The timing of the news today of the arrest of two San Jose Earthquakes fans follows several weeks of tension between the San Jose Earthquakes Front Office and the 1906 Ultras Supporters Group.
The affair began when reports started to come in about an incident on West Burnside Street and 6th Avenue in Portland on the afternoon of a league match between the Portland Timbers and the San Jose Earthquakes. The match took place in April 2013.
Witnesses reported a female from a larger group of visiting fans approaching a car later revealed as belonging to a James Decker of Lake Oswego, Oregon. They claimed she was reaching inside the car in an attempt to assault those inside,
When Mr Decker attempted to drive on, the female fell to the ground and other members of the small group of fans, were said to have become involved. Other witnesses claimed they saw Earthquakes fans jump on cars and throw missiles.
Portland Police appealed for witnesses, adding that they were investigating just one incident.
Following the trouble, San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval withdrew travel privileges from the 1906 Ultras, whose members were being accused of involvement.
At a July 27th match between the same two sides at the BuckShaw Stadium in Santa Clara, where the Quakes play their matches, Quakes fans unfurled a banner referring to the incident in Portland which appeared to defend the alleged assailant and blame the people inside the car
Paraphrased slightly, the banner read:
“Only in PDX, could you run over a female and claim to be the victims”
At that point, Kaval withdrew tifo privileges from the group.
Despite this, the Ultras continued to plan the organisation of a bus to Saturday’s match in Los Angeles, in defiance of the travel ban.
Tweets and FB posts of increasing bravado appeared in which they termed the travel ban “Illegal”, and vowed to fight it.
A confrontation seemed on the cards.
Last Friday on the 23rd of August, to the astonishment of many, the Ultras released a statement that the travel ban had been lifted.
The statement read:
“San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval and 1906 Ultras capo Dan Margarit jointly announce that they have reached agreement on terms for lifting the previously imposed travel ban on the 1906 Ultras supporters group and such ban has been lifted effective for the game on August 31 between the Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy at StubHub Center.
The 1906 Ultras will be assigned seats together in a designated section of the facility.”
There seemed to have been a deal struck and a confrontation in Los Angeles avoided which may have seen up to 100 Ultras arrive without tickets and unable to enter.
The terms of the deal were unknown at the time.
It is hard to see that today’s announcement exists in isolation to the lifting of the Ultra’s ban though nothing official has been stated on the Ultras Facebook page.
We are awaiting an official response to the arrests from the San Jose Earthquakes.