Before you answer the question in the headline, let’s go back to when Marc Trestman left the team for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League in 2013.
- Dan Hawkins is hired but then fired after a 2-3 start to the 2013 season
- Jim Popp finishes the season with a 6-7 record of his own and the Als lose the East Semi-Final to the Ticats 19-16 in overtime.
- Troy Smith started that game at quarterback. Remember him?
- Tom Higgins coaches the Als to a 9-9 record and a loss in the East Final in 2014.
- Higgins is fired in 2015 after a 3-5 start. Jim Popp finishes the season with a 3-7 record and they miss the playoffs.
- Jim Popp is the team’s head coach to start 2016 but after a 3-9 start, he names Jacques Chapdelaine as the team’s interim head coach. They win four of their last six games but miss the playoffs.
- Kavis Reed is named the general manger of the team on December 14th, 2016. Chapdelaine starts 2017 with a 3-8 record, gets fired, and Reed leads the Alouettes to seven consecutive losses to end the season.
- Mike Sherman takes over the reigns in 2018 but only manages five wins.
I’m going to go ahead and consider Sherman’s battle with the headset a loss..
I’d love to list all of their starting quarterbacks over that span but if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can click the pretty red link and read for yourself.
Fast forward to this March when it was reported that the CFL could buy the Als and run the team until a suitable owner was found. Eric Lapointe’s group came and went, Clifford Starke expressed interest and then, in the middle of all of this, there were rumours of creditors knocking at the door.
Things took a more positive turn last week when Tony Marinaro revealed that entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Vince Guzzo was interested in buying the franchise. Fans were understandably excited at the prospects of some cool promotional opportunities if the man behind Cinema Guzzo, Quebec’s largest theatre chain, took over the team.
But that’s not to be either. At least, for now. Guzzo says his bid to own the team is now on hold because of “personal conflicts with people around the deal”. WHAT?!
But would you blame businessmen like Guzzo, Lapointe or Starke for not taking over the team? The Als are a bit of a charity case right now and they need a Robin Hood to come to the rescue.
They play in a 104-year old stadium owned by McGill University where they aren’t the main tenant. Despite sinking nearly $30 million into the stadium to expand capacity and upgrade amenities in 2010, capacity will be reduced back down to 20,025 in 2019 due to lack of demand.
In 2017, the team announced a three-year partnership with Parc Olympique that would allow the team to practice at Olympic Stadium and house their training and football operations office there too. Who knows how long that will last as the Quebec government is preparing to throw even more money at that place.
If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that Mike Sherman will last around eight games and then get turfed. But maybe that’s why the CFL would assume control of this team so the Wetenhalls can’t pull the strings on football ops anymore. Continuity is important with any franchise.
The 2019 Alouettes have added some big pieces in free agency with DeVier Posey, Ciante Evans, and Taylor Loffler all joining the team. This is a team that should be able to improve on a five win season.
If you were a millionaire, would you prop up this franchise? For all the reasons listed above and the fact that they’re bleeding money, I think I’d be out.