I’m an owner now

My ridiculously rich great grand uncle Scrooge McDuck plays poker with all the major sports commissioners in New York.  David Stern is there a lot, but he has started bringing his soon to be replacement Adam Silver.  Roger Goodell comes by some weeks, but he tries to Bogart the game and come up with all these new rules and crazy wild cards.  Bud Selig shows up rarely.  The games are usually past his bed time.

These are not the kind of games you and I play.  These are actually run by a bunch of the different leagues owners, and a couple of times a month they bring in the commissioners to play a few hands.

Anyway, one night last week the last hand came down to my uncle and MLS commissioner Don Garber.  They brought him to replace Gary Bettman last year.  All the other commissioners underestimate Garber.  They can’t figure out how MLS hasn’t been killed off yet.  Regardless, the last hand came down to my uncle and The Soccer Don.  My uncle put up a string of Bojangles he owns and Garber put up a franchise.  The owners play old school 5-card draw and Garber laid down a spade flush ace high and my uncle dropped aces and eights full house.

I’m going to take this deadly serious.  So, what is the first thing I’m going to do with my shiny toy?  I already know where the team will play and what the name will be.  We are going to put the franchise in Triangle area and name the team Carolina Cougars SC.

First, I’m going to hire a franchise president.  This person will have built a franchise from the ground up or will have worked for one of the more stable and successful franchises.  I don’t like drama.  I don’t want the team to chase headlines over talent and stability.  In other words, I don’t want my team to act like the New York Jets.

Now, I would let him hire his senior staff.  That would not only be a VP of player personnel/general manager, but also a VP in charge of business operations.  Their staffs will be the links to both sides of the front office.  The negotiation team will come from the personnel and business sides to make sure we get the most value out of every signing.  We will also have a topnotch ticket and public relations team.

The last major franchise hire would be the coach.  Not because the coach is not important, but because that position is on field representative of everything we will stand for as a franchise.  That makes him almost the most important employee outside of the players.  He has to believe and buy into the direction of the franchise on and off the field.

The direction and attitude of the whole organization would be that of aggressiveness.  We would stay on the “front foot” at all times in everything we did.  Off the field, the ticket and public relations team that would take an innovative and aggressive stand on ticket sells and public relations.  On the field we would press high up the field to make the other team think and make decisions at speed and under pressure and once we had the ball we would control play through short controlled passing game.

As the owner, that would be my job.  Setting the direction of the organization and hiring the best people to make that direction a reality and say out of their way to let them do their jobs.  Running a sports franchise or any other large organization is about having a plan and a set of values that you use to guide all your decisions.

You know the franchises that have no plan or set of values.  They are the organizations whose signings are guided more by web page hits and Q ratings.  This isn’t to say you always follow the plan without deviation or take chances outside of the values you use to make decisions.  If you do everything else to build a strong and sustainable program you can roll the dice on personnel decisions.

My uncle has given me this opportunity and I will do everything in my power to make this franchise the best in MLS.  There are no shortcuts and there will be no compromises because this franchise will care more about winning then being famous.


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