Are Gades back on track?

Ottawa Renegades President Brad Watters, father Bill and Bill Smith might team with potential new...

Ottawa Renegades President Brad Watters, father Bill and Bill Smith might team with potential new owner Bernie Glieberman. (Ottawa Sun File Photo)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

All in all, the fifth of May was a relatively positive day for the Renegades. The ticket office was busier than it's been in more than a week.

A total of 13 full season packages were sold, including a single in the nosebleeds -- smack dab in the middle of the top row in Section LL -- bought by a gentleman who "just wanted to show his support."

Thirteen may not seem like a lot, but when just 4,300 "seasons" have been sold less than a month before camp, nobody sneezes at the number, either.

"It's not bad for this time of year," said one front-office employee. "It's a positive response to the truth."

The "truth" reference was for a story in yesterday's Sun, with Renegades CEO John Lisowski erasing myths concerning season tickets, average attendance and money lost by the franchise in its first three years. Lisowski said ticket numbers had been greatly exaggerated, while losses were $3-4 million more than ownership had led the public to believe.

The opinions of observers familiar with the situation varied only slightly, from "they've spent like drunken sailors" to "they didn't know what the hell they were doing," to the more diplomatic "they underestimated expenses and overestimated revenues."

In any case, it's still widely believed at least some of the original owners will ultimately sue the CFL for failure to adhere to the salary cap that was promised when they agreed to buy the team. Team governor Randy Gillies refused to discuss Lisowski's revelations.

"I am not going to comment," he said curtly.

Despite the fact their group has lost $10 million in three years, Gillies and co-majority shareholder Bill Smith issued a joint press release yesterday reinforcing their belief in the viability of pro football in Ottawa.

It's likely that Gillies will remove himself from the equation while Smith and minority partners Bill and Brad Watters team with Bernie Glieberman, who is poised to purchase a controlling 51% chunk of the team.

Reached on his cell phone as he was driving north from his winter home in Florida, Smith said he was "hoping that we're getting toward the finalization" of a deal within the next week or so, and that it would then be "very clear in which direction the team is going."

Meanwhile, Smith has made it clear he thinks Glieberman is a "great guy", and while the former Rough Rider owner would need approval from the CFL's board before returning to the fold, Smith says he has not heard a single negative word uttered about Glieberman by commissioner Tom Wright or anyone else in the league.

If and when Glieberman enters the picture, NFL legend Forrest Gregg will join the Renegades as the VP of football operations. Coach/GM Joe Paopao has met with Gregg and says he would welcome a working relationship with him.

"He has played, he has coached, he's been an A.D. ... he's an experienced football guy who likes being around football ... and a real, real class act," said Paopao. "He understands what it takes.

"It's not about me, it's about us. There's a bigger picture than that. I've always believed, we don't care whose idea it is, as long as it works. Then we all win.

"There's enough work for everybody, trust me. Every time you can improve yourself, not only on the field but off, then you do it. That's the way I look at it."


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