So the day has finally come that many of the Union faithful have been waiting for. Despite his numerous denials to the contrary, many of us knew that Nick Sakiewicz had a direct hand in the personnel decisions the Philadelphia Union have made over the years. When Jay Sugarman came out and confirmed that for the last five of the six years of the Union's existence that Sakiewicz was in charge of not only the business, but also the personnel decisions of the Union, no one was shocked. The few times Sugarman has spoken to the media regarding the current status and future of the club, I have felt that he was being candid and sincere. The time has finally come when he realized that a big shake up was necessary.
In his press conference, Sugarman seemed to indicate that thoughtful words of advice from the fans is something that he listens to. It is understood that not everything the fans say he will go ahead and do, but at least he is willing to listen and to admit that mistakes have been and will be made in the future and is committed to getting this thing right.
I've asked the staff at The Brotherly Game to put together some of their thoughts and advice to Mr. Sugarman. Many of my thoughts are shared with theirs so I need not repeat anything. I would just like Jay to know that he is seen as a frugal owner. However, one does not need to spend big to win big in MLS. One just needs to spend wisely. Please understand that if the problems continue in the years ahead, that the only common denominator left of the old guard will be you, Mr. Sugarman. In that unlikely event, I would hope you would do the right thing and sell. However, I'm with you in this endeavor and am willing to see what you can put together. Please, when we have a new Sporting Director that is highly qualified, open your wallet wide and let the soccer expertise of the Sporting Director lead the way.
Enough of my drivel, let's see what the rest of the staff (and one special guest) has to say to Jay Sugarman.
LOOK YOU GET A PASS ON NICKY SAK ON ONE CONDITION, YOU PICK THE RIGHT PEOPLE, GIVE THE RIGHT RESOURCES AND SPEND THE RIGHT MONEY TO KEEP THE GOOD FANS OF THE PHILADELPHIA UNION HAPPY DANCING AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DOOPY DANCING FOR YEARS. ALSO RONALDINHO (DID HULK RUIN THIS NICE SENTIMENT BY THROWING IN 'DINHO TALK?)
Colin Campbell (Colin SC)
Firstly, thank you for acknowledging Union fans' desires for what they would like to see this team become. Thank you for owning up to complications holding the Union back from success. While we know that it will not be instantaneous, I sincerely hope that with the changes that are coming, we will rid ourselves of the reputation that we are a "cheap" team. I hope that you and other owners come to the realization that a cheap team will not deliver or meet the needs of the fans. I would also ask that you please help create a structure for this club to be successful by hiring staff to fill positions that are needed, such as a sporting director and or general manager. Fans do not want you to be the face of the franchise, but we want to know that you have our best interest in mind, so please do something to increase our options regarding transfers and bringing players to this club that fans can get behind and be excited about seeing play in their city. It is the least you can do for the years we have suffered watching this team play.
Nick "Short but sweet" Youngstein (NYoungstein)
In the coming seasons, I'd like to see the academy leveraged to fill spots on the first team roster.
Doug Gobrecht (hunkleberryfinn)
Your decision, along with the other board members, to fire former CEO Nick Sakiewicz clearly represents a recognition that change is need to resuscitate this franchise. You now stand at a point in time where the fate of this team will continue its journey. Your decisions on how to change this team have the opportunity to restore the quality and atmosphere surrounding the Philadelphia Union for years to come. Thoughtful and rational decisions can bring about positive and meaningful change. The fan base resonates with these moves and also respects a commitment to excellence. Your decisions affect each one of us. Do these earnestly and the fan base will support you. I cannot ask you to win, but I can ask you to give everything you have to this franchise like every fan in this city has. We bleed blue and gold and we hope you do as well.
Jared Young (unionoscopy)
If the Union won't be able to compete on salary, take this time to determine how you want the Union to differentiate themselves from the rest of the clubs. Whether it's the Academy system, analytics, player treatment , or any number of other ways, find a Sporting Director that can help you achieve that ambition. Ask yourself, "What will the Union do differently to compete?"
Frank Cobbina (phillyhoosfan)
Look, the framework is in place. The academy looks to be a success, and the Moneyball approach seems to be the right strategy given the club's predicament. Find a Sporting Director who will work with Albright & Curtin to follow through on this execution. Take time this off-season intending to strengthen the depth of this roster. That's the source of much of the team's problems over the last four seasons.
Do you have any words of wisdom for Jay Sugarman? Let us know below!