One of the choice elements of the Red Bulls’ choice of managers last week is Mike Petke’s layered history with the organization.
Truly, few understand the unique history and has a better chance to corral and manage some of the historical politics of managing the pro team in Major League Soccer’s most visible media market.
Petke has been part of the organization longer than almost anyone. Sandwiched around two stops as a player in Colorado and D.C. United, Petke made 169 appearances for the club. He was an assistant at two different times for New York and then, lately, the interim coach.
That was the point writer Michael Lewis, himself a veteran of New York’s soccer scene, was making in this recent Big Apple Soccer piece, about the New York accent and the matching New York attitude, about how the newest Red Bulls manager “epitomized what a New Yorker should be and what a soccer player from this area should be all about.”
He also remembered a great story about how Petke wore those MetroStars/Red Bulls emotions on his sleeve. It was about an ugly incident in 2000, when Tampa Bay striker Mamadou Diallo collided with MetroStars goalkeeper Mike Ammann. Diallo then stepped on Ammann’s ribs, puncturing his lung and effectively ending his career.
Lewis relates what happened next:
He celebrated a goal and revealed a white shirt under his MetroStars uniform that said, ‘Crime of the Century’ on the front and ‘Revenge is Coming’ on the back. That referred to an incident that occurred four days prior when Tampa Bay Mutiny striker Mamadou Diallo rammed into and sent goalkeeper Mike Ammann to the hospital with broken ribs. The MetroStars and fans were upset that not even a foul was called on Diallo.