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Red Bulls dump Backe, hire Roxburgh as sporting director

Hans Backe has coached his last game with the New York Red Bulls.

The Swedish head coach was dumped by the New York Red Bulls on Friday, less than a day after the team was ousted from the MLS playoffs in dramatic fashion. The Red Bulls announced that they would not be renewing Backe’s contract after three seasons in charge of the Red Bulls.

Backe guided the team to the playoffs in all three seasons, but the Red Bulls never won a playoff series with him in charge. The club woefully underachieved with relation to the resources spent on the team. The Red Bulls have the highest payroll in the league and never won a trophy of any consequence during Backe’s time in charge.

Mike Petke has been installed as the team’s interim head coach until a permanent coach is chosen. Sources tell SBI that Scottish boss Gary McAllister is the front-runner to ultimately replace Backe.

The Red Bulls also announced the appointment of former Scotland manager and long-time UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh as the team’s new sporting director. He will be responsible for all soccer activities at the club.

Backe joins the long list of head coaches to fail to deliver a championship to the club formerly known as the MetroStars. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Backe was dismissed given the club’s track record of firing coaches. No coach has ever lasted more than three seasons with the Red Bulls/MetroStars.

What do you think of this development? Think he did a good job, or do you think he was a terrible head coach? Who would you like to see replace Backe?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. ANDY ROXBURGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a man who announced on British Radio prior to the 1990 WC that Brazil had NOTHING to teach Scotland about football. ‘Nuf said.

  2. Looking to the _other_ football for an example… The 2012 Seattle Seahawks. They hired a coach straight out of the college system (who has a history of being a teacher coach, and not an ego manager for superstars) and he promptly began loading up through the draft. Now this team is a very tough team, with great chemistry and very high aspirations.

    I’m sure there are other teams in MLS that have taken the same route, with similar success? Still trying to figure why the Red Bulls management thinks that bringing in an ego manager and trading away youth for retreads and superstars is going to somehow, just once, produce a trophy or at least a single playoff win? Is that YOU, Dan Snyder? hehe!

    Management needs to take a LONG TERM view for a change, otherwise it is the same old same old, with nauseating predictability.

  3. They need an American (or at least MLS-knowledgeable) coach with enough experience and and big enough personality to control the locker room and stand up to the front office. Way too much division/dissension on this team.

  4. Marsch, Fraser or Steve Nicol would be a better option than whoever Redbull will choose. This “flagship” franchise will continue to flail in the wind.

  5. Seriously, after 16 years, why expect any set of changes to bring us the cup. This ownership has proven they don’t get it. repeatedly. And I’m a fan. Just have to enjoy the good games, forget the bad once and don’t expect a playoff run or the cup.

  6. I think they are on the right track with the hiring of Roxburgh and supposedly, McCallister. I think now they just need to replace all of the players with Scottish players. Then top it off by changing the name of the team to the New York Caber Tossers.

  7. I don’t think Gary McAllister is the right guy. Sure, he was a respectable pro but at the end of the day, Henry is going to treat him like a peasant. Again, they need someone who can control Henry thereby bringing unity to the locker room. The new coach needs to be as credentialed or more than Henry. Someone who can look Henry in the eye and say “I’ve done everything you’ve done so bug off.” I’m thinking someone like Michael Ballack. He obviously lacks coaching experience but he is toe to toe in professional success and has an American connection through ESPN. I’m not saying Ballack is the guy but you get the point. Finding a guy who can control Henry is not going to be easy and perhaps unachievalbe. Honestly, as crazy as this may seem, I would trade Henry away before hiring a lightweight coach. It would obviously become a more serious re-building project but we’ve seen the results with lightweight coaches. The Red Bulls cannot take this decision lightly or make it hastily.

    I also don’t think an understanding of American soccer / culture is that important. I’m not even sure I know what that means. We need someone who knows soccer and can coach it.

    • Wise words.

      I say hire someone young-ish, smart, with some kind of pedigree. Also… it would be good to hire someone with an attacking philosophy, because that’s what this league wants and needs.

      No one needs Rafa Benitez in this league.

      I’d say someone like:

      Dietmar Hamann
      Phil Brown
      Ricardo La Volpe!!!!
      Mehmet Scholl
      Roberto Baggio

      Who knows? They have the cash!

  8. Dear NYRB,

    Please hire a big name Euro coach with a Champions League pedigree.

    (who knows nothing about salary caps, allocation, American soccer or culture)


    DC United

    • That is a ridiculous comment. In his first season, he and Soler turned one of the worst teams in league history into the the champions of the Eastern Conference. Why would anyone be fired after that, American or otherwise?

      Whatever you may say about Backe (and he made some bad coaching decisions in my opinion), he has the best record of any Metrostars/Redbulls coach. I think he should get some credit for that.

  9. this team needs a identity change…they have talent now they must act like a team with unity and show cohesiveness…plus henry controls team until he leaves so please him by hiring someone that will keep him in check and find players that fits his style

  10. once again no one with knowledge of mls….this will be no different …i will continue to suffer….when are the cosmos coming into the league? i need something better…erik stover says the cosmos are a proper club….so i would like to cheer on a proper club…..

  11. NYRB absolutely NEEDS to hire the right guy to coach this team, because without consistency at that position and someone who knows about the league they will continue to FAIL. That said, start by getting rid of Marquez, the new coach is going to have to scout and pick up some decent players in the draft, and the international window.

  12. If anyone didn’t see this coming, please tell me the fantasy world you are living it, because its sounds nice.

    The handwriting was on the wall for Backe. Short of winning MLS Cup, he was on the way out. To many changes in the front office to not be needing his CV dusted off and polished up.

    I don’t think Backe did a particularly terrible job, he had lots of big egos to deal with in the dressing room. But in the end, this is a bottom line business, fail to win anything in three years (on top of the empty trophy cabinet that existed when he came in), and you will be shown the door.

    But don’t cry for Backe, the end of year coaching carousel in Europe is about to get started and Backe will likely land somewhere and soon.

  13. Dear NYRB: I hate your guts. But for the love of god, hire someone who knows MLS. The European model does not work here. MLS is weird. Either your coach or your GM has to be a MLS guy. Otherwise you’re just throwing good money after bad. Your problem is you need a coach who can handle Henry, but you already hired a euro Technical Director. So basically you’re screwed. Maybe Bruce Arena will come back?

    • I can’t stand RBNY but the new GM, Jerome de Bontin, has had success in the US as a businessman, was educated here, sat (or still sits) on the broad of directors for USSF, and has been heavily involved at AS Monaco. He’s not oblivious to the weird workings of MLS and US Soccer. In fact, he’s pretty in-tuned and I think, as much as I don’t like it, a pretty savvy hire by RBNY. He’s no dummy or just a Euro guy.

      • Yeah de Bontin is sharp. But then he took Fredy Adu while he was at Monaco, so there’s that. He has no connection to mls. He’s a banker. (Drexel, agricol, etc) Monaco achieved no notable success under his leadership. He has a USSF license, but has he ever coached anyone? He’s a rich dilettante. The exact person I’d expect an Austrian company to hire to run a US soccer club. I guess the coach will show where they’re going. MLS rules are arcane, you need to be steeped in them to succeed. We’ll see.

  14. While I am a Union fan and love to watch the Red Bulls underachieve, I’m happy for them. Their fan base deserves a better coach.


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