What was described as a press conference was much more like "an audience with Gerry and Craig", as Sportsnet's dynamic duo were the only people lobbing softball questions at Stephen Hart, John Herdman and Peter Montopoli at Brassaii last night. Plenty of good information came out though, we'll have video of the chat later on, but here's some of the info that came out, at least what i can remember, my memory's a bit fuzzy, apparently the CSA can organise a pissup in a brewery (or at least in a "sophisticated nouveau riche cosmopolitan and culture destination").
The important info was of course the venue for 2012's World Cup Qualifiers, and the selfish and un-objective side of me is happy to report that all 3 of them (plus a friendly against the US on June 3rd) will take place at BMO Field. The objective side of me (which would like to take back my petty and mean spirited "suck it Vancouver" tweet from last night) thinks that that could definitely be seen as a bit harsh on the rest of the country. Vancouver's recent show of support is easily negated by the artificial turf and inconvenient time zone, but as for Montreal, with their soon to be newly renovated Saputo Stadium, all grass pitched and eastern time zoney, they'll have to make do with the vague explanation from Stephen Hart that "Toronto feels like home" and that the players and staff are very comfortable with having it in Toronto, and this is what they see as giving the team the best chance to win.
So the begrudging and grumbly eyes of the nation will now be firmly on Toronto fans to see if they can show up in big numbers for these games and not leave vast swathes of the stadium open for opposition supporters to fill. Tickets will be on sale in April (the 13th I think) with the option of buying a pack for all 4 games. I chatted after the presentation with Max Bell of the CSA who said they're hoping (but it's probably futile given how they have to work with ticketmaster who doesn't seem to get the whole segregated away fans concept) to have away supporters kept to the North Stand. That goal might have something to do with a Canadian supporters membership programme for ticket purchasing purposes that was mentioned by Montopoli without really going into detail. I'm generally leery of things like membership programmes and I imagine a Honduran or Cuban who's desperate enough to go to the game could easily sign up for it as well, but any initiative that might promote Canada support and restrict opposition fans is worth a shot at this stage.
There was very little new aside from that really, John Herdman got all self deprecating leading Gerry Dobson into taking an amusing and less than subtle shot at Carolina Morace's overly serious nature. Herdman also said he'd like to see the Women's team play a lot more games at home, in order to act as role models and inspire future generations, as Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle did for him back in his Newcastle days.
Stephen Hart said the same old same old about Jonathan de Guzman, that he wants to play for canada but they're still working on resolving the passport issues. Junior Hoillett seems less likely to be joining Canada any time soon, his lack of a move during the transfer window meaning his contract issues are unlikely to be sorted out by the time June comes around.