(WTR's resident fashionista Shoshone Flowers is back, taking time off from her quest to find soccer's best and worst fashions to write us about Paul Mariner and Earl Cochrane's latest war of words with Aron Winter...)
Hello again, my WTR dearies!
Well, I was on my way to Milan to catch a few Serie A games and to catch a glimpse of the latest football fashions, when I saw some of those nasty words that Paul Mariner and Earl Cochrane said during TFC's season-ending media day. And truth be told, I was so appalled, I almost smacked the poor fight attendant that was passing out the pre-flight drinks!
Let's face it, the Aron Winter years wasn't exactly the best years of our lives, but one thing's for sure -- he restored a semblance of hope when he got TFC to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League. That's a fact you can't deny. The 1-9 record is upsetting, but being the assistant coach means you're also responsible for that result. Trying to push it all on Aron is like trying to blame a busy Starbucks barista for not making your double-whip, non-fat, triple syrup with 10 grams of cocoa dusted on top chai latte with pumpkin spice correctly.
You know what this reminds me of? This reminds me of the time that I worked as a manager at a really upscale department store. Customers of every stripe loved me, but for some reason our department never seemed to turn a profit, so I got axed. And instead of being showered with roses on my exit, I overheard my boss telling the store's head honcho that I was a lazy sack of...well, let's just say those words would make small children cry, but they were no less appalling. Let's just say I didn't exactly leave them with my client list!
Oh sure, it did look like you had turned the ship around with your fancy-schmancy 4-2-4 record in your first 10 games, Paul. But what about the last 14? What were you doing then? And don't you start blaming Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings not being available here -- you said it yourself, Columbus had lost a number of its key players, but still had Jair Arrietta and Federico Higuain. We have the Erics: Hassli and Avila, and a stellar rookie named Luis Silva. Why did you not blame Hassli for underachieving, and blame yourself for locking Avila on the bench?
And then there's Freddy Hall. Are you going to blame him on Aron too? Oh wait, that's a beast of your own making...but where was the responibility for him? I definitely didn't hear that from you. What about Andrew Wiedeman, he with the horrible finishing? No responsibility there either!
But the most infuriating statement that came out of you was your denial that it's not your fault that you can't win with a squad that you ddn't build. And this time, you had Earl joining you in the hatchet job. First off, Earl, darling, I'm extremely disappointed in you. You could rise above it all and cut Paul off -- but you didn't. Second, as I said before, you two are just as responsible as Winter for the roster -- surely we are not speaking of the same Winter that brought in Nick Soolsma, Koevermans and Geovanny Caicedo (Hmm, why do one of those names strangely feel like they don't fit)?
Then again, when you need a scapegoat, you might as well pick on someone who can't defend you...given the fact that budget argument is no longer valid, given that Tommy A has literally tore off the purse strings for you, and that people see through your steaming pile of BS over how the league blocked your deal with Olof Mellberg?
Oh, and my fury didn't end there. What was it about you knowing what the pieces are to fix this team? And that you know what you're doing? Just having the word "coach" in your job title doesn't automatically mean that you know what you're doing. I could put "soccer coach" in my LinkedIn profile's headline after "master handbag whisperer", and will that mean that 18 MLS teams will be bursting down my door like RuPaul at a shoe sale, looking for my services? Of course not. So far you've proven to no one that you have the chutzpah to be one. Taking pot shots at people behind their back is certainly not change that I can believe in. And then there's your player acquisition record, and your time with New England, where you were second fiddle to Steve Nicol -- it all adds up to a lot of non-confidence from me!
And to his credit, Winter himself wasn't going to take that lying down. I certainly didn't when I was fired from the department store, I made sure all my Yelp followers know that the store was no longer a place to shop -- and in the end I did get the last laugh by having that...awful man fired. (In fact, he turned out to be the one who was serving me drinks on the flight!) But Winter's a little less catty and more classy than I was, but no less direct: he questioned Mariner's ability to turn the ship around, and lambasted Cochrane for talking behind his back even before he was let go. From what I read, that was probably the best thing to do.
Sure, some of you might think he's being sour grapes -- but think about it, if you were in his place, would you do the same? Would you have the same class and grace to stay composed in an interview where you're being confronted by the nasty words that were said about you? Bless his heart though, for still believing in Toronto. He put his heart and soul into the team, and got us to the precipice of the promised land (no, not the MLS playoffs, the CONCACAF Champions League...sorry playoff lovers) -- and all he got was a thousand paper cuts to the back. Talk about gratitude!
If you want to distance yourself from the past, that's fine -- but to throw someone under the bus, and then running over them until tire tracks show up on their internal organs while you're doing it is just plain rude. But now they've got the keys to the bus. Let's see where Mariner and Cochrane drive us now, since they've talked the big game. It's time to put their money where their mouth is. Oh wait, I know...nowhere.
Well, looks like that's my flight being called for boarding -- I'm off to Guangzhou to check the latest in Chinese soccer chic (I hear red is the colour of the season), but I still want to hear from you! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Toodly-woodles!
With love and hugs,