One of the things that I completely forgot about, as well as everyone who has been following AEG, is that Tim doesn't make a coaching change unless he already has a replacement in mind. There wasn't a huge interview process for Sigi replacing Zambrano. Sampson was lined up before Sigi was fired. Yallop was lined up before Sampson was fired. Yallop seems to have left of his own free will, but they're calling that move a firing around here these days (oh, and he deserved to be).
So Ruud Gullit happened to have personal problems just in time for Bruce Arena's trip to the Home Depot Center to watch two of his very favorite teams. I can't even decide which of Sting's two god-awful "Synchronicity" songs is running through my head right now.
Apparently SOME people are believing unsubstantiated rumors about Bruce Arena taking the Galaxy job. Well, I'm going to fight back the most effective way I know - by blogging about it.
In increasing order of fairness of complaints:
Bruce Arena? To the GALAXY? Talk about wearing white after Labor Day. Arena coaching the Galaxy is about as appropriate as Cuauhtemoc Blanco saying Fire fans were drunken fabulists (thanks, Kenn, I was stuck for a metaphor there). If I wanted to cheer for Bruce Arena to win an MLS Cup, I was perfectly free to do so in 1996, and I chose not to.
Yes, I cheered for Landon Donovan, but he at least has Southern California ties. Yes, I cheered for Frank Yallop, but the Earthquakes were on hiatus, and besides, look how that turned out.
Help me out here, DC United fans. Short of Arena going to Columbus or Chicago or something, this has to be pretty galling, right? You guys took the whole Red Bull thing really well, but that was him being from Brooklyn. This has to be as annoying for you as it is for me, right? I mean, what if DC United hired Cobi to replace Tom Soehn? Huh? Huh? Yeah, how's that taste?
It's also yet another sign that the considerable soccer knowledge the Galaxy has produced over the years is being ridiculously slighted. Peter Vagenas mentioned Danny Pena last night (or so I read, the DVR cut out by that point). Robin Fraser is in Utah, Dan Calichman is in Claremont, Jorge Salcedo is at UCLA, Caligiuri is at CP Pomona (okay, with a losing record, but still). Yes, Cobi's resume compares very poorly with Arena's. It also compares poorly with every other coach in Galaxy history....but it was nearly as good as a lot of successful MLS coaches, and better than Jason Kreis'.
Of course, maybe it's a sign of Galaxy almumni soccer intelligence that they don't want to deal with AEG. They couldn't command the kind of money it would take to put up with the corporate nonsense, either. Better to wait for regime change.
The problem is, Bruce Arena doesn't simply ignore corporate oversight. He goes to the media and trashes the suits.
Great reading for fans, sure. But if you happen to be a hands-on micromanager whose expertise in money makes you an expert in everything except courtesy and respect, like...hm, can't think of an example right this second...then hiring Bruce Arena is praying for trouble.
And what about Arena? He knows scores of people who have dealt with AEG in one fashion or another, he must know what he's getting into.
Well, at least he's fired up about MLS
Oh. Ah. Well, at least he doesn't have negative opinions of the Home Depot Center as a home field
Well, at least Landon Donovan will have a coach he's familiar with...yeah, he's gone.
I'm not saying nobody should hire Bruce Arena. I am saying he's a very, very poor fit with AEG and the Galaxy, even given the safe assumption that Paul Bravo will no longer be in charge of player personnel.
Speaking of personnel turnover - maybe Cobi sticks around as an assistant and continues to learn, maybe he doesn't. Maybe there's absolutely nothing to the rumor that Arena brings Harkes along...although the idea that you hire someone like Arena, who you've gone on national television and praised beyond the skies, then tell him he can't bring in who he pleases, is mildly droll. That said, there was something particularly smarmy about Harkes being so pleased with himself about the Leiweke interview, considering the conflict between his current position as a journalist and his rumored position as an employee of his interview subject. Just in case you were wondering why John didn't ask something along the lines of "Tim, you've been driving this franchise into the wall faster than Dale Earnhardt, WTF already?"
Oh, my goodness. I spend all this time on last night's game, and didn't mention one word about what happened on the field. Can you imagine? I mean, I went to the trouble of making the subject the Galaxy-Chivas USA game, and I spent all my time on Bruce Arena! What kind of screwed up priorities are those? I showed absolutely no respect for people who were interested in the actual players! None whatsoever! I should be deeply, deeply ashamed of myself. Call myself a sports network. Er, blogger.