Stop me if you've heard this one.
Toronto FC holds a press conference to announce a new executive that is here to turn the club around.
No, full stop, that's the joke. There is no punch line.
I was going to go with: what's red, has been beaten black and blue and likes to start all over, but I figured most have already heard that one.
In fact, Wednesday's scene at BMO Field was one that we've all heard before. Here is a new face brought into right the ship, with promises of a clear direction and assurances that success is just over the horizon.
It has become so played out that I'm sure years from now, a historian with the hopes of finally identifying what went wrong with the club, will sit down and pull together all the transcripts from the hiring and firing press conferences Toronto has hosted. He'll discover that they were, shockingly, or perhaps not, completely identical. He'll then conclude that Toronto FC never found success because it was always looking for the solutions in the same places.
I'm not so cynical to think that Toronto's hiring of Kevin Payne
to front its soccer operations as president isn't a solution of sorts - it is - but I'm not foolish enough to think either that this can yet be declared a way forward.
Payne is one man. He is one man in an organization that took six full seasons of losing to discover that they needed to hire a president who knew a little something about this game called soccer.
Yes, Tom Anselmi was the defacto-president for most of those years but as he has admitted on a number of occasions it has been a 'learning process' for them. Which if you're trying to decipher press conference speak, means lost in the woods.
The man they've hired to point the way is one who comes with a mixed reputation.
On one hand, the beat on Payne is that he is a man who had a tremendous amount of success in his early MLS years (four MLS Cups, four MLS Supporters Shields, two U.S. Open Cups) and has established himself as a well-connected league broker since.
Rocky formative years
He helped MLS navigate through its rocky formative years and was widely regarded as a pioneer - even visionary -- for North American soccer. He gave Bruce Arena, one of MLS' most successful coaches, his first pro deal as a coach and even helped bring D.C. United (and MLS) one of its first big money shirt sponsorships.
On the other hand, his detractors have suggested bluntly that his best years are behind him and that he isn't as adept at wading through the modern and often murky MLS set-up. It has been five years since D.C. United won a Supporters Shield and eight since their last MLS Cup.
And at age 59, there is some question whether Payne still has the drive to build winning franchises the way he once did.
When he left D.C. United in 2001 it was a dynasty. He joined AEG soccer, the entertainment group that oversaw a number of MLS teams, and took on a role more focused on the business side of the game.
He returned three seasons later to once again head D.C. United as its president, but this time only saw a modicum of success compared to the force he had once created in the league's early days.
It's a standard that is still miles beyond anything Toronto FC has ever seen but the question of which Payne has come to Toronto is one that will still need answering.
For now, what is clear, is that this is a soccer executive that has left a club with very few resources and has managed to have a history of success, to come to one with nearly every modern amenity afforded to it and six seasons of losing. Payne alone will not be able to end the suffering for Toronto fans but he is capable of putting together an organization that perhaps, in a few years, can find on-field success.
Although, for the long-suffering Toronto FC fans, most would probably just be happy to not have the 'Payne' of being a bad joke. Cue rim shot.
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