Before he was released last week, Adrian Cann represented one of only a few players still with the club from the Mo Johnston days.
A minor miracle given how much turnover and turmoil the club has seen in its short existence. He missed a major chunk of 2011 due to an ACL injury but, outside of Stefan Frei, he remained one of the longest serving Reds in uniform at year end.
He has seen a lot and been through a lot. And before he heads down south (for warmer weather mostly) to continue his training, Cann spoke to CSN about his thoughts on Mariner, his time in Toronto and what he thinks the team needs to do to win.
On getting released:
The writing was on the wall a couple months prior to the season ending. His (Paul Mariner's) decisions to leave me on the bench pretty much spelled out I wasn't in the plans.
To be quite honest I'm not sure what to make of him. I can't recall speaking with the guy once to be quite frank. I always have a good relationship with coaches. I always like speaking with them. But for some odd reason Paul and myself didn't converse whatsoever. Even with the players coaches meeting, I was supposed to be meeting with him to discuss the season and how things went and we had one scheduled. But when it came to the day, I was told that he had booked a flight to UK and wouldn't be available to speak with me. ... I have my character. He has his. I don't want to put myself in hot water but I know that when you're arranging player-coach meetings and you don't show up, somethings not right.
How did the other players react to him?
The guys that were in the regular 11 were more close to him but the guys who just filled in the space and came on off the bench we're pushed to the side.
On Aron Winter
Class. He was very approachable. I could sit down and talk with the guy and I could tell him what I feel. And he would tell me what he feels as it pertains to soccer.
On if Canadians get a fair chance in MLS
I would say I think the Canadians that are with Canadian clubs get a fair shake, but in regards to chances Canadians get with clubs around the rest of the league: well, I think you can look at it and realize that there are only three other teams that employ Canadians. ... Part of it is due to the Canadians who attend University in Canada don't get the same exposure as the others do in the States. When you attend schools in the States, it's not just the MLS Draft, there is an overall higher profile. Having the academies could change that down the line but for now it doesn't seem slanted in our favour.
On some contract weirdness in his first year with Toronto
Barry MacLean was an agent representing a number of players at that time for Toronto. I didn't have an agent representing me. What I intended to do was, instead of putting down an agent that doesn't represent me, I wanted to put down someone who would give me advice, like my father. But at that time around Toronto (for guys without agents), it wasn't like that. It was either his (MacLean) name or no contract. ... I wasn't comfortable with that. He wasn't entitled to get any percentage, first and foremost. ... I think the contract stated he was to get 10 per cent. 10 per cent would be probably normal if you had a really quality agent but if (an agent) isn't really that great, an agent would get 6 per cent. ... Eventually it got worked out though and I'm happy now with the agent I have now in Sanford (Carabin).
On why Toronto FC struggles to win
The organization was great. The set up and everything. The facilities, they speak for themselves. At times though, off field issues and the drama behind the scenes maybe affected the on field performances. ... The frequent coaching changes, the mid-season change in tactics. Players get confused by those types of things. And when you throw in things like player changes too - a lot came through - it's hard to win in that environment. ... In order for an organization to excel and make playoff runs, speaking from my own opinion, they need to create some kind of camaraderie amongst the players. When players come and go you can't really build that bond. ... They have everything though. Multi-million dollar facilities. The right machines, the right eating plans, the right trainers but the thing they're lacking the most is a style of football that they need to stick with and build upon. That's the key ingredient for a successful organization in my view.
On if he's thinking about retirement:
Not at all. At this present time, just as long as my body feels good, I'm going to find a place to play. My knee feels great. I felt game shape to end the year last year. I don't know much about all the MLS stuff with Re-Entry Draft and such - this is a new experience for me - but my bags are packed and I'm ready to go wherever.
CSN has reached out to MacLean for response to Adrian Cann's comments. CSN will publish one if any arrives