They're No "Yes Men"

Mike Stobe

The recent episode over the team's head coach bodes well for the team's new management.

There was a point in time when it appeared the duo of Jerome de Bontin and Andy Roxburgh had "all the right moves."

If there's one thing today's Big Apple Soccer report proves, is that they really do.

You can opine that there are too many chiefs in the kitchen, but in all reality, the "internal struggle" Michael Lewis expanded on, ones where Roxburgh and de Bontin have repeatedly butt heads with Houllier on the choice of Gary McAllister to head the team, show that these really are the guys to run the team.

Nothing is simple with the Red Bulls organization, as Dave Martinez points out. Roxburgh and de Bontin have a number of masters to serve. Such is life when you're part of a worldwide sports conglomerate that spans Europe, Africa and the Americas and soccer, hockey and Formula 1. The thing is Roxburgh and de Bontin appear willing to make their voices heard, rather than just being yes men for the guy who hired them.

When a move for a player like Juninho is made, it's got Houllier's fingerprints all over it. Roxburgh even came out and said it in the team's press release: "Juninho is a world-class player who our global sporting director, Gérard Houllier, and I have known and admired for many years," Roxburgh said when the Red Bulls signed the Brazilian midfielder.

It would've been easy to give Houllier what he wants when it comes to the head coach position, especially with Mike Petke in place and Claudio Reyna (and maybe more) on the way. Roxburgh got his American assistants. But when something smells when your boss is trying to cut one of his former lieutenants a seven figure check, despite an iffy managerial career. Even if Roxburgh and de Bontin aren't making a stink about the stink around this deal, there are other, potentially better options being bandied about at least in the media, ones that know or have proven a respect for the league.

The team needs a coach, there's no doubt about that, but with the team continuing to interview candidates despite the internal strife, you imagine one could be found with some expedience. And even Lewis concedes that it's possible a coach comes in right before the draft and finds success -- Frank Yallop did just that in 2001 with the San Jose Earthquakes. Oh, yeah, and Hans Backe lead the team to a top place finish in the East in 2010 and he was announced just days before the draft.

And even if Houllier is lobbying for McAllister's appointment from a legitimate place -- he could just know his friend's skill set and is convinced it will work here -- when you know enough to give credit where credit is due but have good faith disagreements with your superiors, that's a positive. That means you're not a sycophant or a yes man or willing to give in to management just because. That, along with their pedigrees in the sport, bodes well for the Red Bulls. When you have guys willing to do what's right by their organization, that's a good thing no matter what situation you're in.

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