Spanos Issues An Urgent Plea for Success Now : Football: Charger owner says he, fans are tired of waiting for a winner to appear.


On Bobby Ross' first day as head coach of the Chargers Thursday, he announced there are no quick fixes in building a football team into a winner.

Oxygen, please, for team owner Alex Spanos.

"Hell's bells, I don't want to wait a year or two," said Spanos after listening to Ross' initial press conference. "I want it this year. Quite frankly, we have the team to do it this year."

Less than two weeks ago the Chargers put the finishing touches to a 4-12 campaign. They have added no new players, have fired Dan Henning and coaching staff, and have hired a college football coach to start all over.

Happy new year.

"I'll be damned if we don't do it," Spanos continued. "I'll tell you, I'm going to be very disappointed. The coach isn't saying that, I'm saying that. Hey, that's my style. We got to win. What else is there? It's winning. That's why we're here today; we haven't been winning.

"Changes have to be made, darn it. God, I hate these things (firings and hirings). I don't want to do this again ever. God, I hope he's here for the next 20 years. I just want to sit up there and watch them win. That's all."

Welcome to the San Diego Chargers, Bobby Ross, and by the way, is that four-year contract guaranteed ?

The Chargers have not been to the playoffs since 1982, and are on their fourth head coach since 1984, when Spanos took controlling interest of the team.

Don Coryell was fired halfway through the 1986 season. Al Saunders lasted a little more than two years and was dismissed after finishing 17-22. Henning made it through the first three years of his five-year contract, then was let go with a 16-32 record.

"I like what I see," Spanos said. "I think we're off to a great start. You can quote me on this: I think we're going to have a winning season, and maybe go to the playoffs. God, I say it every year, though, don't I?

"I got to tell you something, we're starting a new era right now . . . He (Ross) didn't want to say how impatient I am. That's all you guys ever write about--how impatient I am. He knows that, I know that and so do you.

"I like what I hear. Fans really wanted a change--they got it. Dan (Henning) was a super guy, but let's face it, if you can't win--you have to find a way to win. You can be a nice guy, but it doesn't satisfy any of you and it doesn't satisfy me, or none of those fans out there. Hell, it's been eight years--I'm tired of just sitting around and having losing seasons."

When the Chargers hired Henning, it was only after Spanos had interviewed several candidates. Ross, however, was General Manager Bobby Beathard's choice from the outset, and Spanos deferred to Beathard.

"It's obvious this is one of Bobby's choices, and if Beathard feels this is best for the ballclub, I have to tell you I go along with it," Spanos said. "Starting all over again, what can I say?

"Bobby Beathard's worked hard for the last two years trying to put this ballclub together, getting the players, and now the coaching. It's a new beginning for the Chargers."

But why will this new beginning be different than all the previous new beginnings?

"We didn't have a Bobby Beathard then," Spanos said. "He's the genius in football. In two years we haven't seen too much, but let me say this, he believes in everything he does and he believes in Bobby Ross. And I believe in Bobby Ross."

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