Having their head coach quit barely a month into the regular season caused great unrest in the Toronto FC office and dressing room this week, but no one wanted John Carver's health to suffer.
And there seemed to be a valid concern in that area that led in part to his resignation this week, with the official cause linked to his ongoing battles with Major League Soccer's philosophy and officiating.
"He had certain things, and I don't want to go into that because that's John's private life," manager Mo Johnston said last night, his first comments since the 44-year-old Carver's departure became official on Saturday.
"I think you guys have seen all the certain tendencies, in terms of (him) being maybe a little bit brooding, maybe a little bit not his usual self, not his bubbly character. I felt it was getting to him."
Johnston also said he thought the refs calls against TFC eventually would have evened out, but that you can either fight through such setbacks or deal with the pressure as you see fit.
Carver, who remains at his Oakville home for the present, told his home country's Sunday Sun newspaper that his almost constant head-butting with MLS officials prompted his decision.
"It is the MLS with whom I have issues," he said. "There is nothing else in the pipeline (regarding a possible job with old friend Alan Shearer at Newcastle in England) and the people at Toronto have been fantastic to me."
Johnston waded in yesterday, trying to quash several other rumours that weren't behind the decision, including the notion the club wouldn't pay his $750 league fine for arguing with officials last week and that he and the coach were feuding over team personnel and style.
"There had been a lot of rumours of late about bust-ups, absolutely not true," Johnston said. "He just sent me a text wishing the boys all the best, great win (yesterday's 1-0 decision over Kansas City), fantastic, give the coaches a hug.
"Obviously, he felt a little bit disillusioned. He expressed his feelings and decided that he wanted to hand in his resignation. I spoke with him at length, to our coaches, to our players. I thought maybe taking one or two days off from that and coming back refreshed (would help). He didn't feel it was the right thing to do."
Carver told Johnston of his decision Thursday night and had a farewell drink with the manager and coaches. The players were informed at BMO Field on Saturday morning.
"A bolt out of the blue," midfielder Carl Robinson said of the news. "It was tough because I'm very close to him as a few of the other lads are.
"It wasn't nice, because he's like one of the boys. He's a players manager. He's built this (team). We said we have got to win the game for him. And we've got to go and get the end product, which is get in the playoffs and win the championship for him."