— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 3, 2014
Well, that came out of nowhere.
De Bontin was, in a lot of ways, the perfect hire for the Red Bulls. He's French, with experience in the European game, which should check off enough boxes to make our Austrian overlords happy, but with enough business and soccer experience on this side of the Atlantic that it wasn't a crazy move to put him in charge.
If we're being honest in our assessment -- not so much clouded by the debacle that was Chris Heck -- he did an alright job. The thrust of his decision making seemed to be an attempt to make the Red Bulls a more inclusive organization. How well he did that is anyone's guess, though it's safe to say that kind of change doesn't happen in a year.
The inevitable hand wringing will come when people start asking grand questions like "What does this mean for the Red Bulls?", the sort of questions that can be answered with "We're looking at a team in turmoil." Hey, there were rumors that there was a degree of infighting amongst the Red Bulls' front office. Of course, it could always be for, you know, personal reasons, not office tension.
Regardless, thanks in part to de Bontin's help, the Red Bulls are in a much better place than they were one year ago. If there's going to be any tumult it's going to come from the team screwing up finding a legitimate replacement. The team has already reorganized its front office, with de Bontin replacing Erik Soler, but in title only. Soler was responsible for both business and soccer. De Bontin was only in charge of business.
Whatever they do next with the GM job, it can't be worse than Chris Heck.