Jump in the time machine with me won't you? I promise, it'll be a quick trip and you won't be in any danger of somehow disrupting the space/time continuum or becoming you're own grandfather like Philip J. Fry on Futurama.
It's a short trip back to August 2010 when the former president and CEO of AEG Tom Leiweke held a press conference alongside various Houston Dynamo front office luminaries and made the following announcement:
"Both Dom and Chris have been given the assurances from ownership that we are prepared to go out and find a significant player for the Dynamo next year,"
"From a business standpoint, the only thing I've asked Chris and Dom to do is don't dip your toe in the water," Leiweke added. "If you are going, go big. I don't believe in halfway, and there is a commitment amongst all our partners to make it a significant player that moves the needle from a business standpoint, fan standpoint, as well as on the pitch."
"We've seen the impact in New York with Henry and Márquez," Leiweke said. "I think the Dynamo fans deserve that and have a right to expect that. This is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and it may be the best market in Major League Soccer."
Leiweke has of course moved on to a new role with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and so apparently has AEG's willingness to support the Dynamo in "going big" with a DP.
It's now August 2013, nearly three years since that pronouncement and while the Dynamo have certainly been successful in the intervening years, they never really went big with a Designated Player. It's probably a credit for Chris Canetti and Dominic Kinnear that the team didn't just buy for the sake of buying but it was certainly implied that AEG were willing to back the Dynamo on getting a big named player on the team.
If Jeff Carlisle's report on ESPNFC is right Clint Dempsey -- who is on the verge of joining the Seattle Sounders -- wanted to play in Houston but there financial backing for a deal wasn't there. Dempsey is of course a native Texan from Nacogdoches and having him play in the state of his birth would have been a great story.
It was never going to happen though.
AEG was never going provide the Dynamo dropping with the reported $41 million in transfer fees and guaranteed money for Dempsey, or any player for that matter. While I'm not sure I would want Houston to make the move in the first place, it's more about the willingness of the team's majority owner to give Canetti and Kinnear the tools they need to be successful, rather than just having them get by with table scraps.
If there are any Dynamo fans left who still think having AEG running the Dynamo is a good business model, hopefully this story will finally be the tipping point. The only way a change is going to happen -- sooner rather than later because I believe MLS will be pushing AEG to sell now that they are the only ownership group with multiple teams -- is for fans to put constructive pressure on the team, the league and AEG.
Make your voices heard because this really is about more than just Clint Dempsey, its about the Dynamo having an owner with the team's best interest in mind. The coaching staff does, the front office does, but there's a giant black hole at the top of the organization thanks to the team having an absentee owner with a shinier toy to play with.