Bomber fans wield axe

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly yells at an official during CFL action at CanadInns Stadium on...

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly yells at an official during CFL action at CanadInns Stadium on Sunday. (Sun Media)

JASON HALSTEAD, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Tired of on-field futility and off-field soap opera drama, Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans are starting to take action.

Sunday's Banjo Bowl pummelling at the hands of the Prairie rival Saskatchewan Roughriders was the last straw for many, who are now taking their protests online to the social networking site Facebook.

There are several Facebook groups advocating the firing of Mike Kelly as Bombers head coach. While most had in the range of 40 to 90 members, one group administered by Winnipegger Reid Buchanan exploded in popularity yesterday and grew to more than 1,300 members, expanding by the minute.

The teen started the group after the Bombers' show of offensive futility in their July 24 home loss to the Toronto Argonauts. Prior to the game versus Saskatchewan on Sunday, the group had about 250 members.

"I was really sick with the team's performance," said Buchanan, 17, a St. Paul's High School student and Bombers season ticket holder. "I mostly started it out of frustration."

Buchanan said he hopes the online group's pleas are heard by Bombers brass.

"As a community-owned team, we should have a voice in what happens," Buchanan said. "If we voice what we think, maybe it will sway Lyle Bauer and management to make a change."

Winnipegger Brett Birch said he started his "Fire Mike Kelly!!!" Facebook group out of "complete disgust" after last Sunday's game.

Birch's group had more than 75 members last night.

Zak Rubin, retail manager of River City Sports, said poor play means a bit of a drop in Bombers jersey and merchandise sales, but said football fans continue to buy, win or lose.

"Definitely Bomber fans like a team that wins and we definitely notice an increase in sales after victories," he said.

The Bombers are still paying out the contract of Doug Berry, their last head coach fired. Kelly signed a three-year pact prior to this season.

jason.halstead@sunmedia.ca


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