Rayo OKC’s Alberto Gallego Addresses Front Office Shakeup, Club’s Future

IMAGE, NASL.COM

by JAKE NUTTING

For the first time since the massive restructuring at Rayo OKC in late July, someone tied to the club’s majority investor Rayo Vallecano has provided some insight on the changes.

Interim Executive Director and Sporting Director Alberto Gallego addressed the shakeup and cost-cutting measures that saw local managing partners Sold Out Strategies depart and head coach Alen Marcin resign. In an interview with Neil Morris of The Inverted Triangle Podcast, Gallego’s comments do not cast the ex-managers in a positive light.

Gallego said that when he arrived in late July it became immediately apparent that the club was on the verge of not meeting payroll for its staff and players. In Gallego’s estimation, if the expansion club had stayed on its present path under the local managers, it was destined for an early demise.

“We needed more information about the managing that was here,” Gallego told Morris. “We didn’t have all the numbers as we were expecting and we had to come here to check out everything. We discovered that the attendance wasn’t real, that’s the first thing. The priority payments were delayed, all of them. That’s not the way to have responsible management, I think.

“So when we came we had to spend a lot of money to save the club. I’m going to be honest with you — on July 26 this club was already dead, financially talking. Rayo Vallecano has saved it. That’s the truth, and we’re trying to figure out how to fix everything.”

While acknowledging some of the blame lies with Rayo Vallecano for taking a hands off approach in Oklahoma City, Gallego was adamant that the efforts from the La Liga club stabilized the club after severe mismanagement for the first half of season.

“What I can tell you is that I took care of everything,” he stated. “Rayo Vallecano took care of everything. It’s time to say to people, Rayo Vallecano saved Rayo OKC because this was a mess.”

According to Gallego, the club was behind on both rent and a contractual ticket surcharge payment to Yukon Public Schools for the use of Miller Stadium. Gallego ensured the club made an immediate $13,000 dollar payment after a meeting with the superintendent along with guaranteeing that payroll would be met.

“I realized priority payments weren’t protected, like the payrolls to the workers and the payrolls to the players. When I got here on July 26, they weren’t prepared to pay the payroll to the workers and the players. How could that be as they were paying for fireworks? That’s not a priority thing to pay for $4,000 worth of fireworks for your game. You have to pay first the workers and the players. That’s the first thing that we changed, to protect the payroll. It had no future like this.”

Now that debts have started to be settled by Gallego and his team, the question becomes will Rayo OKC still be competing in the NASL next year. Recent reports state that the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC are leaving the league for the USL, and that other NASL owners could be contemplating a similar move.

Gallego asserted that Rayo OKC’s owner Raul Martin Presa’s preference is to stick it out in the NASL, but he also admitted that decision could depend on how the league moves forward amid the recent turmoil.

“The only thing I can tell you, and I’m gonna be honest, is that Raul wants to stay in the league,” affirmed Gallego. “That’s the thing that I know. He would love to stay in the league. If the league doesn’t make changes or resolves some of these problems, if we are like six teams, or seven teams, then we will have to think about it.”

The NASL Board of Governors held meetings this week in Atlanta, reportedly to work toward resolving some of the concerns of anxious owners.

“I think that some clubs will leave the league because they have already said, but I think Bill Peterson and the league team, they still have time to react and talk with the owners to show the future of the league,” said Gallego. “If they leave everything as the way it is, I don’t think it’s going to be good. I don’t know if they can really handle next season. I’m telling you what I think.”

  • Rest of World

    Embarrassing

  • Onionrings

    Did they ever get their playing field back, or is it still locked up in someones back yard?

  • Soccer is sex to me

    In reality, all this NASL bull crap is the first step in order to create a real division 2. Don’t y’all think MLS is watching and planning something for the future.
    Not only MLS, but USL should make some moves and go for D2 status.

    • CosmosLoser

      NASL doesn’t qualify for D2, not enough teams. They have been scraping by with the minimum. Rayo OKC was playing at high school. That’s worse then playing at Hofstra and thinking it is 1977.

  • OpenCupFan

    Funny how the author of this article if ired all the #ProRel talk in the interview. It was probably like 75% about it, and about 25% about finances.
    .
    Odd oversight.
    .
    #ProRelforUSA #UnleashTheBeast

    • BigTimeCosmosLoser

      Why don’t you say support your local independent soccer team anymore? Did you go back to school and complete the 5th grade and realize Cosmos aren’t independent?