What was once a blessing for the Columbus Crew has become, quite literally, a curse.

What was once a blessing for the Columbus Crew has become, quite literally, a curse.

The Nordecke, the rowdy supporters section in Crew Stadium's northeast corner, transformed the atmosphere at matches last season. As the year rolled on, an increasing throng of fans built on the groundwork laid by organized supporters clubs Crew Union, Hudson Street Hooligans and La Turbina Amarilla. They cheered, chanted and shouted the Crew to its most successful season ever.

Traditionally, a new season means the supporters clubs have to rebuild momentum from the ground up, but the Nordecke picked up right where it left off last season.

Its continued growth has posed some problems, though. Some fans have taken to throwing objects at players on the field, while others regularly chant profane language.

Such behavior is tormenting the family element that populates much of the rest of Crew Stadium, and club president and general manager Mark McCullers has been getting an earful.

On June 1 he posted a message to Nordecke fans on the team blog, The Black and Gold Standard, asking fans not to throw objects on the field and to refrain from cursing in their organized chants. He threatened to remove any fans caught doing those things.

"This behavior neither supports the team nor contributes to our home-field advantage," McCullers wrote.

"Numerous fans have let me know in no uncertain terms that they will not attend another Crew match until the situation is resolved. The image of the stadium and the club has been compromised and this can not be allowed to continue."

McCullers acknowledged that the leadership from each of the supporters clubs has been cooperative with the front office. John Clem of Crew Union agreed: They're more than happy to curtail projectiles and organized swearing.

"There has to be a certain give and take," Clem said. "I think the groups understand that."

The trouble is the Nordecke has been flooded by a large number of fans who aren't affiliated with any of the groups. As numbers increase, it's getting harder for each club to self-police its own section.

So security guards will have to police it instead. McCullers' note made it clear that bottle tossers and F-word chanters will be ejected starting with Sunday's match. Ushers will also be more strict about letting people into the Nordecke sections with tickets for elsewhere in the stadium.

Clem hopes these measures will help "weed out the troublemakers," and he noted at least one positive consequence of this conflict.

"I think there's been a good burst of a lot of ideas coming out of this," Clem said, "and a lot of people trying to think of good ways to start new cheers ... that are more creative and supportive of the team and actually are relevant to what's going on."