[MLS]John Guppy, who served as the Fire's president and general manager for four years,became the second MLS club boss to depart in three days when he left the Fire on Friday. Red Bull New York managing director Marc de Grandpre resigned on Wednesday.
Guppy's departure was not unexpected. He had brought in by AEG from the MetroStars to replace popular Peter Wilt, but his days appeared to be numbered following last year's sale of the club to Andrew Hauptman.
Guppy fired Dave Sarachan in the middle of the 2007 season and reportedly pushed to hire Houston assistant John Spencerafter Sarachan's replacement, Juan Carlos Osorio, bolted Chicago for the Red Bulls, but Hauptman settled on long-time assistant Denis Hamlett as head coach for the 2008 season.
The appearance of ex-Chivas USA executive Javier Leon -- recently named Andell Sports Group managing director -- and Guppy's absence at a recent Hauptman media event signaled a change was in the works. Leon will serve as the Fire's interim president and GM.
"John's professionalism and dedication has been valued and appreciated by the Fire organization for the past four years," said Hauptman, "but I believe it is in the team's best interests to go in a new direction with its senior leadership and management. We are very focused on raising the level of play on the field as well as building a world-class sports enterprise. I am confident that Javier will do a great job managing the organization on an interim basis. Our plan is to begin a comprehensive search for a new president as quickly as possible."
Guppy, who originally came to the USA from England to play college soccer, was the Fire boss during its move to Toyota Park and orchestrated the hiring of Mexican star Cuauhtemoc Blanco, one of the most important MLS signings in history.
Guppy was in Oakland for the Fire's game against San Jose when his departure was announced. The Fire's 1-0 win left it with a 2-0-1 record after three games -- the best record in MLS.