After a few quiet months inside the offices at BMO Field it appears Toronto FC is taking shape as it gets set to start its fifth year in Major League Soccer.

The Footy Blog received confirmation this morning that former Dutch international Aron Winter, a disciple of the famous Ajax coaching system, has agreed a three year deal with the club to become the head coach of the first team.

Toronto FC’s interim General Manager, Earl Cochrane, has been telling people this winter that they wanted someone who was familiar with the Ajax culture and playing style.

“Then they come to the right place, ” said Winter, in an interview with De Telegraaf in the Netherlands.

Winter added that he was found to be the best of the three candidates for the job, and Ajax youth academy coach Bob de Klerk will come over with him.

This immediately leads to speculation about Paul Mariner and what his role with the club will be. Mariner last week left Plymouth Argyle as an assistant to pursue another opportunity.

Despite the hiring of Winter, the Footy Blog understands that Mariner has agreed to join Toronto FC and will be revealed at a press conference this week.

The 57-year-old, who worked under Steve Nicol at New England for five seasons, will bring some knowledge of the league to the new Oranje Revolution at BMO Field.

For Winter, who played at Ajax, Lazio and Inter Milan, the opportunity gives him his first chance as the top man at a club. Winter has worked as an assistant at Ajax for the last five years and also acted as Foppe de Haan’s assistant for the Netherlands on home soil during the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Kristian Jack

Comments (20)

  1. Well at least something is being done this year…

  2. It looks like they’re thinking outside the box with this hiring, hopefully it leads to good things.

    At first thought it seems like a good choice but we’ll have to wait and see.

  3. With such a family name he is a perfect match for a Canadian team

  4. I wonder what his reaction will be when he sees the players he has to work with….It’s going to be fun watching these TFC mugs trying to play total football. They don’t have the skill or the football sense to do it! This could turn out ugly…

  5. SBliss brings up a point and Winter’s attitude will go a long way, but I find this a very encouraging step for TFC. I admittedly don’t follow enough MLS to ever claim proficiency on paper, they’ve done exactly what I thought they needed to do to turn this around.


  6. this is wicked news. Mariner is coming in, plus we’re getting Winter. It won’t be a quick fix, but I love the direction they’re going with this

  7. Mariner has one of the worst coaching records in England EVER. Why the hell dont we just apoint this dutch guy as head coach…………………

  8. This sounds good as a start, but we have had a bunch of false dawns so am not holding my breath. They should offload all the overpriced “talent” and build a young team that can actually;y play the Ajax style…….Hope but only a little !!!

  9. KJ,
    Any scoop on the Dero front ?????

  10. Croat51-
    Mariner also went to a team that was in receivership to a bunch of players he couldnt replace. Check out his success as asst coach at NE, how terribly theyve done without him. Hes been credited with both finding the jewels in the NCAA as well as helping develop Twellman whos one of the best strikers to ever play in the MLS. Also id rather see our system getting overhauled by Winter rather than have the usual mugs running it. Im not saying Mariner is amazing, but hes certainly not as miserable as youre making him out to be.

  11. any industry is always about networking and creating connections. Football is no exception. TFC is actually doing something with getting Klinsmann and his consultants and acquiring an Ajax savvy Aron Winter. Should be an interesting off season. I’ll take Bayern and Ajax alumni over Celtic (mo), Newcastle(carvs) and Luton Town(cummins) alumni.

  12. Great point Henrique. I’m optimistic that we’re seeing a good MLS experience (Mariner) mixed with a European flare. Also, it seems both understand the importance of developing talent. If Mariner turns out to be Winter and de Klerk’s inlet to North American talent, I see excellent opportunity for a balanced coaching team.

    Next step will be to sign some talent. Fortunately, with coaching staff in place, this process can actually happen in time for the team to actually train together before the season begins.

  13. Ossington brings a good point. Specifically, this team needs management with a better eye for talent evaluation when signing newbies to the league, especially international players. Forget the fascination with DPs: concentrate upon building a solid squad of consistent performers.

  14. What a real new years present to all of the fans at TFC,top class names with top class references.Nobody can have a go at MLSE for this move.That is a lot of money that has been laid out.It is now up to Winter and Mariner to get this on track.Faith brings hope brings winners.

  15. I hope this means they will be selling krokets at BMO this year.

  16. simply awesome news. awesome.

  17. Just a few days ago I was officially going to resign from supporting this club, but wouldn’t you know a last minute salvo.

    Solid pick up by TFC, I definitely hope Winter is the man to provide some leadership and guidance to this club, and I’m glad he’s also bring in some help to steer the ship.

    I’m not going to say TFC management succeeded here, all I have to say is: Thank You Jorgen Klinsmann

  18. As a follower of European football, especially of the famous Manchester United and Ajax and Barcelona brands, I have to say that this is a good step forward. This shows that the club is actually serious when it comes to bringing style and respectability to organization.

    Another factor you have to look is what Vancouver have down with their soccer program, and how they have brought on board European coaching and player development personnel into their organization as well.

    My hope is that Montreal fallows in the same route. Three Cheers!

  19. Seems like a good move, the Ajax system of the 80′s and early 90′s was undoubtedly ahead of its time, and possibly one of the inspiring factors behind today’s best system of gameplay and player production i.e. Barcelona. Hopefuly the next on that list will now be TFC’s system. I agree that they should focus on player developement, this will most definately benefit the national team, but I think its also important to sign a leader or two, i.e. a DP. Why not a dutch one (in keeping with the Oranje revolution)? i.e. Zenden, Van Nistelrooy, or someone…

  20. Want to hire a Coach in Liverpool, Manchester, Merseyside, the Wirral and Cheshire or other parts of UK with world class facilities? Selwyns Coach hire,UK provides you with cost effective tarrif plans. For more details on coach hire in UK, please visit for safe and comfortable journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *