TFC 2012

Tale of the Winter Mariner

New Era Ad Nauseum

My head is pounding. My heart is racing again. Oh wait, that stag party I went to in St. John’s last weekend still has me in its grip. One long hangover has beaten me down.

It’s a similarly sick feeling I have trying to digest another change in management at Toronto FC. Haven’t we been down this path enough times?

Sure, making a move during a break for the Euros is crafty. Smart to bury the news while we’re all distracted. But canning Winter and kinging Mariner? I guess the proclamations of valuing consistency were merely window dressing.

My guess is that there was no way for Aron Winter to escape blow back from the spectacle of a record-setting losing streak.

No doubt it’s been a miserable start to the 2012 season. But the lads in Red had finally broken the cycle of suck, even if it was just one slim victory. New manager or not, playoffs are probably a fantasy again. So maybe we’ll all just have to get over that – again.

I would be happy, however, with a bounce up the table and some compelling victories to round out the year.

Terrible results for the first third of the season are probably more than the general fan base can tolerate. Looking around BMO lately, the proclaimed attendance numbers have seemed very over-stated. And who’s kidding who, I’m having a lot of trouble finding buyers for my tickets this year.

With regard to management, I have always favoured the longer view. There’s no arguing that the Winter-built roster is better and the play vastly improved over earlier versions of TFC. Any change of direction on those fronts now can only lead to more chaos and inconsistency.

For me, it seems like a misguided choice to sack Winter at this point. We’ll never know if he would have been able to complete the turnaround in the three years he promised. Obviously, there isn’t much patience in the organization.

I’ve been hearing rumours of poor Winter-Mariner relations for a while. Maybe this is all a personality thing. Perhaps the endlessly decent and overly serious Winter couldn’t charm his bosses or his players enough. Perhaps the Mariner – Brennan combo in the locker room and on the bench will better motivate the minions. Time will tell.

Neither guy has a stellar track record in charge of a first flight professional team. So while Mariner’s depth of MLS experience is a bonus, there’s no guarantee his leadership will reverse Toronto FC’s fortunes. If he can’t bail out the franchise by the end of 2012, will Mariner be the next to face the axe?

That headache is back. And here we go again – new management and the panic of crisis mode are swirling in the front office of Toronto FC.

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