceremoniously ousted Petke from the organization after a successful two year stint at the helm of the club — an era that saw New York achieve their first trophy in club history and a playoff run that placed them one game away from the MLS Cup.

Speaking to the New York Post, Petke explained he did not want to be a distraction following the vitriol that bubbled after his departure, but did, however, want to commemorate his time with the club he loves — and the fans he adores.

“The reason why [I stayed away] early in the year – I said it all along, I truly meant it and I still mean it – I didn’t want to be any distraction to a team I still have in my heart,’’ Petke told the Post. “The worst thing would be me walking around, seeing people, going into the South Ward and seeing people. That would’ve been a distraction. What happened, happened. It’s not about me, about the new coaching staff or the front office at all. It’s about the players on the team moving forward and what’s in their best interest.’’

“The passion I have for this team, these supporters in this area, I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever lose. I don’t think I’ll ever say I don’t support the Red Bulls.”

  • Just look at that face.

    • #redbullshout

      This is going to be the best day of my life!

      I’m gonna wear my retro Mike Petke circa 2000 red and black striped Metro. I’m gonna bleach my hair blonde and even wear the nasal strip like Mike used to wear.

      In the 12th minute, I’m gonna get undressed and dance on my seat.

      When security throws me out, I’m goNna ride my bike home to Kearney listening to Sugar Ray,

      I’m gonna party like it’s 1998 baby!

      • Some solid suggestions!
        Shame about the disparagement of your fellow supporters and a team legend, though.

        • #redbullshout

          I’m not knocking Mike! I love him!

          I’m just telling everyone how I’m gonna express that love, baby!

  • Red Bulls Till I Die

    Great guy. Not a great coach but injected massive amounts of pride and passion for the club and organization as a whole. Legend.

  • #RedBullShout

    LIES!

    MIKE PETKE WAS A GREAT COACH!

    DID YOU SEE THE WAY HE BROUGHT ON TIM CAHILL IN THE PLAYOFFS AGAINST NEW ENGLAND?

    HE WAS GOING FOR THE WIN, BABY!

    WHAT A GREAT COACH! WHAT A HANDSOME MAN!

  • William

    this man makes me sick

    • slowleftarm

      Why? The greatest moment in Cosmos history was when Petke decided to play a bunch of scrubs against Cosmos enabling them to get a win they still brag about to this day. You should thank him for not playing his A team that day because we saw this year at RBA what happens when an MLS team takes a game against Cosmos seriously.

      • William

        Fanboy explaination how convenient right ?

        • slowleftarm

          Actually it would’ve been more convenient if Mike had played his best team that day because then Cosmos would have been thrashed again and Hempstead fanboys couldn’t harp on about a meaningless result from over a year ago.

          • William

            u can keep saying its a meaningless result as it suits your fanboy conclusion so u can take your little pillow and sleep at nite. Thus the result stands FOREVER. I know it hurts but have hope as you will never get over it. For US Open cup purposes it says the The COSMOS beat the Red Bulls but for my purposes the COSMOS beat the HARRISON METROSTARS.

            • slowleftarm

              It doesn’t hurt – my team chose not to take the game seriously and sat most of their best players. I don’t agree with approach to the open cup but I’m not the coach. Clearly the approach has changed since they played a first choice team in each of their three cup games this year including the thrashing of Hempstead at RBA. As you saw, when RBNY fields a first-choice team, Cosmos don’t even look like they belong on the same field.

              • William

                wowowwowo I can see that loss still burns so so angry…. You are superimposing that anger on this years win – sort of misplaced anger -you really need to get some help with that as it cant be of too much benefit in your life. Really guy get a grip – its ok it was just an old fashion ass kicking the Cosmos gave the Harrison Metrostars – u know come to think of it it was the ghost of Gio Savarese coming for the Metrostars on 6/14/14.

  • Dave

    Petke is a real class act.
    Hope life treats him well in the future.
    Don’t want to see him as the coach of an opponent.

    • Amen

      The guy wanted nothing more than Metro/Red Bull success. Brought passion to RBA.

  • William

    awful coach

  • Factoid boy

    For once I have to agree with Neanderthalipcis William

    • William

      wowowowow I never felt so uncomfortable. please in the future don’t agree with me I think I may be catching an inner thigh rash from your girl.