Bilello on an opening day doubleheader
"We are working on a double header for the opening game, it won't be extra, it will be your ticket to the game. The price will stay the same so for people who don't have season tickets it will be the price of a regular game, so just a bonus game that we're adding to the home opener, if it happens."
Burns on off season
"Without question this has been the busiest off season we've had since I started working in the Front Office. everything from new locker room , to new weight room, new video room, a new head coach, new assistant coach, another new coach and reserve coach who we haven't hired yet and are still going through the interview process, a new equipment manager, a new strength and conditioning coach.
So on the staff front there's been a lot of turnover and on the player front there has been a lot of turnover. When the season ended last year we had 27 players on the roster, 10 of those players are not back for one reason or another. Since then we've signed 7 players, 4 internationals including Saer and we're not finished.
We feel that it was a huge priority for us in the off season to go out scouting, myself and Jay and try to sign guys earlier in the process to give them as much time to acclimate themselves both with our team on and off the field."
All the renovations and stuff are nice, but those are miniscule when it comes to how fans judge what the team has done on the off season. If those things help us get results great, but right now we're not very confident that any of these moves and changes will lead to vastly improved results this season. Interesting to note are Burns' quotes from last years supporters summit on off season moves:
"This past off season has been an enormous amount of change at both the league level and at the Revs... Currently we have 27 players on our roster and that will increase, we have 11 new faces downstairs, 4 new international signings and a 5th if you count Diego Fagundez. We feel like we've made some real strides in the off season in terms of both the defense and the midfield an we still are actively looking for one or two forwards to help us get to where we ultimately want to be. It's still a work in progress..."
Burns on Saer Sene
"In the case of Saer, an agent contacted us and the way the process goes is that he was under contract with Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich has to offer up a letter authorizing him to come train with us. We brought him to Arizona, we liked what we saw, he was on a free transfer, so we were able to work out an agreement with him, then goes through the visa process, the ITC process, that went fairly quickly and he joined us today. We feel it always a plus and it's not always easy, but it's certainly a plus anytime you can have a player in the camp to train with for a few days because it's not just what he does on the field, its how he interacts with the coaches, he gets t see the staff and players."
Burns on Lekic, Caraglio and Zerka and their improved performance towards the end of the season
"While I'm not going to get into a debate and a discussion on the last 3 or 4 games. I think it's our job...; one of the advantages Jay had coming in as our new head coach, was not only did he play here but he's covered the team from the television booth the last 2 years so he had a very good feel for the players on and off the field. The bottom line for us when we evaluated the entire season is unfortunately we won 5 games. We felt that it wasn't only fair to some of the guys in the locker room, to the front office and frankly to the fans to bring the entire team back. We felt that the only way this is going to get back on track in the right direction, we had to make significant changes, and with significant changes come hard decisions.
While it's probably unfair to talk about these players individually, the bottom line was we failed last year as a team. Milton was very, very expensive, for the production to warrant bringing him back as a designated player we thought it was best to go in a different direction. If you look at Lekic, again I think he scored 3 or 4 goals in the run of play over the course of a season, we needed to look somewhere else. In the case on Monsef. Monsef is someone that we are still in discussions with. I would say this, Monsef and Raijko were 2 priorities for us in the off season to bring back frankly at lesser numbers. We had discussions, they wanted to test the European market and in both cases they came back to us after the fact and wanted to re-sign and we ended up going in different directions with some of our other international signings.
It's never easy, it's certainly open to be second guessed. The bottom line is we felt, we won 5 games, we needed to make some changes up top, we conceded to many goals and we didn't score enough goals. We felt like we need to make changes on both ends of the field."
So our goal scorers, one of them proven, and one getting looks from EPL teams were cut because they didn't score... fair enough... but the rest of the team didn't get them service... Nyassi, Mansally, Tierney, McCarthy, Kinne are still here, dare I say Shalrie and Benny are still here. You know who else doesn't score goals... Boggs and Schilawski both still here. The Revs are going for the cheapest options with the exception of Shalrie and Benny... not a players performance or goal production.
Burns on Moreno
"The situation with Moreno is pretty simple. Jay and I had been to Colombia once together over the past 6 weeks, I've been there 3 times in the last 6 weeks. In the case of Moreno, Fernando and John, we saw all these players play live. I wen t back to Colombia on one occasion, met with Fernando and John got the agreements signed. Went back again a couple weeks ago and met with the President of Once Caldas, Jose Moreno, the agent and got the contract singed.
Just so this is clear... Some of the stuff that's been speculated or somewhat reported out of Colombia, there is no disputing the fact that all contract documents are signed. We have a loan agreement with Once Caldas, which means the player is on loan from them to Major League Soccer, to play for the New England Revolution. At the end of the year we have an option to purchase him outright. His contract is signed and that's ironclad, however what hasn't really been reported and I'll share because it's factual, the contract and loan agreement do not start, are not effective until March 1st. Anytime you get a player on loan or sometimes frankly even a transfer it is always a negotiation.
We had a discussion with the player, it was important to the player and Once Caldas that he remain playing for Once Caldas through February. We said 'Okay fine', so really he's not here yet, but he wouldn't have been here anyway until March 1st. Obviously it changed slightly, we are trying to resolve all the issues. Frankly we don't know how much pressure the player is getting form Once Caldas to stay on Once Caldas after the fact. There's no breach of contract at this point, we're stil trying to discuss with the player and the club to get him here in the right frame of mind to play for us. We feel he really will help us, it's a tough situation, it's not an easy one and may not get resolved until frankly after March 1st."
I've said in the past this makes everyone look bad, right now it makes Moreno and Once Caldas look the worse but Burns is still standing there with egg on his face. I don't think it's really that simple. Also why did it take the Revs so long to tell us that he hasn't breached his contract yet because it doesn't start until March 1st? That may have saved some face if announced back when Bilello wrote about the situation on the Revs blog.
Bilello on Moreno
"If this works out, and we're optimistic that it will still work out, I hope that from a fan perspective that you don't hold a player [unintelligible] that doesn't want to be here or didn't want to be here, because non of really know whats going on down there with him, and the club, and the manager.. what happened. This isn't the type of situation where the player is just saying he doesn't want to come here because he doesn't like New England or us or whatever. It's more complicated than that. So what I'll say is just if we get it worked out if the player comes here I hope you guys are excited about him an didn't look at him as a guy who didn't really want to come here, forced to come here, it may not be that, that's going on.
So as of right now they are still fighting to get Moreno here, and they want him to be here, they want him to want to be here, and they want you to want him to be here...
Burns on 'Buzz', marketing and getting newsworthy players and negative news surrounding the Revs
"I guess what I'd say to that, we certainly on the technical side have not been happy with the way the past 2 years have gone. What I'd say is I think it would be more frustrating and more disappointing if we didn't make any changes. We've changed out coaching staff, 10 players aren't back with us, we've signed four international players, which is probably more than any other transfer window (According to Burns at last years Supporter Summit they had signed 5 including Fagundez) in the last 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years and we're probably not done signing international players for even this transfer window.
What I can say is there has been a lot of movement, I think there has probably been more player movement this off season than essentially any other team in MLS. I understand your frustration, believe me, there is no one more disappointed with how last year went than the guys sitting up here. In terms of status quo and not doing anything I wouldn't agree with your assessment and that's because the buzz might be one thing, but we've certainly made a lot of changes this off season"
"...From on the field I think Mike has kinda addressed it, we made a bunch of changes we're still making changes. I guess what I can say is we think these changes are going to make the team better than it was last year and as he said we're still making more changes. They've gone after guys that they think can help us win games.
From the off the field stuff, if you're talking about sales and marketing and that side of things, I can just compare ourselves to what we do versus other teams and what we do versus other teams in our market. I can tell you in MLS, that I just looked at the numbers today, we're in the top third of the league in advertising and marketing spent of the entire league and if you take out staffing, which our staffing is a little lower because we have shared staff that we don't report; so non staffing advertising and marketing costs we're at the top 3 of the entire league, we're third in the entire league. Relative to other MLS teams, we are spending a lot on advertising and marketing, so I know people want more but we're trying to do as much as we can within the business model that is MLS. Would I like to do more? Sure. I know Cathal would like to do a lot more but we've got to make that work within our business model and when I get a comparison of every cost, every revenue stream, every team in the league I don't see which teams it is but I see the blind data that helps me gauge where we... I think this is what we should be doing for our business based on my business model, but is it out of whack with what other teams are doing? What I can tell is that we're not out of whack and we're probably on the high end in terms of MLS on advertising and marketing spent.
In terms of buzz and media and all those things; again, we always want more. You know we have a guy who's here, Kyle, who writes for us he writes for Goal, he writes for MLS Soccer, I think we probably get as many MLS soccer articles as just about any other team. I'd like to say it's because we're so awesome and incredible but part of the reason is that we have a great soccer writer in our market who happens to write for a variety of folks. I know that it can feel like we're not doing enough or as much as other people, but I can only base it on the real data that I see. We always want to be as aggressive as we can and we try to be, I know we're being fairly aggressive on advertising and marketing compared to our peers within MLS."
Numbers are an interesting thing, they can be manipulated to help support your argument. I do not dispute Bilello's numbers but we also must realize that we are in one of the most expensive media markets in the country, so we are spending more for less than other teams. I suppose the real question is how effective the money spent is, how can they make it more efficient for a better result. This is not efficient marketing... yes that photo is from last year, but I noticed this year's have the same ad.
As to Kyle McCarthy, yes he is a great writer and we are lucky to have him, but most of his work, with the exception of the Boston Herald is only scene by current soccer and MLS fans. It does not help us broaden our audience and it doesn't help create local buzz.