Fate of Sounders GM in hands of fans

Sep 28, 2012, 1:09 PM | Updated: 3:43 pm
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The fate of Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer (left) rests with the fans thanks to a novel approach championed by co-host Drew Carey. (AP image)

The fate of Seattle Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer is in the hands of the popular team’s fans. And in an interview with Dori Monson, he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We wanted to give our fans an ability to at least have as big a voice as possible in the direction that our club goes.”

In a move modeled after European soccer powerhouses FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, comedian Drew Carey, a minority owner of the team, came up with the plan to let season ticket holders and fan association members vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on the GM every four years. They’ll cast their ballots starting Oct. 7 to retain or express “no confidence” in him. And even though he’s also a part-owner, Hanauer says he’ll abide by the results.

“My ego can handle it if people believe that we’re completely on the wrong track, that I’m not going to put someone in who thinks exactly the way I do because clearly the fans will have decided that’s not what they want,” he says.

Hanauer probably doesn’t have much to worry about. Under his watch, the Sounders have built a wildly successful franchise on the field and off. Attendance far surpasses any other MLS team and the team has been consistently among the league’s best throughout his tenure.

“I guess the good thing for me is we have had a lot of success, I’m not very worried about it,” he says. “I can continue to focus on what I’ve tried to focus on the four years I’ve been doing this job, which is putting ourselves in a position to win a championship every single year, providing entertaining soccer for our fans, and trying to get people in the organization who are really good characters, good citizens, good community members, and who our fans are proud of.”

While his fate is in the hands of the fans, Hanauer says he’s confident they’ll make an informed decision, even if there are some unhappy with his performance.

“I do feel like the extremes are in the loud minority and that most fans are in the middle. I think that they can be fairly level headed and rational about their franchise,” he says.

Voting ends Dec. 7. At least 10,000 votes are required to make it official (the team has about 32,000 season ticket holders, so there should be more than enough ballots cast.)

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