May 15, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT
Seems like New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe is always “in season.” Seems like the bows, arrows, laterns and pitchforks are always handy where that guy is concerned.
I realize that some of the Swedish manager’s quirky choices make him a slow-moving target for critics wishing to plunk him with their poison pellets.
But the facts say something different. And from the day Backe managed his first match at Red Bull Arena, the team’s structure and organization on the field immediately looked night-and-day different, an improvement what most managers had delivered previously to the highest profile MLS market.
Long story short, Backe has done what so few have before him: established a winning record at a place that, statistically speaking, it’s been darn hard to do.
Past New York managers (with year, record and winning percentage):
Eddie Firmani (1996) 3-5-0 .375
Carlos Queiroz (1996) 12-12 .500
Carlos Alberto Parreira (1997) 13-19 .406
Alfonso Mondelo (1998) 14-17 .452
Bora Milutinović (1998–99) 8-25 .242
Octavio Zambrano (2000–02) 41-37-8 .523
Bob Bradley (2003–05) 32-31-26 .506
Mo Johnston (2005–06) 4-3-8 .533
Bruce Arena (2006–07) 16-16-10 .500
Juan Carlos Osorio (2008–09) 10-11-9 .483
Hans Backe (2010-precent) 32-20-23 .580
In this case the raw data speaks volumes. Backe’s record of 32-20-23 is easily tops among all head coaches. No one else comes close to his .580 winning percentage. (I didn’t include Richie Williams on the list because he was always “interim” head coach, although his record was ultimately a good one.)
Backe’s records have been fairly consistent, too. He was 15-9-6 in 2010 and 10-8-16 last year. This year’s mark (7-3-1) is probably the man’s best work yet, considering the destabilizing effect of injuries tantalizing drama around Red Bull Arena.
Now contrast that shiny record to sentiment that has largely rained on his reign: considering last year’s second-round playoff exit and this year’s sluggish start (one that wasn’t all that bad if you really study the results), perhaps no manager was under as much pressure in late March.
Yes, Backe has the second highest payroll in MLS. But that doesn’t always mean much. Just look at what the top payroll in MLS gets you in 2012: Seventh place in the West, so far.
But if we’re honest, New York always had a leg up in personnel, going back to the early years. That means all those other managers had a head start in terms of talent. And yet, look at those records.
For whatever reason, New York has always been a tough place to earn results.
This is a new day around the franchise; that fancy building certainly helps. Still, Backe must be doing something right. So, remember that next time the laterns and pitchforks come out, as they invariably do.
Because some of those other names on the Red Bulls-exes list, they’re still out there and available.
Oct 22, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
NYCFC’s first Designated Player will be returning to the United States to fulfill commercial and marketing obligations, and it’s unclear whether he will make his way back to Australia to finish out his loan.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT
Now that he’s back from a hernia problem, the American told Stoke’s YouTube channel that he is no longer a right-back and the club is aware of where he wants to play.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Rog and Davo gain whiplash from QPR-Liverpool, and the Jurgen Klinsmann-Don Garber saga.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT
After 10 years with the club, Gourlay has stepped down.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
The MLS side was eliminated from group stage play on an away goals tiebreaker as Honduran side Olimpia goes through.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:42 AM EDT
Norwich striker Cameron Jerome complained to Mark Clattenburg that a Leeds player was racially abusing him, and the matter is being investigated.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:46 AM EDT
Arsenal’s energetic German winger loves the club, but admitted he can’t sit on the bench forever.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT
“On behalf of the club, I would like to apologise to the QPR supporters for the embarrassment this has caused,” Fernandes wrote.
Oct 21, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Who scored the best goal in Tuesday’s Champions League action?
Oct 21, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
Oct 21, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
One hopes Agudelo’s story will resonate with Jurgen Klinsmann.
Oct 21, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
“It might be something I regret down the line for not challenging myself,” said Gerrard.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:50 PM EDT
The players will shell out over $90,000 to cover the cost of the traveling fans.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT
40 goals were scored in eight games on Tuesday, as Groups E-H exploded into life.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
A sensational ending to a sensational performance by Hazard and Chelsea as a whole.
Oct 21, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT
When Bayern Munich are firing on all cylinders, they are scary, scary sight.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT
Unlucky for Maribor. Comfortable for Chelsea.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT
Groups E-H are in action on Wednesday in Europe as eight games take place, and there are some gaudy score lines after just 45 minutes.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:36 PM EDT
It’s an absolute shellacking going into half-time with Bayern giving a masterclass display in Roma.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
It’s the right move for Philly, especially given the man management shown by Curtin.
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