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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Gary Smith A Rare Decorated English Manager

Written by on February 17, 2012 | 13 Comments »
Posted in Cup Competitions, England

“Stevenage have appointed former Arsenal scout Gary Smith as their new manager.” – The opening to a BBC story posted on their website on January 25th, 2012.   

 The next line of the article noted that Smith had coaching experience with the Colorado Rapids of MLS but you needed to hang in until a third of the way through the story before you were told that the Rapids, under Smith, actually won the MLS Cup in 2010.

In ranking Smith’s time at Arsenal as a scout above managerial experience in Major League Soccer the news story encapsulates an attitude that is still very prevalent in the UK, and in particular England, towards MLS.

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13 responses to “Gary Smith A Rare Decorated English Manager”

  1. Al Harris says:

    I noticed the Arsenal scout comment too, Bobby. I was actually not a fan of Smith’s coaching or the style his team played, but the way the story was phrased reminded us, if we ever forgot, that England is on an island. LOL I can just see the reaction if SAF came over to MLS to coach and was described in the first paragraph as well known thoroughbred owner and wine fancier. Priceless!

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    In all reality, is the MLS a league at all?
    I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs, but doesn’t the league itself own all the player contracts and not the teams?
    I also understand that league wanting or even needing the Galaxy and the Red Bulls to be dominant. It’s clear that all “known”, I won’t say still great, foreign talent is headed there. How is that fair to the other squads? It takes time for history to take place.
    Someone like myself who completely dismisses the league, actually took a peak at the final due to the Galaxy. To this day, I’m not sure if the Galaxy had won its first title or third?
    The PR departments are awful, as is the coverage.
    Let me add that FSC has gotten better this season. It actually looks as if the studio wasn’t set up in someone’s garage, but you could still tell a world of difference between when ESPN does a EPL broadctast. The story lines and production value before the matches is so much better.
    The league needs to learn to be a real league and treat itself as such, if they expect people to fully embrace it. I am a futebol fan, but I haven’t found anything that has really made me look and stay with the MLS.
    Let me add that I fee futebol is huge in this country. People are able to follow all the big leagues abroad and that actually hurts the MLS. Why settle for mediocrity when you can watch the best.

  3. Carmelo Gabriele says:

    BTW to ED Gomes…
    comparing ESPN to FSC is like making a comparison between the resources, staff, power, backing & clout of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team and (hypothetical) YOU racing your Subaru WRZ STi at the local rally event….
    The biggest flaw with ESPN the last 10 years that they went from a maverick radio station trying to unearth new talent & being cool to the insiders to bubble gum pop Top 40 hits radio station…. they cater to the masses, no doubt about it, it makes $ and it attracts advertising $ from every direction.
    Additionally I can’t stand the MLS, mind you, I was born in Palermo, Sicily and grew up watching the great Napoli, Juve Milan & Inter sides that establish Serie A but I have to admit MLS as come a long way the last 5-6 years… the main thing here in the USA they have to be able to be sustainable, and I think they have done a very nice job. Now, get rid of the stupid superdraft, and the playoffs and I’ll start watching…

  4. Ed Gomes says:

    FSC is part of Fox, which has a ton of money.
    Some of this illy mistakes, like putting up the wrong graphic and not acknowledging it, just shouldn’t be happening on a regular basis.

    But this is about the MLS and not necessarily tv.

    Wouldn’t the league be more recognizable if it became more of a sellers league instead of importing old dried up talent.
    By sellers league, I mean of young central and south American along with US talent.
    I just read that Leverkusen wouldn’t mind releasing Ballack. How long before the MLS drops to its knees to sign this guy.
    Remember that he’s the one that said he wasn’t interested in the MLS since he wasn’t ready to retire. I’m thinking he might be ready now.
    The MLS should run away from this guy.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    I just saw that Harry mentioned in an interview that he hasn’t been contacted by the FA. LOL.
    Shouldn’t he have answered that it didn’t matter due to his commitment at Spurs?
    This guy will jump ship as fast as he can, if the offer is high enough.

    I know this isn’t in regards to the CL, but I read the following which I found amusing;

  6. RobN says:


    Trying not to be too defensive here, but you shouldn’t state that you don’t know all the ins and outs and then go on to state an opinion (MLS is mediocre) that, to be well informed, would require you to know more of the ins and outs than you claim to know. If I take you at your word your game watching experience consists of ‘taking a peak’ at last years finals but otherwise ‘completely dismisses the league’. I’m afraid that is no road to expertise or understanding ans likely won’t help you find something in the league to catch and keep your interest either. I realize that you have possibly watched a lot more of MLS and are perhaps better informed than you have represented in your comment, so take my acknowledgement that my comments also have assumptions.

    On another note, what has caught and held my interest in MLS (and I regularly follow a number of European leagues as well) is its significant contribution to the profile of the sport in North America, the increase of domestic games on TV, the increase in mainstream media coverage, TV shows and blogs dedicated to soccer, the increase in investment in facilities and (especially) academies, and finally the increase in the level of play on the field. There is quite a groundswell of interest in North America and much of this is being driven by MLS.

    In other words, take another look at MLS … you might find something to enjoy.

  7. I would just like to add that in my experience MLS head office and the Media departments of each MLS teams are outstanding. They will bend over backwards to get you information.

  8. John Bladen says:

    Ed, MLS isn’t the EPL or La Liga and will likely never be.

    You’ve actually got the DP signing process a bit backwards… the league doesn’t allocate DP’s to the teams, the teams come to the league with a guy they want to sign and register the contract (much like any other league, really).

    The reason NY & LA have more than other teams is that they think they need them to attract media attention in their (crowded) marketplaces, and that they can afford them.

    If I remember the present rule correctly, any team can have up to three DP’s (the third slot has to be “purchased”, all teams are allotted two places for DP signings, though not all use them).

    The DP rule has been in place since 2006, I believe. If I remember correctly, only one team with a DP has ever won the MLS cup… so it’s hardly the unfair advantage you suggest. Football being a team game, it’s generally better for a manager to spread the cash across the squad than overpay one or two players. Having said that, the DP system does allow clubs to artificially increase their salary cap limit in ways that clubs who don’t use DP’s can’t.

    BTW, MLS has sold quite a number of players to European leagues over the last ten years. It isn’t a talent factory, obviously, but several players have gone over and done well.

  9. J Rob says:

    Not on topic but how many saves did the Sunderland goalie have to make today? Arsenal now have Spurs,Liverpool,Newcastle and Everton in their next four EPL games. Outside of the top 2 hard to think of a tougher sequence of games presently. Challenged.

    Bobby – hope you feel better.

  10. Maybe a couple and that is about. No “distractions” but the other side of the four games only has Manchester City and Chelsea at Emirates.
    I think one of the saving graces for all four teams fighting for fourth is that points are being dropped all over the place.

  11. J Rob says:

    We always look forward to a salivating climax at the end of the season and are usually disappointed. This season should be different.

    I feel genuinely sorry for Arsenal fans. The worst comment I can make about the team today was that for the most part you wouldn’t know they were playing in a cup-tie. Also in a competition that represented their last chance of silverware. With Man City and Man Utd they had a realistic chance to get to the final.

    Is there a better crosser of the ball in the EPL than Seb Larsson? As a Liverpool fan he would have cost about a third of either Downing or Henderson and would have provided a far more reliable ball to Andy Carroll.

    Well done to Martin O’Neill. Think I said before their replay with ‘Boro that would be worth a punt for the Cup. In the EPL it will be interesting to see if trips to the Stadium of Light prove vital for other teams. Liverpool play their March 10, Spurs on April 7 and wait for it, Man Utd on the last day of the season.

  12. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I was happy to hear that the MLS office is so accommodating. But what type of reach out programs do they have to the communities themselves?
    Maybe it’s because I’m in the Tri State area and there’s so much else going on that the Red Bulls are an afterthought. But the fact remains that there’s nothing in terms of tryin to get fans to the game. Maybe attendance is better than I think, but I have to admit that I would never even know there was a game unless I went looking for it. The MLS is just not established enough to be afforded that luxury. Even in a state where futebol is followed and played a lot.
    I actually feel that their marketing of the game has to be much better. Sometimes things seem to be done as an afterthought and haphazardly.

    Yes futebol is now much more prevalent in US broadcasting, but I feel that has more to do with ESPN and not MLS. ESPN owns the rights to futebol overseas, and they have come to realize how much it’s followed by Americans. There is a huge financial opportunity for advertisers and networks themselves to capture that market. For me, the MLS is just riding that wave, instead of being out in front of it.

    Maybe I’m being harsh, but please I’m not faulting MLS’s quality of play. It’s still very much a growing league that I’m sure has gotten much better. But for me the fact remains that the MLS has done nothing to trumpet that fact.

  13. Ed Gomes says:

    Let be trumpet a American playing abroad that I’m sure hasn’t been looked at at all.
    Tony Taylor, whose a 22 year old forward, is currently playing for Estoril Praia who is currently leading Portugal’s 2nd division.
    He’s played in 13 of the teams 19 matches and has 3 goals.
    In 2009 he played for Miami FC, who I believe are currently the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (?).
    Estoril is poised for promotion and it will be interesting to see them in the SuperLiga.

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