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New England Fire Steve Nicol

Not surprised to see the announcement that New England Revolution have fired head coach Steve Nicol. At the press conference after the Columbus game, Nicol had the look of a coach who knew his time was up.

Nicol leaves the Revolution after 10 seasons, a league record for tenure with a single club. He posted a career record of 112-108-81, ranking second in Major League Soccer in overall career games coached (301) and fourth in wins.

After a three-game stint as the interim head coach of the Revs to close the 1999 season, Nicol was hired as an assistant coach at the start of the 2002 season. Seven games into the 2002 season, Nicol was promoted to interim head coach again and closed out the season by winning MLS coach of the year honors after leading the team to MLS Cup. He was hired full-time at the conclusion of the season and has been on the Revolution bench since.

Nicol took the Revolution to six successive MLS Eastern Conference Championship matches from 2002 through 2007, winning four to advance to MLS Cup four times: 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He also led the team to its first-ever cup championship, the 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, as well as the SuperLiga 2008 crown to become the only MLS team to win the tournament.

The Revolution last qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2009, missing the postseason each of the last two seasons.

“Robert and I met with Stevie today and we had a productive discussion about this past season and the direction the club needs to go in the future,” said Jonathan Kraft. “We all agreed a change of direction was needed to reverse the trend of the past couple of years. Stevie was a successful head coach and a tremendous ambassador for the Revolution for the past decade and set a high standard for success, leading us to four conference titles in six years. We thank him for all of his contributions.”

Is a big offseason for the Krafts and the Revolution. Off the pitch, the Revs continue to struggle to attract fans to Gillette stadium, while the core Revolution fan in the Fort us unhappy with the teams heavy handiness towards them them. The team desperately needs a soccer only stadium similar to Kansas City or Philadelphia.

On the playing side, Nicol takes the blame for a side that has never really replaced its stars like Taylor Twellman and Clint Dempsey. Mike Burns has done a poor job as GM. As Revs beat writer Kyle McCarthy wrote on Twitter late Monday, the Revs three big needs this offseason are: 1. Coach; 2. Clarified management structure; 3. Talent influx.

Massive offseason for what used to be one of the MLS’s best franchises.