The New York Red Bulls have announced the hiring of 57-year-old Swedish coach Hans Backe as the team's new head coach. A long-time confidant of Sven-Goran Eriksson, Backe most recently worked as head coach of English League two side Notts County, a job he quit after just seven weeks.
Richie Williams and Des McAlennen will remain with the Red Bulls as assistant coaches.
A veteran of the Scandinavian leagues, Backe has previously coached at FC Copenhagen and Aalborg BK in Denmark, as well as Swedish side Hammarby, SV Salzburg in Austria and Panathinaikos in Greece. He won four Danish titles with Copenhagen from 2000 to 2004.
Backe has worked closely with Eriksson on multiple occasions, including with Manchester City and as an assistant coach with Mexico during Eriksson's failed stint as manager of 'El Tri'.
What's the SBI take? Backe's resume is a strong one, but he also hasn't had a legitimate head coaching job in five years (unless you count the Notts County fiasco and an extremely brief spell with Panathanaikos). He has no working knowledge of MLS, which makes for a bad combination when coupled with general manager Erik Soler's limited knowledge of the league. Backe isn't the worst hire in the club's history, but the hiring can't be called a home run either.
Perhaps the most redeeming aspect of the announcement is the fact that Williams is being kept on as the team's lead assistant. As the only authority figure with any knowledge of MLS, Williams will wind up taking on a very important role in helping Backe and Soler adapt to MLS. Williams should also benefit fro working under a coach with Backe's experience, and he could also find himself in charge of the club yet again if Backe falls flat.
What do you think of the hire? Stunned? Impressed? Disappointed? Just glad the wait is over?
Share your thoughts below.