The Philadelphia Union have missed the playoffs. Again.
In the club's five years, they have only made the playoffs once, back in 2011. They are on their third manager and have made a series of bizarre decisions that have left their fans on a spectrum ranging from befuddled to irate. And CEO Nick Sakiewicz wants the fans and the media to know that it is not his fault.
Sakiewicz: "It seems like many in the media believe I scout, recruit and choose all the players. Nothing could be further from the truth."— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) October 20, 2014
Sakiewicz: "I have not signed or traded a single Union player in the history of our club. ... I'm not a general manager."— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) October 20, 2014
Now, several reporters covering the Union have said otherwise, that Sakiewicz certainly has a say in player personnel decisions, but for a moment, let's assume he is being truthful in claiming he doesn't have anything to do with assembling the roster. Why is Sakiewicz pointing fingers?
Sakiewicz's comments serve only himself and to cover his own behind, at least theoretically. The finger pointing will likely only lead fans to look closer at the man in charge of the club and wonder what type of leadership he provides, but more than that, it is throwing the staff under the bus. He's asking the media and the fans to go after technical director Chris Albright and manager Jim Curtin, to harass them with questions about why the team isn't doing better. That isn't a healthy work environment and doesn't set up Albright and Curtin well to turn the team around.
Sakiewicz got the job in Philadelphia without a sterling resume. He built decent teams in Tampa Bay and New York before joining the Union, but his teams never played for an MLS Cup, let alone won one. He doesn't have a full trophy case to point to in a plea for patience. His team needs to win, or at least show signs of progress, and instead he is pointing fingers at his technical director and manager.
Keep in mind that Sakiewicz first hired Piotr Nowak as the Union's manager, only to fire him after a slew of losses, claims that he treated players terribly and a lawsuit alleging that he may have improperly profited from player transactions. He was replaced by John Hackworth, who won just 35 percent of his matches before getting the boot.
And after all this Sakiewicz wants to place the blame on Albright and Curtin, who only got their jobs this year.
Maybe Sakiewicz really doesn't have a say in player personnel decisions, but he is the CEO, speaks freely about the team and has never shied away from positioning himself as a club leader. He has a role on the soccer side, whether he is scouting and selecting players or not.
He certainly helps pick the technical directors and managers and, to this point, there isn't much for Sakiewicz to brag about in that department. His finger pointing doesn't make him look like much of a leader either, nor does his experience count for much when he seems surprised that he is getting blame for the club's struggles.
The Union fans are pissed off, and rightly so. Maybe it's not all Sakiewicz's fault, but some of it certainly is, and his actions aren't doing much to garner the benefit of the doubt because, right now, he looks somewhere between incompetent and deluded.