Jimmy Brennan – The Captain Takes One For The Director of Soccer.
Jimmy Brennan and Danny Dichio have always, and perhaps always will be, my two favourite Toronto FC players. They were professionals that played hard and clearly loved the club and the supporters. They were the first heroes we had to cheeer for in TFC Red. And that will never change in my eyes. New stars and heroes will come, but for me these two players will always hold a special place.
Last season, under inarguably unclear circumstances, Danny “retired” late in the season to take a coaching position with the club. Today we hear that Jimmy Brennan is essentially doing the same thing and has “retired” with immediate effect to take a position titled as “Assistant to the GM”. Both Danny and Jimmy still work for the club so we will never really hear the truth about these two situations, if ever. But something really stinks about this announcement. In Danny’s case his salary comes off the books last season and we immediately sign Julian De Guzman. And if reports are to be believe, Jimmy’s not inconsequential salary comes off the books and a potential signing of Leeds United striker Paul Dickov is just around the corner.
Not A Man Who Sounded Like He Was Packing It In.
I listened to Jimmy Brennan be interviewed on the “It’s Called Football” podcast last week and in that wide ranging interview he stated that this season was definitely going to be his last as a player. He also stated that his future interest was to work with the team in some capacity going forward. He did not sound like a man that was planning to hang up his cleats and pick up a clipboard a week later. No way no how was this in the cards for Jim Brennan a week ago.
I can’t help but think that in both cases, Danny and Jimmy were forced out before their time. And Mo was the person forcing them. There can be no other logical explanation.
And I am not being nostalgic or maudlin when I say this. I am sure Danny did not want to end his career as a player the way it ended. And I think that Jimmy feels exactly the same way today. They will put a brave face on it and say the right things, but we all know better. Danny went off the roster at a time when his talents for poaching goals and playing a holding role up front were in short supply for the club. And we all know how that ended last season. This season our defence is arguably still the weakest part of our club and we now drop an experienced professional from the roster who can still contribute.
Unfair At Best And Disgraceful At Worst
Danny Dichio allows Mo Johnston to sign Julian De Guzman last season. If Danny had not retired and freed up the cap space the De Guzman deal could never have happened. Now Jimmy comes off the books with immediate effect and the rumours out of Leeds and Toronto state that Paul Dickov is very close to signing. With our thin roster and well known problems with the salary cap and allocation it looks like Jimmy’s cap room will be used to sign other players, perhaps Dickov.
I want to give Mo the benefit of the doubt here, I really do. But if he had managed the roster and salary cap space of the club better than he has, he would not have to ask two professionals who are TFC through and through to unfairly have to sacrifice their playing careers to bail him out. Asking two professionals who he essentially has over a barrel to get Mo out of the predicament he walked into with open eyes is unfair at best and disgraceful at worst. You do not treat professionals this way just because you can.
Last season TFC supporters created banner thanking Danny Dichio for his service and the memories he helped. One banner covered the entire south end of the stadium andThe North End Elite also did an amazing Tifo for the same game thanking him for the same reasons. I am not sure what we will collectively do for Jimmy, but I hope that fans do take some time to remember our first player, our first Captain and a local boy who came home to give his all for his hometown club.