Editors note: We recently received a very troubling anonymous email from someone who claims to be a senior staff member at Kraft Sports Group, the contents of which we have included below. TDIF has spent the last week working diligently to corroborate the claims made and continues to do so, but it must be said that the following information, as yet, remains unconfirmed. We ask our readers to keep this in mind as they proceed with the understanding that we would not publish this unless we felt it was sufficiently plausible.
The following we are about to tell could be the biggest load of BS ever written or if true, would serve as the greatest indictment of the Kraft family's commitment to the New England Revolution and high level soccer in general:
2013 could be the last season in Major League Soccer (MLS) for the New England Revolution, with Bob Kraft rumored to be considering a League proposal that would see him sell the club to an out-of-state buyer who would then relocate the franchise out of New England.
We have contacted multiple well-placed sources within the US Soccer community inquiring as to the veracity of these claims in an effort to confirm or refute them. To this point no one has denied them, confirmed them or expressed a willingness to discuss them, even on background and in confidence. We find this odd because in the past we've been fed stories that seem far fetched or unreasonable and have been able to find people who are very quick to tell us that it's not true.
We can't with this, and no one seems willing to touch it with a 10 foot pole. They aren't interested in talking about it… at least not now.
Those are the reactions that we have gotten after telling them the following information that we received in that anonymous email referenced above and detailed below. Some of the information is known or previously assumed by many but the potential sale and relocation of the team is as new as it is frightening. Please note that we are not the only people within the Revs media circle (traditional or alternative) to have received this email, one that is reproduced in its entirety save for edits that were agreed upon to protect the possible identity of the source.
"I am telling you this information so you can perhaps put some pressure on your contacts within the organization or MLS to find out if there are any truths to what I and a few of my co-workers have beenhearing internally.Here's what we have been hearing:1. Bob Kraft is now sufficiently embarrassed with the incompetence of the Revs organization. He's truly frustrated by the team's poor performance over the past few years and he's growing more and moreagitated as the franchise loses ground in the league. He knows his reputation is being stained by this situation. The bad thing is, neither he nor his staff know how to fix the problem unless more moneyis spent. This is really the heart of the matter. Last-minute doubleheaders and boxing matches are what they are throwing at the wall now, hoping something sticks.2. Kraft also knows that his goodwill in the soccer community is evaporating. No more key U.S. soccer matches will come to Foxboro and the AC Milan match was a disaster. The Revs received a pretty goodscolding from AC Milan for the pathetic showing a few weeks back regarding the attendance. While AC Milan was drawing good crowds everywhere else, they were pissed they had to play at 4:30 on a Saturday on fake grass before 17,000. Kraft has been trying to mend fences since with the Italian Soccer Federation ever since.3. The team is also considered bad news within MLS circles — as you probably know they (league bosses) have an unspoken rule about limiting the number of games that are shown on national TV fromFoxboro. Yes they have actually spoken about this.4. All of this leads to this .....While he's not ready to pull the plug, we are hearing -- from some key people within the organization -- that Kraft is at a fork in the road with the franchise. Fact: He's not going to spend his own money to build a new soccer-specific stadium unless he gets the land for free within Rt 128 -- anyone who says otherwise is either lying or out of the loop. That said, the team is nowhere and I mean nowhere close to acquiring any property.5. Kraft has done a salary dump and opened up some space for NEXT season. He's pondering whether to replace the current leadership (some or all) and maybe give it one more go -- that's why there is so muchfocus on season tickets for next year. If the team is terrible next year and the fanbase remains apathetic (I know, chicken or the egg argument right? If the team is good they will come, etc). -- then Kraft could consider an offer that the League has floated -- and it revolves around DC United.DC is looking for their own stadium - preferably within the district. They also have been working with the city of Baltimore and the Maryland Stadium Authority. From what we understand, the city of Baltimore has made some pretty good proposals and offered land, financing (bonds) and linkage to help with the project. So what does this have to do with the Revs? -- well if DC United gets their own stadium within Dc (or at least at commitment) -- then the Baltimore plans still exist. Some league honchoes have suggested that 1. Kraft sells a majority stake in the Revs to some agreed upon local Maryland owners; 2. the league then relocates the team to Baltimore and gets a stadium built for cheap; 3. Kraft retains minority ownership in the team and. 4. he is given a ten-year window to bring a team back to Boston (at which time he would relinquish minority ownership in the Baltimore team). And DC United would love having a close rival andwould not object either.From what we understand, Kraft is seriously considering this -- and he'd save his reputation by saying "clearly soccer needs to be in the city. Without that downtown stadium, this is an exercise in futility, and we now realize this. While we are sad to see the team go, we retain the right to a franchise and will focus all of our efforts on getting a stadium built within Rt. 128 as soon as possible." This will also put pressure (maybe) on local officials to help with a stadium initiative -- which is something that Kraft has gotten none of over the past 10 years.So you now know what a few of us within the organizations think is going on. While this might be soccer talk for the Revs fans, please realize that for others like myself this is about our jobs and livelihood. What you do with this information, is up to you. Feel free to make this public if you think it warrants it -- we have not sent this to the main stream press because well, the Globe and the Herald do not wish to get on the bad side of Kraft it seems."
Take this email as you will. At the very least it is unsettling and the unwillingness of well placed sources to talk about it makes it even more so.
Evan Whitney and Scott McCullough have contributed to this article. Evan has previously contributed to TDIF as well as contributing to Soccer New England, and ESPN.COM. He was also columnist for the longtime Revolution fanzine Pictures Of Chairman Mao. Scott is a regular writer for TDIF.