Every Hamiltonian should read this......and it deserves it's own thread in my opinion
Suitor: Hamilton did nothing for Young and Ticats
8/12/2010 1:06:47 PM
The Hamilton city council has spoken - the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are not important to the city's politicians.
By voting 12-3 in favour of the West Harbour site - the location that's been the obsession of the city's Mayor since the process began - the municipal government's message is that the football team and all its great history and tradition can stay or go and they really could care less one way or the other.
It's a sad and almost surreal day for football fans in Hamilton and across this country. This decision has left the team with really no options but to move the franchise. Bob Young did everything in his power to compromise and make it work.
But without the support of local government, a venture the size of a professional football team has virtually no chance for success. And make no mistake, this government did not support Bob Young.
Now over the next few months, all 12 of the 'revitalize the West Harbour,' voters will stand in front of cameras and say how much they love the team and how they're trying to do everything they can to negotiate with Bob Young and keep the team in the city. But in the end, they will say, if he moves it, that's his call.
The spin will do exactly that - make your head spin. But remember football fans, if the Ticats leave at the end of the 2011 season, there is no one to blame - and I mean no one to blame - but the elected Mayor in Hamilton.
Bob Young bought the team in memory of a late family member who used to love the Tiger Cats and did it when no one wanted to be involved. He may not have had a whole lot of experience in the world of pro football ownership, but as a Hamilton native it was important to him to save the franchise and keep it going in the city.
He put millions of dollars of his own money into the team over the last seven years and thousands of hours that he likely didn't have when running his other business ventures. He has never been frugal with the franchise. The team has struggled over the last couple of years in the standings, but not for a lack of trying on Young's part.
He has paid for free agents.
He has hired coaches and general managers.
He has not cut corners.
In this negotiation process, Young has again reached into his pocket to pay for international experts to examine all the possible sites and recommend what would work best for the franchise. And every one of them to a person said that the West Harbour was the worst choice. Which of course, didn't matter to the Mayor?
When an arbitrator was hired, his recommendation for a compromise was the East Mountain. It wasn't Young's first choice, but he could live with it. It also didn't matter to the Mayor.
Young was ready to invest $75 million dollars in the new facility and business - an amount that was actually questioned by one or more of the 'fix the West Harbour' voters, which is just flat out rude.
The Cats' owner was willing to make the stadium a multi-purpose facility, bring soccer to the city and create a youth soccer centre. And if all that wasn't enough, just to be a good citizen and on top of everything else he had offered, he said he would contribute financially in other ways to rebuild the precious West Harbour.
In the end, there were 10 possible places for this stadium to go and only one didn't work for the football team. The very one that was chosen by the Mayor and his posse and it really is a shame.
So before the spin from City Hall begins, remember what was on the table from the Ticats and what Mr. Bob Young has done and was willing to do for that city.
It's painful to say it because of its rich history, but the Ticats pack up and leave in a year and a half. When the two-week long Pan Am games are over and there are tumble weeds rolling down the middle of a West Harbour stadium, remember that it was your Mayor that made it so, not your fellow Hamiltonian Bob Young.
It's the responsibility of every citizen to do what they can to improve the community they live in. For some that may be as simple as paying your taxes. For others who have earned financial success through hard work and dedication, their contribution can be so much greater. And it's the government's responsibility to help facilitate those contributions in any way possible for the good of the community.
Bob Young did every thing in his power to make his community a better place. And for all his time and money, he got the door slammed in his face by the local government. I hope the citizens of Hamilton remember that a year or two from now.