Waking the Red presented by Footy talks is officially one year old, and this week’s show really did feel like a celebration.
Not just because of an opening montage that featured the dramatic journey of Jeff’s lockdown beard, but also because of the much needed good news that could lay in store for beleaguered TFC fans.
First up – what about the rumours of a return to the fortress on the Lakeshore as early as this weekend?
Michael Singh: “One that’s going around is that MLSE has reached out to their employees to re-hire for BMO field – which by the way is absolutely true.
But they need to do that regardless of whether they get the green light or not. You can’t wait until Thursday and then say – oh guys, by the way, can you all work this Saturday?
No, you have to be prepared in advance to do that. So it’s still a question mark. They haven’t been given a yes and they haven’t been given a no – as Steve Buffery reported.
What I will add is that the longer that this goes on, the less likely it is for TFC to get that green light to play at BMO Field this saturday – with or without fans.
Here’s what I’ll add as well. Playing with fans – that’s not an issue. Getting fans in the stadium – that’s also not an issue right now. They have the logistics down pat as to how they’d welcome fans back. If TFC gets the green light they will be playing in front of fans (unless they receive notice too late, then they may be left playing in an empty stadium).
The issue right now is getting that border approval – for players specifically. Obviously the biggest question mark is players who aren’t vaccinated and staff who aren’t vaccinated – getting that green light for them to come across the border with the quarantine period, right?
So I know they’re trying to have a couple of workarounds. I know that Hotel X is an option. I know they’re looking at some bubble options. But at the end of the day, they have not been given the green light yet.”
Bill Manning is very optimistic, and that could be a PR thing – putting pressure on the government by getting some public interest behind them. But that decision still hasn’t been made.
Next up is the return of the prodigal son. Giving his first interview in almost a year TFC legend Jozy Altidore put his diplomacy skills to good use in a ‘tell-a-little’ (as opposed to a tell-all) press conference with journalists earlier this week.
We didn’t learn a great deal about the Chris Armas fall out, but we did learn that Jozy is back in the mix – for now at least:
Mitchell Tierney: “It’s rare for him to talk to the media but we got to talk to him this weekend. He had a lot of things to say – and a lot of things he didn’t say as well.
He said that Bill Manning reached out to him a couple of weeks ago to ask him if he wanted to come back to the group. He also spoke to Javier Perez shortly after the coaching change.
We’ve talked about a lot of press conferences on this show recently – a lot of bad Toronto FC press conferences. I thought this was maybe one of the most important and best ones we’ve had in a long time because look, Jozy was really for the team in this press conference.
Again it’s what he didn’t say that was incredibly important. He batted away questions. It was a master class I think, and an important step – both in terms of how the season’s going to continue and what role Jozy might play in that.
So after a period in their history to forget, after playing away from home for more than a year, after having to play without their DPs, without their home stadium AND without their fans, could the return of Jozy Altidore represent the shift that fans have been desperate for?
Could his return become a catalyst that sees TFC finally getting back to business?
Michael: “It’s still a question mark as to whether we’ll see Jozy Altidore on Saturday. This is a guy who hasn’t played in any matches for almost two months now. He’s been “training” on his own.
He wants to play in Saturday’s match. But he admitted himself that he’ll take a few weeks to get going. So if he does play on Saturday it’ll likely be a cameo appearance off the bench.
But let’s say hypothetically, if that game happens at BMO Field, imagine Jozy Altidore in the 75th minute, standing on the touchline, you see the green number 17 go up there on the fourth official’s board, potentially in front of 15,000 fans.
The ovation that Altidore would get. Even thinking about it gives me goosebumps…
Except for Jeff of course – who’d be booing because Patrick Mullins is being taken off.
For everything TFC – check out the full episode of this week’s Waking the Red Weekly now, also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify! Kindly like, rate, and subscribe!