Nov 5, 2007

De Grandpre: Mutual Decision Was Mine Alone

Let the speculation derby begin! We may never know what really happened between New York Red Bulls Managing Director Mark de Grandpre and Bruce Arena that led to the latter's abrupt departure earlier today. Was he fired? Did he quit? A conference call with de Grandpre certainly did not clarify matters. At one point, de Grandpre said he and Arena had "agreed mutually that this was the best decision" before later saying "this decision was mine alone and that was it." The most shocking thing to me was that de Grandpre by his own admission did not discuss the matter with any of the players. "I would never talk to the players about this," he said. Also the folks in Salzburg had no input "whatsoever" in the decision.

It gets weirder: Asked what Arena needed to do to keep his job, de Grandpre replied that "the expectation we set forth was to win the MLS Cup. We fell short." Would reaching the final have been sufficient? Nope. "Reaching the final would not have been good enough with the resources we had allocated," he said. I'm pretty sure this contradicts what the front office had said earlier in the season, but I'd have to check my notes on that.

And yet, "the decision" was not due to a single cause but "a combination of things that happened throughout the season," per de Grandpre. Asked to clarify he said he "would prefer to stay away from specifics."

Meanwhile, the search for Arena's replacement is on. This search is "worldwide" and there is "no timetable," de Grandpre said. Just a hunch, but I don't think we've heard the last of this.

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