The club is forever

Sometimes, we need to be reminded that no one is bigger than the club we support.

This week, for me, it was the wonderful world of Chelsea that provided that reminder. When word hit that Frank Lampard had been released from his duties as manager, I knew there would be the normal grumbling and complaints, but the discourse was at a level of magnitude that surpassed even my expectations/ People talked about the “lost soul” of the club, cursing owner Roman Abramovich (sidebar: there is a rumor that my colleague Davey Shepherd actually did get his wife to agree to name their first born “Roman”), and blasted the idea that the firing could be justified.

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While I am not going into the details of those arguments or my own feelings here, as I really prefer not to see much Premier League talk in an MLS type forum, I am pointing to it in order to express my hope that we – Nashville SC fans – always remember that we are supporting the crest, the club, and not any particular individual. 

Think about how long some of these clubs have been around and plan on being around. For instance, like numerous European teams, Chelsea has been around for more than a century. With that much times comes a long list of owners, an even longer list of players, numerous trainers, a lot of office staff, a lot of fans coming and going. But only one club. And it’s the club that fans support. 

There is no one bigger than the club.

While Nashville SC has obviously not been around nearly as long, it will eventually have been (and we should treat it as if it will be).  And even in our lifetimes, players will come and go (It’s already happening!), managers will be fired and retired, office staff will move in and out. 

But you know?  The club… it’s still going to be there. Hell, the club will be here long after the stadium we have longed for is no longer standing. Again, while we may love individual players and may live through times that we think of as a “golden era,” it is ultimately the club that we support.

Does that mean we won’t have occasion to criticize decisions made by the club? Of course not: every week, we will all question tactical decisions. Every year, we’ll question trade decisions. Every season, we’ll argue over the new jerseys. Well, not me: I’ll just buy the damned thing, but most of you will quibble over colors, design, and shapes. We will argue, sometimes with a wink and sometimes with a real sense of anger.

But all of us, I hope, understand that, as supporters, we are smart enough to understand that these changes that seem so large in the moment are minor blips in a long enough timeline. Your great grandchild, when she or he starts supporting the team, won’t give a second thought to your anger that the team let one of the players go and didn’t get quite enough TAM/GAM for him.

Are there limits to support? Sure, but they are pretty far out there, at least to me.  Totally hypothetically, if an outright evil group like the Proud Boys bought ownership out from Mr. Ingram, for instance, I could see walking away from the club. But, outside of something that drastic, I’ll always be here. I’ll always make the players feel supported. I’ll always make my presence known in the stadium and in the community.

We don’t own it, but this is our club. Let’s keep that in mind.

Author: John Sloopgrew up in Asheville, NC, and after forays to Georgia and Iowa, found his way to Nashville over 25 years ago. On a trip to Portland, Oregon, 15 years ago, he watched the (then) USL Portland Timbers youth squad play one afternoon and fell completely and totally in love with soccer, to the detriment of his love of all other sports. In addition to thinking, writing, watching, and talking about soccer, Sloop teaches media and rhetoric at Vanderbilt. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of the Belcourt Theater and is part of the team that runs Tenx9 Nashville, a monthly story telling event.

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