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Roundtable: Feels Bad, Man

The Hot Time crew discusses the current state of the club and what’s next for supporters

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, all.

We didn’t cover the Fire game this weekend, and I think it’s only right (and practical) to continue that into the Roundtable this week. Instead, I want to talk about the overall state of the club-- on and off the pitch.

But let’s start with Despair Scales. I’m definitely at a 10 now.

Ruben Tisch: Mine goes to 11

Ruel Gutierrez Apostol: 13/10 it’s pretty despair

Adnan Bašić: ∞

So bad I’ve decided to wear a paper bag over my head for the next game

James Bridget: Careful, you might get banned

(I’m mostly kidding but, uh)

Adnan: At this point being banned isn’t even a punishment. It’d just put me out of my misery.

RJ: Some positives. The Lion and Djordje are back!

James Bridget: Indeed.

So, question: if there weren’t all the off-pitch issues surrounding the club, how would you be feeling about things now? The Fire are out of the USOC and second from bottom in the Eastern Conference. Mathematically they’re still in the playoff race, but this really doesn’t look like a team that can compete.

RJ: I would still be pretty disappointed. Especially after the exploits of last season, I was hoping they would at least try this year.

Adnan: It wouldn’t nearly be as bad, but there’d def be plenty of disappointment. Instead of being annoyed about NRod trying to tear the club apart I’d only be annoyed about his inability to sign some players.

RJ: I would still be pretty disappointed. Especially after the exploits of last season, I was hoping they would at least try this year.

Adnan: It wouldn’t nearly be as bad, but there’d def be plenty of dissapointment

Instead of being annoyed about NRod trying to tear the club apart I’d only be annoyed about his inability to sign some players

James Bridget: I think that’s what bothered me about both Chris Armas’ comments after the game on Saturday and then Alexi Lalas’ halftime monologue last night. They both seem to be under the impression that Fire fans are mad about on-pitch stuff, or at least that’s how they’re presenting it. And I don’t know if they just didn’t realize what was really going on, or if they were willfully misrepresenting the situation.

But, yeah, I think we’ve all become accustomed to bad results on the pitch and have strategies to cope with that. It’s not about winning games.

Adnan: They’ve dumbed it down, which is a problem. Don’t think anyone is doing it on purpose, they’ve just been misinformed.

Or maybe even straight-up lied to, which might’ve been the case with Twellman.

James Bridget: Yeah I think Twellman was just repeating what the club executives told him. Sympathic to the fans but also just taking the FO at face value.

Ruben: Twellman has always been the “there are problems but AH can fix them” guy. He hasn’t made the jump to AH is the problem.

James Bridget: No one ever criticizes the people with the money. Just look at Elon Musk stans.

Anywho, the conflict between Section 8/Sector Latino and the club doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved any time soon. How do you all think this is going to play out?

RJ: At some point, MLS is going to be involved with this. Whether they side with the club or with the SGs is another question.

Adnan: Section 8 protest the rest of the season. But I have no idea what the offseason would have in store.

James Bridget: My thought on this actually comes from a thread from someone on CF97 Twitter.

I think the club figured out more or less exactly how much revenue they’d lose by kicking out all the SGs and came up with an actionable plan to replace that revenue. They’ve decided that Section 8 and the team’s supporter culture is more trouble than it’s worth. I think they’re going to keep building up a context in which they can un-recognize S8C and ban a wider swath of supporters, and then pull the trigger on that in the offseason. Home games in 2019 are going to look and sound a lot like minor league baseball.

The question will then come down to whether the league decides to intervene. And THAT will largely depend on what the league’s major sponsors and corporate partners think about it.

Ruben: A war on fans is not good optics.

James Bridget: It’s not. But the front office has also clearly demonstrated that they just don’t care about optics.

Ruben: I can not imagine a world with the league not intervening, especially considering how the rest of the league’s fanbases are responding.

RJ: I’ve heard that Valspar wants to jump ship.

Ruben: Valspar not renewing their contract is not great.

James Bridget: That started making the rounds on CF97 Twitter right after the game. I’m inclined to be a little skeptical of it given the source-- the same source who said Pauno would get fired last Thursday-- but I would not be surprised if it turns out to be true.

This would be familiar territory for the club. Quaker Oats bailed a few years ago during the Wooden Spoon seasons. Toyota didn’t renew and we’ve all just kept calling the stadium Toyota Park out of habit.

RJ: On a side note, I wouldn’t mind seeing the return of sponsor less jerseys.

James Bridget: I mean, same, but they’ll put something on the shirt. If need be they’ll list Mansueto’s company as the shirt sponsor.

Adnan: Sponsorless jerseys look real nice, but it looks minor league sometimes. Like how the dynamo still don’t have a shirt sponsor.

James Bridget: The Red Stars don’t have a shirt sponsor right now. The shirts look fine.

RJ: Roma didn’t have a sponsor last year and their kit looked really good.

I wonder what the new co-owner thinks about all of this nonsense going on with the club.

James Bridget: Probably that this is going to cost him more money than he was led to believe.

So who do we want as the eventual new shirt sponsor? I think they should go with Victory Auto Wreckers. Seems apropos.

RJ: I’d be down for that, that place has saved me so much money on car parts.

Ruben: Krakus.

RJ: That should be our sleeve sponsor.

Adnan: Bring back Best Buy.

Ruben: Will also accept Vienna Beef.

RJ: Your 2019 Chicago Fire presented by Krakus. Watch the Men in Red on your Sony Bravia 4K TV only available at Best Buy while munching down on Vienna Beef hot dogs.

Adnan: Don’t forget it’s all taking place at SeatGeek stadium

RJ: ™

Don’t forget to Fuel the Fire with Squirt.

Ruben: I like Squirt

James Bridget: Same

Ruben: Ruby Red Squirt ftw

RJ: Regular is the best. Now I want Squirt to be the main shirt sponsor.

Adnan: I’d def buy a kit with Squirt plastered on the front.

James Bridget: And when they do ban S8C permanently they’re going to rebrand that section as the Harlem End FanZone, Presented By [Sponsor]. Who do you think is buying those naming rights?

RJ: Haunted Trails Family Entertainment Center

James Bridget: See the problem with that is that Haunted Trails is actually fun

Adnan: They’ll host the meet the team event. If that even happens this year.

James Bridget: I can’t even imagine that actually happening.

So we’ve talked about where the club and Section 8 goes from here. What all about all of you? Where are you all at in terms of the team and the club?

Ruben: Thank god basketball season is almost here. I need a long off season to recover from this

Adnan: I made a $200 deposit for next year when the club ran that Munich game sweepstakes. Which was before this whole mess and the long losing streak. Feels bad.

James Bridget: Feels bad indeed.

Alright, shift change!

How bout dem Red Stars, eh?

Sandra Herrera: Feels good, man. So long without soccer then to just be blessed.

I feel like most watching the game got a real treat, was very good match.

James Bridget: It was a really fun game, even when the Red Stars were losing.

And then Kerr’s goal was just <chef’s kiss>

Sandra: Loved that the goal came off a set piece that was initially defended but Chicago kept the run up and DiBernardo’s service was just on point.

James Bridget: Controversial Opinion: The Red Stars are good and fun.

Sandra: Good and Fun Soccer? In this city? Blasphemy.

James Bridget: We’re all about the controversy here at Hot Time Upon The Old Town

Sandra: (speaking of I’m subtweeting that Naughton should be player of the week)

James Bridget: She won our WOTM award, both the staff and the fan vote. It’s only right that she also get the league POTW.

Sandra: Word.