Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So long, farewell
Aufweidersen, Adieu. Adios. Since I've been out golfing today, I hadn't read about Abel Xavier's farewell tour of spite on Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit in particular and the organization in general.
Here's a sampling of it.
Though it amuses me that Xavier is clearly venting, and to more than one press outlet, I'm not really surprised. It happens when players leave who don't want to go and don't have the discipline (or perhaps the incentive) to be professional about it.
Last season, Santino Quaranta left the Galaxy in a fit of pique, complaining to media that the Galaxy locker room was a mess, that Yallop hadn't wanted to trade him, that Lalas and Yallop weren't speaking. Turns out that Quaranta had his own demons to contend with at the time. He certainly wasn't playing his best soccer in those days, and neither has Xavier lately.
I'm not saying the Galaxy locker room didn't have problems then and doesn't have them now. Every locker room has issues, frankly. Some more than others, of course.
As a journalist, I liked Xavier being outspoken. Yet he avoided taking responsibility for his failings on the field. He'd say the entire team was to blame ("The responsibility to defend is on the entire team."), the ref, whatever. He believed in expressing his opinions and he had a lot of them. I remember once when Xavier was upset about a game and talking on and on about the officiating to the assembled press. The locker room emptied out of other players, but Xavier was still detailing his issues. Landon Donovan walked by and remarked dryly, "And that's the short version." I think he was kidding, but there's an element of truth behind those jokes.
Some coaches can calm emotional players down. Some don't tolerate things that distract the team.
It's pretty clear where Ruud Gullit falls. The question now is - did Gullit err in the move to get rid of Xavier? Opine here if you like.