The rumors and reports about Frank Yallop’s job security have been out there for a while. There were the tweets and rumblings and indications that the Fire are looking for Yallop’s replacement, and the denial from chairman Andrew Hauptman’s spokesperson. There was also the canned quote from Fire spokesperson Doug Hicks handed out to numerous outlets, pledging Hauptman’s support for Yallop.
And while Hauptman himself hasn’t been interviewed by theSun-Timessince Oct. 24, Yallop hasn’t shied away from the inquiries about his future as the talk has lingered. As Yallop knows, the Fire’s results over his first season and a half in Chicago will bring those questions, regardless of whether there’s anything actually to the chatter.
Though to Yallop’s credit, his demeanor hasn’t changed. It’s been the same Yallop that was hired before last season, even as speculation has turned toward him.
“It goes with the territory,” Yallop said. “When you don’t win, you don’t expect to be getting glowing reports and extensions on your contract. I’m no dummy, but all I’ll say is I’ve tried my best to get it right.”
On Wednesday against the Columbus Crew (6-7-6, 24 points), Yallop and the Fire won’t have anything close to their full roster. Despite David Accam (hamstring) likely returning to the 18-man roster, the Fire will be without the injured Shaun Maloney and Jeff Larentowicz. Joevin Jones is away with Trinidad & Tobago at the Gold Cup, Adailton is suspended after an accumulation of yellow cards, while Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko are still working their way back into full fitness.
When they’ve been full-strength – or closer than they will be Wednesday – the Fire (5-9-3, 18 points) have had their encouraging moments as Yallop tries to reverse a slide into mediocrity that began long before his arrival. But regardless of the absences and the situation he walked into, the Fire’s record is their record.
“It’s always hard. It’s never easy. You have some sleepless nights but at the end of it it’s my job and I love what I do,” Yallop said. “I don’t change and I try my best and try to get the players in the right frame of mind and getting behind you and getting behind each other and I think we’ve shown that in the last few weeks.”
The Fire showed that last Saturday, when after Jason Johnson scored his late winner to beat the Seattle Sounders the entire team ran over to the bench and celebrated with Yallop. It was the kind of moment a team can build off of, and perhaps the most vivid positive memory of Yallop’s tenure with the Fire.
“There’s ups and downs in coaching. As long as you don’t get too carried with when you’re winning and don’t get too down when you are losing,” Yallop said. “Obviously it’s tough when you hear it but I just want to do well for Andrew and the fans and the club.”