Toronto Argonauts president Bill Manning delivered a clear message to general manager Jim Popp in a meeting on Tuesday.
“I sat with Jim for a couple hours and we talked about the football team. And my thing is at the end of the day, I’m not involved in terms of the player personnel and X’s and O’s of the football team, but we have to win. We’re going to talk further and my challenge to Jim is I said ‘look we need to be a team that can be a playoff team, that’s really at the minimum,’” Manning said on TSN radio.
The Argos completed a fairy tale season in 2017 by winning the Grey Cup, but the 2018 campaign has been filled with losses and disappointment as Toronto sits 4-13 and out of the playoffs.
“Hopefully we can build ourselves into like Calgary’s been the last almost a decade where they’ve been one of the best teams in the league year-in and year-out and they have stability in their coaching staff, stability amongst their roster and that is something I believe in very much and I really would like to see here in the Argos,” Manning said.
“I challenged Jim on how do we get there?” said Manning. “Where we are right now and to get to what a Calgary is. I think we are going to continue those conversations and what I’m looking for is tell me how we can get there and what you need me to give you, the resources to become a team like that.”
One positive for the double blue more fans taking interest in the team and all four wins did come in front of the home crowd at BMO Field.
“We were up this year, Argos paid tickets were up 1,875 tickets this year and it’s something we’re really, really pleased with. In the past, there was a lot of complimentary tickets and so in terms of the number of fans that came through the gates we’re only up slightly, maybe about 50 a game, but we cut down all these comps and our paid attendance actually went up fairly significantly,” Manning said.
“It gives us frankly great enthusiasm going forward because we’re energized by a new breed of fan that was coming in and supporting them this year. We were able to tap into a lot of our Maple Leafs and TFC and Raptors fans who gave the team a shot.”