Engine Company: Crew on Fire — A History of Hate

To experience the joys of supporter culture by-proxy OTF contributor Jacob Peters provides us some background on Fire history, rivalries, and some footnotes on how to effectively criticize, troll, and generally enjoy Fire games. Next up, Saturday’s home match-up against Our All-Time Most Disliked Team, the Cleveland  Cincinnati Columbus Crew.  As always…

Sing in full voice. Hate with reason.

On Saturday Chicago Fire plays host to a “city’ which has been affectionally called everything from “a Suburb of Detroit” to “Cowtown” by the Fire faithful. A few times each year, this poor team is allowed to escape their oft-ablaze dump of an overgrown high school football field and see how “the other people live.”


Burn On, Big Bus

In many ways the only reason that these massive douchebags are rivals is because of proximity. Most of our meaningful games have been played against other teams like the Revscum of Foxboro, and both Crew and Fire organizations have rarely battled for titles at the same time. The exceptions are:

  • The 2008 season in which we met them in Conference Final
    • A heartbreaking game that I watched on TV while living in Cincinnati, where we blew a 1-0 lead courtesy of Brian McBride at half. This game reignited my love of soccer in America and I vowed that I would not fail to support my Men in Red on future trips to Columbus.
  • The 2009 Season in which we drew Columbus three times and finished second to them in the Eastern Conference by four points. (Do the Math).
    • I was at the draw in Columbus. I drove up to Cincinnati with some friends that were a mix of Crew and Red Bull fans. We were down 2-0 in the second half and if I recall correctly Blanco drew a red card on Gino Padula. Then in the last five minutes the Fire scored two goals (from McBride & Gonzalo Segares) and I went insane. I made up my first anti-Columbus chant “your roof, your roof, your roof is on FIRE, we don’t need your piss, you’re a yellow fucking team!”


Burns — A Brief Critique of a Yellow Fucking Team (A Yellow Fucking Team): 

Those memories personally set the stage for my hatred of the Crew—from their horrible old logo to their horrible new logo; a euro-poser collage of Bundesliga team crests.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 6.03.30 PM


Das Bootleg


If you’ve only ever watched the Crew in Chicago, it’s hard to hate them. Their fans in Chicago are good people (they moved to Chicago after all) and there isn’t too much vitriol (“Yellow Fucking Team Chant,” aside). But if you’ve ever gone to see this game in Columbus, you can’t come back with anything other than a hatred of the Crew and the massive racist hooligan sons-of-bitches that a small segment of their fanbase are.

These are the dumbasses that throw food at opposing fans, tell Sector Latino members to “Go back to Mexico,” and try to start fights only when they’re ahead, and sit quietly and pick their noses when they’re not.

Those guys are the reason we think of Columbus as that Yellow Fucking Team.  It’s why we come up with new chants to express our disdain for that back-asswards town on every bus trip (We highly suggest making the trip down with fellow supporters on August 12th).


Sound of Sirens — Fire chants to Shout at C-Bus:

Here are my favorites developed from our trips:

  • The Classic: “Yellow Fucking Team” sung to the tune of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine”
    • “Why are you such a Yellow Fucking Team, a Yellow Fucking Team, a Yellow Fucking Team”
  • The Make your own Verse Chant: “That’s Columbus” sung to the tune of “That’s Amore”…examples:
    • When your bar has to go, cuz you’re a juggalo, That’s Columbus
    • When you’re sleeping alone, cuz your sister said “no,” That’s Columbus
    • When your town is a dump and you voted for Trump, That’s Columbus
    • When your prospects are dire and your stadium’s on FIRE! That’s Columbus
  • Last Year’s Newcomer: “We are Red and You’re Rednecks” sung to the Harlem End classic “We are Red and We are White”
    • We are red and you’re rednecks, Oo Oo, We are red and you’re rednecks, Oo Oo, We are red and you’re rednecks, your sister is your fucking ex! Oo oOo.


Watch Commander — Where to See the Game, and What to Look For:

The storyline that I will be watching is how the Crew and the Fire have reinforced their teams in completely opposite manners, and then doubled-down on those acquisitions since we last left Ohio with a point and a prayer.

We’ve seen the Fire bolster possession and attacking through Juninho, Dax, Niko, Daniel Johnson, Djordje, and then dropped a Basti bomb into the center of it all.

Crew have overhauled their defense bringing in Jonathan Mensah (a rare MLS Designated Player at center back), left back Jukka Raitala, and returning CB Josh Williams. Before you accuse them of being a bottom-heavy bunch,  Bor-useless Dortmund has just dealt Tony Tchani for speedy winger Kekuta Manneh.

After a bad opening day draw, both these clubs have called in reinforcements — one from the Center of the Fußballing World, the other from the middle of nowhere… Point Roberts... Look it up.


Temporary home of Kekuta “Just the Tip” Manneh


Here’s where you can go to catch the Pub-To-Pitch buses, or for some ungodly reason you choose not to witness this game live.

  • North (Lakeview, North Center, Roscoe, Lakeview)
    • Schubas on Belmont/Southport
    • AJ Hudson’s at Grace/Ashland
    • The Globe Pub near the Irving Park Brown Line just east of Damen.
    • The Atlantic Bar on Lincoln/Winnemac (Pub to Pitch Partner)
  • Northwest (Logan Square, Wicker/Bucktown/Ukie)
    • Cleo’s just east of Damen on Chicago (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Go Tavern on Armitage just east of Kedzie (Pub to Pitch Partner)
  • City (River North, Loop, South Loop)
    • Fado on Grand/Clark (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Galway Arms on Clark/Arlington (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • Kroll’s on 18th/Michigan (Pub to Pitch Partner)
    • La Birreria on the 2nd floor of Eataly at Ohio/Wabash?
  • The Outer Limits
    • Rock Island Public House in Blue Island, 13328 Old Western Ave
    • Imperial Oak right across from the Willow Springs Metra Stop

If you know of any other bars in or outside of the city that play Fire games, let us know.

Kickoff 1pm CT on CSN Chicago

P.S. Follow Skyway Willy’s lead & post your Crew Hatred stories in the comments below. There are far more stories than the summary above, from people who’ve been going since ’98.

4 thoughts on “Engine Company: Crew on Fire — A History of Hate

  1. Nice primer Jacob, but I have some points of information. First you left out the Firehouse East days when the Fire owned Cowtown in their own tinkertoy stadium for the first 5-6 years. This started with a Tom Soehn game tying goal leading to a shootout win after Jeff Cunningham trolled the Fire support when he put C-Bus up late. Second, the Canadian side of Point Roberts provided Chicago with Brent Seabrook.

    • Thanks for the info from those early years. The only reason I highlighted ’08-’09 is that those were the only 2 years where we both finished in the top 2 in the East. I should’ve included the 2001 season where we were the 2 good teams in the Central, but the Central was only 4 teams, so it felt a bit of a stretch. We are clearly rivals with that hated team, but like the Cubs & the Cardinals, it has less to do with playoff history than it does with proximity & antipathy from regular season play. I blame Brian for the Point Roberts reference. Love me some playoff Brent Seabrook.

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