I've always tried to not just be someone who complains but can also offer some sort of solution that folk can tear apart and pour scorn over. Last night, with my eldest son James, I went to the New York Red Bulls-Philadelphia Union game. I was actually a season ticket holder at NY in 2007 and 2008 when they played at Giants Stadium and it wasn't that pleasant an experience with crowds of 10-12,000 in a stadium that held 80,000. Thankfully things have changed and the RB have built their own arena in Harrison, NJ.
First thing is they came up with the novel concept of building a stadium right next to a train station, motorway and with huge car parks beside it. Will never catch on in Scotland. As we approached the stadium they had all sorts of things going such as free face-painting, 5 a side football games, free competitions and a stack of freebies. My son James is a season ticket holder at Celtic and was very confused as people kept coming up to him and handing him stuff(a shirt, hat, bag&cards) for free. I honestly don't think I've ever seen him happier going into a game and this was replicated all around us despite the strong wind and cold conditions.
The thing is not just kids who are happy, adults can enjoy a fully stocked bar with no restricitions whatsoever and the choice of food on offer would rival your average diner. Our seats were spacious and had plenty leg room too. At this point I was starting to get the impression that the RB had actually thought about the fans when building a ground but again something that would never catch on in Scotland. Speaking of fans, both the RB and PU fans made noise and sang all night. Most of it was from The Green Brigade songbook which made for a fantastic atmosphere all night and there was even a bit soapy bubble when Philly got a good goal chopped off and a mass brawl broke out. Stewards watched it, cops came in, heavily armed and the lead one said "sit down you bunch of assholes" and that was that. Can't see a Government Inquiry stemming from that one.
The game itself was pretty good. There wasn't a lot of football brains out there but there was plenty of endeavour, loads of chances for both and a standard that I would put around English Championship level.
After leaving the game a guy approached us and asked if we had enjoyed it? Being Scottish, we were immediately in that "What's it got to do with you?" mode until he followed up with "Here's a $50 voucher off a season ticket next year and a 25% off a trip to Cancun in the winter whilst you wait for the new season"
After walking the short distance to the train, our brains were frazzled, aren't you supposed to come out of a game frustrated and angry most weeks?
Hard with four pints of beautiful Guinness down your neck from the previous 90 minutes and £14 a ticket.