NEW YORK - Don Garber and representatives from Red Bull New York and New York City FC met with reporters today to discuss last minute changes to their supporters groups with the shadow of the derby game only a few days away.
“In light of the legendary match-up happening this Sunday between the only New York soccer teams,” said Garber “we thought we would take this opportunity to re-brand the supporters sections as a way to highlight the ancient rivalry between not only these two teams but the supporters as well. Not unlike the Celtic and Rangers rivalry whose rivalry goes beyond the soccer field, RBNY and NYCFC supporters have animosity going back generations with literal blood having been spilled between the two.”
Garber continued, “It is in this spirit that we have decided to re-brand their supporters sections. Starting today the Red Bull supporters group 'Empire Supporters Club' will now be known as the ‘Dead Rabbits’ and the NYCFC supporters group 'Third Rail' will now be known as the ‘Bowery Boys.’ We hope that this new branding will help to spark the kind of rivalry and passion that has been present for over a hundred years between the two groups.”
Garber then handed the microphone over to the head of the MLS Supporters Group Marketing division, Peter Briston. “In addition to the name change we have also decided to use this opportunity to unveil a new product for MLS, the Team Supporters Kit. These are designed specifically for supporters from each team to wear to show that they are not only fans of the team but also a dedicated supporter that is connected to the teams history via a purchase of $89.99. Our first two supporters kits are designed for NYCFC and RBNY groups with the Dead Rabbits kit being off white with red hoops and the Bowery Boys being off white with blue hoops.”
Garber then began to accept questions from the press and was asked “How can you push this historical inaccuracy knowing full well that there are no ties with these teams to any kind of history at all especially the early city gangs that had a multi-generational rivalry?“
Garber responded by having the reporter removed and then he addressed the remaining members of the press. “The same questions were asked when we unveiled the Philadelphia Union third kit that called back to Bethlehem Steel FC, a team that had no connection whatsoever to the Union. I say that we are clearly giving the people what they want as the sales numbers for the kit were amazing. Who cares if it’s historically accurate or not as long as it gets people excited.”
When asked for any final word before the big game on Sunday Garber replied, “This match-up is going to be legendary and we now have the supporters groups we want to get behind it and drive the energy of the match. This is going to be a bigger sporting event than when Tyson fought Ali.“