Things are a bit hectic right now. In between New York City FC playing four home games this season at Citi Field, as well as the club needing to use Red Bull Arena for at least its first “home” fixture in the CONCACAF Champions League, fans have become a bit distraught over the past few weeks. So much so that several of the club’s supporter groups have threatened to boycott the CCL match against San Carlos at RBA.
But there is a silver lining. A huge report from David Waldstein of the New York Times indicated that NYCFC could be close to a stadium deal that would put them just a stone’s throw away from Yankee Stadium. This report was more or less confirmed by the club the following day.
Also, club CEO Brad Sims has recently made, in my opinion, honest efforts to erase the perceived opaqueness between the team’s Front Office and the fans that have been here since Day One.
A few weeks ago, Sims participated in a City Member Q&A. While most questions weren’t exactly hard-hitting, Sims did address the pressing issues including the stadium situation. And now, he’s gone even further.
A few days ago, John Muller of The Outfield sat down with Sims in a blockbuster interview that feels almost unprecedented.
In the article, Sims addresses a multitude of things such as NYCFC no longer pursuing European superstars, how much control City Football Group has over decision making, and — of course — the stadium issue.
Let’s start with that.
When asked about the lack of announcements when it came to a stadium, Sims clarified that the club tends to avoid announcing things “that are not signed.” Fair enough. In response to what changed about that policy after the NYT article dropped, Sims said:
“The primary thing was negotiation. One thing I said on Thursday night was that we were still exploring other opportunities, which is true, we were attempting a hail mary option at that point in time. And the other thing is there were some important deal points that we needed to have in that deal that at that point, on that night, had not been agreed upon, and we felt that if we said anything specific it would put us in a much worse position. The next morning we got to a point where things were negotiated to our satisfaction—well, relatively speaking—and from the time we signed a contract, within thirty minutes we had an announcement out there.“
In an effort to not share too much of their content and make sure they get the necessary clicks for their hard work, I’ll stop covering it at this point. You can read the full interview here.
But if my two cents are worth anything, I feel these past few disasters might have been blessings in disguise. More than any leader before him, Sims has put himself out there to the public and has addressed many of their concerns verbatim.
And let me be clear — he doesn’t have to do that.
We as fans get angry about a lot of things. And of those things, it’s hard sometimes to discern the real, legitimate complaints from those who just want attention. But for Sims to put himself firmly in the public eye and face more than club-curated softball questions is a bold step in the right direction for relations between the club and its fans.