clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why Martin Rennie Is Not Totally to Blame

The move has already been made, but one 86forever writer argues that the Whitecaps may have been better off giving Rennie another year with the club.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Something had to happen. The club had missed the playoffs despite oozing talent from their roster, and fans were understandably upset. When your club improves in the off-season, you expect to build on that, and improve your record as well. While that did happen, and while the Whitecaps scored more goals and had a better record than one season ago, the club failed to make the playoffs again, and that was the end for Martin Rennie. It was a move that was widely expected to happen, as Rennie was paraded out as a sacrificial lamb to the public. Now fans that were angry with this seasons disappointments, they could finally point in unison at their scapegoat, and effectively lower the expectations for the next guy to don the blue and white tie.

I'm not saying Martin Rennie was an amazing coach, or even that he deserved to keep his job after two consecutive poor finishes to the soccer season. However, I will argue that while the club hopes to take a big step forward with this move, it will probably be more of a step back. We had a young coach (38 is a baby in most sports leagues) who was growing with a young team that has several important pieces in place. Rennie recognized the talent that lie with his young players, and while he certainly didn't play some of them enough (*cough* Kekuta Manneh *cough*), he gave Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell prime playing opportunities, and they showcased the depths of their potential on the backline.

Furthermore, can we really blame the entire season on Martin Rennie? Coaches are not responsible for injuries, which is what plagued the Whitecaps all season long. However, Rennie and the Whitecaps management stocked their cupboards with defensive depth, and managed to stumble through while still hanging onto a shot at the playoffs. Plus, this happened in an absolutely brutal Western Conference in which one win on any given week could make you plummet to 8th place, or skyrocket up to third. Rennie kept the Whitecaps competitive in that Conference amidst the chaos, and yet one year after hailing him as a 'whiz kid', the Whitecaps decided he couldn't get them to the next level. Go figure. Even though he knew this club, the room and had the respect of the players, the Whitecaps figure they can make more progress next year with a new guy. It's an opinion they're certainly allowed to have, but one that might be viewed as a knee-jerk decision, one the club is certainly used to.

In any case, what's done is done, and Rennie is out. His legacy in Vancouver won't be anything of great interest, although he did help along some of the young players and put this club in a position to contend moving forward. However, he may be remembered more for Barry Robson, or Kenny Miller if Miller leaves after this season, playing Jun-Marques Davidson far too much, trading away Alain Rochat and sitting Kekuta Manneh on the sidelines for the majority of the season. Those are weaknesses any Coach could have at any given time; a bad trade, poor player management, but apparently it was enough to axe the guy after just two seasons.

For a Coach just two years into his MLS career, this seems to me to be a mistake. However, we won't know that until this time next year.