A View from Afar / Commentary

The Union need to hire a GM — NOW

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union needs to hire a general manager. Now.

Mere weeks from opening day, the Union are still behind the curve, while “consultant” Rene Meulensteen sits in Europe collecting money on a contract that has produced pretty much nothing. Every single Union trade or transfer this off-season has come too late, with the exception of the (smart) C.J. Sapong trade. As a result, the Union are giving away quality players for fractions of their worth, and they are incorporating players into the lineup later than their competitors.

First, Amobi Okugo departed at a discounted rate because the Union didn’t agree to a deal until Okugo’s contract had expired and their negotiating leverage was minimized.

Then, Zac MacMath left for a draft pick, once the Union had similarly nonexistent leverage.

Now, Austin Berry remains on the books, and nobody with a clue will offer much knowing he has no place in the team’s plans and wants to leave immediately.

The Union have known for six months that Berry wasn’t part of their plans going forward. That was plenty of time to trade him.

And if there was no trade interest by the December Re-Entry Draft, why keep him? Why not release him? Why pick up his contract option? Berry’s situation will certainly come up in MLS collective bargaining talks, seeing that the Union picked up his contract option with plans to trade him, not play him, according to Berry.

Meanwhile, Steven Vitoria couldn’t arrive till Carlos Valdes departed (again), and while striker Fernando Aristeguieta of Nantes is reportedly on the way, his arrival will come awfully close to opening day.

Delays on transactions like these make perfect sense once you remember that the Union don’t have a general manager.

Technical director/assistant coach Chris Albright is learning the job on the job as an interim general manager, and he shouldn’t have to. He and Jim Curtin also have the job of on-field coaching to do, and they should be able to focus solely on that. With a bare bones staff, it should surprise nobody that these rookies have been behind the curve in closing key transactions. They are being set up to fail.

What has the hiring of Rene Meulensteen as a consultant accomplished, other than deplete the Union’s seemingly meager coffers of money that could have been spent elsewhere? How much is Meulensteen being paid? $100,000? $200,000? It surely can’t be more than $400,000, can it? The Union could have spent that money to hire a general manager or, at least, a dedicated, full-time assistant coach.

Meanwhile, Curtin is running a team with a technical staff seemingly comprised of spare parts.

  • New goalkeeper coach Paulo Grilo is actually the personal coach of goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi, imported from Europe in a two-for-one deal. (That should work out fabulously for Andre Blake.)
  • One new assistant coach, Fred, takes up space on the player salary budget because he is, you know, a player.
  • Another, B.J. Callaghan, was promoted from the youth staff, where he worked with, yes, goalkeepers. (This is where you might say, “Only the Union would have two goalkeeping coaches!!!” before smashing your head against your desk. Fortunately, Callaghan has broader experience than just goalkeeping.)

The team web site hasn’t been updated to reflect any of these coaching changes, perhaps in part because the very capable three-person communications staff of 2014 has been turned over entirely, with one person now handling the job of three.

Situations like this are why people label the Union a dysfunctional, cheap franchise and why fans are souring on the club, regardless of the fact that they still have some very talented players and a popular young head coach.

It’s why, when players depart the Union, people understand and say things like, “Well, good for him. It’s a better opportunity.” People said it about Okugo, now viewed as a cornerstone in Orlando. They said it about MacMath after his strange 2014 season and maybe even about Aaron Wheeler after his even stranger season. I certainly thought it about Michael Farfan when I saw him picked up (after the Union passed) by a rival who respected and knew his game and would give him a fresh look.

If the Union succeed this year, it will be despite team ownership, not because of it.

72 Comments

  1. Doesn’t this seem so obvious. How is it an expatriate knows this. How is it a cardiac RN knows this. How is it any number of other fans from lawyers to GAP employees know this yet we don’t have one yet the powers that be think they are on the right track or God forbid on the cheap or even worse outsmarting themselves and the other clubs of MLS.
    .
    What argument against this logic can one make?
    .
    Onion Sense.

  2. I bet I could destroy the Union coaches in a poker match.

  3. Amazing Dan! I commented on a need for a GM on Ed Farnsworth’s post at 10:58am. Hopefully this will be a major priority moving forward. Like Jim Curtin, lukewarm on Chris Albright. They should not be in a position to make GM decisions.

  4. So frustrating watching the Union dumpster-dive and try to make good on the cheap on and off the field while most of the rest of the league is hell-bent on big upgrades.

    You have to believe that the Union will be strongly anti-union (irony alert!) in the labor talks because if MLS ever truly opened up and allowed teams like Toronto, NYCFC and Seattle to go full throttle, the Union would totally screwed for good.

  5. PSP press credential says:

    Take care guys, (big hug) we’ll keep in touch absolutely. My plans? Don’t have any, Uncle Nick just told me I couldn’t hang out with you guys anymore.

    • To their credit, this hasn’t been a concern for a long time, and hopefully it never is. The Union know that sometimes they get hit, and sometimes they get praised. We call it like we see it as fairly and accurately as we can. If we don’t, we lose credibility, and if we lose credibility, nobody will listen to us when we say that the Union are doing things awesomely either.

      Hopefully, that doesn’t change with the Union now that their entire communications team has changed.

      Frankly, I write something like this in part because I maintain faith that intelligent, reasonable people — and that includes the entire Union ownership, from Sakiewicz and Sugarman on down to the least known stakeholders — read stuff like this and change course accordingly. Even my harshest critique is based in the optimism that good people make mistakes but can correct their course accordingly.

      • To your point Dan, how much more fun would it be to praise. Who the hell wants to nit pick and tear things down. It may seem as though many of us are in constant criticism —- it is totally warranted. I pride myself in objectivity. I write and applaud when it is deserved but for the last 4 months what really was there to be thrilled about – save signing Edu – which to me was the lesser of two evils anyway.
        .
        The dysfunction you write of is NOT imaginary. To be true, I give the Onion much much more thought than I ever did before joining into the conversation here a year ago. Much more thought.
        .
        Typically, this time of year I cared only about UEFA, Liverpool and the first game of the season, so for better or worse, my investment emotionally in this team is driving deeper roots even if it is with significant brow beating to the seemingly endless questionable decisions or lack of decisions or decision rooted squarely in economics and not football well being. This article you have written this week cannot be refuted. It is 100% dead on.
        .
        It has been all very tiring. At least A Rod said sorry I guess.

      • Amen, Joel. I would so much rather argue lineup decisions or tactics as opposed to venting about not signing players and watching other teams pass the Union as if they were standing still.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Yes. Let’s get to the meat n’ potatoes!

      • Dan – there was so much hope and optimism for this team in your previous column and now you’re suddenly making dramatic claims about dysfunction and disorder in the Union front office. Seems like this article is a direct result of the Austin Berry interview. Keep in mind, he’s frustrated because he essentially hasn’t made the cut and has now come to the realization that pro sports is a business and he cant just leave and go as he pleases. Also, you claim that Rene Meulensteen is in Europe doing nothing….. but in the meantime the Union have signed two players that play in top European leagues (Portugal and France). The notion that turnover in the communications department is an indicator of the health of a front office of a sports team is also a stretch. Making such serious allegations based on one interview (from a frustrated player who has personal issues with his coaching staff) is too drastic and it appears like you’re digging for a story. Many soccer managers around the world are also in charge of their teams’ player movement so the idea that we need a GM because Curtin is too busy is silly. To me it looks like another solid off-season where the Union have brought in some talent from overseas, removed some unwanted contracts, and drafted a player or two that may make the team and have some type of impact at some point.

      • I’m pretty sure he has not made decisions based on one player’s interview, but a longstanding series of events, many of which were well articulated here. Also, they are not players in top European leagues. Vitoria was on loan and then did not play at all basically in the current season and needed out. The new guy was declined from a loan to another country and hasn’t played at all basically this year either. Not to say either are bad signings, I welcome them very much. But they are not “players who play in top european leagues”. Nogueira was one of those players. Not to stand up for Dan, but if anything he is almost always on the side of generally leaning towards the team being right. This is a pretty reasonable, well written, well thought out column.

      • Great One – Have a look at the UEFA rankings and you will see France and Portugal ranked 5 and 6 – would say that is a top league. http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/uefarankings/country/
        Also, as soon as Berry stated that Albright was learning on the job….all of a sudden we hear the same comment in this article…labeling them rookies because Austin Berry called them that. And the statement that “consultant Rene Meulensteen sits in Europe collecting money on a contract that has produced pretty much nothing” is just a baseless allegation taken straight out of his you know what. How does Dan know what Rene is or isn’t doing in Europe? Dan even states later on that he doesn’t know how much Mulensteen makes, so how can Dan even determine the value of his services?

      • PSP press credential says:

        You need to pump the brakes with this praise. Vitoria is here because he couldn’t crack la liga and was playing in the second division in Portugal. While Nantes is in Ligue 1 and good, this guy has been riding the bench all year. He did have a stellar early career with Caracus. Both guys are not bankable assets but they are prospects with upside. If they excel I think that says more about MLS than it does the Union talent evaluation game. Albright and Curtin are 100% rookies in their new positions. There is no argument. This is not opinion. That is a fact.

      • I wonder if they contacted Bedoya about the kid from Nantes…….if that’s the case….it wasn’t big time scouting either….just using a network already in place that had nothing to do with Rene…..

      • You must be new David. Austin Berry is not the fulcrum to the Dan’s argument. You make some good points but saying this write up by the author is because of what Austin Berry said in an interview tells me you haven’t been following along to the narrative.

      • Well, sometimes we know things that we can’t write. 😉

      • The Black Hand says:

        PASS THE KOOL-AID

      • we understand that Dan……..

      • So, two things. (And not to defend Dan, because he can do that well enough himself, of course.)
        .
        So, first. I actually have a fair bit of admiration for people who will publicly change their mind like this based upon new information. Instead of holding steady with “don’t panic” and such, it seems Dan took in new information – the Berry interview among them – and altered his thinking a bit. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
        .
        Second, I think you’re missing the point about the communication staff. Dan’s not talking about simple turnover. That’s normal and expected with just about any company. Instead, what he mentioned here (and he’s mentioned it previously, too; it’s not new) is that what was a 3-person team – that included Kerith Gabriel – is now a 1-person team. Assuming normal fulltime hours (and let’s face it, it wasn’t) you’re now asking one person to effectively perform 120 hours of work each week. That’s nuts.

      • Yours is a sound argument David but I think Dan is looking at a body of work lately and making a pretty clean interpretation of the events.
        .
        He thinks we need a GM.

      • The Austin Berry situation didn’t change my mind. It confirmed what I had mentioned in prior columns: here and here, for example. And it cried out for a reaction on PSP, because it illustrates a pattern.

        As I mentioned in a line in my column last week, “Don’t get me wrong: This team still has issues, and this entire column may be a game of devil’s advocate.” I buried that line intentionally, because I wanted to see where readers took the conversation. Plus, I definitely believe this team could be good this season, like I said in my closing line in Wednesday’s column. I stress “could” because I don’t know.

        I also believe that Union ownership has made that more difficult by virtue of their decisions over the last several months, as I wrote in this column and as I predicted in November. Curtin and Albright ARE rookies. Their job would be easier with a GM. If the team succeeds, Curtin will have overcome that handicap, and he will be due a lot of credit for it.

        I have no interest in writing a column every week about what the Union are doing wrong.

        When I write a column each week, it’s to make people think. And we have a readership that generally does, based on the Comments sections.

        This week’s column was supposed to be about Junior Lone Star’s successes. Look for that one next week.

      • Dan – The article that you referred to is the one which you had to correct yourself multiple times after accusing the front office of being cheap and blasting them for not knowing what they were doing. Okugo was in fact offered a much improved contract with guaranteed money and they simply lost out to him on a better offer by Orlando. One thing you failed to mention is that the trade removed his 200K from the books and added another 150K for a total of $350K available for a DP level player at a needed position, which it now appears was used wisely on a young DP Striker. Also, the decision not to protect Mbolhi was very smart because the chances an MLS expansion team would select him and his salary was nearly 0, so why waste a protection spot on someone you know teams would not pick. If those teams wanted to spend DP money on a GK they could have chosen from many GK’s from around the world. The only pattern I see is your lack of understanding of the expansion draft strategy as well as a pattern of making wrong predictions/allegations..

      • I think most people recognize the Okugo offer was just enough to keep his rights if he went oversees, and was a “Bonafide Offer” in name only. Also, he is a young, quality player and a known commodity. I believe he was worth keeping the money. Also, why do the Union always need to clear money before signing someone else? In addition, Okugo left many months ago, why did we need to wait until now for the striker? I think that points directly to what Dan thinks is a major reason we need a GM. Also, not protecting M’Bolhi wasn’t really criticized that much, it was protecting Fabinho over Ribeiro.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Would this current team beat the ’10 team?

      • Correct myself? PUH-LEASE. Not a single one of those was a correction. I gave voice to an alternate viewpoint that had good information and then reassessed accordingly, and it made for a fascinating column as a result, didn’t it? And that was what mattered most.

        Re: Okugo, sure, it had those effects on the books. How much more of an effect would removing Edu have had? I like Edu, but I’d take Okugo at the salary he sought (believed to be around $300k) over Edu at twice that.

        Further, my lack of understanding of expansion draft strategy? Your critique just became laughable. I understand expansion draft strategy well enough to know you don’t protect Fabinho over Ribeiro, that’s for sure, and if you can defend that, go for it. I don’t mind them not protecting Mbolhi at all. Heck, I agree with it! Of course no team would pick a DP GK. No other team would sign one either. The Union never should have signed him at that level, and I think Curtin privately agrees with that. It’s a damning sign of that signing that they left Mbolhi unprotected.

      • PSP press credential says:

        Sapong > 1st round pick
        Vitoria v Valdez?
        Okugo v Nantes striker

        I am OK with this approach. They are filling holes by moving assets at positions of strength. I think this is a good thing in MLS, which is still a developmental league. It wouldn’t make sense for Okugo to sit the bench here as he did in open cup final in favor of Edu. If he’s going to get more $ and playing time in Orlando, he should go, it’s better for him and US or Nigerian MNT development. Our starting 11 should be competitive. Unfortunately, they are two injuries away from being a horrible team. But I think that sums up 90% of the teams in MLS.

  6. PSP press credential says:

    In all seriousness, they give off the impression that they had enough money to start a club, they just didn’t have enough money to run a pro club. They are getting tremendous fan support in ticket gate, merchandise that is keeping them afloat. If fans stop going and buying gear I really think this team would fold. Unless of course they have an ultimatum to make a certain amount of money each year, which would make sense as well. I don’t think they’re incompetent as much as they are so fixated on the bottom line that it’s probably paralyzing to work for this team. Muelensteen, as far as i’m concerned is a big marketing play, basically no different than a huge billboard. No substance at all just branding, basically no different than Kim and Kanye.

    • I love that 1st sentence!

    • My theory (and it’s only a theory) is that the Union were supposed to be a ‘loss leader’ for the larger development of the riverfront site. Original plans had shops, office & restaurant space alongside PPL Park. Ownership would make its money from this, not the team. The combination of the real estate collapse and poor relations with the Chester city government means none of that is happening anytime soon. Any investment in the soccer club at this point – salary, staff, facilities, etc. – is putting good money after bad, so only the bare minimum is done. Again, just a theory so anyone in the know can feel free to disprove.

      • That is a big part of it. Then you also take into account that the real estate collapse took a huge chunk out of Sugarman’s holdings at exactly the wrong time.

      • The team makes plenty of money; extra sources of revenue aren’t needed for the Union to turn a profit. I’m not on the inside or anything, but I’d guess (an educated guess) that their revenues are as much as twice what their costs are.
        .
        However, the extra profits from the shops, offices and restaurants might have been enough to keep the ownership group from siphoning the profits made from the team, since apparently they’re not satisfied with just the doubled net worth of the team in the 5 seasons since Philadelphia entered MLS.
        .
        The biggest problem the Union have, and incidentally, the only problem that can inherently never be solved under this ownership group, is that the team is being used to support the owner’s lifestyle, as opposed to the team being a facet of the owner’s lifestyle (if that makes any sense…it made sense in my head anyways).

      • They are not running a 50% profit. They’ve been bleeding since Day 1 and have struggled with league capital calls.

        It’s akin to buying a house, not quite able to dress it up with the new hardwoods and landscaping, and just making the mortgage payments and hoping that the rising tide of the MLS neighborhood will help them turn a profit.

      • Or they want people to think that they’re bleeding. Ticket sales alone would be over $8.5 mil per season. They’re not even paying half of that in player wages. This is not including revenue from parking, advertising, and merchandising. So unless you have some sort of inside information, I’m going to stick with what the numbers tell me.
        .
        They might not be keeping 50% in retained earnings within the team, but maybe in profits before tax.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I don’t think they’d fold. They would be sold first. MLS knows the Philly market will make money. If anything we’d be Chivas Part Dos, and someone would buy us. Which in all honesty would be the best case scenario.

      • Kind of like LAFC?
        .
        Maybe Will Smith and TastyKake could take over the club and move it 18 miles due North towards Philly- rename it- hey that sounds a lot like what happens to Chivas Part One.

      • The club is not going anywhere. There are willing buyers out there should Sugarman decide to sell. He does not want to relinquish control so he tries to acquire limited partners, but few are willing to invest big unless they get a real say in running the club.

        Sugarman will either get the partners he needs or sell.

    • its like the russian owning the nets – the real estate deal dwarfed the sports deal. unfortunately, our real estate guys couldn’t pull off the real estate deal and the sports deal is now a series of cutbacks, followed by cutbacks, followed by cutbacks. this has been apparent for a long time and is gaining steam. just put the team on the market and get out.

  7. Watch what happens with the labor negotiation. The players are important but these things usually are driven by the dynamic between the stronger owners and the weaker ones.

    If there is a settlement that loosens the purse strings and player mobility, teams like the Union will likely have to get sold (and perhaps moved in the process).

  8. SPOT ON, Dan!! SPOT… ON…!

  9. Josh Harris should have a sit-down with Sugarman. He’s set to cash in on the Sixers in a big way. He could easily take some of that assumed profit ($280M purchase price, now valued at $700M), buy a controlling interest in the Union and turn them into a powerhouse.
    Synergy with a local team on its way up, both are speculative purchases with massive upsides.
    C’mon, Josh…make the call!

    • This is an interesting proposition, actually. Lots of people regularly suggest Comcast should get involved with their big pocketbooks. But I think this is the first time I’ve seen Harris’s name. And I can see some pretty good sense to that sort of arrangement, to be honest.

  10. Dan’s Hulking out over in Italy
    .
    Don’t make me angry… you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

  11. I’m still hoping this fan base along with the SoB’s will start lobbying for a more financially competitive ownership. I feel the way MLS is trending Sugarman and Sakeiwicz will be forced to up their game, forced out or forced to sell the team. The Union are now established and should draw some major (financial) interest. I still say this market is extremely important to the MLS and if the Union go under for what ever reason, they’ll be replaced by another MLS franchise. My company in NY sees Philadelphia as a viable market for some of our top clients. We’ve hosted many major conventions in Philadelphia instead of NY. Along with the DNC coming here Philadelphia will have a well deserved spotlight on it because we are one of the top (4th) media and sports markets in the country. Being labeled and run as a mid-level 2nd rate outpost and last with the chance of winning a cup is not in the DNA of this fan base or Philly in general. To have a professional sports franchise with that philosophy is a slap in the face. The Union or MLS need to have a franchise here that truly represents one of the top markets in the country.

  12. Gruntled Fan says:

    What I don’t understand is that this all seems so obvious to us, why can’t the Union see the mistakes they’re making? This seems like common sense stuff, every other club seems to have a more robust coaching/management staff. Doesn’t it click with somebody that the Union should do the same?
    .
    Or is it really just about penny-pinching and putting out the bare minimum to appease supporters just enough to come out.

  13. Sometimes I feel like ownership/management observed all the love and patience fans had in 2010 and decided it could trade on it indefinitely. It’s year six and the organization acts like it still thinks fans are just happy to have a team, any team, and that it plays with “Philly grit” or whatever, and the team’s going to focus on “analytics” and “youth” and hey, buy some stuff/discounted tickets while you’re at it (incessant ticket deal emails for all!).
    .
    Hope the new CBA convinces Sugarman to get out, or that NASL comes to Philly and lights a fire under their behinds.

    • NASL Philly is EXACTLY the solution. Grassroots, even supporter owned. Who knows, maybe we should all climb behind the Philadelphia Fury and help them get a toe hold and climb through the ranks all the way to the glass ceiling that is MLS. Yes I said it. Glass ceiling that is MLS. Knock knock – “oh no you can’t come in to the highest level of the game – you’re not ONE OF US” – a league with zero accountability with a bunch of teams and owners and investors that don’t even pay their own players — because the Empire writes all the checks.
      .
      MLS? Please.
      .
      We can do better. But until we all recognize this and make a stand – nothing will change and that is EXACTLY why NASL needs to grow and grow and grow and grow and become strong enough to function along side the devil you don’t want to know.
      .
      It is my humble opinion that MLS is the devil you don’t want to know – holding back true development and growth of the game in this country. It was started in good faith but has become an enabler to our slow growth of football. I am all for NASL.
      .
      RANT OVER.

  14. Funny thing is, Hackworth would have probably been a very good GM.

  15. Could the Union be acting crazy like a fox? Perhaps we wait to spend on any players until after the new CBA (hence all the loan moves)? TBH, I also think all of this dithering is not purposeful, but it may end up being a happy accident.

    • Maybe not crazy like a fox, but the Union and other clubs are operating under the expectation that there will a work stoppage and the season will not start on time. Just about every private conversation I have had with MLS execs leads me to believe that this season will not start on time.

      So while fans have been anxious about the opening match approaching, the FO has been more measured. Also, if there is a stoppage, the players will be locked out of facilities and cut off from the coaches. That is why signing Brian Carroll and Fred makes sense. They will be running the players workouts

      • Very interesting. Just based on the progress announced in public, the two sides seem way too far apart to start the season on time. These negotiations should have started months (if not years) sooner, and I won’t be the least bit surprised about a work stoppage.
        .
        I would be surprised if the players continue training (even fitness workouts) during the strike. What happens if one of the players gets injured while training? Who pays for the treatment/rehab? And why would Brian Carroll, one of the Union players’ two team representatives, help the front office accomplish anything during the strike?

      • The players will want to stay in shape. NFL players, NBA players etc. have held their own workouts during strikes. They are not going to sit there and rust.

      • Good on them. I’d be tempted to sit on the couch and eat ice cream by the gallon. Maybe one reason why I’m not a professional athlete…

  16. old soccer coach says:

    If you buy early in competition with others you overpay and set the market. If you wait, you are likely not to overpay as badly. All three of our European ventures this off-season have tried to find value on the margins. All were first division players, none were playing, all had had histories of real success at lower levels of competition. One attempt failed, one succeeded, one is alleged to be succeeding. We have been looking in a very precise niche, similar to the one Pat Gillick looked in for the Phillies. We have no idea how much guidance our European Consultant provided in identifying the niche, identifying the players, and suggesting negotiating approaches. Chris Albright has had no previous experience dealing with Europe, I would imagine he has gotten some suggestions from Meulensteen.

    • So Toronto overpaid on Giovinco and Altidore and we’re smart with a loan on a pine rider? Is that the narrative?

      That makes it sound like Nando is on the same level as Villa, Kaka, Gerrard,etc. Kind of a lot to throw at the dude.

      I’m not even sure who is starting and what formation they’re running. They got a guy who may be can play. He hasn’t played a lot recently. It’s not a lot of $ risked, could be upside. Still, the gap between the other imports and the Union’s moves is quite large.

      • Thierry Henry brought the Red Bulls how many trophies? What does Toronto’s trophy case look like? If you can get players like Mo, Nogs and Chaco that are more than capable footballers for half the price why not do it? If Vitoria and M’Bolhi both perform this year then our offseason signings over the last 2 years will look pretty good. I haven’t even mentioned C.J. or Nando yet, we should now have the deepest striker corps that we’ve ever had. This team could be quite good even without marquee names or money.

      • 1 the Supporters Shield

    • Good counterpoints. These signings could turn out well. They’re the class of signings I think the Union should make. That said, Vitoria didn’t show up because of Meulensteen. Maybe the striker can be chalked up to that; we’ll learn a bit more about that soon enough, I’m sure.

      Side note: I wrote the column before I read Kevin Kinkead’s report that the striker signing was a done deal. I tweaked it slightly, but the column was already done. I might have written it a bit differently, but the conclusion would remain the same, that they need a GM sooner than later.

  17. RyTheSoccerGuy says:

    It really sickens me that there is even mentioning of a relocation for the Union or an NASL team that should come to Philly. Yes the Union are cheap and not well off financially, but this, even as an anticipation of league growth, is jumping the gun.

    We’ve all put so much time, energy, and effort into following and loving this team the past 5+ years (some even more) that it is way too early for us, as core fans, to start turning our heads or thoughts towards those aforementioned options.

    Yes the Union are cheap. I, for one, will support them no matter what.

    —————-

    Despite all this, I do hope that a new ownership group comes in and can gives us some more financial backing. Joshua Harris or Jeff Lurie, help us out!

    —————-

    Another option would be for fan’s to buy the club. Can we fundraise $100M??

    • You say you are sickened by the NASL sentiment yet hope the club finds new ownership. Are you married to MLS then? Cause I’m not.
      .
      You say you are sickened by this ‘talk of relocation’ yet suggest the fans buy the club. Very interesting perspective.
      .
      For the record, I am first for what is in the best interest of soccer in this country. My loyalties lie with the beautiful game not MLS not The Onion not The Cosmos none of it. I am for the highest expression of football in our country and by whatever means it takes to reach that ultimate goal. We are miles away from even yet producing ONE world class player and MLS is a part of that problem.
      .
      So my argument hoping that an NASL team comes to the city is because that is what I hope happens for the betterment of the game in general in this country and the game specifically in this city. Could you imagine the magic on Darby day, in 40 years when the Union play the NASL Philadelphia team?
      .
      Anyway….I have major problems with MLS first and secondarily, The Onion who tragically– by whatever circumstances have caused it– are a low ceiling mid level team allowing themselves to be overshadowed up and down the East Corridor.

  18. I put the org on blast yesterday but I will say that a saving grace for them is the people – the players seem like quality people (as does Curtin), all the rank-and-file staffers I’ve ever dealt with have been great (a couple years ago they gave me Union dollars for turning in a wad of cash I found on the PPL concourse), and for the most part the fans/SOBs are good peeps. Doesn’t change the fact that at some point results have to come, but good people go a long way.

  19. I have to agree with this. Well said, Dan.

    So much of the underwhelming nature of this offseason seems like it could be due to a lack of a good GM. Just listened to the extratime radio interview with Padraig Smith, Tech director of the Colorado Rapids. Sounded exactly like the kind of guy we need. Identify talent and go after it and let Curtin focus on coaching the team.

    • I agree with Dan as well – its just my view that the problems go much higher. Hack would be a great GM but if the management above him could not back him financially (Sugarman) and without intefering (Sak) then it would not have and cannot ever work. Sell to Harris, the Roberts, whoever as long as they bring a serious financial commitment – plenty of other people with way more money than Sugarman had when he bought, and with even way more now than Sugarman had when he bought, which he no longer has (two sides to every downturn). it could also be that the real estate deal, while going nowhere, still has lots of tied-up public money waiting to be released, so the real estate guys are just waiting, and don’t care that the club is crumbling into the river. they’ll just sweep it over the side and build something else there.

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