Before we begin: I found this live-blog of "Green Street 2" delightfully amusing. Doesn't make up for the existence of such a film, however, and I once again call on purveyors of hooligan "literature" to enjoy a Drano colada.
John Carver never struck me as anything more than a poor man's Ray Hudson or Ron Newman. Even his confusing, frequently-changing reasons for leaving - assuming it was his decision - don't compare to some of the league's classic coach-sheddings. Mark de Grandpre claiming within the same interview that (1) Bruce Arena resigned and (2) Arena was fired for not winning MLS Cup springs to mind. Of course, the real gold standard is Ruud Gullit quitting in a huff, then muttering darkly about a conspiracy by MLS to keep soccer from succeeding.
It's tempting to go point by point, comparing Mo Johnston hinting at Carver's health problems with Carver himself saying things like "I was having a great time. It was a chance to build something from scratch. I really felt we were going somewhere." But really, the bottom line is, he was fired. At best, he jumped before being pushed.
I've read several commenters claim that Carver's desire to coach from the press box - presumably to take advantage of the delicious sandwiches AEG provides, for only $5 each! - contravenes the Laws of the Game, and thus Carver's last straw was actually with FIFA and not MLS. Apparently said commenters are right, if Page 57 is anything to go by.
Seems pretty open-and-shut to me.
Which answers a question I've had for a while, viz., why do gridiron football coaches do this and soccer coaches not?
When coaches "resign" for reasons like this - in other words, confusing reasons that don't stand up to much scrutiny - I tend to conclude that they were actually fired. Say what you want about John Carver, but you can't argue with his success.
Johnston deserves a little criticism, in my opinion - well, okay, lots of criticism, unless you think Toronto's really a first-place team - keep in mind, the freaking Galaxy were in first place for a while there last year, before they folded - sorry, I'll start again. Johnston deserves criticism for not answering "no" when asked if Carver had health problems. That was very misleading and led to completely unwarranted speculation. It's a good thing Carver couldn't close his mouth for a day, otherwise people might have been worried.
Although, if that was how Carver reacted to being asked to follow the Laws of the Game, imagine how he would have handled an actual playoff game. Compared to Carver, the guy with the exploding head in "Scanners" would have looked like Bud Freaking Grant.
Besides, the health issues question was a perfect set-up to a great Ozzy Osbourne line. "He left for medical reasons - he was making me sick."