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.

Aron WinterThe 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.

3 comments

  1. you claim to want more info to clear up untrue rumors, but I get the impression from lines like: “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.” and your last article about him, that this is just meant to feed the rumors that he’s leaving. kind of a “tell us everything about what he’s doing, and what’s going on, or we’ll have to assume that he’s leaving” the real question is: do you have the right to assume that he’s leaving because he hasn’t reported in with his injury
    correct me if I’m wrong, but this “story” just seems like an undercover transfer rumor

  2. Thanks for your comments TFC Ajax. I always appreciate your point of view.

    πŸ™‚

    More than anything this article was not about Julian per se. It was more about how TFC is keeping just about everything so close to their collective vests that in the absence of hard facts speculation becomes rife within the supporter community.

    Another example of what I mean here is injury status of TFC players. I have talked to many journalists like John Molinaro (CBC), Larry Millson (MLS beat writer), Ben Rycroft (Canadian Soccer News) and Kristian Jack (The score) about this very issue. All of them agree with me that when it comes to getting injury information out of TFC the club is extremely secretive, much more secretive then they need to be, and much worse then they were than in years past.

    Here is an example. About six weeks ago I was at a Friday pre game training session and I bumped into Elbikay Bouchiba. I was the first to report that he (after telling me face to face) would be possibly ready to return to the TFC lineup from knee surgery in September. To date the club has still not confirmed anything officially about a potential return date for him even though the player himself already did so.

    I don’t profess to know anything more than you or anyone else does about Julian de Guzman and his future with TFC. I have heard rumours from people I trust and respect but at the end of the day that is all they are, rumours.

  3. thanks for the clarification
    personally i think that part of it has to do with the reporters not asking him. if there isn’t an issue other than the injury, than Winter wouldn’t be inclined to talk about an issue that he had no idea existed. if there are rumors that need to be cleared up, perhaps they should should be asking him

    On the Bouchiba note; I really appreciate that you actually managed to get that information, but again, i wonder why none of the reporters in the media scrums have asked Winter about it. It seems that they are only interested in the status of players that have been in the starting XI.
    for example:
    -despite the fact that Peterson is a lame excuse for an attacking mid, and there’s nowhere else that he would be needed, they still insist on asking Winter about his status every chance they get. in the meantime, i didn’t even know that Zavarise was injured until it was reported that he was back in an article about Gordon.
    -No one bothered to ask about Williams until he started a game
    -Every time Attakora didn’t start, they would ask why, even though it was obvious due to the fact that up until then, the games he did play in he played badly in
    I don’t really blame TFC for not making statements in response to rumors, i want to know why the journalists aren’t asking (or don’t ask in the interviews that the general public can see, as that’s all i can go by)

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