During yesterday's press conference Union coach Peter Nowak was asked what appeared to us to be a very typical question when a player returns to play his former team for the first time, "what do you expect the atmosphere to be like" on Saturday?
Peter Nowak then asked the reporter if he was being serious or if he was joking. Twice. Then he didn't give the standard answer one might think a coach would say about his former star player.
Here's what would have made for a harmless safe response that would have probably pleased everybody: "Sebastien was a very good player for us and helped this team a lot over our first couple of seasons. He was a fan favorite while he was here because of his tireless style of play. I'm sure the fans will show their appreciation for that on Saturday. But once the game starts, they'll be 100% in support of the players wearing Union jerseys. No doubt."
But Peter Nowak's job is not to please everybody. It's to coach his soccer team.
Instead, Nowak actually got a bit terse. "Maybe confetti, maybe parade, maybe banners. I don’t know." Perhaps he was being sarcastic, but it simply didn't come across well at all.
After the press conference was over, Nowak reportedly tried to clear the air a bit. I believe he came across much better when talking with the Daily News' Kerith Gabriel.
"I am sick of this ‘face of the franchise’ crap," Nowak told Gabriel. "You know who is the
face of the franchise? Our fans who come every week to support us, the
team. They are the face of this franchise. That’s who we play for. Not
some individual player. I’m not dumb, I know fans loved [Le Toux] and
will cheer him, but at the end of the day, it’s about the team, our
team, and that’s where the focus should be."
Fair enough. Can't argue with putting the fans in the front, especially with the transient nature of the MLS.
Nowak is much more comfortable talking about the action on the field than the former player's return. Hopefully they can get a win under their belts on Saturday so we can start enjoying that talk a little bit more.
See you in Chester on Saturday? We'll be there.
[hat tip to Philly Soccer Page]