“Martin who?” to coach WhitecapsAugust 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 3 Comments
Like many things in the Whitecaps first Major League Soccer season, today’s announcement came as something of an odd surprise. This club, with its deep pockets and grand aspirations of football glory, has decided to hire a virtual unknown as its head coach starting in 2012. 36 year old Martin Rennie will take command of the Whitecaps once his current season with the Carolina Railhawks, who currently employ him as head coach, is over.
What is particularly odd is that Rennie will continue with the Railhawks rather than joining the Whitecaps immediately. This is generally not the way things are done in football, where usually you are in or you are out. It feels odd to know this major change in the club’s administration will be delayed for such a long time. It is odd that this coach who has pledged his future to the Vancouver Whitecaps is getting back on the plane to coach another team. I don’t understand why the team did not simply wait until the end of the season to make the announcement when Rennie would actually be available to coach the club.
Rennie comes with impressive qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts in Business and UEFA coaching licences. What he is short on is experience. It is true that he has proven himself a winning coach over a few seasons at the lower echelons of North American football, but certainly not at the MLS level. The Whitecaps have taken a gamble which may pay off well and might provide a stable coach who can coach us well into the forseeable future; or, it may end in another disaster. It is a bold gamble, but the Whitecaps head office seem to feel the gamble is worth it.
With all of the bizarre rules of the MLS it is good to know that a fellow who has coached in the North American context will at least be familiar with how things work here. The Railhawks currently sit comfortably atop the NASL. The truth is that the top team in the NASL may well have the quality to be able to compete in the MLS. If Rennie has earned the loyalty of some of the top Railhawks players, this relationship may well bring some very good players to Vancouver.
Rennie is Scottish and I certainly hope he is a more worldly Scot because Scottish football itself has gone downhill steeply for some time now. Football really has become an international game with an international style, so lets hope he is able to coach good modern football, which is what we Whitecaps fans want to see. We want to see the ball played to the feet, thanks very much! Lots of high balls and headers are from the game of the past.
I cannot help but comment on the gap in expectations between what we Whitecaps fans fantasize about and what we get. We dreamed of getting Robbie Keane as a designated player; we got Eric Hassli, an unknown. We dreamed of Martin O’Neil and Bob Bradley as coaches; we got Martin Rennie, an unknown.
Then again, if Rennie ends up being as successful as Hassli, we fans will love him. Reputations and big names don’t win games, it is all about having the quality to win in our league. I’m willing to give Rennie a chance and I welcome him to Vancouver.
When he actually arrives…