Stability and consistency.
That’s what Bill Manning wants to bring to Toronto FC. Manning was named club President on Monday. The highly regarded former Real Salt Lake boss was a hot commodity when his contract expired in August. Manning picked the Reds after being courted by numerous MLS teams.
“I had my eyes on Toronto for a while,” said Manning, speaking to torontofc.ca on Monday afternoon.
“Once I got a sense there was interest I had the opportunity to speak with Larry Tanenbaum and the board. Of all the teams I met with this was the best fit. This is a great opportunity.”
With the club close to their first playoff berth in franchise history, Manning is focused on building on the strong foundation that is already in place
“You want a team that competes for championships,” he continued. “In my view we really need to get consistency and more stability. I’m about creating a core and a winning culture and I believe consistency is a major ingredient in that. When I looked at TFC I felt there was a foundation there that we can build on and fine-tune and really have a team that can compete for championships. I’m excited to lead those efforts.”
During his time with RSL the club won the MLS Cup in 2009, a Western Conference title in 2013 and were CONCACAF Champions League runners-up in 2011. Manning was also the recipient of the Major League Soccer Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year award in both 2012 and 2014.
Manning credited his relationship with general manager Garth Lagerway and head coach Jason Kreis as a major reason for the club’s success. It’s something he wants to emulate at TFC with Tim Bezbatchenko and Greg Vanney.
“Tim and I had a chance to speak and I complimented him on doing a good job turning TFC around. I got to know Greg when he was with Grande Sports World where he helped establish the Real Salt Lake academy, which has turned out to be one of the best programs in MLS. I found him to be very professional, very organized and obviously his playing background speaks for itself.”
Manning sees Bezbatchenko and Vanney as vital cogs in TFC’s foundation. As club president, maintaining stability while providing everything his charges need to succeed is his primary job. Part of providing that support is maintaining a balance.
“I’ve found there needs to be separation between the President and GM,” Manning said. “While I’ll oversee the soccer operations and the business operations, Tim is going to be much more involved in player personnel. I’ll be involved from a supervisory standpoint and support standpoint. You need to provide support, guidance and tools to your GM, head coach and academy director for them to be successful.”
That’s what he learned at RSL. It’s what he also learned while working for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Rockets.
“I worked for two big organizations and had the chance to learn from good people. In my experience with MLS over time you learn the best practices.”
Some of those best practices include meeting with supporters groups on a regular basis and hearing from the fans that have stayed with this club since the beginning. That process begins when he arrives in Toronto on Friday and attends Saturday’s match against Columbus.
Stability and consistency. Two things that haven’t been a hallmark for this club since its inception. Manning’s track record indicates they will be a staple going forward.