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Union Ownership Respond To 'Sons Of Ben' Protest

By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- The Philadelphia Union have just two wins in 12 games this year and their fans are mad. And not sports mad, they're actually mad.

Before Sunday's Union game against D.C. United, the 'Sons of Ben'---the Union's loyal fan group---expressed their displeasure in Union ownership by marching pregame with a banner, "Union Fans Deserve Better."

Furthermore, they carried a coffin in their protest which depicted Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz with the caption, "Nick Sakiewicz serial franchise killer."

On Monday morning, Sakiewicz responded via email saying, "We as ownership will not sit idly without exploring every opportunity available to us in order to restore the promise our team showed during the preseason."

You can read the full email below:


To All Union Fans:

Thank you for your continued support of the players last night at PPL Park. It is your passion, even your frustrations, that has fueled their hearts to pull out a victory against the number one team in the Eastern Conference, D.C. United. Last night was a glimpse of the promise we saw from a solid preseason camp with new player acquisitions and Jim Curtin taking the helm for his first full year in charge.  With that said, we are still not where we need to be. To be competitive season long, game in and game out, we need to continue to explore additional options to make the team successful.

Therefore, we as ownership will not sit idly without exploring every opportunity available to us in order to restore the promise our team showed during the preseason. It is our utmost priority to assist Jim and his current staff in getting the team back on track and competing to get into the playoffs.

Rene Meulensteen's six-month consultancy is ending this month. He will be sending us his final report, which we will then review and consider all of his analysis and recommendations. It is for personal reasons that Rene will not be continuing in his role as a consultant and we thank him for his time and efforts.

Jay Sugarman, I and the entire ownership group remain deeply committed to bringing in the right people in every facet of this organization including on and off field personnel to turn things around. That starts with a Head of Soccer Operations.

As we stated firmly back in November, we remain committed to hiring the right person to oversee these operations including first team, reserves, technical staff, scouting, Union Academy including all youth soccer programming and our overall strategy. We have several ongoing conversations at the present time and we are working to get that person in place once we agree upon who we believe the best candidate is to help us achieve our goals.

Finally, and of most importance, we want to again extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters as we both understand and appreciate your frustrations. All of us here are committed to winning on the field. Our ultimate goal is to bring a championship to you, the very best fans in Major League Soccer.  We will continue to work tirelessly to achieve that goal and will never give up that top priority to get there. Never!

Thank you,

Nick Sakiewicz

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founding Partner

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