From the Pigeon Loft: An open letter to Bobby Lenarduzzi

From the Pigeon Loft: An open letter to Bobby Lenarduzzi

Dear Bobby:

Maybe you know me by name, maybe not. We’ve met a couple of times over the years. I’ve been a season ticket holder and a Southsider since 2011. I was a frequent match goer since 2008. I’ve written column about supporter culture on 86 Forever and on AFTN for the past four years. I compose chants and help organize tifo. I’ve had two seasons tickets for the past eight years and next year I’ve decided to let one go.

This is the first time I’ve written to you and perhaps it’s no surprise why you’re hearing from me.

Today was a complete shambles. The inability of the leadership of this club to develop a strong culture and identity was laid bare for all to see. As a supporter I’m completely embarrassed by this and yet I’m also relieved because its about time we had some honesty and transparency and insight into what’s going on.

Vast numbers of supporters and even casual fans now understand that, while the coach and the staff are ultimately the ones who run the day to day dynamics in the dressing room, the buck stops with the senior leadership in the organization. A lot of fingers were pointed today and a lot of blame was allocated and the most disappointing thing about today was that none of the leadership stood up and took responsibility for the mess. I didn’t hear you say “It’s my fault, this rests with me.” I didn’t see leadership. I saw ducking and covering and running away. I saw you blame others and then promise yet again that we aren’t that far away.

Frankly, that was a ridiculous thing to say. No club within sniffing distance of success in this league will have the drama that we witnessed today. Our on field talent isn’t the problem. You might have a Cadillac but you can’t power it with cooking oil.

You admitted the culture was broken, and it is. It’s in tatters. It’s been obvious to anyone with more than a passing interest in the organization that this has been the case since 2016 and probably earlier. Yet, you stood on the smouldering ashes of a disastrous press conference and refused to take your part in it. That is massively disappointing. The leadership of the organization, and by that I mean you, Rachel Lewis, and Greg Anderson, are the ones that should be paying the cost now. It’s time for all of you to go.

I don’t know what your plans are for a new regime, new coaching staff, and new structure. But in the wake of a beautiful celebration of Alphonso Davies, we see now the Achilles heel of the organization, and it goes beyond the dressing room. The motto of “Our All Our Honour” lies cynically shredded on the ground. What are we to believe in as supporters? Who IS this team now beyond a neglected plaything for the owners and a fidget spinner for the front office quant jockeys?

Supporter relations have been a chore forever and have consumed countless tens of thousands of unpaid labour from the supporters groups who work without any compensation – indeed who PAY for their tickets – to manufacture the atmosphere that you have sold for years. We put in way more work than we should, trying to undo the years of damage from ridiculous ticket policies and poorly handled relations from the front office. When we’re not in the stadium we find ourselves having to apologize for supporting a club that is being run on a formula that guarantees failure. The vast majority of my friends who are not in a supporters’ group have dropped their tickets for next year.

I have no more faith in you and your team to deliver the changes we need in the club. I think the best thing you can do now is use the excuse of the onset of the 40th anniversary Soccer Bowl season to announce your retirement and put the focus on the next forty years. Yes we have history to celebrate, but the stain of the last eight years looms too large in our minds. Without a massive change to this club, we will celebrate that anniversary wistfully, with little hope of ever getting to see another Championship here. I think your leadership team needs to step back and let a new team of soccer professionals take this club to the next level. We are being left behind by every other club in our league, in every measure.

The banner that was hung on Sunday was there to point out the long simmering discontent that many are feeling. That it was so quickly removed before kickoff was a testament to the sensitivity of a front office who was nevertheless fine to leave up a “Fine Lines” banner week after week. Throwing other people under the bus has kept you in your positions, but the veil has fallen away.

Now is the time to for you to leave. As supporters there is nothing you can point to now and say “get behind this.” There is nothing from today to make us proud or optimistic about next year. You’ve lost the trust and goodwill of supporters to give you another chance.

Please. Stand up and take responsibility and then step down.

Do it for all of us. Do it for our honour.

*** This is my personal opinion and is not meant to be taken as the official view of AFTN or the Pigeon Casuals ***

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There are 25 comments for this article
  1. Anonymous at 19:47

    What a pile of privileged bullsh*t. I wish we had proper fans.

  2. Zoli at 20:08

    This is brilliant Chris. I agree with all of it, including the tone. I never thought I’d read something this angry from you, but perhaps that more than anything points to just how dire things have become. My worry is that the rot goes further–into ownership who, for who-knows-what-reason, seem to be in thrall to Bobby–and that it will take years and an eventual change in ownership before anything really changes. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. John Andress at 20:15

    I’m wondering if someone who does not have the integrity to back their criticism with a name would have any idea of what a ” proper fan” would look like.

  4. Tim at 20:58

    Spot on!

  5. RonR at 21:35

    Proper fans?! I have been just that since 1974 and made the devastating decision to drop my seasons tickets for next year after 5 years of supporting VWFC financially. We will still be fans but I can’t justify sending that front office my hard earned money. Our group said the front office was “on probation” last year. They have proven this year that things are much worse than we thought. Leadership begins at the top, so even the owners need to take responsibility for taking their eye off this – or perhaps they chose not to fire the front office mid year. Bobby has been the face that has carried the team for many years, but now it is time for the club to grow up and become a real football franchise with new leadership. I truly wish them well in this endeavour.
    Thank you, Chris, for expressing all our frustrations so well.

  6. Brian at 06:06

    Dropped my season tickets after 4 years – Leno take the hint, get out

  7. Jeff Tinker at 07:42

    Anonymous, state who you are or get lost. I assume you work for the FO? If so, be thankful your fans are polite Canadians. Elsewhere “Proper” fans would be burning your effigies in the streets by now. Thankfully here in Vancouver we can just spend our hard earned bucks on something else!

  8. Jody at 09:42

    Could someone please tell me what Bobbie Lenarduzzi’s responsibilities include? He threw Robbo under the bus on player selection, blamed others on poor team morale and the various cliques, and there’s poor relations with supporters groups. Does anyone know what he does day to day?? Local press were slack-jawed yesterday with that press conference – the Whitecaps are a dumpster fire and it’s coming from the top. No leadership, no vision, nothing. Lenarduzzi needs to be fired ASAP.

  9. iworkforFO at 12:08

    This is what you morons get for supporting this team. Lenardsnoozi is blowing it worse than a Surrey Girl. Have fun watching this clown show. Losers.

  10. Mike Meade at 14:48

    Good piece of writing. It’s time for Bobby to ride off into the sunset. Culture starts locally and Bobby has somehow justified the line of managers here to lose that focus under his leadership. Get back to local, and the culture will follow.

  11. Takeninallnightlong at 16:37

    Im bobbys bitch boy in the back.

  12. BPedersen at 19:29

    I have now listened to all the player video clips. The one thing is clear to me is there was problems in the dressing room and a lack of direction from the coaching staff. It was spretty obvious on the field. The day to day on and off field performance of the team is the coaching staffs responsibility and not the club management. I get you guys don’t like Bob Lenarduzzi but this constant blaming him and the front office for everything that happens on or off the field just baffles me.

    When I listen to Kendall Waston’s comments he said he did not feel safe in Vancouver any more and he also said he didn’t like people that were two faced. The obvious thing to think was this was someone at the club but I don’t think so. I think he was referring the Southsiders Supporters group. Kendall is a very emotional person and I really believe that when he was formally and publicly called out as a racist because of the Pink armband thing that was when he decided to leave Vancouver. If I recall he started taking Chinese language lessons before Robinson got fired and of course the firing was the last straw. The whole affair was handled very poorly by the Southsiders and it was an embarrassment. What is more two faced than the clubs biggest supporters group turn on the team captain. Unbelievable.

    I don’t ever write to these sites because they are generally so negative but I thought i should speak up for once to the shit show that was created by the Coaching staff, supporters and other fans that just like to shit on guys like Felipe. Take a look in the mirror.

    I had seasons tickets from 78 to 84 before I moved away and have since 2011 and I still do not live in Vancouver. I still live 7 hours away and travel to almost every home game plus travel away to one each year. I support the club in all aspects and I am a proper fan.

  13. John Andress at 07:49

    I was inclined towards your POV, BPedersen, up until the point where Mr. Lenarduzzi conceded that the front office were aware of the dynamics developing in the changing room. Once aware, the failure to act promptly and decisively proves a major indictment of the ownership’s/management’s capacity to run the club effectivel and was inexcusable.

  14. BPedersen at 13:29

    Again blame the front office but if they fired Robbo sooner you would have said they jumped the gun and didn’t give him a chance to straighten it out or something like that. Look this type of thing is tough to determine how bad it is in the locker room if you are not actually part of it. Maybe Lenarduzzi discussed it with Robbo and Robbo wasn’t able to or unwilling to do anything about it. We don’t know so to blame Lenarduzzi is wrong. We don’t know the events so best to keep it neutral and by all means question it but stay away from the blame game unless you know the actual facts.

  15. John Andress at 14:56

    You are right and the fact is it is a mess and surely fixing messes in a timely fashion is the responsibility of the administration. They didn’t. And I have to say, BPedersen, I object to people putting words in my mouth or imputing thoughts to my mind.

  16. Phiyuck Yiu at 18:10

    You guys are all clowns. Go back to giving Greg Anderson a reach around. He deserves all he can get.

  17. Bobbyisdeadtoome at 23:49

    Each and every one of you know’s that you’d lick Bobbys nuts. He’s the only reason you imbeciles are even in the seats anyway. Let Bob, Rachel and the LEGENDARY Greg “I dont do anything” Anderson have their little threesome. I want to see this club run in to the f*cking GROUND!!! BC Place should not have even 1 fan in the seats. You useless humans should find something better to do with your time. “Proper Fan” my ass. Get out of here!

  18. Jay DUHmerit at 17:31

    Jay “I did nothing for this club” Demerit here. What I see is a bunch of pansy’s. It hurts me seeing my former worshippers bitch and gossip like this. You used to kiss me at my feet. Now im left limp trying to cop a feel. You worthless fans deserve nothing.

  19. Zoli at 22:35

    I felt the same as John and BPedersen for a long time. But to me the organization looks increasingly like the CSA in all it’s ridiculous dysfunction and incompetence. It’s a fairly straight line in my mind that leads to Bobby, as he has very much been a part of that sad Canadian “establishment” over the years. Given Bobby’s record of mediocrity (as a player, and with success as a coach only in the lower tiers of North American football) I’m not sure where else we could have ended up, in hi dsight. But I’m hoping that Kerfoot and the other owners are not so influenced by him that they can’t jettison tbe bagggage for the good of the club, or at the very least, their investment.

  20. Screwyouall at 23:46

    Bobby, Rachel and Greg “What do I do here?” Anderson are all little punk bitches and so are all of you!!! Deal with it cunts.

  21. Kissmyassforever at 23:55

    John Andress, BPedersen, Mike Meade, Jody, Jeff Tinker, Brian and all of you are straight up LOSERS!!!!

  22. DHarold at 08:38

    BPederson, you are spot on with your 2 faced take on the Southsiders being the cause.
    I may be wrong, but didn’t head roll within the Southsiders for those comments about Waston?
    Heads rolling is what should happen in the Whitecaps FO as well.

  23. Southsidershaterforlife at 15:35

    Fuck the Southsiders.

  24. David kent at 03:41

    The combination with Robo’s inability to adapt to change either during the game or season and the f/o rendition of the three blind mice, we are here , been a fan since 74 and have season tickets through almost all that time, and remain so now, the possibility of a new direction with more young players and canadian young players with a spine of dp’s I look forward, ( like to see caps persue Raheem Edwards)

  25. Fuckthis at 19:09

    Get over it you fucking cunts. Until you stop giving Bobby blowjobs. The WHITECRAPS will always SUCK!!!!! I dont even know why you losers support these bunch of turds. Go fuck yourselves.

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