It’s Payne’s Team Now
New GM Kevin Payne has pulled the trigger on Toronto FC’s seventh coaching change in its history. Out is Paul Mariner and in is coaching neophyte Ryan Nelsen, who of course is STILL under contract at Queens Park Rangers.
At what I confess seemed almost a surreal press conference Payne announced Ryan Nelsen and new assistant Fran O’ Leary would be in place as the new on field bosses effective immediately. However Nelsen will not be available to take over the role any time soon. In fact we actually don’t exactly know when he will be available.
Below is a quote from the QPR website from earlier today:
DEFENDER Ryan Nelsen has agreed a deal to take charge of MLS side Toronto FC.
The New Zealand defender – who joined Rangers on a free transfer in the summer – was approached about pursuing a coaching role with the Canadian club, which he has now accepted. Nelsen is under contract with QPR until June 30th 2013, however, he has requested to enter dialogue with QPR boss Harry Redknapp to discuss when he will join up with his new club. In the meantime, Nelsen will be available for QPR’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
With QPR in a Premier League relegation battle it could theoretically come down to Nelsen being forced to stay in London until at least mid May to complete his playing obligations before the Super Hoops and old ‘Arry Redknapp see fit to let Nelsen leave to come to Toronto full time to start his new job in earnest.
Now with the track record that Toronto FC has had in misfiring on and off the field for seven seasons obviously there is probably as much skepticism out there today amongst the fan base as there was on display in the press conference. Here is Toronto FC desperately looking for success hiring a new head coach that has no experience and by the way he still has a job as a player, let alone still apparently an International player for New Zealand, and there is no clue when specifically he is going to be able to take over the job.
Less than ideal.
But Kevin Payne obviously feels that this is the guy that he wanted. And Payne I am sure understands that he is getting his guy under less than ideal circumstances. I mean for heaven’s sake Toronto FC is dependent now on the whims of one Harry Redknapp in order to know when their new Head Coach can take over!
I get this is less than ideal. I get that there are concerns that the guy being hired does not have any coaching experience (in fact Nelsen revealed in the presser that he does not have any of the usual UEFA A or B licensing that a European based player or coach would have and that the new assistant just got his coaching license last week!) but with all that to consider Payne still pulled the trigger on the deal that sees Paul Mariner Leave and the new man take over.
Payne has hired neophytes before as coaches (Ben Olsen is doing well in DC, Peter Nowak did okay in DC, less than okay in Philadelphia) and he took the time in the presser to stress that he is choosing who he feels is the guy that he wants.
The decision can, and I am sure will, be second guessed my many. I for one am not going to second guess this choice, not today. Three months ago all we were screaming for as supporters of this club was a President to be hired who knows Soccer to run the team. We now have one. Many of us, yours truly included, demanded a price decrease on our seats as a sign of faith that the team truly understood the scale of the problems they were facing. The club delivered on that. And many of us, myself not included, thought that a new manager was needed to replace Paul Mariner. And, eventually, we will have one.
On all three of these things the team has delivered.
All we should be doing today is praying that QPR gets itself relegated sooner rather than later. There will be lots of time to second guess the team and this choice.