Hello, and welcome to what is fast becoming a regular article - What the hell is Tim Leiweke talking about now? This time it's an ESPNFC (yes the people who brought you that Jermian Defoe 'happy to be in the USA nonsense, which is still up) article by Roger Bennett, and this time the crazy scheme is an Asian tour!
The article's well worth a read, full as it is of Leiweke's trademark hyperbole and wild ambition on pretty much any subject Bennett could think of. Seriously the Yorkies' #Leiwekeleaks hashtag, and especially Barry the leiwekeleaks ass are perfect for this man, he just can't stop.
Like most of his ramblings, there's a couple of worthwhile nuggets of detail in there amongst the bluster and the dreaming, as always seemingly just casually thrown out there.
First up is this paragraph:
Yet a "superclub" needs world recognition and Leiweke admits the club have global ambition. "We think about Europe -- the relationships with Tottenham and Roma mean a lot to us. We do think about Asia where we will take a friendly tour in the next two years."
Yes, he was talking 'superclub' in an earlier paragraph, but that's just regular Leiweke nonsense, he thinks TFC can do an Asian tour? He thinks people in Asia will be interested in coming out to watch TFC? I mean Jermain Defoe's a good player, he should do very well in MLS, and help bring fans into TFC with that whole winning thing, but he's never struck me as the sort of player you'd buy tickets to go watch in a friendly. Michael Bradley? Again, good player, should help sell tickets here, and he's also a big deal in the states, but I can't imagine anyone in Asia is desperate to watch him. The thought of some random team in Japan going through all the 'hey isn't this exciting' motions TFC has to go through for our friendlies, for TFC, does make me chuckle, but the thought of a massive amount of Japanese supporters rushing out to buy TFC swag just seems ridiculous really. #LeiweketyWicketyWack you might say.
Might it be useful for TFC though? Well I guess that depends on how we're going to do this. Is it going to be a post season tour like the Galaxy did, in 2011? If so that seems the ultimate in pointlessness. A pre-season tour though, for footballing rather than marketing reasons, well that would actually serve a purpose, and is apparently something that Ryan Nelsen is very keen on.
@DuncanDFletcher Nelsen has talked about taking the team Down Under or Asia in pre-season, to face teams in mid-season form and to be away.— Neil Davidson (@NeilMDavidson) January 22, 2014
There's a certain validity to that, though Aron Winter would surely disagree as unhappy as he was when TFC went to Turkey in 2011. Also according to Neil Davidson, Kevin Payne wasn't big on the idea either. It can certainly be argued that a massive amount of travel isn't the best way to prepare for the season.
Maybe that's part of the philosophical differences Leiweke cited as the reason to get rid of Payne, he wasn't thinking big enough, wasn't focused on building the global brand. For the sake of Ryan Nelsen's job security, let's hope he's comfortable with all the hype and distractions as Leiweke also made it clear that he views the right coach as crucial, and that that means the right coach for him and his plans.
What are the marching orders Leiweke has issued second-year coach Ryan Nelsen, who wobbled to a 6-17-11 in his rookie season? "We are not going to walk around talking about a championship because that is unfair to him," Leiweke says. "I have seen managers who are bad, and I have seen managers who are good but unable to manage a circus because they don't like the circus."
Leiweke references a scene from the Ron Howard movie "Parenthood" where Steve Martin complains life is as complex as a roller coaster only for his grandmother to chime in that she loves roller coasters. "The question for Ryan is, does he like roller coasters? Does he like the circus or not?" the executive declares, before ending with a statement that is as emphatic as it is self-evident.
"Me? I love the circus!"
No shit Tim, no shit.