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Ali Curtis says NYRB managerial change not about firing Petke, but hiring Marsch


Marsch will lead a new era at Red Bull Arena.

A conference call with new NYRB sporting director Ali Curtis today saw the Red Bulls GM answer some questions about Mike Petke’s firing and Jesse Marsch’s hiring, but he dodged plenty of others.

After two incredibly successful seasons at the helm of New York Red Bulls, Mike Petke was fired with little explanation today, and in his place was put Jesse Marsch, former inaugural head coach of the Montreal Impact. Now, Curtis has put the responsibility on himself.

“This wasn’t about getting rid of Mike, this was about bringing in Jesse,” Curtis clarified. “It was a very difficult decision [to fire Petke]. At the end of the day, it was my decision, I own it.”

Unfortunately, we may have our first muddy situation of the Jesse Marsch era. If Curtis claims it wasn’t about firing Petke, but was about hiring Marsch, then why did this happen?

“New York inquired as to the availability of Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter, and even discussed the job with LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena before offering Marsch the job.” -ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, per a source

There are plenty of unanswered questions, but if we read between the lines a little, we can see some of what is going on.

“We believe in a new approach,” Curtis said. “We have a commitment to excellence, and the fans will appreciate that, we hope.”

“A new approach” coupled with the Jeff Carlisle report from earlier seems to indicate an “anyone but Petke” stance much more than it does a “let’s get Marsch” stance from management in New York...which is odd considering Petke won the club its first Supporter’s Shield, brought them an Eastern Conference finals appearance, and compiled a 30-19-19 record in two seasons.

Curtis was asked during the conference call about whether the decision came from higher up than Curtis’s position, meaning if the decision was handed down from the Red Bull headquarters in Austria. While he dodged the question at that time, we got a glimpse later.

When asked how long ago this process was started, Curtis confirmed he made contact with Marsch about 10 days to two weeks ago. The kicker: Curtis was hired 15 days ago. While that doesn’t tell us if this came from ownership or not, there’s a definite feeling of change surrounding this club right now. And while it’s probably not fair to NYRB, the situation across town with Frank Lampard and the deceit that went along with it doesn’t help fans buy into what management here are saying if it sounds even a little fishy.

Other highlights from the conference call:

Marsch on the club situation: “I’m not here to change everything. A lot of the work over the last five years has been good.”

Marsch on transfer philosophy with a DP spot open: “I wants to bring in players that fit the club’s style of play.”

Neither party would discuss the contract length, with Marsh just saying he “hopes to be here for 5-10 years.”

Curtis dodged a question about potential DP signings, saying: “We want to bring players in that fit who we are as a club, and resonate with the fans and coaching staff.”

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