Published: Jan 26, 2011 01:56 AM
Modified: Jan 26, 2011 06:06 AM
It might be a good thing if the Carolina RailHawks have to drop the RailHawks moniker. At the rate things are going, that name will be too damaged in this Triangle soccer community to recover from an offseason of broken promises and failed expectations.
There's simply no other result to be expected given the circumstances.
Selby Wellman, when the RailHawks first announced they were looking for new investors, said that if no new investors were found, the team would go on as usual. All was well -- the team just needed more funds so they could create sales and marketing positions.
"We'll continue on," Wellman said in a November interview. "Bob [Young] and I can do this by ourselves."
But that wasn't true.
When talks with local investors - Wellman had also said he would only negotiate with local prospects - suddenly fell apart, instead of all being well, the team hurriedly contacted the rest of NASL to ask for funds.
According to the popular soccer website InsideMNsoccer.com
, the RailHawks brass didn't even have enough funds to finish the 2011 season.
Over the past few months, there were few assurances from the front office that haven't fallen flat.
Remember this one from November?
"There's never been a league given a provisional [sanction] and then two months later it's not [sanctioned]," said Brian Wellman, the president of the RailHawks.
Well now there has been.
NASL's provisional sanctioning was pulled last week.
Brian Wellman went out of his way in a December interview to refute the idea that Traffic Sports was helping fund league member NSC Minnesota.
Only one problem -- NSC Minnesota acknowledged as much and even had a press conference with Traffic Sports to announce the move.
And now the team name. Brian Wellman said last week that the RailHawks name would still be used in 2011, but a NASL press release's omission spoke volumes as to what the actual situation may be.
Remember when Carolina led the charge to break away from the old United Soccer League and form their own Division 2 league -- the North American Soccer League? Remember how RailHawks brass painted USL as a league that only cared about making money and not about growing the sport and catering to respective fan bases?
How is that better than this lack of honestly, forthrightness and transparency? Saying one thing and doing another also isn't good for growing the sport or a fan base.
I said this in a 2009 column when the 2010 season looked unlikely: "Fans don't care if the RailHawks are in the USL in 2010. Fans don't care if the RailHawks are in the NASL in 2010. Fans just want to see the RailHawks in 2010."
Where's the care for this franchise's fan base? Season tickets are on sale, even while the team didn't have an owner in place, a schedule set or a league to play in.
Hold a press conference. Address any and all questions with honesty and not just what you want to put out there.
It's damage control time - and the damage is being done to this area's trust in their hometown team.