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Oct 192013

This is what happens when your favorite team changes ownership and fires its coach mid-season: You hang on every bit of substantiated rumor out there.

Columbus Crew fans had a mini panic attack on Friday afternoon when Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch reported that Crew legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto had interviewed with both the Crew and new expansion team New York City FC.

It’s that second part that I want to focus on. None of us can really be shocked Schelotto interviewed with Columbus, given his status among the team’s history. I’m not so sure the Hunts would’ve brought him in this early (if at all) but new owner Anthony Precourt hasn’t wasted any time. What shocks me is the thought of Schelotto becoming the next head coach of the second New York team that MLS has desired for so long and has bent its own rules (specifcially those about needing a soccer specific stadium to join MLS) to accommodate them. The powder blue New Yorkers will make Seattle look like a red headed stepchild in the eyes of MLS HQ. Would Schelotto really be put in charge of such a team from the start?

I’m not so sure.

To me this sounds like Schelotto trying to get some leverage and put pressure on the front office in Columbus. And I can’t fault him for it either. For all we know, Precourt isn’t willing to shell out big bucks for a head coach. Schelotto deserves a good deal though. He’s had enormous success with Lanus in Argentina in a very short amount of time and it wouldn’t shock me if he started attracting interest from smaller sides around Europe. We all loved Schelotto for his vision on the playing field and that vision was the result  of his desire to not only practice the game, but study it as well. He is that rare great player who knows the game so well that he can go on to become an equally great coach.

The news that Schelotto was in New York does present a bit of a wrinkle in this search for a head coach in Columbus. If New York (and potentially more MLS sides) are legitimately interested in him, then Anthony Precourt suddenly finds himself in a significant predicament. Many of us would love to have Schelotto in charge of the Crew, but we would also understand if he wound up staying in his native Argentina. But to watch the Crew turn him down and then see him wind up in New York, Dallas, or maybe even Chicago would churn all of our stomachs inside out and we’d be inclined to point our wrath at Precourt. After all, how could the Crew willingly low ball a team legend and watch him sign up with a direct competitor? There would be legitimate mutiny among not just the hardcore supporters, but casual fans who have stayed away since 2008-09 as well.

It’s going to be a long off-season, but also a very important one, so be prepared to hang on every bit of news like this going forward.

Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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