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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve countdown to success

Wow, they are happy Thierry Henry's leaving on loan

Mere hours from now, Dick Clark will descend on Manhattan's Times Square riding a fully armed crystal ball where he will fight an army of Mayan warriors bent on destroying the world. Or something to that effect.
Yes, 2012 is upon us and while many fear that it is the year that marks the end of civilization, most TFC supporters just hope that it is the year that marks the end of futility. After waiting for what seems like an eternity, signs are pointing to the 2012 Season (aka SIXual Healing) being a memorable one. Anyways, don't remember the Mayans carving any MLS tables into stone tablets. Pfft... Mayans... how many World Cups did they win?
As the big ball sets to drop, we thought we'd count down from ten with things that would help usher in a new age of prosperity at BMO Field or at the very least a 2012 playoff berth. But... if there are any defenders in the Mayan SuperLiga looking for a job, give us a call...
10! READY BY MARCH: The days of Mo Johnston signing players during the warm-ups of the opening match has to be over as well as dozens of transfers into July. TFC needs a 95% completed roster before the first game of the season
9! DE-FENCE: A Harden / Iro combo on opening day is simply unacceptable. A solid D is imperative and while we hope to see Richard Eckersley's return, if it's not to be then the rumours of Geovanny Caicedo, Victor Turcios, Krzysztof Krol and others need to be real
8! STEADY DE KOEF: We don't need flashy, we don't need highlight reel - we just need goals. Danny Koevermans needs to continue where he ended 2011 - for the whole season. TFC has yet to have a truly reliable striker over a full year - De Koef needs to be it
7! DE GOODZ-MAN: If it happens, the sceptics will crow that it's because he's in the final year of his bloated contract - but, Julian de Guzman needs to have his absolute best season in MLS. He was better once Torsten Frings arrived but needs a year of sustained quality for his and the team's sake
6! BIGGIE SMALLS: First he needs to be re-signed but then Joao Plata will have to work hard to avoid the sophomore jinx. Other clubs will be more prepared for him and La MosQuito will have to work hard to be TFC's second strike option
5! # 1 AND ONLY: While having two solid keepers is great - Aron Winter will need to have a clear # 1 out of Milos Kocic and Stefan Frei to foster a solid presence in the back. Sadly it could mean one of them moving on
4! THINK OF THE CHILDREN: While this year is a priority, everyone knows that Winter & Co's vision is long-term. The sudden departure of Academy Director Stuart Neely left a big void and the right man (i.e. not Earl Cochrane) needs to be hired soon
3! BRING THE NOISE: Most supporters noticed that 2011 was lacking in atmosphere at BMO Field. Once the hallmark in MLS for noise, BMO has been surpassed by a number of other grounds and their support. The club needs to work with, not against, supporter "culture" while the fans must also come together to re-energize that 2007 spirit
2! TORSTEN IN THE MIDDLE: Der Kapitän was pushed to the centre of defence as an emergency measure late in 2011 but to get the most out of Torsten Frings' abundant talent he need to be able to play in his naturally talismanic role in the centre of the park. While we understand him being forced to cover "Hard-iro" last year, it is a waste of his ability to be the team's engine in the middle
1! SAVE THE DRAMA: For the first time ever - TFC needs to get through a year without any dramatic disruptions. No coaching changes, contract disputes, money-grubbing by the owners or dare we say it... Mayan upheavals. A year to concentrate on football - win, lose or draw - so that at the end of 2012 we can look back at our first fully successful season. Or at least say "it's not the end of the world"

Friday, December 30, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - December 30, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...











Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Earl Cochrane's GM legacy complete as Sturgis heads to Houston

Currently considering trading TFC Academy for magic beans

For a brief period a little over a year ago, Earl Cochrane was in charge of Toronto FC lock, stock and Barrett. While Jurgen Klinsmann was busy searching the planet for the management team that would eventually be headed by Aron Winter, Cochrane had the keys to the player cabinet and even seemed to be in the running to grab the permanent GM job. Then of course he made his blockbuster deal.
After being left exposed for the Expansion Draft, MLS depth midfielder-defender Nathan Sturgis was selected by Vancouver in the Third Round of said draft. At some point over the following 24 hours, Earl Cochrane thought to himself that a player who at best would be considered depth at most MLS clubs, and had been left exposed in the Expansion Draft, suddenly became worthy of Toronto FC's 2011 SuperDraft First Round pick. Whitecaps, likely after their fit of giggles ended, jumped at the deal and Sturgis became a Red.
From the get-go, Sturgis seemed about as happy in interviews to be in Toronto as fans were to see the club's top pick go cross-country for him. While Caps' pick Michael Nanchoff has yet to bloom, if TFC would have held their pick they could currently own the likes of Fire defender Jalil Anibaba, MLS Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong or promising Houston striker Will Bruin. Instead, The Reds got one year out of Sturgis who never came close to fitting into Winter's system and his 14 appearances went from mediocre to downright apathetic.
Tonight, Cochrane's grand experiment playing GM went full circle as Sturgis was traded to Houston Dynamo for those useless nuggets known as MLS Conditional Draft Picks - likely what he was worth one year ago. Why Cochrane was even allowed to be making deals in the midst of "an exhaustive GM search" we will never know but perhaps the deal will forever symbolize the "blind leading the blind" management style of TFC circa 2007-2010. At least we hope.
Oh... did we mention that Earl Cochrane is currently the "interim" Academy Director? Just sayin'.

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Toss it all on the rubbish heap"

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!"

Hi Stan,
I'm trying to organize an epic New Year's Eve party. What's your most memorable New Year? Looking for inspiration! Chris - Toronto, ON
Old Stan loves a good New Year's bash! Most memorable one though? Let's have a think. Well one year my old Watford team mates Sammy Chung - you remember him, funny little Half-Englishman / Half-Chineseman - told me to visit him in the proud British colony of Hong Kong. It's a long flight on that BOAC DC-7 from Heathrow with connections in Constantinople, Bombay and Ceylon. I'm not the most patient flyer (despite the trolley dollys) so I had my chemist stir me up a pre-flight powdered elixir which I had with a G&T somewhere over Persia. By time Old Stan landed in Hong Kong I was still floating on clouds. Jumped in a rickshaw outside the airport and ended up in downtown HK - saw a place all lit up called "The Crystal Palace". Never been in a place so smoky. It definitely wasn't Selhurst Park. Chinese bird gave be a drink... I woke up sometime in mid-February. Don't remember nowt else about it. Very memorable.
Dear Stan,
I've put on a few extra pounds over Christmas. As a former professional footballer, how would you recommend going about shedding the fat? Thanks. Ron - Grimsby, ON
First of all, take what all these so called "experts" and "doctors" say and toss it all on the rubbish heap. One - stop eating all those fruits and greens! Full of useless sugars and belly-busting roughage. Hair of the dog Ronald! Start the day with a Full English fry-up, a healthy portion of chips with a battered sausage at lunch, a cup of jellied eels if you're peckish at tea-time then a nice roast beef supper. After all that, get your callisthenics in with a run down to your local; down a few pints of bitter; have a light jog home. Then - get out your film camera and watch the newsreel of the disgraceful 1959 FA Cup Final where Forest robbed Luton Town of the trophy. That's enough to make the most ironclad stomach sick all over. You'll feel thin in no time chubbsy!
I have a wedding to attend in January and wonder if I should buy something from the couple's wedding registry or go for something more personal? Marg - Syracuse, NY
Why have I not heard of this? There is a central Couple's Wedding Registry? Orwell was right! Bloody communists - first firing a dog into the moon now they're tagging and tracking nuptials? Bastards! Well, since this wedding must be on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall I would recommend getting the unhappy couple a bucket and spade, a mining helmet, a pole vaulting set or a hot air balloon. Trick is hiding it all inside a cake. Bloody Stasi are nosey Parkers. If not - just get the groom earplugs. Even behind the Iron Curtain - a wife is still a wife. Cheers!
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, December 26, 2011

THE STARTING 11: TFC Christmas gifts

Happy Boxing Day!

Boxing Day... not only the one day of the year that Maxim Usanov celebrates his hero, Soviet-era pugilist Ivan Drago, but the day where you look at all of your Christmas gifts and ask your loved ones... "do you still have the receipt?" It's not always quite as easy as gently hinting that the new Cosby sweater your dear Aunt Nora gave you "isn't quite you" though. When you get a gift from your boss for example, you often just have to grin and bear it. Even for our dear local football men The Toronto FC'ers - sometimes a forced grin and a thanks through gritted teeth has to be given when MLSE drops off their prezzies...
11. A GPS system for Andy Iro and Ty Harden with TFC's backline listed as "Home"
10. Marlies tickets all around
9. Giant sudoku book for Nathan Sturgis to pass the time while riding the bench next year
8. "I LOVE CANADA" T-Shirts for Jacob Peterson (stuck in customs)
7. A pack of limited edition orange Lamborghini ShamWows for Julian de Guzman
6. 34 skinny red ties for Aron Winter
5. The new Adidas platform shoe / football boot "Los Gigantos" for Joao Plata
4. A treasure map to the whereabouts of Elbekay Bouchiba
3. The full "Jingle Cats" Anthology for Nick Soolsma
2. A "# 1" jersey mistakenly given to both Kocic and Frei
1. A year's supply of black backwards caps for Torsten Frings

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Glory To Torsten Frings"

"Torsten played in Bethlehem Bremen"

SkyDome is being hung with wreaths, Stan Bentley has put on his festive gentleman's loungewear, The Rumoumeter is frozen this week by TFC's lack of activity and Collin Samuel just ate all the stuffing. With the holidays upon us, we want to take the time to join together with you, our cherished readers, for a classic Christmas carol sing-a-long in the key of "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"... but with a Bavarian twist.
Hark the drunken Reds' fans sing
"Glory to Torsten Frings!
Black tattoos and hair so wild
The midfield has been reconciled"
Joyful, all the sections cheer
Joining triumph, spilling beer
BMO Field in harmony...
"The saviour came from Germany"
Hark! The drunken Reds' fans sing
"Glory to Torsten Frings!"

Captain's armband he does wear
MLS forwards now beware!
Late in summer he arrived
The CCL we then survived
Came from Bremen on a free
Veiled in ballcap backwardly
Happy owners with star to sell
Frings, our DP plays so well
Hark! The drunken Reds' fans sing
"Glory to Torsten Frings!"
Hail the German midfield rock!
Other midfields we now mock!
Heart to TFC he brings
Tackling from the mid to wings
Playing hard's what he demands
Opening space for Koevermans
A World Cup hero yes it's true
The Captain in shirt 22
Hark! The drunken Reds' fans sing
"Glory to... Torsten Frings!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roof - There it is!

"This ain't our house!"

One of the worst kept cats in town is apparently out of the bag this afternoon. No, Nick Soolsma didn't visit the Humane Society - but John Molinaro at Sportsnet is reporting that Toronto FC will imminently announce that the Champions League Quarterfinal against LA Galaxy will be played at SkyDome.
The location of the big match-up between the MLS rivals has been argued back and forth between SkyDome (aka The New Owner's Centre) and BMO Field since the March 7th fixture was announced. Opinion has been fairly split down the middle between those who see SkyDome's 50K seats and warm confines in chilly March as the perfect recipe for a big event. On the other side of the coin, many purists, including TFC's Paul Mariner, sought the home field advantage (no matter what the temperature) of The Reds' own BMO Field.
It is uncertain if the recent ownership change which includes Rogers and their handy convertible stadium helped along the situation but as with all things MLSE - this deal will be about revenue and not "match experience". MLSE has proven a ghastly inability for marketing the Champions League and will no doubt be unable to resist the temptation to overprice tickets at SkyDome. While a 50K papering of the stadium a la Montreal Impact's Big O experience is possible - we will bet on an apathetic mid-20K's attendance which will look and sound bush league in the cavernous confines of the CN Tower's loose partner.
Supporters groups will apparently be housed in SkyDome's lower south end and will no doubt bring their A-Game but as anyone who has experienced other footy matches at the stadium will know - one loud area won't make up for thousands of empty, overpriced seats. It will be up to MLSE to prove us wrong and market (as well as price) this match correctly. Now... if we could just sign two defenders, an attacking midfielder and another striker we could get in the spirit of the CCL season.

UPDATE: The official announcement from TFC...

Look out for President Obama at the 1:00 mark... dude loves the CCL

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Care for her, pamper her and listen to her needs"

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!"
Hi Stan,
I have to attend a Christmas party this week but I have a problem. My ex will be there too and it will be the first time I've seen her in ages. Should I talk to her or just keep my distance? It will be so awkward! Niko - Richmond Hill, ON
Pish posh, jolly old Saint Niko - time to forgive and forget over the Holidays! But, if you think that's awkward - you should have seen Old Stan's face back in '65 at the Bristol Rovers alumni Christmas do. We had to put on a pantomime for all the kiddies in the crowd and of course I was asked to play one of the wise men. Now who should end up next to me as bloody Balthazar but tricky outside left Peter Hooper?! I dropped my myrrh all over me curly boots. Peter and I never got along see - and now we had to tend to the tiny Messiah together! Now that's awkward. Silly old Hooper - played internationally for Kenya of all countries! Kenya! Didn't even know they had football outside of elephants kicking them about for tourists. Pachyderms - marvellous beasts, Niko. Tough hides, good memories and can dribble a novelty football. More than I can say about that bastard Hooper. Glad that set you straight.
Dear Stan,
I really enjoy your column and am very impressed with your wise and insightful answers. Tell us, what was the best relationship advice you ever received? Keep up the good work! Judy - Toronto, ON
Oh lass - flattery will get you everywhere (send me a telegram with your local telephone exchange directory) I'm happy to pass on some sage advice I once got - from a medical professional no less! It helped me keep the fires of my most rewarding relationship last well into her golden years. I was told: "Care for her, pamper her and listen to her needs. Cherish her as your trusted friend and she will never leave your side. Buy her the finest cuts of beef and be sure to keep her coat shiny and soft" Oh Gladys... she was with Old Stan well into her 80's. Which is about 12 in people years for Golden Retrievers. That vet also told me some advice about ringworm but I didn't write down that bit. Stay in touch Judith!
Hello Stan,
I'm a terrible last minute shopper and have no idea what to buy my brother for Christmas! As a "gent" yourself, could you share your Christmas wish list with us to help give me some ideas? Thanks and Merry Christmas! Tina - Barrie, ON
Bit of a procrastinator are you Tina? Well I wouldn't normally do this but since you sound like a bit of a go'er here is a sampling of the list I send in the Royal Mail to the women in my life...
  •  a gentleman's moustache comb and facial hair wax kit
  •  ivory
  •  sensible underpants (sanctioned by the Royal Air Force)
  •  an anonymous lump of coal sent to that bastard Peter Hooper
  •  opium
  •  an evening dressing gown (in brushed flannel or mink)
  •  the telephone number to Chris Waddle's barber
  •  a boat
  •  an invite to a Stewardess Party
  •  Peace on Earth and/or a new hunting rifle
Any of those 10 things will surely suit any man in your life Tina. By the way, any chance you work for an airline?
Merry Christmas to all of my readers… and the sexy stews out there. God Bless you all... especially Air France girls.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, December 19, 2011

THE STARTING 11: TFC TV Holiday Specials

The Netherlands' # 1 feline holiday celebrity - Suarez Soolsma

One of the great things about the Holiday Season is the nightly treat of festive television specials. From claymation to variety specials and all things puppet-related in-between, December is a cornucopia of sugary TV treats. Now that our dear playoff-phobic elves Toronto FC are 75% owned by broadcast giants, it is inevitable that in the name of "content", The Reds will join this Yuletide tradition. With Sportsnets, GolTV's and TSNesses to be stuffed like stockings; TFC will be expected to put out their share of quality family holiday entertainment...
11. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund presents: "Scrooge" - a BellGlobe Media / Rogers Communications Co-Production
10. "Deck the Jeremy Hall"
9. "Bob de Klerk'sh Shexshy Amshterdam Krishtmash"
8. "Collin Samuel Eats Your Turkey"
7. Dwayne De Rosario's "I'll be Home... then in New York... then in D.C. for Christmas"
6. "Adrian Cann's Really, Really, Good-Looking Seasonal Soiree"
5. "Miracle on 34 Points"
4. "The Nutcracker: Mikael Yourassowsky Slide Tackles Santa"
3. "Elf - Joao Plata's Christmas in Quito"
2. "The Jacob Peterson All-American Freedom Xenophobic X-mas Jamboree" brought to you by Ford F-150, the National Rifle Association and Our Lord - The Baby Jesus Christ
1. "St. Nick Soolsma's Meowy Christmas for Cats"

Friday, December 16, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - December 16, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...







Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Before you know it - a lovely pie!"

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!"
Dear Stan,
I am really enjoying FIFA 12, but I find it damn near impossible to adjust from Semi-Pro difficulty to Professional difficulty. I can't seem to defend that well in Professional difficulty and it's really hard for me to get a shot on goal. What kind of expertise would you give for this situation? Michael - Oakville, ON
Pip-pip Michael, you have struck a real chord with Old Stan with this one. The boys down at FIFA are a jolly good bunch and I've spent more than a few Sunday afternoons knee-deep with them. It's been a while so I didn't realize they instituted a Semi-Pro and Professional classification but I assume it has something to do with the size of the catch? "Shot on goal" is also a funny term for getting a biggun but they all end up "in a net" - so I like it! I'm still mates with prolific striker Ray Crawford and some other chaps down in Suffolk so if you like, I can get some of the lads from FIFA (The Federation of Ipswich Fly Anglers) to give you a ring on the blower. Keep fishing Michael!
Hi Stan,
I'm really not much of a gourmet but need to whip up a holiday dinner. Can you please give me your best recipe? Much appreciated - Len - Auburn Hills, MI
It's true Len, Stan loves a good slap-up meal. I've had the privilege of eating in some fine establishments anywhere from Torquay to Carlisle. Here's a recipe for a winner... "Bentley's Christmas Pie". First the ingredients...
- 2 bushels of leeks; a quart of high-quality Thames eels; a half-yard of streaky bacon; a pint of Derbyshire Cream; a farmer's hat of crumbled barley; and, a pinch of Yugoslavian brandy.
- Once you've got these ingredients, tell your wife and/or secretary where they are; then, find a good film to watch on the telly; and before you know it - a lovely pie!
- Serves 3 to 17 people. Enjoy!
I've recently started online dating. I've been chatting with a woman for a while now but a bit worried about taking it farther. She looks great in her profile, we are both TFC fans and seem to get along really well. Just wondering if you know of any checks I can do before agreeing to meet. Thanks for your help, love your column.... Trey - Mississauga, ON
Checks? You've come to the right place Trey. Is that short for Treymond by the way? Hey-ho, Stan knows about meeting new ladies on the line. I used to take the Metropolitan Line tube up to Watford most match days. Lovely ginger bird used to get on at Finchley Road station. I could tell she liked the look of Old Stan and so I offered her a boiled sweet and got chatting. Let's just say that before the train reached Harrow-on-the-Hill, Stan was an expert in dating on the line. Huzzah! If you want to be careful though boy, ask this new lass to show you her passport, a letter from her vicar and a notarized record of her recent vaccinations. Reminds me, have to pop out and get an ointment from the chemist. That night out after the friendly against Sparta Prague is still haunting me. Czechs! Good luck, Treymond.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, December 12, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Ways that TFC will be different under Bell and Rogers

"Ugh, my iPhone is stuck on the UNHOLY setting"

The dust has settled over Bay Street since Friday's dramatic announcement that Bell and Rogers were buying major shares of Maple Leaf Sports and "Entertainment". A few things became evident by watching the glad-handing press conference: Bell and Rogers may be in bed over this deal - but they do not enjoy each other's company; the deal is 99% about getting corporate boxes at Leafs games; and, TFC are the equivalent of "the player to be named later" in the deal. Our beloved Reds were indeed little more than an asterix during the presser, with Larry Tanenbaum even having to be reminded of the name of the league's trophy. In fairness "MLS Cup" is pretty difficult to remember. Despite TFC not being the jewel of the MLSE crown, the ownership change will bring inevitable changes to BMO Field....
11. Referees' whistle replaced with Rogers' "Da-da-dum-dum" noise
10. Chip Buttys now available on the iPhone
9. TFC supporters legally allowed to mock Whitecaps fans that "we own 37.5% of your shirts"
8. Bob de Klerk constantly haranguing fans over the benefits of Fibre Optic Internet service
7. Sportsnet and TSN anchors to bare-knuckle box during halftime
6. TFC's Front Office replaced by Indian call centre
5. Jim Brennan comes to your house to install your PVR
4. Extra Time to be anytime during 9AM and 5PM
3. Ty Harden to be dealt for spool of coaxial cable
2. BMO Field security allowed to "bundle your package"
1. Soolsma On Demand

Friday, December 9, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - December 9, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...









Rogers and Bell bundle their package

"Your call is important to us... please hold."

At the end of day there was no Arab Sultanate, no oil-rich Russian oligarch or even any American financiers. No, like a giant, wireless Voltron-like creature - Canada's two largest media giants, and bitter rivals, Rogers and Bell joined forces today to purchase 75% of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The deal which will see the much-maligned Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan receive $1.2 Billion dollars suddenly creates one of North America's largest sports and media conglomerates along the lines of the Time-Warner Network and the YES Network - the New York Yankees based sports broadcast giant.
MLSE will still exist in name with Larry Tanenbaum managing to up his hold on the company to 25% while also holding on to his title of club governor to the NHL, NBA and MLS. Rogers and Bell will both own 37.5% of the company respectively while also agreeing behind the scenes on future broadcast sharing plans. While Rogers claims that their existing ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays is not officially part of this deal - in theory, an entity with many tentacles now controls four local sports clubs, three sporting facilities, valuable downtown real estate and a near monopoly over regional sports broadcast rights. It is a monumental deal no matter how you feel about its future prospects.
There will be advantages to the new structure once the OTPP officially hands over power next summer. MLSE will stay in Canadian hands, something which will please the patriots in the crowd; there will be revolutionary advances in wireless media options available to fans of the Leafs, Raptors and TFC; the continuing presence of Larry Tanenbaum will keep a fulcrum of power between the two faceless media giants; and, perhaps a silver lining for the sports fans, is the feeling that for the broadcasters to make the most profit out of this deal, their teams will need to be competitive and for the most part - winners.
On the other side of the coin of course there are fears. Did one giant anonymous profit-driven group step aside to be replaced by two anonymous profit driven groups? Will bitter rivals Bell and Rogers, as well as the mercurial Tanenbaum, eventually butt heads creating and air of chaos at MLSE? Is the groundwork being laid for a premium cost regional cable network which will house the broadcast rights for all of MLSE's clubs at a heavy cost to fans' wallets? Truly, only time will tell.
Being that our only real concern in this deal is the effect on Toronto FC, feelings are mixed. There will be the natural fear to think that TFC will now drop from its place as 3rd most important club down to 4th (with the Jays joining the family) and this may indeed be the case. However, the real aspect to watch will be if the groundwork being laid by TFC as a club, such as the Academy program etc., will be honoured going forward. You would have to hope that much of the structure of TFC as it exists now will be preserved but listening to Rogers' President Nasir Mohammed continually failing to mention TFC at today's press conference, as well as Tanenbaum forgetting the name of the MLS Cup, was worrying. The Leafs and Raptors were trumpeted as the jewels of the deal - let's hope TFC aren't relegated down to a multicultural marketing tool for cell phones and little else.
At the end of the day, things may not end up looking that different. Will the ownership still be a faceless unaccountable boardroom? Yes. Will we pay increasingly higher prices to attend matches as well as watch them at home? Yes. Will this deal really help bring trophies to the city's beleaguered sports fans? Rogers and Bell Customer Service is standing by.... please hold.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reds mint midfielder Lambe

 A Lambe in Reds' clothing

Not baaaaad! Sorry, we promise that is one of the last couple of dozen lamb jokes we make... today. All for good reason though, as Toronto FC officially announced their first new recruit for 2012 today - tricky, young midfielder Reggie Lambe.
The 20-year old Bermudian international has been flirting with the English Championship since signing with Ipswich Town's youth program in 2009 - two years after his international debut with Bermuda at 16. Lambe is known for his agility and creativity but will need to disprove the usual naysayers who will point to his small frame in relation to the rough and tumble MLS.
After being cut loose by Ipswich earlier this year, Lambe appeared on Paul Mariner's radar - one that has quite a reach into the Caribbean football community. For Aron Winter, Lambe may prove to be a versatile addition to the roster who can fill in on the wing and sometimes in the centre of the park. "We are very happy to add a young and talented player like Reggie Lambe" said the Dutch Head Coach who then sadly failed to add "Lambe will have to show us his chops".
Up next... a special report - "Bermudian Midfielders: Masters of The Triangle Offence"
We already love you Reggie.... from a purely pun-related place.

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "A wink, a nod and an extra lump of sugar"

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!"
Dear Stan,
I'm very attracted to a woman who I work with and get the feeling she feels the same. My office has a strict policy against co-workers dating but I really want to ask her out. What do you think of workplace romances? Thanks, Steve - Etobicoke, ON
Getting a little amorous between the filing cabinetry are we boy? Having a slice of ladycake where you get paid is always a sticky wicket lad. Back when I played for Barnet, there was a tea lady in the cafe at Underhill Stadium. Let's just say she gave Old Stan a wink, a nod and an extra lump of sugar in his cuppa... a real go'er in other words. After a team luncheon one day, I was going to ask her up the West End with me to the pictures. I'd just put down my bacon butty and was strolling over when the manager, Ted Crawford, grabbed me by the earhole and warned me off of any shenanigans. I steered clear, but the tea lady wasn't all too pleased with my sudden lack of interest. Couldn't get a proper cuppa for weeks. Went on the instant chicory coffee instead. Got the runs something awful... bloody Colombians. Good luck boy-o!
Hi Mr. Bentley,
I have to go to a potluck holiday dinner but have no idea what kind of dish to bring. Since I'm known amongst the guests as the resident Toronto FC nut, I thought I'd make something footy inspired. Any suggestions? Will - Maple, ON
Cheerio Willy! First of all, no need to call me Mr. Bentley - Sir will do fine. You’ve come to the right place chappie, Stan here is known as quite the gastronomic enthusiast and over the years has noted many standout dishes offered throughout the grounds of this great nation. Get your wife and/or secretary on one of these recipes right away... Being a winter party, you can't go wrong with lovely cup of bone-warming Bovril Mixture. That lovely brown libation goes down a treat on the terraces and would be the hit of any party! If you want to go a bit more up-market then I've got two words for you - seafood. Trot down to your fishmonger and go for jellied eels, some cockles & mussels or a lovely tin of smoked kippers. Stan starts off most mornings with a lovely dose of kippers. "Sausage of the Sea" they are. Empty tin of those on your nightstand will get the wife and/or secretary up and into the kitchen. Salutations!
Hi Stan,
I've got a problem. I'm getting married next summer and my fiancée has chosen a date right in the middle of the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland & Ukraine. How can I gently persuade her to move it? Rocco - Hamilton, ON
You are in quite the muddle aren't you pal? My first reaction is that weddings come and go but the Pan-European Footballing Championships only happen every four years. A real non-starter honestly. However, I think you may be mistaken... the Ukraine? Surely the tournament can't take place in the Soviet breadbasket! Are you sure that's not the East European Tractor Championships Rocco? If it is indeed being held in that wheat-filled gulag then your problems are solved. Just schedule your nuptials during the USSR vs. East Germany match. Khrushchev will never let the GDR leave with a win and either way, the television pictures won't be beamed over the Iron Curtain for days. East Germany - terrible football team, but the Trabant is a neat little motor. Congrats to you and your lovely wife-to-be.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, December 5, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Toronto FC related programming for MLSE's proposed network

Theo and Danleigh Borman. Pre-Re-Entry Draft.

After testing the market for a potential sale of its MLSE assets, The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan recently decided to take the sports and "entertainment" monolith off the market. Funny that four flailing sports teams without a major trophy (sorry NutCan) between them couldn't tempt a multi-billionaire. Oh well, recession and all of that. Stuck with their product but still looking to maximize revenue (we know, you are shocked), MLSE has floated the idea of setting up a premium regional cable TV network which in theory would house its clubs. One of the problems with such a venture is what this proposed network would show when a game wasn't on-air - especially programming to keep TFC supporters tuned in...

11. "Survivor: Re-Entry Draft"

10. "Dancing With de Klerks"

9. "North American Horror Story: MLS Kits of 1996"

8. "Coffee Talk - with Jimmy Brennan!"

7. "Still Waiting to be a Millionaire" with Dwayne De Rosario

6. "Iron Chef: Chef Samuel vs. Chef Gerba"

5. "Torsten Frings Stares at you for 22 Minutes"

4. "Tiny, Tiny, Tiny Talent Time" with Joao Plata

3. Danleigh Borman Presents: Re-runs of The Cosby Show to the sounds of Boyz II Men

2. "Cat Chat!" with Nick Soolsma and his kitty-cat Suarez

1. "Adrian Cann's Next Top Model"

And to our departing friend Danleigh Borman. May your days in New England be bright and may all your re-runs of Fresh Prince and Cosby be accompanied by accapella Philly harmony...

Friday, December 2, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - December 2, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...







Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "Sweet and sour pork with a side of chips"

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!"
Hi Stan,
My wife has a bad habit of making big decisions around our home without consulting me first. How can I get her to change this?
Rick - Dundas, ON
Well Richard, me old duck, a strong partnership with good open communication is a hard thing to come by, believe me! I had a lovely partnership with striker Sammy Chung at Watford. Funny little bloke he was... Half-Chinese and Half-an-Englishman... who ever heard of such a thing?! Great right foot though. We combined for 5 goals one night against Blackpool - magic stuff. Sammy had me over to his place for some grub after that one - never forget it. We had sweet and sour pork with a side of chips! Now that's a partnership that works! Glad to help.
Hello Mr. Bentley,
I'm a TFC season ticket holder and a huge footy fan. I want to get my 5-year old son interested in the sport but he doesn't seem too keen - what can I do to get him involved? Kevin - Brampton, ON
First of all Kevin, if you're this lad's father, he should do what you say. Children should be seen, not heard. Man up, boy! My dear old Pa gave me and my brothers a choice: work on our football, join the army or get down the mines before our 12th birthday. Did us no harm - look where I am today! Same goes for my brothers Colonel Roy Bentley and wee Frankie "Black Lung" Bentley... God rest his soul. Kids are people too! Make them work.
Hi there Stan,
I recently broke-up with my girlfriend and now can't help think that I may have lost "the one". How do I get over it? JR - Toronto, ON
Well "JR" (what you are junior of I don't know), Old Stan lives by one iron-clad rule... NO REGRETS! Don’t look back lad, look forward to new adventures. If this relationship was "the one" it wouldn't have turned into an old worn boot. A bit like my best pair of football boots. My dear Ma bought them for me when I was on trial at Barnsley. They were a perfect fit for me. We went everywhere together, it's like they understood my every move. I had the best times of my life with them... I loved those old boots... should have never given them up. Oh, how I regret that. All the best Junior.
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

TFC deck the Hall with new defender... leave Borman exposed to Re-Entry Draft

Soon to be heading in the same direction

Toronto FC got into the holiday shopping mood on Tuesday with the acquisition of defender Jeremy Hall. The 23-year old Florida native arrives from FC Dallas after previous MLS stops with Portland and New York. Primarily a right back, Hall was the 11th overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and provides The Reds with a little more depth on the corners of their back line.
TFC sent their 2013 SuperDraft 2nd Round pick to Texas in exchange, a move which would surprise few Aron Winter observers. The year-old management team has made no bones about putting most of their development eggs in the Academy basket which in turn makes the MLS draft something of a bonus. If TFC's Academy can continue to produce solid MLS players then draft picks like this 2013 2nd Rounder can be exchanged for ready-made pieces from clubs who aren't as advanced in developing their own talent without the aid of the NCAA.

The club also announced later that the only player on the current squad who will be made available in this year's MLS re-entry draft is Danleigh Borman. Considering Jeremy Hall and Borman play similar roles, it isn't a stretch to believe that the affable South African and his International roster spot are endangered in Toronto. No word if Borman's insistence on listening to Boyz II Men or watching Cosby Show re-runs affected the decision.

Monday, November 28, 2011

THE STARTING 11: Gameday differences between Toronto FC and Montreal Impact

That's one delicious seat cushion

Bienvenue à la "401 Derby"! With the new improved Stade Saputo (aka L'Emporium de Fromage) under construction and the bones of the squad starting to come together via the MLS Expansion Draft, TFC's natural rival, Montreal Impact, are inching towards life in the big leagues. The derbys between Toronto and Montreal will no doubt be some of the fiercest contests in the league. Due to the many layers of the provincial rivalry, comparisons between the two clubs will be rampant, including how the gameday experiences match-up...

11. Impact supporters sections outnumbered by smoking sections

10. Early-season frostbite in both official languages

9. One section of stadium constantly threatening to separate and start their own club

8. Tons of inflammatory chanting proclaiming St. Hubert's superiority over Swiss Chalet

7. Instead of Bitchy the Hawk, a dude named Claude sits on Stade Saputo's roof and reads angst-filed poetry at pigeons

6. 40% higher reports of baguette-related assaults

5. $10 glass of red wine

4. Referees often replaced by wacky cast of "Just For Laughs Gags"

3. After scoring the first goal, fans plan on showering the pitch with empty Jos. Louis wrappers

2. Scotts' Turf Girls replaced by mime troupe pushing imaginary lawnmowers over pitch

1. Le Butty Poutine

Friday, November 25, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - November 25, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter"...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TFC waive goodbye to Unmagnificent Seven

It was the best of times... it was the only times

A hectic day in MLS continued after the Expansion Draft ended, with clubs announcing what players they had waived from their 2011 rosters. Only Columbus, Dallas, Philadelphia and Salt Lake had no names to add to a waiver list that now includes players like John Rooney and Jefferson Goncalves. It will come as no surprise however that the team who ended up waiving the largest number of players was our very own Reds.
After a season that put the heave in upheaval, TFC continued its evolution by officially jettisoning a dozen and one of their fringe players. There was no surprise when the names Matt Gold and Demitrius Omphroy appeared on the list tonight, as the two youngsters had let it slip on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. The remaining five players represent a mixed bag of playing time and results in 2011:
KYLE DAVIES: the very late season defensive waiver pick-up made a cameo appearance for the club but didn't make enough of an impact on the coaching staff to warrant a longer look
LEANDRE GRIFFIT: will forever be a trivia side note for TFC fans as the least useful piece of the De Ro triangle trade. If Tony Tchani develops, that deal could look awful
JAVIER MARTINA: looked so promising in pre-season and incredible during the home opener. Few would have believed it would go so rapidly downhill from that afternoon vs. Portland
EDDY VIATOR: the Guadeloupean is a prime example of an emergency buy. TFC was in the midst of a defensive crisis when Viator happened to look good at the Gold Cup. Was never MLS ready
GIANLUCA ZAVARISE: seemed like he could be a feel-good story early in the season - Canadian journeyman coming home. In the end, Zavarise was erratic at best and looked like a poor man's version of Chris Pozniak
And so the face of TFC continues to change with the subtraction of these names. While it gives stays of execution to the likes of Danleigh Borman, Elbekay Bouchiba, Nick Soolsma and Nathan Sturgis - there can be no doubt, we are in for more changes this winter. But really, what's a TFC winter without a lot of "heave"?

Bienvenue à Montréal - où est Brian Ching et la bibliothèque?

Jacob Peterson wrote "Return To Sender" on the back

A rival is born! Well... re-born at least... but this time in MLS form! Toronto FC's true natural rival, Montreal Impact (L'Impact du Montreal to their amis) took a major step towards building the club's nouveau lineup for their debut in Ligue Majeure de Soccer during today's Expansion Draft.
Joey Saputo's Fromage Wanderers had a couple of days to browse the wares made available by the league's 18 existing clubs then retreated to their prosciutto-laden bunker deep under a bibliotheque to announce their selections. While we know here in Toronto that Expansion Draft rosters don't last too long (Memories of Paulo Nagamura isn't a President's Choice marinade), la première équipe for Montreal in 2012 will evolve from this core...
Brian "Le Retirement" Ching - HOU
Zarek "L'Amour" Valentin - CHV
Justin Mapp - PHI
Bobby Burling - SJ
Jeb Brovsky - VAN
Collen Warner - RSL
Josh Gardner - CLB
Sanna Nyassi - COL
James "Trade That Irish Name" Riley - SEA
Riley traded to Chivas USA for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen
Seth Sinovic - SKC
Impact also traded Allocation to Seattle for Tyson Wahl
So there you are, these are the players that Toronto fans need to start making hilarious songs about. However, considering the # 1 pick has openly declared that he'd rather end his career than play in Quebec - we may want to hold off. Impact did manage to draft some quality pieces that they may very well keep or trade away for futures. Either way, a few of these lads will no doubt enter the magical world of Joe Louis', Pepsi-Cola, cigarettes and peelers that never quit.
From a TFC angle, the club managed to hold on to everyone with Impact unsurprisingly refusing to poach from their arch-rival. Sadly, L'Impact extended that to ex-Reds and chose to ignore The Yorkies' #PetersonAvecImpact campaign which wanted to see Canada's # 1 Tourism Ambassador Jacob Peterson selected to play in La Belle Province. You win this round Peterson... but you just wait until Real Regina enters the league.

"The Gents" with Stan Bentley - "A bit of an old exhibition"

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!" 
Hello Stan,
I'm the captain of a struggling house league soccer team and we need your help! Our starts are awful, can you tell us how you prepared for a match? Love your column! Nick - Oakville, ON
Soccer? I didn't see a French or Yank postage stamp on this letter... but I assume you mean football, boy. Already down 1-0 Nicholas - but all hopes are not dashed. Best pre-match preparation Old Stan ever did was during my glorious time at Crewe Alexandra. Half an hour before a match I'd lift 5 Foot 4 forward Bert Llewellyn on my shoulders and we'd sprint down to the local bakeshop. After stopping to throw some rocks at local ne'er-do-wells, me and wee Bert would buy a box of meat pies and munch on them on the sprint back to Gresty Road. Meat pies... Jewel of the North. Love a bit of an old Melton Mowbray to this day - they've got gelatin inside! Made from ground up animal bones, you know! Best of luck at your... soccer.
Mr. Bentley,
My wife and I recently went on vacation with a couple who were very "open" in public. I wasn't too keen on it really - how do you feel about exhibitionism? David - Rochester, NY
See here David, you are being quite the old stick in the mud aren't you? What's wrong with a bit of an old exhibition? Why you'll find Stan every spring at The Royal Gentleman's Belt and Suspender Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. All of the latest advances in masculine trouser fastening are made very "open" to the public! Why would anyone be weary of such a genteel day out? Bought myself a belt made from swordfish once - talk about looking "sharp"! Have fun laddie!
Hi Stan,
Now that TFC's season is done I'm back to watching hockey. Problem is, when I visit the in-laws they never have the game on. Is there a polite way of putting it on? Go Leafs Go! Gus - Oshawa, ON
I am utterly confused - where exactly are your leaves headed? (By the way lad, your Queen's grammar needs some work) Run-ins with the in-laws is nothing to be sneered at me old China, but surely your father-in-law, being from the male race, would understand the importance of listening to a big match on the wireless. Why you would be getting so worked up about Field Hockey though is beyond me. Dandys faffing about on a lawn with table legs wearing short pants. It is a rather popular sport on the Indian sub-continent though. Then again, they are fond of Bengal Tigers down that way as well - they'll eat your face faster than a Geordie on a Mars Bar. Best of luck removing your leaves!
Have a problem, question or comment for Stan? Send Stan an email at or leave a message in the comments section below and it may be featured in a future issue

Monday, November 21, 2011

Protect yo self before you wreck yo self

Seriously, you'll never guess which one was protected...

Less than 24 hours after Galaxy lifted the MLS Cup, it's back to business at Don Garber's Playhouse. Aside from the Cup Final, it has been a busy few days for league administrators with a few major announcements: future MLS Cup Finals to be held at the home of the highest seeded finalist (Good); a tweak to the playoff structure (Meh); and, the introduction of a conference-heavy unbalanced schedule (Fugly)
Today's paperwork however, was the release of the Expansion Draft Protected Lists with each club shielding certain players from L'Impact du Montreal avec le Bibliotheque’s grubby, petite, Joe Louis-grabbing fingers. Of course, our beloved Dutch-Anglophone Toronto FC were part of the gang aiming to shield their wares and protected the following:
Eric Avila
Terry Dunfield
Richard Eckersley
Stefan Frei
Torsten Frings
Ty Harden
Andy Iro
Ryan Johnson
Milos Kocic
Danny Koevermans
Joao Plata
A curious list that answers some questions but raises many more. First of all... the Ty Harden love-in continues? That dude must have some gnarly pics of Winter and de Klerk in Amsterdam. Mark us befuddled but the reasoning could be to hold on to as many defenders as possible in the thinking that Montreal won't take a flyer on the unprotected Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams who both suffered major injuries in 2011.
Other notables left unprotected include: Julian de Guzman (for the second season running) whose massive contract is seen as a no-go in expansion drafts; Nick Soolsma who became a useful depth attacker but whose international slot makes him an unlikely choice; and, Peri Marosevic, a youngster with some potential who could very well be tempting to Les Bleus et Noire.
On a positive note, the protection of Joao Plata and Richard Eckersley, both on loan from their parent clubs, could be a positive signal that TFC is making progress in their permanent signings with The Reds. The only other minor protected surprise is Terry Dunfield whose passport may have made him tempting. Overall the only real point of discomfort is a gnawing feeling that Iro and Harden could still be lined up next to each other come March. As for the rest... vous êtes les bienvenus pour les Montréal.

THE STARTING 11: Other Beckham effects

Jeez, get a room

There are still a few negative types out there in North American football who claim that David Beckham's five-year affair with Major League Soccer was a failure. Long before he raised the MLS Cup last night - this simply wasn't the case. Did he play his best football with LA Galaxy, far from it. But, is the league a markedly stronger one as his star fades from Carson, California? Definitely. While Goldenballs brought many very visible positives to MLS' image, not everything about his time on our continent made headlines...
11. Sexy silhouette of Bruce Arena added to his tattoo collection
10. Helped heal broken Los Angeles sports fan's hearts after the departure of Luc Robitaille
9. Resisted temptation to name baby girl "Homedepotcenter"
8. Turned down opportunity to buy MLS club New England after name change to "David Beckham's Revolution Pour Homme" was rejected
7. Galaxy's training gear long replaced by exotic matching sarongs
6. Whenever Man United visits the USA, Sir Alex Ferguson invited to drop by and throw hairdryer at Landon Donovan
5. Victoria always allowed to spray her fragrance over Columbus before away matches to Crew
4. Got Chad Barrett to believe in himself as "The Wayne Rooney of the southern Los Angeles suburban regions"
3. Successfully blocked California adult film producers from releasing XXX video "Boned It Like Beckham"
2. L.A. street gangs have replaced coloured bandanas with thin, European headbands
1. Totally got Don Garber into skinny jeans

Friday, November 18, 2011

THE RUMOUMETER - November 18, 2011

Welcome to The Yorkies' regular off-season rumour roundup - "The Rumoumeter". Too busy to keep your TFC ear to the ground every week? 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 little more than whispers; we take their temperature with... "The Rumoumeter - Confusing Americans with the letter U since 2011"