Sunday, October 7, 2012

Letter to Jonathan Kraft

Text of the letter I mailed off to Jonathan Kraft this weekend.  Copies of the letter were also sent to Don Garber and Brian Bilello:

Mr. Jonathan Kraft
1 Patriot Place
Foxborough, MA 02035

October 6, 2012

Mr. Kraft,

I represent a group of fans and supporters of the New England Revolution who are very concerned about the long-term future of the franchise.

Since acquiring the New England Patriots in 1994, you, your family and the Patriots' management team have committed the time, effort, resources and passion necessary to build the franchise into a benchmark, best-practices organization - across all aspects of operation - in the National Football League... indeed, in all of major professional sports.

After nearly 17 years of Kraft family stewardship, would you honestly contend that the New England Revolution franchise represents a benchmark, best-practices organization - across all aspects of operation - in Major League Soccer? Can you honestly claim that you, your family and the Revolution management team have committed the time, effort, resources and passion necessary to build the organization to such a level?

We believe the answer to all of those questions is a definitive “no”. 

With that in mind, our group feels that we can no long economically validate the way in which the organization is conducting its business. It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that at the end of the 2012 Regular Season, we will no longer purchase any Revolution tickets, merchandise, concessions, or any other ancillary goods or services.

Our boycott will end at such time as the organization takes specific steps to demonstrate it’s commitment to being one of Major League Soccer’s premier franchises. To that end, we have outlined several areas where we feel the organization needs to show marked improvement:

Demand #1: Replace Michael Burns as the club’s General Manager.
Mr. Burns is responsible for player acquisition, youth development, and scouting – all of which are arguably organizational shortcomings. Since becoming Vice President of Player Personnel in 2008, the club has compiled a record of 44-68-42, and over the past three seasons, the team has the worst aggregate record in all of Major League Soccer. Burns’ tenure has been marked by high profile signings that didn’t last an entire season, unused roster spots, and a poor draft record. In short, he has had a major role in the slow decline of the on-field product.

  • We demand that the Revolution relieve General Manager Michael Burns of his duties immediately.

Demand #2: Enhance the Quality of Communication Between Ownership and Fans.Revolution fans have spent much time and energy over the course of many years trying to resolve issues with the Front Office, and little ever seems to come of it. We need ownership to demonstrate that they are engaged and that they care about the club and its future.
  • We demand that the club host a forum with fans where a member of ownership discusses the future of the club and agrees to answer questions from fans. In addition, we demand that ownership commit to communicate with fans electronically at least three times per season.

Demand #3: Take steps to make Gillette Stadium more Soccer Friendly.There is little that is more frustrating to Revolution fans than feeling like a guest in our own home stadium. We concede that the New England Patriots are the primary tenant, but that’s no reason to ignore the existence of the Revolution. If the organization can not provide a suitable home for the Revolution, they should at least provide a first-class playing surface. This demand will be dropped should the organization announce an agreement to build a new stadium.
  • We demand the installation of box nets and video ad boards such as those found at numerous other venues around the league. We also demand permanent Revolution signage inside the stadium that can not be removed or covered over during other stadium events, and that there be no visible football lines on the pitch from the beginning of the MLS Regular Season until the first Patriots preseason home game.

Demand #4: Improve the relationship between Revolution fans and stadium security.
It is our belief that the the actions of TeamOps personnel has led to the loss of numerous Revolution fans over the course of the last eleven seasons. Ownership needs to acknowledge that Revolution fans have been held to a far stricter standard than other soccer fans who attend matches at Gillette Stadium, and take steps to address the inequities.
  • We demand that the club establish a way in which fans can electronically submit and review both positive and negative feedback regarding specific TeamOps personnel. We also demand an explanation from TeamOps executives on how they conduct employee performance reviews. In addition, TeamOps executives must disclose any specific training given to employees in regards to soccer crowds and agree to allow Supporters Groups to provide feedback on that training.

Demand #5: Enact long standing requests from Revolution supporters.
Many Revolution fans feel that our concerns and suggestions fall on deaf ears. The organization as a whole needs to demonstrate that it is not taking its loyal fans for granted.

  • We demand the club operate a shuttle bus service from an MBTA Commuter Rail stop to the stadium for every home game for a period of one year. The service should be advertised on the team’s web site and on Revolution telecasts. After one year, the team will be free to make any decision they wish regarding the future of the service.
  • We demand that the organization work with the club’s Supporters Groups on at least one large “tifo” display per season.

This action is forced not out of hatred, but out of love for a club that has been bypassed by the rest of the league both on and off the pitch. Your family owns a number of successful enterprises. It’s hard to believe that you would allow any of those other businesses to deteriorate to the point where they become a laughing stock throughout the industry without taking decisive actions.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention. We look forward to not only hearing your candid and detailed response, but also seeing concrete evidence of an increased commitment of time, effort, resources and passion on the part of you, your family and the Revolution management team.

If yourself or anyone from your staff wishes to discuss these issues with me, please feel free to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX or e-mail me at


Michael T. Marshall
Boycott the Revs


  1. Excellent Mike. To the point and truly shows the frustration evident in MANY fans since the inception of this team in 1996.
    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the game we so dearly love, on which this CLUB must prove that it deserves to have us, the fans, give up our precious time to follow!

  2. A supporter group actively demanding the installation of more adboards and front office participation in at least one tifo?

    You're pitiful.

  3. Thank you for reading, Montreal.

    Not sure why demanding new ad boards would make the effort "pitiful". As pointed out in the letter, if the organization can not give the Revolution a suitable home, they should at least be able to provide a suitable, professional looking playing surface.

    And you misunderstand the tifo request. That stems from an incident a few years ago in which the front office gave the go ahead to supporters for a large tifo display before changing their minds two days before the game, costing the Midnight Riders a great deal of money and effort. We don't want their active help. We basically want them to not get in the way.