After several weeks of silence about the financial situation of AC St. Louis following the folding of their sister operation, St. Louis Athletica of the WPS, the AC St. Louis Fanatic today has confirmed some good news and some unfortunate news about the team. As reported earlier today, AC St. Louis Coach Claude Anelka was removed from his position. And we have also learned the Director of Player Development Francisco Filho is no longer with the team. On the bright side, Brian Quarstad reported tonight on his Inside Minnesota Soccer blog that Jeff Cooper has rectified the financial situations involving the franchise and paid the players bonuses for their US Open Cup victory Tuesday in Minnesota.
I spoke to Brian earlier this evening about the AC St. Louis financial situation, and we confirmed from a variety of sources the story Brian had been working on. Here is his report http://www.insidemnsoccer.com/ . Obviously, this is happy news for AC St. Louis fans. Thanks to Jeff Cooper for getting the team back on firm financial ground, and showing faith in the players and the great fans who have continued to be totally supportive of the team.
The sad news is that Claude Anelka and Francisco Filho are no longer with the team. I am not going to second-guess the hiring or firing of Coach Anelka…there is too much I don’t know about the situation to comment, except to say this. Claude Anelka had restored respectability to his very young team in spite of discouraging team financial news, the folding of the Athletica, the loss of Steve Ralston back to MLS and a disheartening early season record. AC St. Louis has won three games in a row, three shutouts on the road, and Mr. Anelka deserves credit for the team’s effort. They played a very smart strategic game against NSC Minnesota Tuesday, allowing possession but playing strong defense and allowing Mike Ambersley’s goal to stand up for a win. If it was time for Coach Anelka to go, then so be it. But please don’t say that the man cannot coach, because he brought a young, losing team back to respectability in the midst of much adversity. Good luck to Mr. Anelka in all his future endeavors, and I personally appreciate his graciousness and kindness.
I honestly don’t know much about Mr. Filho’s situation except that he hasn’t been with the team for awhile, according to sources. Franciso Filho has an impressive resume as a player and as a developer of soccer talent. He was involved with the French Football Federation’s Clairefontaine Academy and was later hired by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He joined AC St. Louis in December, 2009.
It’s been a difficult month for St. Louis soccer fans, as we have suffered the loss of the Athletica, Steve Ralston returning to MLS, and now the dismissal of our coach. But the show must go on. We thank Jeff Cooper for solidifying the team’s finances. There is a game Saturday evening at AB Soccer Park against the Vancouver Whitecaps. I’ll be there, and I hope you will too, cheering on AC St. Louis. GO AC !!!