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Saturday 28 April 2012

Some Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Latest Troubles Surrounding Toronto FC – Part III

The third part; a final segment addressing some of the current issues swirling around a troubled Toronto FC; parts one and two.

On the whole MLSE thing – Something often overlooked in the whole conspiracy theory of a shadowy corporation purposefully being negligent is the simple fact that if making money is the end game, success – extra games from the playoffs, championships, full houses, and happy fans – serves only to increase the size of the pot.

    True, they make profits hand over fist, but as with any business; they’d always be up for more.

    If anything, that’s the amazing thing about MLSE, that such a failure to maximize the potential profits has been tolerated for so long. There exists a disconnect between the corporate and the sporting - that the rewards for successful business and the responsibility for on-field failure - are kept separate. The two sides of the system should go hand-in-glove with some understanding that despite all the jargon, they are not unrelated entities. For some reason the cost of failure is normally kept below the corporate structures, falling onto the shoulders of the sporting powerbrokers, not the financial overlords.

    That brings up the problem with corporate thinking in sports organizations. Sometimes the right thing to do for the bottom-line is not what is best for the sporting expression and vice-versa.

    A dilemma which has long been queried in the boardrooms of many a sporting institution.

    Which brings on…

The friendly with Liverpool – If Aron Winter’s job is to get the team to the playoffs, how can a financial decision - such as hosting a silly midseason friendly – be made that will have adverse effects on the stated goal by forcing an important – face it, every match is important from here on – league match onto an international break, risking additional injury, and further bungling an already congested schedule.

    It is bush league to allow one’s own competition to be disrespected by conveniently sweeping fixtures out the way for any pretty face that stops into town to say hello. Be true to thine own self; the rest will follow.

    If this is what the club feels is the right thing to do to ensure that the ticket prices remain untouched for a further year as they invest in both the side and the facilities – remember the academy will be opening soon – then much as it leaves a bad taste, it can be tolerated.

    But threatening Winter’s security with one face, while making his job more difficult with the other, is an unacceptably messy optic. If it must be done, then make sure it is sold better. If you’re going to spin, then spin it well.

  This decision would possibly have even been welcomed had the team started well, and then lost out in the Voyageur’s Cup leaving a few open patches in the summer schedule to accommodate such an extravagance. But to commit to the match in the current circumstance shows an incredible amount of ignorance from the upper echelons of the organization.

    Hell, the match isn’t for another three months, could this news not have been sat upon until after the Voyageur’s Cup? It appears somebody got a little excited over this one and let it slip too soon.

    And finally…

On staying married to the 4-3-3 – The most recent criticism to be directed towards Winter, is his sticking to his principles regarding the formation the team must play. It is entirely possible that in a 4-4-2 – as has been suggested – this team could have ground out a few more points, by shoring up the midfield holes.

    But the fact remains this is not what the squad has been built for and one must admire a man who sticks to his principles in the face of rampant threats.

    To abandon the plan at the first sign of difficulty speaks either to a lack of commitment to the original vision or a poorly constructed pathway to success; every road is fraught with perils, is it best to revert to a less-pure ideal at this stage?

    Would scratching out points be a long-term solution? Or is it just as likely that once the team is fit and gels that they could be one of the better sides in the league?

    They have not been far from success, their record belies their quality.

    Perhaps earlier in the season – while the Champions League was still ongoing - it would not have been a bad idea to play a little safe, give certain players rest and set up to escape with a point.

    Winter is young in his coaching career, but to call him tactically naïve would be a gross misstatement. Perhaps he knows better than anyone else; that for the team to have faith in the system they have to stick to it until it finds success.

    Losing weakens that faith, particularly in the players, but amongst the first-team management, they are unwavering.

    There has been a slow evolution in the quality of the performances: the wide forwards have been tracking back, the ball has been moving slightly faster through midfield, the wing-backs have been more thoughtful in when to go forward and when to hold their ground and the vast space in between the bands has been shrinking.

Rant over; good luck to the boys tonight.

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