Toronto's former mayor David Miller was an early and ardent supporter of the Major League Soccer club's Toronto franchise. Judging by the open letter posted on Wednesday by Mr. Miller on Facebook, he is turning his back on the team.
Public Text of a letter I have sent to MLSE
September 11, 2013 at 11:55am
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment
50 Bay Street, Ste 500
TFC Management Changes
I am writing because I believe that the recent management changes at TFC, and your president's comments on football/artificial turf, have seriously jeopardized the future of this club. From the moment Coach Cummins was allowed to leave, the team has jumped each year from one playing vision to its opposite, thereby preventing on field progress. At the same time, the experience of the supporters has declined – together with their passion. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that it is now necessary to have someone sing the national anthem, when previously supporters sang O Canada themselves, unaided.
Since the failed hiring of Preki as its coach, the club has desperately needed stability. Hiring an experienced and high level President/GM, only to fire him a few months later, is exactly the opposite of what is needed. It was either wrong to hire Mr. Payne, to fire him, or both. Similarly, either pursuing a skilled young player like Urruti for two years was wrong, trading him three weeks after acquisition was wrong – or both.
Here is my advice:
- Stabilize the management. Change simply has to stop – this is the last chance to get it right.
- Stabilize the team. Today, there are at least signs of passion and hard work on the pitch. Build on that with selective change. Don’t start over.
- Stabilize the experience. End the speculation about the Argonauts CFL team coming to BMO. Mr. Leiweke’s suggestion that they might, and the necessary implication that they would play on artificial turf, was the wrong thing to say, at this time in particular. You risk losing the most committed supporters of TFC if the venue is changed to accommodate Canadian football, particularly if turf returns.
As you know, I have been an ardent supporter of TFC since you and MLSE first had the vision to bring Major League Soccer to Toronto. I have supported the team through thick and thin, defended management, was one of the first season ticket holders, and, in my former capacity, was instrumental in building the stadium and supporting its conversion to grass.
I am so frustrated with the latest management missteps that I am returning the remainder of my season tickets to you: it is the only way I can emphasize how serious the situation is for those of us who support TFC. Please donate them to an appropriate cause.
There once was magic at BMO Field. The latest reshuffle has made the possibility of that magic returning almost certainly disappear.