Judging by the page views, quite a few of you took the time to review the coverage of Toronto FC's Town Halls here on Waking the Red. If you are like me, there were moments that were engaging, moments that were confusing and moments that left you wondering why you bothered at all.
Join me as I relive some of the more salient points in a regular feature called "On or Offside." Editorial note: if this is the second time that we've done it, it counts as a "regular" feature.
Onside is good, offside is not. Here we go.
Onside - The search for a President
It has been disclosed through a number of sources that TFC is actively looking for a President to assume control of the football club. A person to whom Paul Mariner would report. In addition, comments from Paul Beirne were made to the effect that the new owners place a strong emphasis on winning. These are two very optimistic developments for those that have been clamouring for change.
Offside - What took you so long?
This search has been underway for some time now. Yet in that time frame, Mariner has made 6 roster cuts and apparently offered a contract to Adrian Heath. This offer was rumoured to include a contractual opportunity to assume eventual head coaching duties. This seems like an organizational disconnect. Was this what Willis was talkin' 'bout? One would presume that a new President would want to have authority to hire his own own staff and set his vision.
Git ‘r done before decisions are made that we can't walk away from.
Onside - Let them play
Thomas Rongen dropped the news that Toronto was looking at a "minor-Pro" franchise, which would provide its Academy grads time for further development. One of the major issues that a young player faces if they aren't ready for MLS is where do they go? If they have played in "gated" games, they lose NCAA eligibility. Playing in the CSL has its disadvantages and this move would earn two thumbs up from a development perspective.
Offside - Ryan who?
When pressed by fans to name his core group of players, Mariner seems to have omitted Ryan Johnson's name virtually every time. He did catch himself once and add it after the fact but with Johnson's less than enthusiastic post season interview one wonders if he is someone that may be on the way out.
Offside - Bob who?
One has to wonder how much time Bob de Klerk has left at this club. When he received his "promotion", it was said to include scouting duties and work with the Academy. Those close to the club suggest de Klerk has minimal influence on the Academy and in any discussions about scouting, de Klerk's name was never mentioned. Is the writing on the wall?
Offside - Parking the bus
Not so much a reference to a style of play as it is to the practice of parking it right on the players that he supposedly supports. From allegedly keeping players in the dark, saying Eric Avila needs a slap, to publicly criticizing Reggie Lambe and Joao Plata as "one in six" type players (one good game for every six they play), one certainly can't criticize Mariner's honesty. We can however criticize his tact and wonder aloud about how respected he really is, by everyone, within that room.
Offside - Style
Speaking of style of play, Mariner indicated consistently that the players dictated the style of play, not the other way around. He wouldn't fit square pegs into round holes. Sounds nice but in trading for Eric Hassli, a player who fell out of favour in Vancouver because he couldn't press high in their 4-3-3, in essence, isn't his choice of player dictating the style?
I mean if you seek out players that play "Forward First" or "Route One" football, are you not in essence influencing what style the team plays? Perhaps he meant to say "the Players... I SELECT... dictate the style of play?"
Onside - Wynning with Marvell
Juicy rumour of the night, Marvell Wynne back to TFC. While no comment was offered, it sounded plausible. Very likeable player with great speed and not really as bad as some fans made him out to be.
Offside - Mariner admits mistakes
An online question by yours truly referenced the fact that Aron Winter admitted making mistakes. Mariner was asked what mistakes he may have made. His answer? Injuries. Resulting from a poor pre-season (under Winter). Sigh.
Onside - Late arrivers and early leavers
Paul Beirne indicates that they are talking with TTC transit about game day schedules in order to encourage earlier arrivals to the stadium. Oh the glory days. Remember back in season 1 or 2 or 3, when the stadium was filling early and often? Chanting had begun with a half hour to go before game time? It's good to see that someone cares about getting this back. Giving fans something to believe in would help but from the operations side, ensuring that transit options support fans would be great. Now, can we talk about the madness of scheduling games during known times of limited parking for those that can't take the TTC?
Those are the things that caught my eye. What were yours?