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TASC and Front Office meeting

11/22/2023 5:11 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

On Thursday, November 9, the Front Office hosted members of the Timbers Army Steering Committee, Game Day Operations and the 107IST board in a neutral setting to meet with Heather Davis, CEO of the Portland Timbers and Thorns, Ned Grabavoy, GM of the Portland Timbers, and Phil Neville, the newly named Timbers head coach. This meeting was an opportunity to meet Phil, and ask questions to Heather and Ned. The format was Q&A, and after Phil departed early (to catch a flight), there was time to have more-personal conversations in smaller groups.

The Q&A was respectful but pointed: We made plain that the hire was tone-deaf, pressed on changes within the Front Office and asked about plans to re-engage supporters who’ve walked away from the clubs. We wanted Heather, Ned and Phil to hear from us that we want the club to show up for supporters, the city, and the broader community. We questioned Phil on his intentions to work with T2 and the Academy, what “engaging with supporters” looks like, and how he and Ned plan to build up a scouting team to recruit quality players as more clubs and high-profile players join the league. 

We’ve been down this road before with the Front Office, and we know there will be continued challenges before things get better. We are approaching our conversations with them with transparency, respect and direct communication because, at the end of the day, we are RCTID, and we will be here long after they have moved on.


  • 11/22/2023 6:05 PM | Anonymous
    Is that it? Any resolutions? Any response? Any answers????
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  • 11/22/2023 6:06 PM | Anonymous
    Let the coach and front office manage/run the club, that's not the role of the Steering Committee or 107ist board. Support the club and players! The front office has changed the CEO, GM and coaches and will shortly sell the Thorns. Supporters are also "walking away" from the Army as the 107ist leadership is focused on judging every action of the front office with a self-righteous/infallible attitude that is off putting.
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    • 11/22/2023 7:24 PM | Bryan Wray
      … why are you here?
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      • 11/23/2023 3:03 PM | Anonymous
        Because I'm a member of the Timbers Army just like you.
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    • 11/22/2023 11:12 PM | Nicholas Garner
      "Support the club and players!"

      There's nothing at odds with supporting the club and the players and opposing bigotry and abuse. Or are you saying those things are mutually exclusive? Why might that be?

      "The front office has changed the CEO, GM and coaches and will shortly sell the Thorns."

      So why is Paulson still calling the shots? Why haven't patterns of behavior changed?

      "Supporters are also "walking away" from the Army as the 107ist leadership is focused on judging every action of the front office with a self-righteous/infallible attitude that is off putting."

      "...every action." Really? Not specific actions of particular character? Do you object to stances about tactics, roster choices, strategy, etc. or just ethics, especially related to bigotry and abuse?

      "Let the coach and front office manage/run the club, that's not the role of the Steering Committee or 107ist board."

      Is the Steering Committee or 107IST board trying to telling the FO what to do? Or just what not to do(e.g. don't perpetuate abuse)? To my recollection, the 107IST board and Steering Committee have only ever confronted the FO about what amounts to human rights-related topics: The Iron Front, domestic/spousal abuse, and assault. They haven't demanded that the FO sign particular players, give certain players more playing time, field players in particular positions, use specific tactics, etc. Would you prefer that the 107IST board and Steering Committee didn't engage with the FO about grass, safe standing, maintaining general admission sections, security, travel, tifo, etc.? Just clap and sing like trained seals?
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      • 11/22/2023 11:46 PM | Anonymous
        "So why is Paulson still calling the shots?" Because he owns the team, but he has completely changed the front office staff.

        "Is the Steering Committee or 107IST board trying to telling (sic) the FO what to do?" Yes, the statement above says: “We questioned Phil on . . . how he and Ned plan to build up a scouting team to recruit quality players as more clubs and high-profile players join the league.”
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      • 12/10/2023 9:28 PM | Roy Gathercoal
        It is important we recognize and avoid the rhetorical trap regarding TA values and the various stakeholders of the Greater Timbers community. Those who have been concerned about (and usually not voiced because of the stern responses) the TAs approaches about human rights issues is not that they disagree with the position, but rather that they believe this is not the appropriate forum to voice these particular manifestations of those values.

        Of course, few if any Timbers Army members are truly fascist. The "if you're not for us, you are against us" of some of those representing the political and social movement engaged in a particular culture war battle against those who consider themselves more conservative.

        After all, would we really call all who live in the US Midwest, Bible Belt, South and Rust Belt states fascists? If so, we have dramatically changed the definition of the word.

        It is not that the TA has taken such dramatic steps in support of particular expressions of support for human rights, but rather the choice of those elements of human rights.

        For example, while spousal abuse and institutional racism and sexual abuse are big news right now, other expressions of human rights are just as important: hunger, wealth inequality, climate change, ethnic cleansings in countries such as China, Myanmar, Somalia, Mali, India as well as the continuing colonization of many Southern Hemisphere countries. After all, the entire world football mega-organization arguably keeps many young people isolated and forgotten as they cherry-pick the most promising.

        Proceeds from the television rights that benefit the Timbers are part of a larger oligopoly which absolutely does not distribute their proceeds equitably.

        We have said comparatively little about the plight of people attempting to immigrate to the US. Our communities have accepted very few of those trying to escape brutality in their home country. We have pretty much overlooked those in the Spanish-speaking communities who are engaged in farm labor. Some of these people are treated fairly by employers, but the power imbalance does create systematic abuses. These people are our neighbors but we choose to not see them.

        Mental health crises have been largely overlooked. Most of those incarcerated, and those who are permanently homeless, and those committing small property crimes suffer from mental illness. Our community has turned a blind eye to the disgraceful lack of healthcare services to people with serious mental illness. Most who seek treatment have nowhere to go--they are turned away because our facilities are tragically underfunded and filled beyond legal capacity. But these folks will never be able to afford to watch a Timbers or Thorns game. Why aren't we advocating for a block of donated seats each game for those in the mental health community? Again, this is in our own backyard.

        Sexual assault is never OK. Sexual harassment is also not OK. We ought to take stands about these topics.

        But getting riled up about a single internet post 13 years ago is not taking an effective stand--especially because this sort of post was considered normal just two generations ago, and our population struggles to catch up with changing standards. How many people over 30 are innocent of making what is now considered a sexist statement? We need mercy as well as justice.

        Oregon leads the nation in hunger due to food uncertainty. While we have conducted the regular sort of food drive, what have we said about the root causes of hunger in our community? Have we addressed the half of all food produced in this country that is wasted? What about the selection of food at the stadium? What happens to the food waste that is perfectly edible after the games? Is it distributed to children who will go to bed hungry each night?

        Is our silence about these issues a statement that those who do not agree with how we take stands against these issues are in fact in favor of the abuse of immigrants, farm laborers and hungry children?

        Likewise, a statement from someone suggesting a different approach to opposing racism and sexism in our community is proof they support these atrocities is a logical and rhetorical fallacy.

        One stated value of the Timbers Army is inclusiveness. This value is betrayed if those who are more politically conservative are not welcome. We all have sinned, and get nowhere if we focus on pointing out others' transgressions. It is light, not an opposing darkness, that will drive out hate.
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  • 11/22/2023 6:38 PM | Megan Rabone
    Would love some transparency into what their responses were.

    And I couldn’t disagree with the other commenter below more; I was waiting to renew my 107ist membership and this is pushing towards doing so. Good to see you holding the line and representing those of us who care that the club pay more than lip service to the values that we hold dear. If 107ist is going to claim to be proudly antifascist (as it should), it needs to not shy away from the hard convos and not “shut up and cheer.”
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  • 11/22/2023 6:44 PM | Krista Thompson
    Please share more about what those questions and answers looked like. Are there plans to meet again? This is so vague.
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  • 11/22/2023 7:54 PM | Jonathan Mullins
    This is a garbage recap. Where is the actual transcript of what was asked and answered?
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  • 11/22/2023 8:01 PM | John Acerbi
    As I saw the evening, the vast majority of the evening was directed at the FO rather Neville.
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  • 11/22/2023 10:22 PM | Joshua O'Hair
    I personally would appreciate a more comprehensive blog post on what was asked AND the answers... Glad you felt the need to share this QandA happened but this blog post is not informative in the slightest.
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  • 11/24/2023 9:25 AM | Dylan Hallman
    I generally agree with Mike insofar as a supporters group's role isn't to meddle in the everyday affairs of the front office. But I will say the passion of the Timbers Army is a big reason I became a Timbers fan and fell I'm love with soccer. I trust y'all to exercise discretion appropriately, but certainly am at least a little concerned with the micromanaging and finding issue with every big decision made by the club. Let's choose our battles so our voice reminds relevant and strong. Cheers.
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  • 11/30/2023 4:19 PM | Kelly Miles
    thank you for having the meeting, raising these questions, and continuing the conversation.
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