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Thursday, January 31, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Payne management

"It's good to talk..."

With just a few days before The Reds go all snowbird and head down to Orlando ("WHOOO! SPRING BREAK!"), Kevin Payne took time away from packing his mesh "Daytona Beach '84" tank-tops to hold a round-table discussion with some members of the mainstream Toronto football media. The boss of all things Eff Cee seemed to be in "line drawn in sand" mode which may or may not be a beach metaphor. Here's a few of K-Payne's phat rhymes...
- Some TFC Academy players will be invited to join the first team down in Florida due to some early "impressive performances".
- No word if they will be allowed any beachside hijinks with locals much like in the 1983 seminal theatrical spring break opus... "Spring Break"
- TFC are "looking almost exclusively south" for new players adding that European targets are "overpriced"
- Somewhere Mikael Yourassowsky said "WTF man?!"
- Did not get into any type of financial conversation about the Greek Debt Crisis or the falling value of the Euro over the Honduran Lempira
- Club is hoping to announce new signing this week or early next week but warned "it has been a complex deal"
- Possibly related, possibly not, but definitely complex, Payne dropped that "Peralta deal is not dead"
- In addition to the above 'imminent deal' the club is also working on 3 further deals with attacking players preferably under the age of 27.
- Claimed that the business side of TFC was in "great shape"
- Thousands of TFC supporters rolled their eyes in unison
- Ryan Nelsen was awarded a three-year contract
- "Very disappointed" that "many players showed up unfit" and that "1 or 2 were not even close to being fit"
- Sternly stated "that won't happen again"
- When asked about Torsten Frings, Payne stated "he's deserving of every opportunity to prove he can still do the job" but then quickly added that the German is not in full training yet.
- Claimed that there are "no discussions yet to buy (Frings) out"
- Journalists likely safe to put "yet" in all caps
- Payne was clear that "buying out a DP is an option". Clubs may only do this once a year if you were hoping to hear that Frings, Hassli and Koevermans were all on a bus to Pearson.
- Rather randomly dropped that "the jury is out on Hassli". Not sure what the Frenchman is charged with but it sounds ominous in a 12 Angry Men kind of way
- When asked if it was explained to him why Hassli's contract was renewed a week before he was hired, Payne paused and wryly said "No."
- Somewhere Paul Mariner's ears started to burn.
- Unsurprising to most, Danny Koevermans won't likely be ready to play until the end of June at the earliest. His form would likely be found a month or two after that.
- As if wanting to end things with a big asterisk, Payne let it be known that the 3 DP's along with Darren O'Dea and Richard Eckersley eat up a "very, very large percentage of the salary cap"... so see you this time next year?
- First home fixture now solidly scheduled for SkyDome on March 9 at 1:30 PM. Get your thundersticks now!
- Payne may or may not have put on mesh "Daytona Beach '84" tank-top and strapped surfboard on top of Studebaker station wagon with Florida plates and peeled out of BMO Field parking lot.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A pinch of Salt - Plata dealt to RSL

Joao Plata meets with Real Salt Lake management

A few days after Joao Plata's agent attempted to tell the world that his client was being loaned out to Real Salt Lake by TFC, the two clubs decided to make things more permanent. The news from the adoption agency came through this morning that "Los Webster" will now be under the care of Mormon Popadopouloses (Popadopouli?) with Toronto receiving a 2015 SuperDraft 2nd Round pick for their troubles.
Whether Plata can rediscover some of the brief magic he had during his early TFC stint will be interesting to follow. There is no doubt that the pint-sized Ecuadorian became a quick fan-favourite but the reality that he seemed "found out" by MLS defences became apparent. Whether it was because of physical manhandling or a drop in confidence, Plata went from sparkplug to meek youngster quickly. With the handy tool of retrospect, his protracted re-signing was likely down to his fan-favouritenessosity rather than any future ability.
Plata seems to take his cues from his agent a little too easily as was evident when he departed Toronto last year on loan before the club was ready to go public with the news. The fact that his agent pretty much telegraphed this news last week seems to show more of the same. In the end Plata wasn't wanted back in Toronto and had reportedly fallen out of favour with his hometown LDU Quito. Perhaps a new start in "The Saltiest Town on Earth" is the tiny tonic he needs. In parting, Kevin Payne commented "It made sense for our club to move him for value as we can continue to build the team we want..." Now Kevin, about time to get some new orphans in no?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Ryin Nilsin Tistimowkneeal Metch

"Cheerio Poms but me hammy is knackered"

Harry Redknapp may claim he still isn't sure but our new New Zealish overlord Ryan Nelsen is hours away from calling it a day on his long and successful playing career. The new TFC gaffer will wear the hoops of QPR one last time today as the struggling West Londoners host the defending Premier League champions Manchester City - and it seems not a moment too soon. Not only is there a hefty amount of pressure on the affable Kiwi to take over the TFC reins quickly but according to the man himself, his legs sound about ready to fall apart. Nelsen told the redundantly named this week that apart from his "glass knees", the big defender has a hamstring that is currently being "screwed on with screws and mesh at the moment". In New Zealisher or any language - that crap's just gross.
Our mateys over at Waking The Red have been using their leftover Dutch phrasebooks and dug up an interesting tidbit regarding TFC's youth teams. Apparently The Reds' U-16 squad will be invited over to Amsterdam to take part in the very prestigious AEGON Future Cup, hosted by those kings of voetbal development - Ajax. The tournament which welcomes the utes of major clubs such as Manchester United, AC Milan and Barcelona to name a few, would be a great challenge for Toronto's burgeoning Academy system. Of course being The Future Cup, this will all take place in some possibly dystopian reality so who knows what will happen. Blade Runners, Biff Tannen... that midget robot from Buck Rogers - it could get weird. Also, a bunch of teenagers in Amsterdam for a week.
While it's not necessarily an ominous sign, the sounds you aren't hearing in town are about TFC's Training Camp. Practicing under the mystical Bubbles of Downsview, the club has just been quietly going about their business before relocating to Orlando, Florida later this week. Lack of eventful drama is nice but some supporters are finding the hush around possible additions to the squad increasingly disconcerting. As of now, The Reds' midfield and forward depth charts are wafer thin and the only nugget of new faces is an agency Facebook entry noting that Brazilian "wonder" twins Pedro and Paulo Mendes (most recently of the mighty superclub Atlanta Silverbacks) have been invited as trialists. Yahoo? In the past, fans have been teased with numerous possible additions by this time of the year - but of course those years all turned out to be disasters. Perhaps patience is a virtue? Okay, but our fingernails aren't too happy about it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Ways Ryan Nelsen passes the time on transatlantic flights

Download the new "Irate Southern Hemisphere Birds" for iPhone

It's hard not to take a shine to our new New Zealish new overlord Ryan Nelsen. During his few appearances so far in Toronto he has come across as an affable and thoughtful gent who is genuinely excited about his opportunity to manage TFC. Of course his hiring wasn't without controversy - especially the early fears that he wouldn't arrive for duty until after the Premier League season ended. Of course that has now been sorted, and hand-wringing has been decreased, but Nelsen still has to fly back-and-forth to London a few times before he settles in Toronto for good. The man must be running out of passport pages by now which makes us wonder… just how does he spend his time on those numerous and annoying long-haul flights?
11. Tries to figure out how many more Air Miles he needs to buy the southern half of New Zealand
10. Attempts to figure out what Jim Brennan actually does
9. Assigns each TFC player a character from Lord of the Rings
8. Gets around to reading Andrew Boyens' four dozen recent text messages "RE: Job"
7. Works on the lyrics for his upcoming debut hip-hop album "Straight Outta Christchurch"
6. Reads all three pages of the book "Legends of New Zealand Soccer"... again
5. Gets back to doing Harry Redknapp's taxes
4. Has one too many complimentary in-flight wines... starts calling the flight attendant "a shining light"
3. Wanders around the cabin giving Australians the stink-eye
2. Plays game of "Angry Kiwis" on his phone
1. Relaxes in business class; reads over Toronto FC depth chart; weeps gently

Thursday, January 24, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Kiwis, Barracudas and Platitas, oh my!

Well that's a Sticky Wicket...

Not only are TFC trumpeting the fact that they have "solved" the Caramilk Secret their seven-year defensive woes but they are apparently a blissfully happy bunch too! It seems like supporters weren't the only ones doing a bit of hand-wringing over new manager Ryan Nelsen's protracted arrival with Darren O'Dea admitting "Certainly it was something I was concerned with when he was first appointed," . However, with Nelsen's February 1st arrival on the back of a flock of kiwis (say unconfirmed sources) now confirmed, it seems like the defensive "gang" including O'Dea, Richard Eckersley and newcomer Danny Califf are a delighted bunch of bros. Now if we could just sign two cheery midfielders and a couple of gleeful strikers we could all share in the joy.
The long rumoured cuddle party between MLS and USL Pro (the pseudo-North American but not really in Canada 3rd Tier league) has been confirmed. In a perestroika-like handshake (less politburos, more City Islanders) the MLS will blend its Reserve Team schedule with the existing USL Pro division in a mosaic-like interleague kickathon. As part of the long-term cooperation, which has advantages for both parties, some of the 14 USL Pro clubs will be "affiliated" with MLS clubs which will see both player and corporate sharesies. We are really, really hoping that TFC can somehow get their paws on an affiliation with Antigua Barracuda FC. They play in Sticky Wicket Stadium. No other explanation needed. Fine...S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones. You happy now?
An unusual tidbit was making the rumour rounds this morning and it concerns our tiny orphan Joao "Los Webster" Plata. Whispers from the Holy Mormon Kingdom of Utah claim that there is talk of Real Salt Lake loaning Plata from Toronto on a year-long agreement. As stated in the article, the original source of the rumour is most likely Plata's own agent so you are probably best to take it with the biggest grain of salt you can find. If only there was some kind of Salt Lake for such an occasion. Inter-MLS loans are practically unheard of so the most likely scenario is that a desperate agent is trying to get people north of the Rio Grande remembering that Plata exists. Unwanted at TFC and by LDU Quito by most accounts, "Los Webster" may be all out of Popadopolises.

Did someone order a "Special Delivery"?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Media Day feat. Nelly feat. Supplemental (Pat Onstad Remix)

"I'll be there in February so bloody relax!"

Maybe it's getting to sound like a broken record or too much like a Kevin Payne Appreciation Society, but the low-key (in comparison with last year) TFC Media Day was refreshing. If there is one thing this club has excelled at since 2007 it is promoting circuses over bread. Perhaps putting efforts behind, oh, you know, preparing the club to play... over a flashy dog-and-pony show is a good sign.

Just for larfs, the club decided to schedule their Northern Belles' debutante ball at the same time as the MLS Supplemental Draft. They must be renting microphones and want to cut down on pressers. Fiscal cliff and all that. Or they like to watch the local media top out their pay-as-you-go phone cards. Either way, shiggles.
With the winteriest of winter days hearkening back to Winter a year ago (the man not the season) the club tried to put its best new foot forward amidst difficult questions. The Reds' staff and players prepared their finest clichés and Ryan Nelsen continued to max out his British Airways air miles points by being here live and in person. Here are a few highlights from Kiwi's Playhouse - some real, maybe some less real. And by less real, we mean probably not real. And by probably we mean maybe absolutely likely. But hey.. maybe!
RYAN NELSEN: Started the day by killing 50% of the criticism over his hire by announcing that he will be joining TFC full-time on February 1st; Sadly did not refer to it as "Business Time"; Asked why he joined TFC: "... the set-up, the owners, the fans - everything"; still deciding if he will rap battle the other Nelly under the moniker "The Hiphopopotomous" or "The Ryhmenocerous"
DANNY CALIFF: Pronounced that he was happy to leave the "circus-like" atmosphere of Chivas USA thus making TFC less circus-like than another team for the first time ever; plans to intimidate opponents with in-your-face sideburns
ERIC HASSLI: Asked if he was happy in Toronto and answered ".......................... yeah." Resounding! Uh huh. Later proclaimed with Gallic flourish that he is "happy and did not ask to be traded"; did most of his interviews wearing Daft Punk robot mask
RICHARD ECKERSLEY: Looked like a fit version of Coronation Street's "Chesney"; Stressed the need to "get the team spirit right"; may have damaged the online feed due to red balance
LOGAN EMORY: Disappointingly did not spend off-season growing back "The Screech"; Admitted that TFC "needed upgrades all over the field but happy that "Payne has taken the reigns"; intimidated by Danny Califf's in-your-face sideburns
ANDREW WIEDEMAN: Claimed he re-signed because "the club is doing good things"; Made solo drive to Toronto from California - no word if it was due to lack of volunteers; refused to proclaim the American Interstate as the best motorway in the modern era
JEREMY HALL: Admitted that "Ryan (Nelsen) is showing us how to defend"; Glad to see the back of Freddy Hall as there "can be only one"
REGGIE LAMBE: In mid-season form as he starts interview with "Didn't want to get out of bed. Had to." #passion
QUILLAN ROBERTS: Dude has a crazy deep voice! Deep tenor rumbles about being the 3rd keeper; Ended interview with "remember that time I scored on England?" mic drop
STEFAN FREI: Told everyone the good news "I feel 100%" and "the ankle is holding up real nice"; more importantly added "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance!" So Swiss.
EMERY WELSHMAN: Seriously, we love this kid. A TFC supporter living the dream: "I love Toronto. I'm home". Pulling for him.
LUIS SILVA: Spent winter in Germany and was overwhelmed by the passion for the game; Still looks like a young Freddie Mercury; No further plans to brawl in bars
So there you have it, or sort of sometimes don't have it. Lay off us truth junkies... it's like a witch's tit today. If you'd like to follow the factual (booooo-ring) interviews, be sure to watch the frosted coating of Toronto FC TV (here) I warn you though... not much in the way of italics.
As the media day interviews were taking place, TFC execs were busy picking over the leftover bits from SuperDraft Dinner in the MLS Supplemental Draft. The Reds used all of their selections to pick four guys who you will likely never see at BMO Field. The new additions are Jamaican-Canadian forward Ashton Bennett; American midfielder Jose Gomez; New Zealandish (go figure) midfielder Nik Robson; and, English forward Taylor Morgan. Good luck United Nations of Other Dudes... you will need it.
A bit of other news that TFC thought they needed to add to the smorgasbord of info today was the official announcement confirming former Canadian international Pat Onstad as Chief Scout and Manager of Football Partnerships. The latter is possibly some kind of online dating thing. The Chief Scout title is a solid move as it is an area where TFC needs major re-structuring and one that as been lacking professionalism for a very long time. All apologies of course to the fine people at the Rio Hilton who used to take such good care of Mo Johnston annually.

Monday, January 21, 2013

THE STARTING 11: Reasons why Eric Hassli is unhappy in Toronto

"No Roquefort at halftime? Savages!"

It just wouldn't be a Toronto FC training camp without a little bit of the amateur dramatics. Despite the best efforts of the new regime to try and promote a "new direction" (much different than the last seven new directions) and a harmonious camp, it seems as if one of TFC's star attractions in très malheureux. Oui, "DP" striker Eric Hassli - he of a handsomely paid 15 goals over two seasons - is reportedly unenthusiastic over a return to TFC in 2013 and has been dragging le feet en route to training camp. While it is no secret that "Le Sulk II" was a loyal SubMariner, his increasingly public pouting is unfortunate on a goal-thin team. Obviously his reasons for being so Gallicly woelicious must be deep... but why?
11. He simply misses the overwhelming French culture and je ne sais quoi of suburban Vancouver, British Columbia
10. Sick of conservative Torontonians and their Neo-Protestant obsession with daily bathing
9. A patriotic Frenchman could never work for a manager so adverse to surrender
8. Locals always giggle over his fancy pronunciation of "Roncesvalles"
7. Terry Dunfield's grating French accent is laced with the barbaric rural grunts of the Poitou-Charentes region rather than the cultured tones of a gentleman of the Auvergne or Picardy regions
6. Sick of this city and its lack of appreciation for the legendary Laurent Robert
5. Disgusted that Downsview Air Base is completely bereft of jaunty 19th Century Parisian hot air balloons
4. Being around Paul Mariner always made him feel like he was dressed in formal attire
3. Sneaking suspicion that the club's German captain has an eye on invading his locker
2. The CN Tower keeps mocking the Eiffel Tower
1. Being "Les Miserables" is so hot right now!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Pitching a tent for 2013

Official red long underwear with giant, strategically-place maple leaf? Yup. Backpack full of guarded optimism? Check. Stale buttys to throw at any roaming bears/Collin Samuels? Packed. English-New Zealish Dictionary? On order.

Yes it' s the only return to sporting action anyone is talking about in Canada tonight as your Tee Eff Cee'ers trudged through the tundra to "Camp Shining Light". Relocated from its old lakeshore site, "Shining Light" (located in the middle of a creepy abandoned and no doubt haunted air field) will be the home base for the campers until they make their road trip to Florida.

For our readers who can't sit by the fire waiting for the latest scary story about ghosts of managers past, the "Letters From Camp" series will try to wrap up the latest news, rumours and tidbits from the Kiwi Jamboree. Now pass us those buttys... I heard a distinctly Trinidadian growl...

The on-going tale of a Kiwi far, far away is going to dominate much of the conversation through camp and the fact that Ryan Nelsen played another full 90 for QPR on the day that his new charges arrived for camp hit the point home hard today. As the anxious wrung their sweaty palms and the cynical Marinerlytes loaded their mouth-cannons, the announcers during the West Ham v QPR match casually talked about how Nelsen would be with QPR until March. Inside knowledge or an educated guess? Who knows? However, during an interview with Sportsnet's Gerry Dobson, Kevin Payne remarked that "we (TFC) have a pretty good idea when (Nelsen) will arrive". He added that he felt fans would be pleased, and you get the feeling that it will be sooner rather than later, but also that the season won't feel "for realsies" until Nelsen touches down permanently.

The Canadian national squad's minor youth movement definitely has a heavy TFC influence as no less than five Reds will be headed down to Arizona and Texas to train with Colin Miller's team until January 30. Ashtone Morgan, Matt Stinson, Doneil Henry, SuperDraft sweetheart Kyle Bekker have all been called up as well as old man Terry Dunfield who will be driving the station wagon down south. We assume. The only important result from a Toronto point of view? No injuries.

The TFC press machine was in fine form this morn tweeting TMZ-style paparazzo pics of happy Reds arriving at the KIA Training Ground. Thankfully no Richard Eckersley upskirt pics. One face who didn't skip through the door was French striker/ ink junkie Eric Hassli who has reportedly gone into "Full Anelka Mode" and wants out of town. There is no secret that Hassli was very close to Paul Mariner and was excited to play under him. There is also no secret that Kevin Payne will not be talking le guff from Hassli and has warned of "repercussions" if the big forward doesn't show. According to the club however, Hassli is expected to show up to Downsview sometime Saturday or Sunday. No matter what, this story is far from l'over.

A bit of positive news on the Danny Koevermans front. First, his front isn't an issue. As opposed to years past where... well just let's say the pancakes prevailed... Koevermans is looking trim. A winter spent in godless Dutch honey-cake-free Canada obviously help cut the cravings. The other slight positive is that Koef has begun light running in his long path back from his ACL injury. Light running to goal-scoring is likely a six-month process, but it's a start.

Yes we will all just end up calling him "Boss" because we are lazy but young defender and lottery prize Gale Agbossoumonde took to the airwaves (well TFC's YouTube channel) to teach us just how to pronounce his name in full. It's actually still pretty fun too! You hear that Keith "It's Not Boo-Yah" Makubuya? Practice here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

SuperDraftDodgers! Reds flip picks, grab pair of 905'ers and all the allocation moneys!

"Wheeler dealer". Not only did Kevin Payne grab Harry Redknapp's best defender as his next manager but he may have also stolen his nickname. After TFC's performance at today's SuperDraft, he may just have a case.
The team that 24 hours ago had the 1st and 3rd picks ended up (take a breath now...) flipping the # 1 pick to New England for allocation money and the Revs # 4 pick, taking a local boy with the # 3 pick, flipping the # 4 pick to Vancouver for their # 10 pick and allocation money, flipping the # 10 pick to Seattle for their # 16 pick and likely mo' money before taking another local boy at # 16. Mic drop.
The wacky day in Indianapolis went like so...
- Don Garber, who refused to dress like supervillain General Zod at his own SuperDraft, had a pre-draft speech that ran for approximately 8 1/2 hours.
- New England used the # 1 pick formerly known as TFC's pick to select defender Andrew Farrell.
- Chivas USA continued their "new" plan to banish all non-Latinos to anywhere else and selected midfielder Carlos Alvarez.
- Then... after spending the night telling local media that this player was likely too small and slow for MLS, Kevin Payne selected Oakville native Kyle Bekker with the # 3 pick. The 905 rejoiced. The Bekker family immediately started putting Kyle's furniture back in his room and the player himself downloaded the Go Transit schedule onto his phone. The box-to-box midfielder impressed greatly at the Combines and was a surprise # 3 pick but one with a big upside and a built-in fan base. No word if a Presto Card will be included in his contract.
- With their next pick, TFC took... a five minute timeout... then announced that the # 4 pick was going to Vancouver who took young Gambian Kekuta Manneh. TFC took their money and the 10th pick.
- After waiting through those other teams and their highly uninteresting picks TFC prepared for its # 10 pick by... having Seattle call a time-out. Whaaaaaa? Yes, The Reds flipped again and gave Sounders the # 10 (which they used on Eriq Zavaleta) took their # 16 and likely took mo' Cascadia moneys.
- Finally, just when you thought TFC couldn't get any more allocation money... they didn't. But they did shore up the lucrative 905 area code market by grabbing Mississauga native and Oregon State forward Emery Welshman.
- Then Kevin Payne rolled around in a pile of money like Demi Moore for an hour.
The way things are going, there could be more to this day (which we will update below) but that was definitely TFC's most ambitious draft in their history. Kevin Payne grabs allocation money to fund imminent signings, shuts down criticism of anyone worried about the club's "Canadian" direction and seemingly took advantage of other teams panicking on the draft floor. How this all turns out? Only time tells at drafts but it sure was interesting to have TFC as the puppet masters at today's proceeding rather than passive ball-watchers. The biggest news for The Reds won't really be what happened today - but what they do with what they collected today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

All that losing for nothing? Payne eyes more than just draft picks as Reds deal 1st Pick

"Ok ball - you take Hassli and I'll throw in some ball polish. Deal?"

Welcome to our unexpectedly ongoing SuperDraft pre-game show. Up next Diana Ross takes a free kick. But first... "TFC did whaaaaaaaaaaaa?"
Out of all of the mock draft prognostication and "will they/won't they" trade one or both of the picks, not many would have guessed at this one. TFC aka "The House of Payne" has flipped the first overall pick in tomorrow's SuperDraft to New England for their pick, fourth overall, and that mysterious element of the universe - allocation money. And you would have to guess it was more than a musket's worth of funds.
The deal would seem to make a few things apparent: Kevin Payne and his team were not sold or interested in the projected # 1 pick Andrew Farrell; they feel that they can pick up pieces that they need with the 3rd and 4th picks (possibly including Canadian Kyle Bekker); and, the club has its eyes on some imminent player acquisitions which require the allocation money. The next 24 hours or so should be woolly ones to say the least.
More news when it happens - which knowing TFC will be when we turn our backs for one damn second - or when Diana Ross finally connects. Super! Draft.

The TFC Mock SuperDraft Loaf

Mock away!

The MLS SuperDraft is upon us! It used to just be the MLS Draft but then it flew around the world really fast and turned back time to save its girlfriend from an earthquake (Not Frank Yallop) and then people started calling it SuperDraft. Okay?
One of the favourite pastimes for North American football writers is to try and attempt a series of mock drafts. Unlike its cousin the mock chicken loaf, the mock draft is basically a fairly educated guessing game in an attempt to predict the draft order. These are the same people who undoubtedly searched for their Christmas presents in November. Also unlike its cousin, the aforementioned loaf of poultryish meat - it makes for a terrible sandwich. Actually they are quite alike on that one. Seriously are you a fake chicken or a fake loaf? Or both? Make up your mind faux-logne!
Anyhoo, we will leave actual mock drafting to those much more into it than us (you're shocked, we know) but instead take a look at our local club, those wacky Tee Eff Cee's and their "interesting" draftee history. Much like the genuine mock drafters (mockists? mockasins?) we may just have to take our best educated guess as to where these former "stars of the future" have ended up.
# 1 - MAURICE EDU: From TFC to Rangers to Stoke City. The most reliable supplier of grass since I left my Scarborough high school.
# 10 - ANDREW BOYENS: The Kiwi defensive juggernaut and World Cup Hero*. Has been texting Ryan Nelsen for 7 days straight. (*not actual "Hero" but was there)
# 27 - RICHARD ASANTE: Drafted by TFC, moved to Toronto Lynx, Italia Shooters and finally Portugal FC. A Mississauga Eagles FC contract away from completing Tour of GTA.
# 40 - JEFFREY GONSALVES: A forward so highly touted that no one knew a thing about him. That's so underground! Keep it real. Named after "The Jeffrey" (Gotta get back to Scarborough.)
# 9 - JULIUS JAMES: Built like a monster - Frankensteinish mobility. Developed decently in MLS though recently with Crew. Still trying to sue Orange Julius and Dr. J in a class action for no good reason.
# 10 - PAT PHELAN: Trade to Revs robbed us of awesome "Are You Phelan It?" tifo. Most recently with SJK of Finland who likely signed him in the hopes that he was a Viking or Conan O'Brien.
# 28 - BRIAN EDWARDS: The eternally shell-shocked eyes of Brian Edwards were always very "Full Metal Jacket". Last played in Sweden - seen staring wide-eyed at IKEA instructions.
# 30 - MIKE ZAHER: Rights traded to D.C. United and has steadily drifted down to Rochester (Still Raging?) Rhinos where he bemoans the death of the Toronto-Rochester Ferry service woefully
# 35 - JOSEPH LAPIRA: The rocket to MLS stardom saw Lapira end up with United Sikkim FC of India's I-League which is possibly an optometrist house league. Shockingly Lapira actually has one lone cap for the Republic of Ireland in 2007! We're thinking he went with the potato curry.
# 2 - SAM CRONIN: Despite being picked over MLS defensive superstar Omar Gonzalez, Cronin endeared himself to TFC supporters. Lost at sea in the Great Preki Cull of 2010. Showed more character after the infamous New York Massacre than the guy masquerading as captain. The one that got away.
# 4 – O’BRIAN WHITE: Drafted this high through misguided "hometown" marketing. Was damaged goods from the start and even when fit was quick as molasses. Career ended sadly by the most ironic of health injuries for a prospective Jamaican international – blood clot.
# 13 – STEFAN FREI: Arguably the best pick in Mo "Master of the Draft" Johnston’s TFC career. "The Goalblerone" is one of the few TFC picks... you know... who is still here.
# 34 – MIKE GRELLA: Playing for TFC was so alluring that Grella got on the first plane to England without a contract with a club. Currently at Scunthorpe which is awesome because I got to write Scunthorpe.
# 39 - KYLE HALL: Rumours that this mystery man re-invented himself as Tally Hall, Freddy Hall, Jeremy Hall or Arsenio Hall have all been unproven. Or have they Jeremy? Makes you say "Hmmmm".
# 24 – ZACHARY HEROLD: Sad tale of poor drafting and a kid who ended up losing his career to a dodgy ticker. Hopefully run-ins with the law are past him and he can join that Ziggy Marley tribute band.
# 53 – JOSEPH NANE: Spent the first part of TFC career being called Nane Joseph before being corrected to Joseph Nane. Or was it Nane Joseph Nane? Meh – Colorado’s problem.
# 26 – DEMETRIUS OMPHROY: A legend in his own mind. Still more famous for a YouTube video over any footballing accomplishments, the American-Panamanian has re-invented himself as an American-Panamanian-Filipino international. Up The Azkals!
# 43 – MATT GOLD: The leading candidate to go on TFC’s "Guys Who Were Orange Wall of Honour". Seriously, like a tangerine in shorts. Found way to San Antonio Scorpions where he has been learning sexy football from teammate Kevin Harmse.
# 44 – EFRAIN BURGOS JR.: Spent a year trying to get a work permit to play here only to end up with 2 appearances. Robbed fans of tongue-twisting "Junior Bacon CheeseBurgos" nickname. Selfish.
# 49 – JOAO PLATA: Was on the cusp of being one of the all-time great SuperDraft steals. Until defenders started putting their hands on his head while he ran Three Stooges style. Does he play for TFC? Does he play for LDU Quito? Just like Webster – a tiny orphan.
# 4 – LUIS SILVA: Oh look! Another draft pick who is still here! Chance to be a serious MLS starter… or a high-end Freddie Mercury impersonator. Still has a "Do Not Serve This Man" photo at most Houston-area bars.
# 12 – AARON MAUND: 12th pick? Huh. You don’t say. Traded away for a bit of Braun.
So there you have it - not enough choice cuts to fill the smallest of butty buns. Will 2013’s SuperDraft slice up some prime beef, more chicken loaf or will Kevin Payne trade away one or both of the picks for some ready-meals? As you can see from the list above – just when you think you’ve got your hands on some Summer Sausage it can turn out to be that bizarre bologna with the macaroni and cheese in it. And that’s just not "Super" for anyone.
So what did this exercise prove? Little... apart from the fact that I need to find a new deli. But neither do many of the best NCAA prognostications – The SuperDraft after all is like a box of cold cuts… you never know… something, something. Mock if you must but it’s probably best to just munch away and hope for the best.

Terrible back-to-back picks.

Monday, January 14, 2013

TFC to sign Julio Cesar! No not that one. (Now with 70% more delicious confirmation!)

Somebody needs a cuddle.

It's the beginning of the week and that means Toronto FC needs to make some news! A week after their controversial appointment of Ryan Nelsen as manager, the club are reportedly set to add a veteran presence in Julio Cesar. Now hold up Stefan Frei supporters - it's not Nelsen's teammate, the QPR goalkeeper, but Brazilian journeyman defender/midfielder Julio Cesar Santos Correa. And when we say journeyman - we mean jouuuuuuuuuuurneyman.

The 34-year old, most recently of Sporting Kansas City is a player with bags of experience and enough Air Miles to buy a quality bungalow. Since 1995, Cesar has played on an astonishing 15 clubs including Real Madrid, Benfica, Olympiacos, Valladolid (twice), Tigres and erm... Bolton Wanderers. Well into the twilight of his career, this is a depth signing at best and likely a "Break Glass In Event of Torsten Frings' Knee" measure. But hey, we've all been crowing about depth right?

Very little to get upset or excited about over this deal as it is safe to believe that Kevin Payne signed him at a wage befitting age. Sweet rhymes! A bit of cover and a bit of experience off the bench. The only thing left to measure is how Brazilian he actually is. TFC's last Brazilian, Maicon Santos, was so non-samba that we re-dubbed him "Mike Sanders". If Julio Cesar doesn't do some step-overs and/or 360's quickly, there is a "Jules Seaver" waiting for him. "Jules Seaver St. Clair" if you want the full Brazilian. And who doesn't enjoy the full Brazilian?

Official word will be linked below the other Julio Cesar laughing at our inferior Julio Cesar's use of his name.


Stop laughing now, more-famous Julio Cesar, we have official confirmation from TFC... here !

THE STARTING 11: Reasons why Ryan Nelsen chose to manage Toronto FC

"There can be only one Nelly"

It was a week ago when news broke that Ryan Nelsen would be joining Toronto FC as their eighth manager in a series of forty-two. Since last Tuesday's strange introductory press conference, opinion on the hire has been split between optimists and pessimists with the latter stressing Nelsen's lack of experience - and worse, his lack of availability. Suddenly Ryan Nelsen's due date has become the most anxiety-laden arrival for a New Zealander in Toronto since OMC announced their 1996 "How Bizarre World Tour". But what about the man himself? Why in fact would someone open himself up to this criticism and take such a chance on TFC - a place where managerial careers go to die? Why did he choose to come to "The Land Up Over"?
11. Appreciated the fact that MLSE allowed him to give last employer 17-weeks’ notice
10. Wanted to continue his career as far away as humanly possible from Australians
9. Was happy to hear that Ontario's Queen's Park was just as inept as the one in West London
8. Gradually moving geographically closer to Nelly the Rapper in preparation for their Highlander-esque final showdown
7. Missed Kevin Payne's world famous scalp massages
6. Toronto's multicultural population will give him the chance to reach out to the city's New Zealander community - Steve and Derek
5. Excited about TFC's casual managerial dress code
4. Finally a chance to develop a children's TV show co-hosted with Torsten Frings called "Kiwi German's Playhouse"
3. TFC felt very familiar to him: the money of QPR, the ownership intelligience of Blackburn Rovers and the lumbering white dudes of New Zealand's national team
2. After a long career he will get a chance to win the one prestigious trophy that has eluded him... The Trillium Cup
1. He's only 19 wins away from becoming the club's all-time winningest manager!
And now, please rise for the New Zealish national anthem...

Friday, January 11, 2013

THE RUMOUMETER – January 11, 2013

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground all winter? Just stop by the site and we will quickly show you what rumours are hot - and which ones have hit the back burner. Some of the rumours have weight – others are little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What to Expect When You're Expecting a New Manager - TFC's 2013 schedule released

Humpday? Must be Columbus.

Well our manager may not be around for the first while but you dear supporter have no excuse! It's time to call your second cousin and tell her to move that wedding date - or at least make sure that the hall gets GOL TV. Yes, from deep in their Manhattan underground lair, Major League Soccer has unleashed its 2013 schedule on an expectant public.
It's no real use trying to guess if this is a "good" or a "bad" schedule for The Reds - that all comes down to form at any given time. With the parity in this league, a hot team overcomes a tough schedule. However, TFC does get a bit of a rough start to the year. Good thing poor Nelly won't be here to witness it!
Some highlights for TFC 2013 include:
- A difficult start to the new season away to Vancouver, at "home" (SkyDome most likely) to Sporting KC, down the 401 to La Belle Cheesemakers followed by a (hopefully BMO opener) against the MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy
- For those obsessed with floral-based trophies that mean very little, The Trillium Cup versus Columbus Crew will be a trilogy once again with Crew visiting BMO on July 27 and August 12 with The Reds making that dream trip to the Ohio Riviera on May 18
- Who knows how far we will be from the playoff picture but we will finish of the season with a bang - and some pseudo-Quebecois swearing - at home to Montreal on October 26. They will likely have added 14 more elderly Italians by then.
The rest of your Two Thousand and Thirteen Eff Cee's schedule can be found right.... HERE!

It's not quite Business Time - The cons and pros of hiring a tardy Kiwi

"No worries mate, when I'm not here - this ball is in charge."

Maybe the Australians were right all along. "Never trust a motherfilippn' New Zealander" they will tell you. They will also tell you a lot of things about scampi, Paul Hogan and Foster's Lager though - so who can you trust? Well, we know what side of the barbie Kevin Payne stands on as he has entrusted the future of TFC to "The Man from the Land Down Under (and slightly to the right)" - Ryan Nelsen.
It's a day after the "TFC Major Announcement (TM)" and the shockwaves are still reverberating. What should have been a day for looking forward at TFC was of course hijacked by the news that Nelsen is still under contract with relegation-strugglers QPR and may have to see out the end of his terms - seemingly through mid-May. While the QPR angle is still a moving story (moving around Harry Redknapp's wheeler-dealer orbit) locals seem split on the good, the bad and the Kiwi of an absentee manager. With the '13 season upon us we look at 13 cons and pros (some serious, many not. It's us guys. And backwards - Southern Hemisphere stylee) of having a late, hopefully great, TFC manager.
THE CONS aka "The future is All Black"
- The timing of the hiring and Nelsen's status will leave many sceptics always believing that Paul Mariner should have been given his "full off-season" to prove himself
- The delay will let other MLS clubs get their greasy paws all over the league's finest Oceania-based stars. Like... um... Andrew Boyens
- We're starting to make Roman Abramovich look downright patient
- The inexperienced Nelsen CV and lack of panic at his new manager's prospective absence could give weight to the D.C.-formed criticism of Kevin Payne that he likes puppeteer-like control over his managers
- After going back to his defending duties at QPR, Nelsen could be in mid-season relegation form just in time to take over a club that should have been relegated 5 times.
- A potential four-month absence gives MLSE time to hire and fire managers 9, 10, 11 and 12
- By missing training camp, Nelsen will lose the chance to build a personal bond with his new players making his arrival akin to a mid-season hiring carrying all of the "getting to know the new manager" excuses and baggage with it
- Forced to wait until summer for more of Nelsen's hilarious "Nelly the Rapper" jokes. Comedy gold.
- May not be in town for TFC to take promotional advantage of "ANZAC Day at BMO Field"
- Could possibly arrive just as the summer transfer window gets set to open adding to the tumult of change and new faces
- Having to wait before unveiling our "IT'S BUSINESS TIME" banner
- Late or not, there is a dearth of professional coaching experience on TFC's bench
- The All Black 3rd kit is on hold
THE PROS aka "Everything will be All White"
- If Kevin Payne truly had no faith in Paul Mariner going forward then starting the season with him as a lame duck manager would have been equally, if not more, damaging to the club
- Moving too quickly from misery to hope would have had a dangerous "cold turkey" effect on TFC supporters
- Gives fans plenty of time to study up on New Zealish (we know) facts and culture as well as working on terrible accents for chanting
- Even in the event that Mariner was retained longer - it should be obvious now that final player acquisition and draft pick decisions going forward rest solely with Kevin Payne
- You can now legally use the hashtag #YouGotNelsened in Toronto if you decide to show up 4 months late for something
- "A Kiwi and an Irishman walk into a bar. Toronto FC." is a top joke.
- Make no bones about it - TFC VII is not about the first 3 months of results. Playoffs would be lovely but this season is about preparing for 2014. After six years - three more months ain't gonna kill us.
- Instead of annoying "Nelsen Out" vibe - we will be treated to warming "Nelsen In" chants
- Earl Cochrane gets the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to "wheel-and-deal" with Harry Redknapp over Nelsen's release
- After years of shady backroom throat-cutting and subterfuge, isn't it nice to have a manager that is so wanted and backed by his president (even if you buy into the puppet conspiracy) that he would wait four months to have him?
- We totally made Montreal Impact's new manager unveiling look dull as l'eau de vaisselle
- A solid benevolent dictator is running this club now. After years of an octopus with no head in charge, Kevin Payne has let it be known that the buck stops with him. Arrogant? Maybe? Responsible? Absolutely.
- Maybe after four long months, locals and especially Toronto media will learn that it isn't spelled "NELSON" but "NELSEN"

Coming Soon to a South Stand near you...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Toronto FC Manager Introduction VIII: A Manager Too Far

"So you want a manager? I've got a deal for ya"

It seems like just yesterday we were gathered round the old wireless to meet the fearless new leader of our hometown Eff Cee's. Comforting and inspiring words like "change" "winning culture" and "positive atmosphere" still waft on the breeze between the BMO Field Press Room and the chip butty stand. Why it's almost become a treasured tradition in our corner of the football world - the Toronto FC Managerial Change (TM)... insert angel harps... now!
The Japanese managerial mutant monster that is Mocarvercumreki-Dasowintiner has been dispatched into the depths of Lake Ontario by the cold, steely ray gun of Kevin Payne and a new hero is set to be unleashed. No, it ain't Mothra - it's a giant Kiwi in the form of Ryan Nelsen. With a good solid few days past since his playing career ended, the most rookiest of all our rookie managers was unveiled today. Now we know that a full text transcript of a press conference is what you sadists crave - but you'll just have to do with our highlights and suffer through the linked TFC TV coverage later. Save us MegaKiwi!
Here's all you really need to know (now in handy point-form)
- Ryan Nelsen introduced as new head coach and Fran O'Leary as his assistant and also something called "Director of Recruitment"
- Kevin Payne calls it a "new era"; claims that Ryan Nelsen has "better leadership qualities than any professional athlete (Payne) has ever been around"; paints Nelsen as some type of childhood managerial prodigy who was born to coach
- Ryan Nelsen calls TFC's support and management "a shining light"
- Does indeed sound like a Flight of the Conchords character
- Fran O'Leary loves to call Nelsen "Nelly" a lot
- Kevin Payne asked if there were other candidates. Answer: "No."; He also apparently keeps a mental filing cabinet; Payne adds that Nelsen and him have discussed this move for 10 years.
- Nelsen claims tactics will match "the shining light" of TFC (sounding a bit culty). Team will "never give up, never fall over, never die.
- Ryan Nelsen is still under contract with QPR
- Wait?... What was that?
- Everything else becomes random mumbling for the remainder of the conference as everyone tries to digest the fact that Toronto FC have hired the first ever Player/Manager who just happens to play for another team. In another league. On another continent.
- Shining light.
So there you have it. What will truly go down as the absolute strangest of all eight of TFC's managerial coronations. A very personable and optimistic young new manager backed by an extremely assured president. The fact that the new manager can't, you know... be with the team until Uncle 'Arry Redknapp says so... are just minor details.

No we are not down on this deal (honest), we are not pining for Paul Mariner (really honest)... but wow. Slow clap to TFC for taking the cray-cray to new heights. We'll talk more about this when our collective heads stop shaking.
Catch the weirdest conference ever on TFC TV here...

Monday, January 7, 2013

TFC Manager Meeting: Ryan Nelsen? Present?

You think you're beaten up now Ryan? Just wait.

When the Ryan Nelsen to Toronto FC rumours began floating around last week, the direction it would take was unclear. Potential player acquisition turned into player/coach turned into assistant coach turned into the downright shocking.
Harry Redknapp told the press a few days ago that his defender Nelsen was going to return to "America" because he wants to be a manager - most thought it was just 'Arry at his self-proclaimed illiterate best. Turns out he knew something we didn't. - the big Kiwi is reportedly going to take over the full head coaching duties at TFC from Paul Mariner. With the Redknapp "Seal of 'Trifficness" freshly stamped, Nelsen heads to the troubled Reds as the biggest splash in Kevin Payne's revolution so far.
There will no doubt be much weary hand-wringing among the TFC support as Nelsen would become the club's eighth manager through six seasons - and yet another rookie manager at that. In his early defence he is considered by most that have played with him or managed him as a tremendous character and leader and he has much experience playing in MLS with D.C. United under Kevin Payne's presidential leadership. While these aren't managerial accolades by any means, Payne has a history of hiring rookie managers in the likes of Peter Nowak and Ben Olsen. Whether Nelsen becomes one of their ilk or more like TFC's past rookie managers - only time will tell.
There will be time to dissect Paul Mariner's ill-fated managerial career when this story is confirmed but Payne must have been in the clean-slate frame of mind going forward. The bombastic Mariner burned a lot of bridges and goodwill from support with a combination of bad results and bizarre behaviour regarding all things TFC. There will be little love lost for the prickly Englishman but there will also be large segments of the population who will argue that "he wasn't given time" to prove himself here. Both sides of the coin however will hold out hope that our new Kiwi overlords can provide at the very least - a bit of stability and longevity.
Official news is said to be set for Tuesday morning. We will link any official club statement below. Well, below this unscheduled band meeting...

THE STARTING 11: Ways that MLS can make itself more like the NHL

"The Goat"?

The borders are opening, the army is standing down, and the fires ravaging Canadian cities are finally under control. Yes, professional iced hockey is back and Canada finally has meaning as a nation once again. Apparently. You may not realize it if you only digest regular Canadian media, but other professional sports do actually exist within our borders including Major League Soccer. It is hard to make a dent in a country's sporting landscape when the government, corporate advertisers and mainstream media embrace the notion that maybe you aren't a "real Canadian" if you don't pray at the feet of the Stanley Cup but here's a few ways that MLS can appeal to the hoser set by making itself a little more NHelly...
11. Put Don Garber in a dryer on high heat - shrink down to NHL Commissioner size
10. Empty the majority of American stadiums - tell everyone that "the league is healthy"
9. Less ponytails... less teeth
8. Pretend you're a major league on the North American sporting scene even as professional bowling scores higher TV ratings (DONE)
7. Relocate all three Canadian clubs to the soccer hotbed of suburban Phoenix, Arizona
6. Beckhams out! Espositos in!
5. Improve TV ratings with easy-to-follow flashing match ball!
4. Re-brand second Los Angeles club as "Gerry Cheevers USA"
3. Thierry Henry's new mullet
2. Keep Toronto franchise as far from Championship as possible (DONE)
1. Get Don Cherry to talk smack about Honduras

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The TFC Retro-Fit, Part 3 : The Kit

Yesterday, we took a look at the proposed old-school badge of a club that wasn't all that old-school to begin with.  We opted for one direction over another as the kit to pursue and went with the cold Soviet-style logo.  This should work.

So, with fellow kit and logo nerd @theyorkies1812, firmly behind this project, we decided to make sure this sucker has all of the things needed for this to, at least appear, to be something from a bygone era.

Red?  Check.

Cyrillic?  Check.

V-neck?  You bet.

Sponsor?  Da, comrade.

Old-school Adidas trefoil?  You know it.

Yeah, the BMO logo in Russian was @theyorkies1812's idea. Sweet touch. We figured putting a name in Cyrillic just nails it. The number font is from a font found from the 1974 world cup Adidas kit styles. I'd like to find a more 'blockier' Cyrillic font for the names, but this will do for display purposes.

Understanding that Adidas is creating new kits for Toronto this season, I don't have much faith in the 'testing' designs that some of the other sides in the league have had to endure (the garbage Seattle kits, Columbus away, Philadelphia). I am a fan of the current kit with the grey sleeves and red chest as they are excellent. Toronto has come far design-wise since the lame first seasons.

I think we may have found our new kits for next year, even if TFC/MLS/Adidas wouldn't agree.  We'll have to place the order soon once we decide which legend's name and number we want on the back.

Please leave your criticisms below. Blind hate to be ignored and ridiculed. Open to suggestions. Follow my inane banter on the twitterz @ignirtoq

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The TFC Retro-Fit, Part 2 : The Badge

So our discussions of nerding out over the idea of a retro kit was on the basis of our love of past kits.  Not necessarily the most memorable ones based on hideousness or outright fame but rather the fondness of a bygone era of not-quite prima donnas and simplicity.

It was put forth that the design should be this simple. Like so...

Without the "Wrangler" on the front, but you get the idea.  Old-style Adidas, pinstripes, v-neck collar.

But first we need a crest.  The current TFC crest looked way too modern, or way too circa-2008.  We tend to believe that its look is dated but we don't exactly know how yet.  So we had two schools of thought : a 60's/70's style crest - either artistic like English crests of the era - or something minimalist from the Soviet school of thought.

This is the take on the 70's English style, something that would look good in the centre of a rosette.  Rope border, civic representation, spelling out of the full name, starting first with the city flag incorporated in 1972 and then adjusted to the colours to match the club.  The city crest would've taken too long so forgive me.  It was decided that we chose the year of incorporation and not their first season of 2007 as the date on the crest.

However, the one that I think turned out the best was the Soviet style.  The colours that TFC uses as secondary, the two shades of grey, make for a perfect cold-war pallet.  The first idea was to consider the names that adorned many clubs in that time (and plenty still do) : CSKA, Spartak, Torpedo, Dynamo, Lokomotiv.

Wanting desperately to revisit the Lokomotiv Toronto crest I did earlier in the year as a joke, I realized that deviating too far away from the name of the club would defeat the purpose of this re-imagining.  So we scrapped that idea and just went for Toronto FC.  In Cyrillic.

(yes, it's this rediculous)

Come back tomorrow for the final installment of The TFC Retro-Fit, Part 3 : The Kit.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The TFC Retro-Fit, Part 1 : The Idea

For the eight of you regulars who visit the site (the old six, please make the new two feel welcome), we try to convey that we are football nerds first, kit and crest nerds second.  And sometimes, it's the other way around (had anyone here actually HEARD of the Kansas City Comets before they came here?).

Recently, I have become engaged and part of the preliminary wedding planning talks has involved a heavy 'footy' theme.  Scarves, songs, colours, the whole bit (honey... is there room in the budget for a tifo?).  Part of that included customized soccer jerseys.  I began my research by looking into a few companies and decided that they only way to know what kind of quality we're getting is to order a few 'tests'.

The first test was to recreate a jersey of my first football love : my local beloved perpetual silver medallists, the Hamilton Steelers.  Below is a kit from 1986, when they won the national amateur championship.

After rebuilding the old logo into something modern and artistically balanced, I laid out the jersey and sent it off to the manufacturer.  The cost of this shirt from the manufacturer was $85, $30 of it was shipping.  So if we were to do more than one, the costs should come down I suspect.

Upon receipt of the kit, I showed @theyorkies1812 and his wheels started spinning : We should make a TFC retro kit!

The first thing we agreed on was that it wasn't or couldn't be the Blizzard because it's already been done.  Or Metros-Croatia.  Or City, or Falcons or any of the old ECPSL clubs.  It had to be a re-imagining.  Obviously, if anyone wanted a true 'TFC retro kit' and you looked around discount warehouses, you'd find the first kit issued in 2007. But we were thinking more of a period piece.  A bygone era.

Pre-1960s wouldn't work for what we had in mind.  Everything was simple.  Designs didn't exist, but rather "you wore this because this is what the manufacturer made" types of shirts...

Check back tomorrow where we show the results of our retro-inspired TFC crests in The TFC Retro-Fit, Part 2.

THE RUMOUMETER – January 4, 2013

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground all winter? Just stop by the site and we will quickly show you what rumours are hot - and which ones have hit the back burner. Some of the rumours have weight – others are little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

“The Gents” with Stan Bentley – “… one more FA Cup if you know what I mean”

Welcome to "The Gents" with Stan Bentley - The Yorkies' regular advice column for our valued readers. Bring your modern day problems and have them answered by the most valued voice - a 1950's journeyman footballer. "Back of the net!"
I don't make New Year’s Resolutions, but, rather pick one simple thing to make life more enjoyable or easier than the previous year. What would you do?
Marion Lisa – Toronto, ON

Planning for the future is a slippery eel my dear. Old Stan lives for the day. Carp for a dime and all that! Except Wednesdays, they’re rubbish. Always be ready for a Wednesday lass. But hey-ho back to your question… one thing… Alright – stay off the ocean, don’t travel outside of the United Kingdom, a healthy eating regime, sup less ale and settle down with a hearty and sturdy lady. Maybe get my hands on one more FA Cup if you know what I mean. Yours, Stan
Hi Stan!
What did a worldly man like you do for the holidays?
Jeff – Pickering, ON

Why do you instantly assume that my life is one big carnival circus Jeffrey? Don’t underestimate a bit of the old peace and quiet! Only plans I made were to attend the Southend United Alumni do at some restaurant down by the Thames. Almost made it as well! On my way I spotted a riverboat with a load of party lights. There was a massive food table with breads, meats, breaded meats and jellied starters, mains and puddings along with more ale than a Galway wake. Also, party boats have nautical stewardesses apparently – top trumps! Stumbled off of there just before sun-up but just as I heard the toot-toot from the docks I realized I left my trusty flat cap on the bar. I dove back on board the dark boat just as it was pulling away. Couldn’t see my hat but there was a hammock and I had a belly full of jellies so had a kip. Peace and quiet – it was the holidays after all!
How do you see TFC doing this year?
Marcus – Toronto, ON

9 Degrees S, 147 Degrees E

Dearest Marcus,

Humbles if this reaches you in a tardy way but it travels via international gyrocopter. First up, you had a grammatical error in your query – it’s not TFC, it is known as T of C on the high seas. The Tropic of Capricorn and I saw it just fine from the portal of my cabin on the wretched steamer ship HMS Splendid Albatross. You see, Old Stan’s flat cap had been left on that party barge but the boat I jumped onto in the murky hours was this dreadful cargo clipper on route to the deepest, darkest Indian Ocean with a hold full of Holy Bibles, shaving lather and giant portraits of our beloved Monarch.

By time I woke up from that post-party stupor I was chugging by the coast of Africa. Gone was the feast, the ales… the nautical stews. Instead, Old Stan became the ship’s head of calisthenics and yarns while being forced to see all the countries I never wanted to see. Belgian Congo, Togoland, Rhodesia and the Dutch Mauritius – not a single quality steak & kidney pie in any of them. Only entertainment was the BBC World Service on the wireless (Darlington in the FA Cup 3RD Round proper!).

After ages at sea we reached the savage cannibals and head-hunters of "Papua" New Guinea where we were met by a chief called "Tabooey Kablooey something or other". I called him "Bobby" and told him this would always be the British New Guinea to me. Nice enough lad. Ladies in his tribe had no time for LadyBlouses so there was that. Tried to teach them some footy but foreigners never understand the offside trap do they?

After a couple of days, two of the Albatross’ crew went missing. Probably swam to Australia for a decent pint. Had a slap up meal that night with Bobby’s lot. A bit gamey but tasted a wee bit of home. The tribe had a kickabout after. Useless ball though – looked like a big oval rock in a sack but they had two of them at least. After tea time, couple of the lads hung about me and started measuring my head for size. Something tells me these locals love a bit of the Old Stan and some gent is going to be surprised with a new flat cap any day now! Should be back home soon – tell Darlington I’m fit and ready for the 4TH Round!

Cheerio all, Stan

Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send him an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue… but you should probably hold on to it until the next Shipping Report…