But, one doesn’t have to read too much between the lines to see that he feels scorned, and he made it clear that he would have no qualms about stealing talent from the Black & Gold if given the chance.
On the contract negotiations, Sigi admitted for the first time publicly that the Crew made an offer before he met with Seattle and that the offer was on par with his expectations and with what others could do. But it was too little too late.
“It just got dragged on. And it’s just like if you’re negotiating a contract, you expect something to happen like within a week or two weeks, and it didn’t happen in that time frame. And by the time an offer came in that we felt was compatible and was close to what we were hoping for, it was at the end of the season and I said, 'That’s it I’m this close to the end, I want to see what’s out there.'”
He joked that one factor in his decision to leave was his memory of being summarily fired by LA in 2004 while holding a winning record: “I didn’t want to get kicked out of town like last time.”
Asked by host Steven Cohen whether the failed contract negotiations and the way he was treated by management in Columbus left him with a sour taste, Sigi had this to say:
“It is what it is. I’m not going to worry about that. I’m not going to have hurt feelings or anything else. I enjoyed my time in Columbus. I thought it was great that they were patient with me and allowed me to build the team and we were able to reward and have a great season. I’m going to miss the players because I always have attachments to them. I’m going to miss my staff because I thought we had one of the best staffs in the league and it was great cooperation, but it’s not important whether my feelings were hurt, it’s just important that I’m on to the next adventure.”
Does he have regrets that he will not be able to lead the Crew in the coming CONCACAF Champions League campaign?
“Definitely, I mean anyone that knows me knows that I am a very competitive person … but I have to weigh everything, and it didn’t carry enough weight at the end of the day.”
Does he plan to pillage players from the Crew and take them with him to Seattle?
“Unfortunately, the way the rules are you can’t really grab all your old players. But as players become available, just like I brought Alejandro Moreno to Columbus and he was very helpful to me, if people become available and I think there’s somebody who can help the team, I will do it.”
What about the Columbus coaching staff? Will he take some of them with him? The rules are more lax there.
“All my (assistant) coaches (in Columbus) are under contract … It’s not like in Europe a lot of times where the assistant coach goes with the head coach … That’s just not something that happens in the MLS. You’ve got to build all over again.”
Watching this guy with his soccer knowledge, his class and his control, it’s clear that the Crew really let the best coach in America slip away, and it’s clear that while he has too much integrity to say so, he’s not entirel happy about how it all went down.