The wait is over. After 70-some-odd days of waiting, the Red Bulls have named their head coach: Mike Petke.
It's sort of cute in a romantic comedy kind of way, isn't it? What Andy Roxburgh was looking for was right in front of him all this time...
The good news, whether you think his hire is a great idea or a terrible one, is that Petke isn't a "mercenary" from Europe. Paulo Sousa, for all he would bring to the team -- some credit him with laying the foundation for Swansea's Premier League success -- had never stayed at any post for more than two years, save his job with the Portugal U-15s. He was a stop gap, possibly to prepare one of his assistants (Petke, maybe?) for the post.
Oh yeah, his connection to a gig with Tottenham Hotspur surfaced just a few days after he snubbed the Red Bulls. So, yeah, mercenary.
His "any minute now" counterpart, Gary McAllister was looking for a payday, and would've likely been protected by Red Bull global soccer head Gerard Houllier. Thankfully, Roxburgh and GM Jerome de Bontin fought him off. Good thing, as McAllister probably wouldn't even have the support of his own team's front office.
But more than the opportunity for stability at the head, and warm and fuzzy feelings from supporters, Petke brings an identity to the table.
With a constantly revolving door of players, coaches and staff, it's hard to put a finger on that identity, except as losers and, in the last seven years, soft drink salesmen. If Petke brings his tough, hard-working style of play to his new post, right off the bat Petke develops the sort of identity Roxburgh and de Bontin frequently talk about in their press meetings.
He's undoubtedly a guy who loves the team, as he's made abundantly clear in the past. He won't leave at the drop of a hat, even for an assistant's job in London. If all works out, he'll be at the helm for some time and the Red Bulls can become the sort of team New York sports fans love: blue collar, hard working, persistent and unapologetic.
Hell, he's already said, the style of play is going to be to fight from the first whistle until the last. Sounds a little bit like the man himself, doesn't it?
Tactics aside -- it might be best he find a tactically proficient assistant to help him out -- if he can imbue the team with an ounce of what made him so beloved among fans, the team will start to build the one thing the MetroBulls have been lacking, really, its entire existence. And that's how you start building something great.