It Could Be Worse I Guess
“One day the sun will shine, and have not will be no more” Brian Peckford
The dark days for Toronto FC won’t last forever you know. At some point in the future TFC will make the playoffs. They will make the knockout stages of the Champions League, and you know they will at some distant point down the road win the league. I know that I am as guilty as most in doing so and focusing upon the bad news more than I probably should be doing.
And with all this negative news lately I think it is real easy to forget that there are some things that we have to look forward to going into 2011 that all we need to remember as we try and put all that has been happening around the club, particularly in the past few weeks, into some kind of perspective.
- Mo Johnston is gone. The cancer that was Mo has been excised and the patient still has a pulse. It is likely that at some point between now and the end of 2010, there will be a new management team in charge of Toronto FC. I for one am thankful that someone other than Mo will be entrusted with trying to build upon what we have at hand to hopefully make the club the success we all want it to be. Just about everybody wanted him gone. He is gone. That in and of itself is definitely a good thing. Going into this season many of us were not expecting much under Mo’s continuing tenure, and of course that is just about how it worked out in the end. A new regime, as long as they are in place by the end of the year will have time to rebuild and reload for 2011.
- Vancouver is coming. We will have another Canadian club in MLS next year and the entrance of Vancouver can in my eyes only be a good thing for Toronto. Not only does it give us another rivalry it also will give the front office even more of an incentive to perform and do well. I do not think that the powers to be at TFC want to finish behind Vancouver next year. Motivation is a great thing.
- The Voyageurs Cup will be a bigger deal. The Canadian Championship will probably be an expanded tournament next season with the likely addition of D2 side FC Edmonton. This means that there is the chance of maybe an additional home game or even a format change to the whole thing that may make the tournament even better than it has been in the past. TFC is defending champions two years running. Winning a third straight tournament would be a wonderful accomplishment, especially if Vancouver becomes the quality side many believe they will.
- The Academy keeps on rolling. Two Toronto FC Academy players have graduated to the first team this season and there is a good chance that we may see one or two more next year. The Academy will be a big part of the future of this team. To TFC’s credit getting two players into the first team setup already is a huge positive accomplishment that many fans may easily forget. Remember the academy only came into being two years ago and with kids making the jump to the pros more and more talented youngsters will be looking at TFC Acedemy as a real choice for them and their careers. We also will likely see in 2011 some more concrete plans for an academy training facility.
- Goodbye to bad rubbish. A lot of onerous contracts come off the books at the end of 2010. Two in particular are Mista (my choice for “bust of the year”) and Nick Garcia. Toronto FC will be a better place when both these overpaid under performing players leave.
- No useless friendlies. Even though I can say that I have had fun at each and every TFC friendly match I have attended, as a fan of the club I feel we are better off on the pitch without any additional distractions. The league schedule expands by four games next year and the Voyageurs Cup tournament is likely to change as well. Kudos to TFC for not scheduling anything else unnecessary.
- Scalping may drop off. One of the positive side effects that may come for the poor results for TFC in 2010 may very well be a reduction in scalping. Anything that makes scalpers choose to either not renew their tickets or drop some of the tickets they hold will only mean that there is a greater chance that true fans may have a better chance to get hold of seasons tickets for themselves.
- Waiting List. TFC has bragged in previous years about their waiting list for seasons tickets and that it is almost as long as the list of seasons ticket holders themselves. With the price increases and poor form on the pitch likely turning many away there is again a good chance this year that many true fans of the club may finally get an opportunity to purchase seasons tickets themselves.
- Templates for success are out there. New York, worse side in MLS last season is now one of the very best. Seattle Sounders have been successful two years running. New York in particular gives TFC much to learn from. Smart drafting, signing players to reasonable contracts and hiring both a solid front office and excellent tactical coach all laid the ground work for 2011. The signings of Henry and Marquez were the final pieces of the puzzle.
- Sense of urgency. For the first time, this season has seen many question if Toronto FC is going to be the long term success that many of us felt it was going to be from the outset. And I think it is fair to say that if no progress takes place on the field in 2011 compared to 2010 then MLSE will have a huge problem on its hands. One can question the competence of MLSE in creating winning sports teams, and that would be a fair criticism based on their record. But they are not as dumb as many make them out to be. They know that this is a make or break year for this club coming up. They get that all the hard work and good things, and yes the investments that have taken place since 2006 can all be pissed away if the club on the pitch does not turn around and turn around fast. They get the urgency. Now it is up to them to make the right decisions to turn things around.