Photo by ISI Photos
Things have gotten very quiet on the Red Bulls front as far as the club’s search for a new managing director goes. Nobody is saying a thing as we wait for officials in Salzburg to annoint a new team leader now that Marc deGrandpre has left to return to his preferred field of soft drink sales.
There have been some names pulled from thin air (such as Marcelo Balboa and Tony Meola, neither of which is a candidate), and some legitimate candidates that very well could be lining up to be interviewed (such as Andrew LoFiosca, Tom Neale and Nelson Rodriguez). With team sources growing in their belief that Red Bull will hire someone already employed by the company, we are left to wonder if the club will do what it did when it hired deGrandpre, hand the keys to a pro sports franchise to someone with absolutely no experience working in pro sports.
One name not mentioned, but who I could definitely see making the move from the soccer side of things to the business side of things, is none other than current technical director Jeff Agoos. Why Agoos? Well, according to sources, Agoos has done a good job of establishing strong ties to Red Bull corporate officials and just might have built up enough cache from those relationships to be considered for the job.
When asked whether he should be considered a candidate, Agoos stated last week, "As far as I know, I’m not in the mix."
The ‘As far as I know’ is classic Agoos, always leaving the door open, never saying anything that could be described as overly definitive. Agoos is shrewd and very smart and just might see an opportunity to take on a bigger role in the organization. Team sources I have spoken to have little doubt that Agoos would be willing to make the move.
Is this an endorsement of the potential move? Not at all. If I’m Red Bull I would have hired Tom Neale, the former San Jose GM and MetroStars chief operating officer, a week ago. What I do see is Agoos being someone savvy enough and ambitious enough to make a play for the position. I can’t help but think that he feels capable of doing the job.
So why call Agoos an ‘Unusual suspect’? Agoos’ background is purely on the soccer side, with no business management experience to speak of. You might think that this would rule him out but who can ever tell what an organization is willing to try? AEG handed Alexi Lalas his first job as president of a team (and second, and third) and it can be argued that Lalas was no more qualified for that job then than Agoos is now for the Red Bulls job (okay, so maybe that example doesn’t help make Agoos’ case).
Ultimately, Red Bull does need someone with business savvy but also someone who understands the sport, the league and the New York/New Jersey market. It remains to seen whether Red Bull considers Agoos someone capable of handling the job, but don’t be surprised if Agoos changes his job title with the club for the third time in two seasons.