LA Galaxy fires Chris Klein. Here’s what lead up to his downfall

Photo by Aydin Abdollahi.

LA Galaxy supporters have pushed club president Chris Klein out the door after a four month long stadium boycott centered around Klein’s continued mistreatment of the club. His 11 year reign came to an end on May 30.

This Saturday, the Galaxy were beaten by Charlotte F.C. at home thanks to a lone goal by Karol Swiderski. The fans are almost immune to the pain at this point; this was their ninth loss in 14 games in league play this year. They now sit in last place in the Western Conference.

To make matters worse, star forward Chicharito was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the second half. He’ll miss the next match. But if it’s any consolation for the fans, their demands have finally been met just three days after this embarrassing result.

Klein was issued a suspension last December following a salary budget infraction that occurred in 2019. Undisclosed payments regarding Argentine winger Christian Pavon exceeded budget guidelines mandated by Major League Soccer. The league fined the club $1 million and stripped them of another $1 million in future general allocation money. The club was also issued a transfer ban, which prevents them from acquiring any international players during this summer’s transfer window.

A month after the sanctions were imposed, Klein’s contract was extended. A stadium boycott was launched the following day led by all five organized Galaxy supporter groups, which includes the Galaxians, LA Riot Squad, Angel City Brigade, Galaxy Outlawz, and Ghost Ultras Galaxy.

“Our expectation is that executive leadership for our club will work with transparency, with honesty, and professionalism. We demand that all involved have pride in our colors, as we do. We will no longer tolerate the types of dishonest and apathetic business practices which have embarrassingly come to characterize our front office and executive operations,” wrote the leadership of the five supporter groups on January 13. “We will not return to the stands until change is made at the highest level.”

Angel City Brigade broke their promise on April 26, when it was announced via social media that they would be returning to the home games come May 6.

“We have been in countless calls and meetings to gain written concessions (from the front office) that indicate change. It is especially important to emphasize that many of these are in writing so we are able to hold the organization accountable should metrics agreed upon not be met,” said ACB leadership.

These written concessions have not been released to the public, mirroring the same lack of transparency that ACB had originally agreed upon as cause for protest. ACB president Gloria Jiminez declined to comment.

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On May 6, ACB stayed silent for the first 10 minutes of the match against Colorado to signify their continued discontent with the front office. Tensions between supporter groups heightened when ACB revealed their Star Wars-themed tifo at the 10th minute, which included a broken down imperial combat vehicle with “138” written across it (a subliminal diss to section 138, i.e. the LA Riot Squad) in retaliation after being labeled “sellouts” and “scabs” by some fans.

Unity between all Galaxy supporters was at the forefront of the original protest. While this act did not properly represent all participating members of ACB, it became clear that certain members were no longer interested in unity.

“I’ve always pushed for unity. I’ve always tried to do things with ACB. I’ve literally been there since the beginning, trying to work with them. And there’s people who have no interest in it… people who really push back against anyone trying that as well,” said Andrew Alesana, president of LA Riot Squad.

Galaxy Outlawz leadership holds no grudges against any Galaxy supporters.

“We have friends in every group. We have very good friends in ACB, in Riot Squad, in Galaxians, and Ghost Ultras. We have an open dialogue with them as friends. So they understand our point and we understand theirs,” said Manny Martinez, president of the Outlawz.

Leadership of Ghost Ultras Galaxy and the Galaxians declined to comment on the situation.

For Galaxy fans, Klein’s departure means next to nothing in regards to the current season. But the precedent this sets for MLS fans is priceless. Galaxy supporters have shown everyone that fans don’t have to sit back and accept mediocrity. Change can be made even at the highest level through unity and peaceful protest.

“Shout out to all who participated in helping this happen. It was a long few months but I’m finally excited for the future of this club again. Let’s get back inside,” Alesana Tweeted after Klein’s departure was announced.

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