After just nine months on the job, Kevin Payne has been fired as the president and general manager of Toronto FC, according to various reports out of Toronto. Payne was hired away from D.C. United back in November with the goal of ending Toronto FC's MLS record-setting postseason drought. But 15 points behind the No. 5 team in the Eastern Conference with just eight matches left to go, a seventh-straight season without the playoffs is all but a foregone conclusion.
Although there has not yet been an official announcement from the club, Payne has told local media that he will be sticking around to help with the transition for his successor. The reports also seem to indicate that head coach Ryan Nelsen will keep his job. Assuming he can make it through the end of the season, it will mark the first time since 2007 that TFC has finished a season with the same coach as they started with.
It would appear that Nelsen's bosses felt as though Payne failed to bring in the kind of talent that would allow the team to succeed, not that the talent there was simply underperforming.
Aside from the obvious lack of results, what appears to have contributed to Payne's undoing was the failed pursuit of potential Designated Players Diego Forlan and Maxi Moralez. In the case of Forlan, Payne was apparently called back in the middle of negotiations after the Uruguayan's agent continued to shop his player to other MLS clubs.
The biggest mark against Payne, though, was probably that his new boss was not the person who hired him. Tim Leiweke was named CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns TFC, back in April after filling a similar role with AEG and the LA Galaxy.