A few days ago we talked to two of the people behind the IndieGoGo campaign to fund a billboard to protest the firing of former head coach Mike Petke by the New York Red Bulls. The campaign hit it's funding goal of $3,200 within twelve hours and has continued to get money. We talked to Goran Markovic and Jeff Kleiman to follow up on the billboard hitting it's goal so quickly.
OaM: The billboard campaign surpassed its $3,200 goal within 12 hours. Are you shocked by the outpouring of support for the idea?
Goran: I would not call it shocking but definitely surprising, I was confident the goal would be reached but not in half a day. What is a bit shocking is all the other things fans are talking about such as cancelling season tickets and not showing up to any more home games while this ownership is in charge.It is also shocking that the team is refusing to issue refunds on season ticket deposits which they asked for earlier than ever last year, in early August, they knew something we did not.
Jeff: I don't know if I would say shocked but I'm extremely happy about the support the project has received. I think the shocking part of it was reaching the goal in less than 12 hours. This shows that the fan base is really tired of the lies and bull that the front office and ownership has spewed time and time again. You can only treat people badly for so long before they fight back. This is our fight.
OaM: Since you have surpassed your goal, is there a plan for what will be done with the excess money?
Goran: The current plan for the extra money that keeps coming in is to either extend the length of the time the billboard will be up or renting another one. That will be decided based on the amount of extra funds and availability of billboards in the right location.
OaM: The funding campaign was set for 30 days (end February 7th). What's the timing for the billboard? Is there a plan to have it displayed sooner?
Jeff: The 23rd of February is when the billboard on 280 becomes available to use, so that's why that date was picked. If more funds are available to use, then something else may be in the works. We just won't know until all the money is collected.
Goran: Mr. Ader is one of 150 contributors and the amount he contributed speaks only about his ability to spend larger sums of money than the average fan of the team. I do not see it as anything other than someone who feels the same way many of the regular fans do about the treatment of Mike Petke by the current people in charge of RBNY. It sure is nice to have fans of what we are doing in high places but the core of this movement is and will be the fans that contributed either smaller amounts of money or ideas or simply by spreading the word.
Jeff: Jason Ader is a supporter just like us. I'm extremely grateful he has decided to contribute to our cause and take a stand along with us.
OaM: There's now a town hall planned for Season Ticket Holders om January 16th, what are your expectations?
Goran: Town hall meeting was called for mere hours after the start of the campaign, perhaps coincidentally perhaps not. It is unfortunate that the main topic there, if me and other season ticket holders have their say, will be the firing of Mike Petke and not some lighter topics such as improving the atmosphere and the relationship between the front office and the fans. If I do get a chance to go to the town hall I expect tough questions from the fans and corporate speak from the other side, saying the same thing they have been saying since the decision to fire Mike which is not saying much of anything concrete. In other words I do not expect anything to be resolved there but look forward to the opportunity to voice our displeasure with the direction the club is taking after the best two years this franchise has had.
Jeff: It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. I'm a season ticket holder myself and I will not be attending, simply because I know Mr. De Grandpre, Mr. Curtis, and Mr. Marsch will be using their corporate-speak to the attendees (such as saying the decision to fire Coach Petke wasn't one they took lightly when Curtis decided to start interviewing coaching candidates immediately after taking over as Sporting Director) and that's not what the fan base needs right now. This fan base deserves real answers, and unfortunately they will not get any from those three men. The decision by the front office to hold this town hall meeting reeks of damage control in the aftermath of the decisions they've made and I sincerely hope each and every attendee holds them accountable for the decisions they've made.
If you want to donate to the fund, you can go to the IndieGoGo campaign. The campaign will run until February 7th.