It’s the beginning of the year, a time of new diets and oaths to moderation and patience and every other well-intentioned resolution of foolishness. Vows that are often abandoned before the first snowfall, the first sub-zero day, the first time you wander past Sarabeth’s in Chelsea Market and smell those delicious sticky buns wafting out of the oven.
But any reader of my pieces here knows what a sucker I am for mindless forms of tradition, so what the hell. What’s MY resolution for NYCFC this year? Not, “What do I hope they resolve to do.” But instead, what great sacrifice am I willing to make for NYCFC, for the good of the team, the league, mankind and, most importantly, myself.
I’ve thought long and hard about this – not that that usually matters – and here’s what I’ve decided my personal, 100% guaranteed 2016 version New Year’s resolution for NYCFC:
I resolve to give Patrick Vieira the benefit of the doubt.
I know. What a guy, right? I feel better about myself already.
I hereby resolve, and you are all witnesses, to not be one of the many – and you know who you are – who will berate, harangue, and generally call for the ouster of NYCFC’s new coach Patrick Vieira.
Don’t get me wrong – it would be easy to complain about Vieira. He’s never coached in MLS. He never played in MLS. He’s never coached a league side. He was brought in under circumstances that, for a New York Sports fan, seemed odd, clandestine and circumspect. He was brought in in a manner that added more fuel to the argument that our beloved club is, at best, a feeder squad for our Mancunian overlords, and at, worst, a mere flyspeck on their global soccer windscreen.
And it would also be easy to complain about Vieira because I actually liked Jason Kreis. Maybe it’s just a Midwestern thing, but I liked his calm, I liked his thinking, I liked how he admitted when mistakes were made, I even liked it when sometimes we members of the press would ask him a question and he would say “I’m not answering that”. Yes, I was a Kreis supporter, and I stood in the stands of MLS stadia and in bars across the tri-state area all season long, trying to explain to my irate and inebriated brethren that it was not Kreis’s fault that Lampard wasn’t here yet, or that Taylor tore up his leg, or that Pirlo was not the central defender we needed, or that the pitch around homeplate had about as much traction as the boardwalk down the shore.
So it would be easy to go after our new coach. And so, in order to hold fast to my resolution and not give in to temptation, I shall fortify myself with some salient facts.
Like that we only have to look across the river to our crimson brothers to see an example of a coaching change that the faithful thought would be an absolute unmitigated disaster – that turned out to, well, NOT be. I mean, who among you thought RBNY would win the East? I know I didn’t. I expected them to finish seventh, well behind our boys in blue (which, unfortunately, I said in print. Oh well…)
So I’ll just keep telling myself that Vieira has a plan to revolutionize our team just as Ali Curtis and Jesse Marsch did theirs.
It could be true, you know, There is a Bronx precedent. Remember how close Buck Showalter got with the Yankees before the Boss (not Springsteen, the other one. The one from Cleveland. The one with the boats) squeezed him out and brought in Joe Torre? All the screaming. All the hollering. And then all the rings in fast succession from a team he and Gene Michael built.
So, you know, this could be like that.
And I’ll hold my tongue because, hey, he’s Patrick Vieira. He’s from Senegal, and I love Senegal (I actually do, much to everyone’s utter confusion). And everyone says he’s a really great guy. That he’s known for his leadership and motivational skills . And he won a World Cup! And he’s a freaking Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur! So he MUST know what he’s doing, right? (on the other hand, Jerry Lewis is also a Chevalier, so, you know…).
But even if all those reasons weren’t enough for my resolution, here’s the only one I really need: I’m not an asshole. I WANT him to succeed. I WANT our team to win. (I am reminded of a comment by Uncle Junior on this, but I’ll let that go).
So I resolve to give Patrick Vieira the benefit of the doubt. For how long? Well, at least until the first snowfall…