July 9, 2012
GETTING THE AXE
Timbers fire John Spencer
PORTLAND, Ore--- The Portland Timbers have relieved John Spencer of his duties as head coach. Spencer becomes the third MLS coach this season to be fired, following changes in Toronto and Philadelphia.
Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson will take over as interim head coach for the club, effective immediately.
"I cannot stress enough that this is not an announcement I expected to make a year and a half into our MLS existence," said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson.
The Timbers are currently 5-8-4 through its first 17 games, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference, but Paulson sited philosophical differences as the reasons for Spencer's dismissal.
Wilkinson, 38, has been with the Timbers organization since its inaugural United Soccer Leagues season in 2001. In his 12 years with the club, Wilkinson has served as a player, assistant coach, head coach and general manager. He will continue in his role as general manager while serving as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
As a head coach with the USL Timbers, Wilkinson assembled a 50-29-39 record and twice was named USL First Division Coach of the Year (2007, 2009) in four seasons (2007-10) at the helm of the second-division club. He had a 13 year playing career in in six different countries, including Portugal, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia and earned 38 caps with the New Zealand National Team.
Spencer, 41, was appointed as the first head coach in Timbersí MLS history on Aug. 10, 2010, after spending the majority of the previous five seasons (2006-10) as an assistant coach for the Houston Dynamo of MLS. In 51 MLS matches at the helm of the Timbers, Spencer compiled a record of 16 wins, 22 losses and 13 draws over one-and-a-half seasons. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Spencer led the Timbers to an 11-14-9 record during their inaugural MLS season.