Monday, November 12, 2012

Bravo and Hinchey Interviews Shed Light On The Off-Season

Two interviews with the Rapids leadership were published today.  Let's start with Chris Bianchi's interview of Paul Bravo for
“What people fail to realize is I’ve been around this club for a long time as a player, as an assistant coach, and now as a technical director,” Bravo told last week. “We don’t make decisions here for our own personal good. We’re here to do what’s best for the club.
I think this is fair. There have been some unfair things said about Bravo over the last year from fans on BigSoccer and Facebook. There was even one fan who accused bravo of taking kickbacks from agents for signing their players (commonly referred to in soccer as a 'bung'). I don't doubt Bravo is doing what he thinks is best for the team and he's not intentionally tearing things down for the sake of his ego. That said, passion and best intentions isn't enough. You also have to be good at your job. The team made it fairly clear in the preseason that Bravo holds final responsibility for the roster makeup. He made some good moves this year (Rivero, Thomas) but also some poor ones (Edu, not having a backup for Pablo).
“We don’t make personal decisions,” Bravo said. “Now, what [the Kimura] deal netted us is Hendry Thomas [due to the allocation money acquired], at the end of the day is the way I look at it.”
Interesting note that we did use the allocation money we got in the Kimura trade, and used it to sign Thomas. Because the details of that stuff is never revealed to the public we don't know if the Rapids could have gotten the Thomas deal done without the Kimura allocation money, so we'll have to take Paul's word for it. That makes the Kimura trade a solid move for the team, even if it meant losing a fan favorite like Koz.

Moving on there was a more in-depth interview with Tim Hinchey at
What’s the latest regarding the shirt sponsor?We’ve been engaged with a particular company for the last couple of months....After having success delivering one for Derby County, I thought we could come in, take the same best practices and get it done, but it’s not gone as fast as I thought.
Good to hear that negotiations are proceeding for a jersey sponsor. Earlier this year Hinchey said that it wasn't an absolute requirement to sign a DP, but it would go a long way to making it possible. He also stated that we would start the 2013 season with a sponsor, so the clock is ticking.

How important is that the ‘fan experience’ to your success? Any plans to expand it?The ‘driveway to driveway experience’ is critical to the success of our club. That fan experience journey – when they’re putting on their kits at home and when their getting excited about it – that’s something unique about our sport. It’s a good day out at the park; our key supporters’ base come early, parking is free, they tailgate, they barbecue, they have their flags out.
I'm glad to see Hinchey appears to recognize the value of the supporters groups.  I know there's work to be done this off-season between the club and SG's, so lets hope things continue in the direction they've been going the last 3 years.

You had your first international friendly in years versus Swansea City. Do you have any more plans to bring in any more events to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park?We’re going to look at that every year. We purposely wanted to illustrate to our fan base that we were prepared to invest and bring quality clubs back into Dick Sporting Goods Park.... It was a fantastic day out and we got fantastic feedback, but when it came down to the matchday, 8000 people came versus our average crowd now is about 15,000. We get a lot of request for this, but the turnout was a bit disappointing.
The answer also talks about the success of the women's National Team game at the Dick and that they want to bring more of these events to the Dick.  Last week the Rapids announced they would be bidding for one of the 6 home World Cup Qualifiers in 2013.  I had similar concerns about the success of the Swansea friendly as Tim seems to have.  Its hard to justify that expense if you're only going to draw 8K.

What would it take for Mr Kroenke to allow you to sign a marquee name?First and foremost, I am never going to recommend that we bring over a marquee player over 30. I’m not interested in retiring a player in our league and paying that kind of potential salary on someone who may have one or two good years – that’s just not what our philosophy is going to be. If we can illustrate to our fan base that we’re authentically investing in a quality product, that’s going to mean more to me than bringing in a name that we think might marginally increase our commercial output.
Of course this is the $64,000 question for Rapids fans.  I like the fact that they;re more interested in signing a young player than an older name.  Of course, as I said last week, I'll believe it when I see it.

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