Since Kevin Payne was fired, since Tim Leiweke invoked the spectre of CFL Football coming to BMO Field and of course since the head scratching trade of Max Urruti to Portland I have been struggling mightily to try and put my thoughts into some sort of sense. Simply put this team is a mess. And I am not hopeful that things are going to improve any time soon.  As I prepare to head down to the stadium tonight for the game versus Chicago I have to confess that I still can’t come to terms with the absolute shambles the club finds itself in, a mess of their own making, let alone try and formulate some cogent opinion of what needs to happen going forward to try and retrieve the situation.

And I think I will be struggling for a good while yet to try and understand what the plan ahead actually is. Some supporters are packing it all in. They are done. The club has burned through all the goodwill and patience they have. Most of them are not famous or well known. Their empty seat will not be noticed unfortunately in the greater scheme of things.

However it came to light earlier today that a relatively famous Toronto FC Supporter has actually done this very thing. He penned a letter to MLSE Head office that he shared on social media. Former Toronto Mayor David Miller, who incidentally was instrumental in bringing TFC and BMO Field into existence, wrote an open letter to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment where he decided that the best thing he could do to impact positive change and hopefully inform club management of the scale of the monumental hill they have to climb to win back the faith of supporters was to do the unthinkable….. walk away. 

I may disagree with some of his assertions in his letter but I applaud him for taking such a public stand. Hopefully the suits are able to understand where he is coming from.

Below in its entirety is Mr. Miller’s letter to MLSE:

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment

50 Bay Street, Ste 500

Toronto, Ontario,M5J 2L2

Dear Sirs:

TFC Management Changes

I am writing because I believe that the recent management changes at TFC, and your president’s comments on football/artificial turf, have seriously jeopardized the future of this club. From the moment Coach Cummins was allowed to leave, the team has jumped each year from one playing vision to its opposite, thereby preventing on field progress. At the same time, the experience of the supporters has declined – together with their passion. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that it is now necessary to have someone sing the national anthem, when previously supporters sang O Canada themselves, unaided.

Since the failed hiring of Preki as its coach, the club has desperately needed stability. Hiring an experienced and high level President/GM, only to fire him a few months later, is exactly the opposite of what is needed. It was either wrong to hire Mr. Payne, to fire him, or both. Similarly, either pursuing a skilled young player like Urruti for two years was wrong, trading him three weeks after acquisition was wrong – or both.

Here is my advice:

– Stabilize the management. Change simply has to stop – this is the last chance to get it right.

– Stabilize the team. Today, there are at least signs of passion and hard work on the pitch. Build on that with selective change. Don’t start over.

– Stabilize the experience. End the speculation about the Argonauts CFL team coming to BMO. Mr. Leiweke’s suggestion that they might, and the necessary implication that they would play on artificial turf, was the wrong thing to say, at this time in particular. You risk losing the most committed supporters of TFC if the venue is changed to accommodate Canadian football, particularly if turf returns.

As you know, I have been an ardent supporter of TFC since you and MLSE first had the vision to bring Major League Soccer to Toronto. I have supported the team through thick and thin, defended management, was one of the first season ticket holders, and, in my former capacity, was instrumental in building the stadium and supporting its conversion to grass.

I am so frustrated with the latest management missteps that I am returning the remainder of my season tickets to you: it is the only way I can emphasize how serious the situation is for those of us who support TFC. Please donate them to an appropriate cause.

There once was magic at BMO Field. The latest reshuffle has made the possibility of that magic returning almost certainly disappear.

David Miller


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