de Guzman Back With TFC
I used to joke last season that it seemed that former TFC boss Mo Johnston was living in a bunker at some undisclosed location doing whatever he could to remain as far away from the media and fans as possible while still running the club and cashing his salary check. Yet even though Mo sightings in his last turbulent season here were as rare as the Whooping Crane or that Albino Squirrel they talk about in Queens Park information on the goings on inside the club always seemed to find their way out.
Not so much anymore it would seem.
The Dutchman-Englishman-Dutchman triumvirate now in charge at Toronto FC are not living in a bunker like the Ginger Glaswegian did but sometimes getting information out of them is a lot harder than it ever was under the old regime. Case in point is the status of Julian de Guzman and his immediate future with Toronto FC. Canada’s foray into the CONCACAF Gold Cup ended nine days ago yet only on Thursday afternoon did the club provide anyone with a concrete clarification on if Julian has actually reported back to Toronto for treatment and recuperation for injuries he picked up with Team Canada. And that clarification came in the form of a Twitter post from TFC confirming that he is back.
For weeks now there have been persistent rumours circulating that Julian is unhappy in Toronto and that he is looking for the means to leave TFC and return to Europe. Whether that is to continue his career playing with a European club or to just retire and return to the lifestyle he enjoyed for so long in Spain is a question for him to answer. And these rumours continue to swirl largely because the club has, with all due respect to them, not been as forthcoming with information on his status as perhaps they probably could be. The rumours could be absolutely untrue for all we know and Julian is still committed to helping TFC for the long term. The point is that in the absence of real information we simply do not know either way.
Case in point is a news release on the TFC website this week that documented the goings on at the annual Open Practice from Tuesday past. I attended this event and here is what the club reported about it on their website.
Several Toronto players were unable to participate due to injuries. Defenders Nana Attakora and Dicoy Williams continue to nurse respective ailments. Attakora… lightly jogged around the park with midfielder Tony Tchani…Williams hurt his knee at the Gold Cup representing Jamaica… Forward Alan Gordon and winger Jacob Peterson…received treatment away from the first team…
Midfielder Julian de Guzman was not present at the event. Winter pointed to de Guzman’s calf injury that had initially sidelined him for Canada’s opening match in the Gold Cup as the culprit.
Kind of vague don’t you think? Gordon and Peterson, along with de Guzman, were nowhere to be seen on Tuesday yet Julian and his absence for some reason was the only one addressed in this specific way with this specific language.
On Thursday the club reported on Twitter that Julian is now back at the club and is about a week away from training. There was no confirmation on how long it took Julian to report back to TFC after his commitment with the Canadian National Team came to an end after they crashed out of the group stages of the Gold Cup.
Now for more than two weeks the status of this player has been in some doubt. All it would have taken to clear this up would have been a simple statement from the club regarding his status last week. And a Tweet is all we get nine days after the end of the Gold Cup. Some will be satisfied that the club has addressed this and yet others will still ask the questions that they think have not been answered or addressed in an adequate fashion. Its kind of hard to answer much with only 140 characters to work with.
The front office and public relations staff of TFC that I have dealt are excellent and I believe that they are doing what they feel is correct. But I believe that this relatively new culture developing of keeping just about everything going on inside the dressing room as close to the vest as possible is hurting rather than helping their cause. In the absence of information there is often only speculation, much of it incorrect and much of it extremely negative, that streams in to take the place of facts that the club does not release.
A little more forthcoming with the details and this is not a story.