OSEG president Mark Goudie urges fans to ‘keep the faith’ despite Redblacks’ ‘frustrating and disappointing’ home losses

Photo courtesy: TD Place

The Ottawa Redblacks are all alone in the CFL basement following their 30-12 loss to the Edmonton Elks on Friday night and ownership is not happy with the team’s 1-8 start.

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) president and CEO Mark Goudie took to Twitter following the Redblacks’ latest home defeat, laying out his expectations for the franchise in no uncertain terms.

“We need to be better. We need to be more exciting. And most importantly… we need to WIN… consistently,” Goudie wrote as part of a multi-tweet thread. “Our on-field performance these last [two] home games — finally on beautiful nights — have been frustrating and disappointing.”

The Redblacks have not posted a winning season since they fell to the Calgary Stampeders in the 2018 Grey Cup but their biggest issue has been success at TD Place. Friday’s loss to Edmonton marked the 19th home defeat in their last 20 appearances in front of a friendly crowd, compounding frustration within the fan base.

“Our on-field expectations for our Redblacks are that we are a perpetually competitive franchise that plays exciting football, wins at home & hosts playoff games…EVERY YEAR,” Goudie continued. “This season showed some promise that we were digging ourselves out of the hole we dug ourselves into but we obviously have a lot more work to do.”

Ottawa entered the season with high expectations after jettisoning expansion-era general manager Marcel Desjardins late last year and bringing in Shawn Burke from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The new boss entirely revamped the roster and brought in franchise quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, but the results have not improved.

Masoli was lost to injury due to a nasty incident in the team’s Week 5 loss to Saskatchewan, significantly hampering the club’s prospects, but the team was winless with him at the helm as well. Head coach and offensive play-caller Paul LaPolice now has a 4-19 record in two seasons with the team, with many fans feeling a change is necessary.

Goudie did not specifically highlight what changes he believes need to be made but seemed to side with fans who believe the on-field product has been unacceptable.

“RNation… you are always awesome. But your support and passion isn’t being rewarded with enough reasons to cheer and with wins right now. And that is agonizing for all of us that desperately want to give that to you,” he wrote. “There are no excuses. Our organization has all the tools to deliver exciting, winning football — supportive ownership, values, patience to fix things the right way, a beautiful stadium and facilities, a beautiful city and… RNation to inspire us.”

While OSEG has proven itself to be incredibly patient when making changes, the pressure is mounting. The announced crowd of 19,382 at TD Place on Friday was the smallest number to attend in non-pandemic conditions since 2015 — when the club drew just over 15,000 to a game played on a Tuesday in October.

“I ask you to keep the faith. Even when it’s hard and we disappoint you,” Goudie urged. “We’ll continue to build the Redblacks that you expect and need us to be. I promise.”