'Gades' owner shuffle likely

New Renegades kicker Demetris Scouras warms up during practice yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium....

New Renegades kicker Demetris Scouras warms up during practice yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium. There is talk that a couple of partners would like to sell their shares in the team. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

The three-year plan to make the playoffs will most certainly go unfilled. The 2005 season ticket campaign has yet to start. And there is division in management and ownership.

But all is not lost. The franchise is not lost. The Renegades will be back next season, perhaps leaner as they attempt to get meaner.

"The owners are weighing their options," one insider told the Sun yesterday. "But it's clear the team is not leaving the city. No matter who takes the club over ... if it's one of them or both guys are back. Both are committed to keeping football in this city."

"Both guys" are majority owners Randy Gillies and Bill Smith. And only one, it's believed, will be back.

The five-man consortium is split into two distinct groups. Gillies, who owns approximately 30% of the team, is on one side, along with Kevin Kimsa (approximately 15%) and Rick Baker (approximately 10%).

On the other side is Smith (approximately 30%) and Brad and Bill Watters (approximately 15%).

As reported in the Sun last month, Kimsa is trying to unload his share and Gillies, it's believed, is looking to do the same.

It also now appears that Smith is looking at buying shares his partners are trying to dump, as was also speculated in the Sun.

The Watters group is expected to hold on to its part of the team.

"The perfect solution would be to get some Ottawa money in this thing," said the insider, referring to the fact all of the Renegades' founding owners hail from Southern Ontario. "But I don't know if anybody's willing to do that."

Changes will also be made on the football side of the operation, with the contracts of GM Eric Tillman and coach/director of football operations Joe Paopao expiring at the end of the year.

It's widely believed Tillman will not be back, although Paopao still may be re-signed.

In the meantime, the 5-10 Renegades will make their last, seemingly futile gasp at qualifying for the 2004 playoffs. For their part, they have to win in Hamilton Friday, in Montreal next week and then beat the Ticats here Oct. 30. If they are successful at all three -- and if the Ticats lose to Toronto Oct. 21 -- Ottawa will probably extend its season.

More likely, the Renegades will watch the playoffs from the outside, then host a successful Grey Cup. About 7,000 tickets remain for the Nov. 21 game at Frank Clair Stadium, and those are expected to be moved.

But it is because efforts are being concentrated on making the national event a success that 2005 Renegades season ticket campaign won't get going until December. This year's tickets went on sale last Sept. 8.

"The commitment is to putting on the best (Grey Cup) show possible," said the insider.

"After that, everything with the football team will get sorted out."


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