"Come on lads, 'ave at it -- that was my time." - Mike Stobe
We look back at some of the highlights of Paul Mariner's time with TFC, from Director of Player Development to now, in a timeline.
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January 6th, 2011: After a disastrous four years at the helm for Mo Johnston, TFC's front office dismisses the Scotsman and promises to review every aspect of their soccer operations. After an exhaustive search led by Jurgen Klinsmann (of whom many fans openly hoped that he would take the reins), the team hires Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk, along with with Mariner as the "Director of Player Personnel" (a.k.a. Winter's MLS sherpa). Fans breathe a sigh of relief, as it appears a new dawn has finally arrived, amid talk of winning mentalities. Oh, how wrong we would be.
June 20th, 2011: No one knows what the heck Mariner is doing, as he seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth after being hired. Many blame the idea that Aron Winter is still the coach for the reason why we haven't heard much of Mariner.
May 23rd, 2012: Despite a horror start to the MLS season, TFC wins its fourth straight Canadian Championship. But the die is cast, and the voices for Winter's removal are getting louder.
June 7th, 2012: After an 0-and-9 start, and amidst louder-than-usual rumblings that there was something rotten between Winter and Mariner, things finally come to a head and the former is officially let go, and Mariner takes the reins. In the process, he becomes the seventh coach in six seasons of the club, and fans weep en masse at the sight of more dysfunction. His first game sees TFC lose to Sporting Kansas City, a performance Mariner described as sensational, an early showing of his gift for hyperbole. The next day, In Houston, Luis Silva, Nick Soolsma and Miguel Aceval take advantage of Mariner's loosening of the rules to go clubbing.
July 13th, 2012: After two years of futility with the club, DP Julian de Guzman is traded to FC Dallas for Andrew Wiedeman. Mariner tells the media that Wiedeman is "the best finisher in the modern era". The striker helps the team win a game against the Colorado Rapids, then promptly disappears from sight. Fans' heads meet desks and other hard surfaces across the country. Joao Plata also heads back to Ecuador, with some less than kind words from Mariner to accompany him. Despite the off field drama though, that win against Colorado was the 3rd straight, and after 10 games, Mariner has collected 16 points, a vast improvement.
July 31st, 2012: After a trial during a friendly against Liverpool, Bermudan Freddy Hall is signed as a backup keeper to Milos Kocic, who inherited the starting job after an earlier injury to Stefan Frei. In a clear sign of where Kocic stands in the pecking order, Hall gets plenty of starts, given plenty of time to show his incompetence, until Mariner has to admit defeat and bring Kocic back, though Hall regains the starter spot later on as Mariner allows Kocic time to spend with his new triplets.
August 29th, 2012: After a black cat runs across the BMO Field pitch during the late stages of a CONCACAF Champions League match against Santos Laguna, Mariner declares his love for the night-tinted felines, even going so far as saying he has one named after Stuart Pearce. No one is impressed, and the team's woes continue to pile up. When asked who is to blame for the loss, Mariner points the finger at Torsten Frings, who soon departs back to Germany to take care of an injury.
September 16th, 2012: Julian de Guzman sounds off about Mariner, after scoring the winning goal against Vancouver. He claims that Mariner sent him to "a last-place team (to) burn in the heat", and claims karma is with him. Mariner again pulls the stiff-upper-lip card, and says he does not talk about former players. JDG's arrogance would be rewarded a month later, as Dallas fails to make the playoffs.
October 26th, 2012: TFC supporters protest at the final home game of the year, as TFC finish with a 14 game winless streak, as Mariner finally comes clean on over-using under-experienced players, saying, "We’ve asked too much of the young players, to learn on the job. Then when we started to get it by so many key injuries to key players, it’s very very hard for them to continue." Fans, media and the TFC blogosphere collectively roll their eyes.
October 30th, 2012: With the season over, Mariner sits down for a end-of-season interview as the team cleans out their lockers -- and as locker refuse drops into the bin, the coach drops his now infamous "I'm very good at my job" quip to the media. He is defiant to the end about the fact that he will return in 2013, while clearly showing his disdain for some players, including Eric Avila and Luis Silva, the latter he would disavow, saying he was a Winter draft pick. This reflects on the interviews of other players such as Ryan Johnson, who openly declares that he's likely not going to be back. Again, fans roll their eyes as they mentally gird themselves for yet another team rebuild.
October 31st, 2012: After months of silence, Sportsnet's John Molinaro was finally able to coax Winter into talking, and the Dutchman opens fire on Mariner and Earl Cochrane, accusing them of undermining his authority, and pinning Geovanny Caicedo on the "brain trust" in charge. Mariner again does not respond.
November 19th, 2012: Mariner appears at a supporters' town hall meeting in a combative mood, vowing he has not abandoned the base tenets of what he was originally hired to put in place and just simply rehashing old tenets of what he's said before, despite fans and season ticket holders rightfully demanding answers. Also somewhat addresses the question of why he always wears shorts, saying he'd prefer to wear a suit but has to do too much in game coaching, thus the shorts. Also accuses some of the younger players of shitting themselves at the thought of playing, as an answer as to why he so often went with a short bench.
November 19th, 2012: In what could be considered karma's biggest backhand on him, Luis Silva finishes fourth in MLS Rookie of the Year balloting. Some of Silva's votes did come from your favourite WTR writers, but we assure you it was not out of spite.
November 22nd, 2012: A question to Mariner from one season ticket holder about his ability which brings up his poor track record at Plymouth Argyle, almost causes a melee at a town hall. WTR's Kristin was there, but fortunately not traumatized by the horrific showdown.
January 7th, 2013: Rumors begin to swirl, and is later confirmed: Paul Mariner is no longer the coach, and will be replaced by Ryan Nelsen, who will become the team's eighth coach in seven seasons. Another new dawn begins.
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Those are some of the highlights of Mariner's time with TFC that we found. Did we miss one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.