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CF97 Town Hall Meeting: The Era of Good Feelings

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Comfortable, confident Yallop bosses Town Hall meeting with season-ticket holders with avuncular charm

Yallop's message, in a nutshell: "I GOT THIS."
Yallop's message, in a nutshell: "I GOT THIS."
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If you're a Chicago Fire supporter, and you're nervous, Frank Yallop has a message for you: Don't worry, little heart - I got this.

From the rousing cheer that greeted his introduction at the annual Town Hall meeting for season-ticket holders, it's clear the message is connecting with CF97's most ardent fans. In just over an hour of questions, Yallop was avuncular, charming and straightforward.

So we enter this winter far from discontented in Fire nation - indeed, optimism seems the order of the day in this new Era of Good Feelings. Sadly, results are less tractable than statements, especially ones workshopped in advance; will this Era presage a true rebirth for the Fire, or (like its namesake) will it prove to be public-relations whitewash hiding real problems?

Technical difficulties* prevented this reporter from getting much in the way of quotes; my transmission was garbled, but Yallop's message was still clear: The Fire will be good next year without massive overhaul. "The roster is strong," Yallop said repeatedly, later elaborating, "Some little tweaks, some pushing and pulling on some players by me, and it will be quite strong."

Since my garble-o-tron transmission proved difficult to suss out, I will turn to my fellow Fire-watchers on Twitter for the highlights:

On the roster:

On Chris Rolfe:

On building a staff:

On Designated Players:

On Mike Magee:

On Harrison Shipp:

On developing youth:

On preferred style:

On USL-Pro decision:

This is just a sampling - it was a solid hour of Q&A with the boss, and it felt open. It felt honest.

Fire general counsel James Vlahakis told me, "If you weren't on board already - if you were still doubting - and you were there, then you're probably on board now. I felt like pumping my fist." Vlahakis also emphasized that, after the meeting adjourned, Yallop stayed around, talking with season ticket holders and staff - "spreading his personality around" is how my grandmother would've termed it. OnTheFire.com's Scott Fenwick seemed to sum up the feeling of those in attendance with this tweet:

Now we wait, and watch, and hope. So far, so good - but: Results, motherf%#ker.

*The weather prevented Hot Time's reporter from attending, and as a stop-gap, friend-of-the-site James Vlahakis arranged for me to listen in via a phone. Shortly after the opening remarks - which, as I noted, were warm and welcoming in the extreme - the signal turned into a series of weird digital artifacts, as Mr. Vlahakis' signal met the onslaught of winter weather.

Picture me, headphones in, hands over ears, struggling to make sense of "dib ... pers ... slav ... middle ... <crackling laughter> ... solid ... push ..." For the next 60 minutes, I strained to make sense of the digital soup, feeling like a signal-intelligence operator somewhere remote. There I am, in a submarine off the coast of Finland, listening to the Soviet command channel - but I failed Russian II, and I've got a bad head cold, so my entire report consists of "Soviet Navy seems worried" or something. The joys of community journalism. (We do have an eyewitness report in the works.)