This was going to be part one of a two-part season review of sorts. I was going to take a look at a snapshot of the first half and sort of figure out what went wrong and why it went wrong this year.
Because, they didn’t really start off all that bad. They were kind of mediocre. They blew a 3-1 lead on opening day to SKC, but they were winning 3-1. These things could be coached out, right?
But that didn’t happen, and they continued to be entertainingly mediocre until they lost 8 in a row over the summer.
But then yesterday, the club tweeted this:
Head to @ATTMichiganAve for a Friday night of Fire fun and Fan Appreciation pres. by @ATT— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) October 18, 2018
Catch appearances by @DaxMcCarty11, @GrantLillard & @_moadams, plus open gaming & entry in the #Winning11 sweepstakes!
: https://t.co/C6buGavgHN pic.twitter.com/AcrHVcfn0o
By the time this article is published, this “fan appreciation” event will be half over, and then we’ll be moving on.
This is pathetic.
One of my first assignments for Hot Time In Old Town was covering the 15th Anniversary party. It was a wonderful night full of happiness and fun and hope for the furture. The Fire were making a playoff run and looked to be a decent side. on the come up. Even current players who had moved on from the squad, like Montreal Impact midfielder Justin Mapp, were there. This team, despite some down years and bad luck, still felt important.
Six years is a long time.
There was no 20th season merch. There was no mention of the anniversary at all on October 8th, save for this tweet. I bet the office workers didn’t even get a cake. Instead, we get an event at an AT&T store for four hours on a Friday afternoon.
The excuse that could be given is that they did this last year, on the anniversary of the club’s founding instead of on the anniversary of their inaugural season. That doesn’t hold water for me— especially with how things are between the FO and the fanbase. This would have been a perfect time to make a gesture of reconciliation and start rebuilding bridges. Instead, we get silence from the front office and a public appearance on 24 hours notice. It’s disgraceful.
What’s also disgraceful is that this column is a week late. And I must be honest with you— I forgot. I forgot that last week was the anniversary. I forgot that we had and have something worth celebrating as a fanbase. This organization made me forget. And that’s just as damning as everything else that happened this year.
There was a letter in the post! Remember to tweet your burning questions to us using the hashtag #AskHotTime.
What Fire legend would you like to see return to the club? Be it coaching, managerial, the cook, etc. #AskHotTime— RJ @ 10／25－ 11/1 (@rga_02) October 17, 2018
It looks like Velko Paunovic is staying on as manager. I am okay with this. I admit, I’ve been wishy-washy about Pauno staying, and my opinion on the matter seems to change week to week.
That said, I’d love to have Chris Armas or Jessie Marsch managing this club.
On Marsch, what he did with the New York Red Bulls was amazing. Coming in to a successful club after they lost both their manager Mike Petke and their star player in Therry Henry is no easy task. Just ask David Moyes. But Marsch? He won the Supporters Shield in his first year, and then two years later was promoted to an assistant role with Red Bull’s most high-profile team in Leipzig, who are currently sitting second in the Bundesliga.
As for Armas, his time as Red Bulls manager this season has been a successful continuation of what Marsch built during his two-plus years inside the organization. They’re a point back of Atlanta in the Supporters Shield race, and if the Fire manage to beat ATL this weekend (lol), New York will have pole position going into the last weekend.
A non-obvious choice would be Diego Gutiérrez as GM/Director of Football. In case you weren’t aware, Gutiérrez is a bit of a power player in player agent circles. That would certainly give him an edge as far as signings go. And it’s not like there are any other exciting young MLS executives that get you all hot and bothered about taking over the club.
Also I’m probably the last person left on the Eric Wynalda Director of Football train to nowhere. That would be fun for the media, at least.