On Tuesday, the Fire distributed a letter that owner Andrew Hauptman wrote to fans of the club. The letter, which ran a relatively short 293 words, was sort of Hauptman's wrap on the season. It details how he felt after the Real Salt Lake game and reminds fans that the club is already working hard to bring a championship back to Chicago next season.
Here is the end of Hauptman's letter. It goes into what he specifically had to say about 2010:
Looking ahead, I can share without hesitation that we remain as focused
as ever on winning an MLS Cup championship. While our players will now
get some well-deserved time off, the rest of the Fire organization is
already working tirelessly to prepare for 2010.
I'm confident that next season will prove to be one of the Fire's best yet -- both on and off the pitch.
Thank you again for your support and I look forward to seeing
you Opening Night on April 10, 2010 when we kick off the home portion
of the 2010 schedule against the San Jose Earthquakes. Go Fire!
The above part of the letter is what I have a problem with - and is why I'm writing this post. Why? Well, if this offseason plays out like anything we expect it to (i.e. with the Fire unable to retain Blanco, Rolfe, Prideaux, Segares, Conde and possibly McBride, Brown and Pappa) than in no way the season will "be one of the Fire's best yet" - at least on the field that is.
So to me, it looks like Hauptman is kind of sugarcoating the 2010 situation (full disclosure: I originally wrote Hauptman is kind of "hiding the truth" from his fan base, I thought that was a bit harsh so I switched it up) - and that's something that I'm not a huge fan of. Sure, I understand that he is trying to be a salesman for the club. After all he's the one putting millions of dollars into it and he has more than every right to try and earn a little return on his investment.
However, I think it would say a lot about the club if Andrew would have been more honest and transparent of what next year could be like for the club. I think he should have addressed this offseason and talked about what he wants to see happen for the Fire before the 2010 season begins. Maybe something like this...
Looking ahead, I can share without hesitation that we remain as focused as ever on winning an MLS Cup championship. I can also say that next year will bring a lot of new faces to the team. But I can assure you, that despite the departure of some big names in Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Chris Rolfe, the front office is working around the clock to bring in other players who not only meet, but go above and beyond their caliber.
We're all looking forward to 2010 and even though the team will be losing some key players this offseason, it's incredibly important to me that there isn't any drop off in on-the-field product. I know that if one thing is important to the fans, it's winning and I promise you that the same is true of me. I want to make the Fire the best club in MLS and we'll be working hard throughout the offseason and into the regular season to ensure that we're on the right track towards achieving that goal.
Thank you again for your support and I look forward to seeing you Opening Night on April 10, 2010 when we kick off the home portion of the 2010 schedule against the San Jose Earthquakes. Go Fire!
-My edit of Hauptman's letter
I find that to be far more transparent than Hauptman's original letter and thus far more respectful to the fan base. The front office has to assume that the fans know what is going on with the club this offseason and being transparent (like the letter directly above) is something that would gain much more of my respect than speaking in vague terms like the letter that was sent out did.
That's just my two cents though. I wanted to post this so I could give the opportunity for you guys - the people who determine whether or not Hauptman makes a profit - to have your say about the letter (and what you think the Fire needs to do to bring you back to Bridgeview next year). Hopefully the team will read this and who knows - they might even take a suggestion or two into account.
All of that said, it's still nice to see that Hauptman is making efforts to communicate with the fans. I've been told that he's been out to Section 8 tailgates/met with them and actually sitting down with the fans and taking the time and effort to do that is a lot more than most owners can say -- and is commendable in itself.