TFC fans know that Jozy Altidore isn’t afraid to make the headlines. Whether it’s cryptic tweets about behind the scenes issues, or no holds barred multi-tweet takedowns, Jozy’s a combative figure who doesn’t suffer (those he perceives as) fools gladly.
But could the current fall out with new manager Chris Armas also be his last?
On the latest episode of Waking the Red Weekly presented by Footy Talks, Rachel Doerrie of Staff & Graph Podcast and One Soccer’s Kristian Jack gave their views on what’s next - and what’s left - for a club legend.
For Doerrie there may be more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye:
It’s very disheartening because Jozy has shown his love for this city. He intends to live here after he retires. It’s very clear that he bleeds Toronto. So for me, I understand he’s probably not worth his contract anymore - which is putting it kindly - but what stands out to me about Jozy, and I very rarely see this with players of his ilk in MLS, is that he’s loved by multiple facets of the dressing room. The young guys like Jahkeele, Ralph, and Jayden gravitate towards him - like they love him. And then you look at the older players: Eric Zavaleta, very good friends; Chris Mavinga, very good friends; obviously Michael Bradley and Oso. Jozy is almost that go-between because he relates to the younger players and he relates to the elder statesmen. So I think for me he’s very important and it is definitely disheartening to see that for the second time in two years TFC is going to have a massive player in cub history essentially shunned.
I go back to this: Jozy’s been the same whether it’s Chris or Greg that’s managing the team and I think Chris is just not equipped to handle personalities like Jozy, Michael, Chris Mavinga and Quentin Westberg. I just don't think that’s there. Does he try and have great relationships with his players? Yes he does. But if you can’t give these players their space to operate, and understand that sometimes you’re going to have to treat a DP a little bit differently than you’re treating a young player, that’s a big problem.
So for me, knowing what happened on the training ground that day, I would say that Jozy’s in the right here, and that I don’t think he necessarily deserved to be suspended. And quite frankly, when you are arguing with your coach, you need a veteran player to stand up and kind of be that guy - whether it’s Michael or Jozy or Oso. It can’t be Ralph or Jahkeele or Marky. It needs to be somebody with some clout in that dressing room.
And so for Jozy to stand up and go at Chris - like honestly I think that was more well taken in the dressing room than a lot of people like to think. And I think that if they get rid of Jozy in a non amicable way we’re looking at much bigger issues happening in that locker room.
Whatever’s happening behind closed doors, Bill Manning and Ali Curtis are now faced with a serious dilemma: to back a new coach who’s tactics clearly aren’t working, or back a legend just long enough to see out his (enormous) contract?
For KJ,whatever the front office decide, there’s a distinct possibility that fans may have already seen Jozy in a TFC jersey for the last time:
How do these things get out? That’s how I look at it - you start that way, right? Perception is everything and unfortunately you have egos in here and people doing damage control.
I think that it’s very important to state that if Jozy Altidore’s career is over with Toronto FC I don’t believe the fans will hold any grudges towards him.
I think they will be disappointed with the way the that last contract has not necessarily gone the way that they’d all have hoped, while understanding that that’s professional sports, and thanks for the memories and we’ll see you in a few years for a round of applause outside the stadium - oh and by the way, as wounds start to heal, maybe we’ll see that statue one day? I think that’s the kind of thing that fans will be thinking.
But it doesn’t seem to be working, so what is the alternative? The alternative is let’s try and figure this out, let’s try and get going. That I think is what the conversation was in the off season. Every time Chris Armas spoke publicly about Jozy he did so in positive and glowing terms and I don’t think he did that just to be fake.
I think that he genuinely believed everything he complemented Jozy for in his career. I think he needed to do that because he’s had a tremendous career and he should be given tremendous credit for it. But sometimes things just don’t work out guys. Sometimes relationships don’t work out, and I do think there’s deeper issues with other relationships away from the Chris Armas/Jozy Altidore issue.
I think for the good of the team and the good of the fans base (and it’s easier said than done because a lot of money needs to be taken care off here) but if they can find some kind of amicable split), I think it would probably be good for both parties.
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