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Players Support Winter, er, Mariner

Is the pro-Mariner camp gaining ground? History tells us not to read too much into the obvious

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I thought they said they liked me. Photo by:
I thought they said they liked me. Photo by:
Otto Greule Jr

Though we are in the offseason, Toronto FC's public relations folks are most likely working over time. There have been a flurry of recent articles popping up on the official website offering up player quotes in support of Paul Mariner.

For example:

Koef: "Mariner is the Right Man"

Eckerlsey Expressive

Hassli Hopes to Stay

In other news, experts predict it is most likely to snow in Canada this winter.

Forgive me for being less than enthusiastic about players being asked by those that sign their cheques for their opinions on the man that is currently in charge. If your work comes to you to ask for your opinion on your manager, to be published in the company newsletter, what exactly would you say?

Am I surprised that in the crunch time that is the season ticket renewal period that a number of pro-Mariner pieces have found their way to the official website of Toronto FC? Not at all. It's human nature to showcase something you wish to sell in the best possible light. Those writing the stories get paid to do it and who knows, maybe some of the players actually believe it.

However, former and current players also said a number of extremely positive things about their other boss too. For example:

Joao Plata May 11, 2011

"Before the game I said that if I scored a goal I was going to dedicate it to (Toronto FC coach Aron Winter) in response to the confidence he's had with me and the trust," Plata said through an interpreter.

Dwayne De Rosario Feb 17, 2011

"North American players are eager, they are good students who want to learn and want to get better technically," said De Rosario. "A guy like Aron brings out the best."

Don Garber Nov 10, 2011

"I have faith in MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) and believe that they'll figure this thing out. They're smart guys, they're passionate about sport and very very committed to soccer and TFC."

Garber also expressed confidence in first-year coach Aron Winter.

"I think Aron has it right. We hope he can be successful. I admire his commitment to his approach and his philosophy. I think it started showing some dividends at the end of the year. And I have faith that he'll figure it out."

Terry Dunfield - Oct 24, 2011

Dunfield thinks only minor adjustments are required. "We have a nucleus of a great squad," offered the Vancouver native.

Julian de Guzman - March 30, 2011

"I'm dying to be a part of this," he revealed after practice Tuesday. "I've never had a chance to really be a part of such organized, structured football since I got here and once I'm game fit I'm looking forward to actually be a part of this system."

"It's great to have his type of experience as a teacher," de Guzman explained. "I looked up to him and watched him growing up in Canada in Europe and now he's my coach so I think it's a bonus for myself and a lot of guys who play in the same position to have this type of experience and someone coming from such a rich culture in football."

Richard Eckersley - July 29, 2011

"I love it here in Toronto. I love everything about it: the club, the staff and the fans. I love playing for Aron because he lets us go and expresses ourselves on the field, which is massively important for a footballer. I enjoy it here."

Ryan Johnson - April 24, 2012

"I believe in Aron. I have confidence in him," Johnson said. "For me and the players, we still believe in him. I'm going to continue to fight for him.'

Terry Dunfield - April 24, 2012

"There's no lack of confidence (in Winter) whatsoever. The players are 100 per cent behind his approach and what he wants."

The point? The pro-Mariner camp should be careful about reading too much into these recent stories in order to support its position. Similarly, those wishing for change needn't give up hope. Quotes like these may or may not necessarily reflect the opinion of those giving them.