This is a highly educational and well-organized walk through Peter Nowak’s days in charge of the Philadelphia Union.
It’s worth a look, even if you aren’t a member of the Cheesesteak Nation; that is, a Philadelphia Union fan.
It’s worth a gander because his tenure really was all over the place, accomplished early, then devolving into a perplexing exhibition of personnel management. So his relationship with fans and players became increasingly churlish and strained, even venturing into zones of outright hostile.
His days in charge at PPL Park started so well, as Nowak admirably constructed a young team. It looked like he had a plan, and the folks in Philly were on board. But then, something happened. Who can say what … who, that is, that wasn’t inside the rooms where decisions were made, choices that didn’t always seem to make sense.
Here’s a great example from the timeline piece at MLSSoccer.com (linked above):
In a dramatic and bizarre postgame press conference, Nowak announces Ruiz would be leaving the club, indicating that the “pre-bias” that fans toward him played a role in the decision. “I always believed fans in the stands will stand behind us and are going to cheer for us and all the players we have on the roster, and not having something against a single player.
And that was before things got bad, a period that started with odd tactical choices in last year’s failed playoff series, where the Union went out against eventual MLS runner-up Houston. Soon after, Nowak went “complete overhaul” on a roster that he build from scratch just two years before.
See? Difficult to understand.
Check out the entire rundown of Nowak’s days and nights at PPL Park and decide for yourself.