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McAllister or no McAllister?
by Paul Kennedy, January 2nd, 2013 9:02PM

TAGS:  mls, new york red bulls, scotland


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Like the division within the Republican congressional leadership on how to handle the fiscal cliff, there appears to a division within the New York Red Bulls' management on how to fill their head coaching vacancy. Should they hire an American coach or foreign coach? If they hire a foreign coach, how much should they pay him? Those questions came to a head Wednesday with reports the Red Bulls were set to hire Scotsman Gary McAllister followed by additional reporting that the McAllister hiring won't happen -- at least not this week.

Several New York outlets have reported that there was support for the notion that the Red Bulls needed an American coach or more important, a coach familiar with MLS, a league with a salary cap and intricate player acquisition rules.

The Red Bulls' technical staff was headed by Swedish head coach Hans Backe and Norwegian general Erik Soler, whose collective ignorance of the American scene was considered an important factor in the Red Bulls' failure to advance past the conference quarterfinals the last three seasons despite having the league's highest payroll.

The Red Bulls' new leadership consists of two Frenchmen (Jerome de Bontin and Gerard Houllier) and a Scotsman (Andy Roxburgh).

Only de Bontin has a background in American soccer, as a member of U.S. Soccer's technical committee formed after the 2006 World Cup to evaluate the nation's approach to youth player development and coaching education, and as chairman of Rush Soccer.

Houllier, the head of global soccer for parent company Red Bull, is believed to support McAllister, who played for him at Liverpool, served as his assistant at Aston Villa and replaced him as manager after his hospitalization with heart problems.

A sticking point on a McAllister deal was believed to be his salary demand of more than $1 million a year.

Any number of Americans have been mentioned as names to fill the Backe vacancy or take on coaching roles with the club.

Without a coach in place, the Red Bulls have nonetheless begun their makeover, signing Brazilian midfielder Juninho and acquiring Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola from Real Salt Lake. The much-maligned Rafael Marquez is among 12 players who have left.

With two weeks to go before the MLS SuperDraft, New York and Montreal are the only clubs with no head coach signed for 2013.

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