“…Get Used To It…” Four simple words uttered in passing during a brief interview to Jason De Vos during the second half of the Toronto FC exhibition match against AS Roma Wednesday evening.
Four words that may come back to bite TFC President Kevin Payne in the ass in the coming days and weeks.
Four words that sadly speak about the true nature of the relationship that the club currently has with many of its most ardent supporters.
Four words that speak to an arrogance and a disconnect between the team and those of us who have been faithful since day one.
Four words that sadly may end up as the defining tag line for this team as we head towards the end of the 2013 campaign.
I get that the suits at BMO Field likely think that a mid season friendly in the middle of a SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE LOSING SEASON might be a good idea. I even get that they may think that they might be able to convert many of the Liverpool, Real Madrid or AS Roma fans who go see these games into TFC supporters (I would challenge any of you who know a supporter of any of these three clubs who attended these friendlies in the past few years to show me a single one them who since then now owns a TFC season ticket!). I even get that the club is planning to persist with these sorts of spectacles going forward in spite of significant supporter discontent. And yes I get that my club is part of a corporate entity that is in the business of generating revenue and hopefully profit for the overlords at MLSE.
For all the reasons above I understand that the club will do as it sees fit even if it is against the wishes of many of its supporters if it feels it is the right thing to do. But simply dismissing what many of us feel are legitimate concerns in such a flippant and arrogant manner is disappointing at best and shameful at worst.
Friendlies do not grow the brand. Winning does. The win in the rain two weeks ago and the win in New England last weekend do fifty times more for the long term success of Toronto FC as a club than hosting Roma, Madrid or Liverpool and THEIR FANS ever will. Roma supporters at BMO Wednesday came to see Totti and company and were not there to see Toronto FC`s (all respect to them) third string keeper and reserve players. They will not be back to see Toronto FC in any significant numbers.
Did I mention there is a game on Saturday that does mean something? And many of the starting eleven on Saturday coming now have to recover from this circus and get ready to play in seventy two hours. Toronto FC has not gone undefeated in league play for four games in a row since July of 2010 – more than a THOUSAND DAYS AGO! Does young Rey picking up a knock and our starting best XI having to play again on three days rest (and end up playing three times in seven days instead of twice) do anything to help cement this little streak we are on?
I am pissed tonight. I think I will be substantially more pissed this coming Saturday evening if I see a ragged and tired TFC run off the park by a good opponent and this little bit of reasonable success the team has carved out for itself in the past few weeks is snuffed out again all because TFC wanted to see how their defenders would stand up to Francesco Totti for twenty minutes.
We might get some spin or damage control from Payne and TFC Thursday. Payne might try to explain away what he said and how he said it. But I think TFC supporters owe a debt of gratitude to Jason De Vos this evening for asking the question that elicited the `get used to it` reply and asking it in such a way (with the follow up after the curt one liner) that did not allow Payne to wriggle free without providing a clear (if arrogant and misguided) response. Thank you Jason. Once again you show your true colours as a servant of the Canadian game.
And to you Mr. Payne – I think those four simple words say more about your true character than all the words uttered by you in the months you have been here put together.