Welcome back to Silly Offseason Complaints! Your favorite new series from the Brotherly Game where I take the most popular complaints about the Philadelphia Union and explain why they're silly. Because who doesn't love being told their frustrations are silly?
If you haven't yet, please check out Part 1, where I talk about The Union's lack of cash, Part 2, where I talk about the need for a left back, and Part 3, where I talk about Maurice Edu playing defensive midfield.
Today I'm taking on the complaint that Jim Curtin, Earnie Stewart, and the rest of the Union Front office keep their cards too close to their chest. Or, more specifically, that they refuse to ever tell the fan base what is going on in terms of new player acquisitions.
The complaint usually goes a little something like this:
"I'm sick and tired of hearing Jim Curtin talk about how it isn't advantageous for him to reveal too much about his plans to other teams. What about the fans? Don't we have a right to know what's going on? Besides, what kind of competitive advantage does it really give to other teams to let us know what kind of moves are in the works this off season? As a fan base we're eager to be informed, and withholding information just makes us frustrated."
This is another one that I actually somewhat agree with it. A couple of weeks ago I even wrote an article all about how I think the entire MLS needs to be more transparent. But... that's also sort of the argument against this complaint. This isn't just a problem with the Union. It's the entire MLS. Every team in the league does this. Heck, every team in the world does this. This is just part of how professional sports works. As annoying as it may be for us fans, it doesn't do the team any good for the front office to come out and give everyone a list of all of the players they're targeting. Leaks about a potential player acquisition can hurt the team's ability to negotiate a contract with that player, or even cause the negotiations to fall apart altogether.
Imagine for a second you're a professional soccer player and you've been approached by a new team who wants to sign you. The story leaks that you've been targeted by the team and the fan base goes nuts. They're all incredibly excited and eager for the team to bring you on board. Wouldn't you use that as leverage when negotiating a salary? "Your fans really want me to join your team, so I don't think it's unreasonable for me to earn $X more than you're offering." I mean, the player probably wouldn't say that, that's what agents are for, but it's their job to negotiate as best as they can for their clients. The same can be said about other teams negotiation a transfer fee. If they learn that the fans desperately want that player, they can use that against the team to jack up the transfer fee. All of this hurts the team's ability to bring in new players.
The simple truth is that the team is going to try to sign the players they are going to try to sign, and when a deal get's done they'll announce it. That's how it works. Sure, there are rumors, and usually we know at least a little about most signings before they happen, but it's never going to come from a head coach or a sporting director. That's why they leak stories to a few dedicated reporters like Kevin Kinkead. It's just standard operating procedure for a professional sports organization and we need to accept that, no matter how frustrating it is to watch a head coach dodge questions during a press conference.
That's it for today's Silly Complaints, tune in next time where I take on the Union's lack of Homegrown Players.