Yesterday was a pretty crappy day for a large number of American fans of Tottenham Hotspur.
Today, Spurs and Roma will face off at Red Bull Arena in the second of three pre-season friendlies that Tottenham will play in the US. That will be a lot of fun! Yesterday, there was supposed to be open training at the same ground, but that open training never happened.
The Red Bulls made the decision to cancel because of a “waterlogged pitch”. The email informing attendees of the cancellation didn’t go out until 3:18 PM, just 12 minutes before Spurs fans were told to arrive to queue at will-call for their tickets.
Many excited Tottenham fans were caught blindsided by the last-minute cancellation. It had rained for a couple hours in the morning, but that rain had subsided well before noon. The afternoon was cloudy, but the forecast didn’t call for any more precipitation until much later that night. And the pitch really didn’t look that bad...
I got the email just as I had walked far enough away from the PATH station to see Red Bull Arena hovering over the wasteland that is that part of Harrison, NJ.
A crowd of frustrated fans quickly gathered at RBA. Other people’s days had been affected much more than mine. Some had spent hours in a car that morning to make the journey. Others had come down to NYC early and had, now needlessly, paid for a hotel room the night before. Most of the adults there had taken off work to come watch and meet their heroes. All together it was a crowd of more than 100 people waiting outside the stadium, with quite a few disappointed kids among them.
New York Spurs have done an amazing job this week, and did so again yesterday. They told us to stay put and that they were working with the club to figure out a way to make it up to the fans who had been invited to open training.
The blame here has to fall on the New York Red Bulls. Red Bull Arena is widely considered to be one of the best grounds in MLS. The pitch couldn’t handle a little bit of rain the morning before a game? Come on. And if it was really that bad, cancel it much earlier.
After a while, the Red Bulls tried to get the crowd of Spurs fans to leave. People had been waiting for over an hour, holding out hope that Spurs would arrange something despite the cancellation, and NYRB had the gall to send their stadium employees out to hand these slips out to us.
Not sure why I'm smiling. 2.5 hour drive from New Haven CT. Thanks for the advanced notice. Totally gutted. pic.twitter.com/MFbbTi6DjO— Mark Tomcho (@thetomchos) July 24, 2017
I promise this is not a joke. They actually came around to hand these out. They even misspelled the word “cancelled”.
Spurs have tried to partially rectify the situation. They set up a “golden circle” exclusive autograph session this morning before the game, but plenty of people without that VIP access also spent money making the futile trip to Red Bull Arena. They’ve also announced a shirt raffle that everyone who was invited to open training will be entered in. But again, that doesn’t do much for those who don’t win a shirt.
Yesterday was an experience to learn from for both Spurs and NYRB. They both let fans down. Tottenham have at least tried to make things better. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, seem like they couldn’t care less about the fiasco that they created.