"O.K., this Montreal franchise is at rock bottom now. For a Canadian team to have a 3-13 record as the Alouettes did and lose as much money as they did [estimates run from $2.5 million to Skalbania's figure of $4.5 million] is unheard of. Well, I built up two franchises before and I can do it again. The NFL has gotten out of the ticket-selling business. The clubs have grown fat on TV money, but selling season tickets will be one of my jobs here. Six thousand season tickets weren't renewed after last season. O.K., I'm going to sit down and personally sign a letter to each of those people, and we'll send 'em one of these little key chains with the Alouettes' logo on it. I've never signed 6,000 pieces of paper before, but I'm going to do it now."
Fred Roberts, the Montreal P.R. director and a veteran of 30 years of CFL football, shakes his head. "He really means it," he says. "I told him, 'Look, George, figure you can do five a minute. That's 300 in an hour. You've got 20 hours of signing letters ahead of you.' He said, 'I don't care. I'll come in evenings and do it.' "
After one week in his new office Allen is still feeling his way around. Olympic Stadium, with its maze of corridors, is still a mystery. A secretary has to lead him to the elevator that will take him down to the locker room, where he will put on a brown jogging suit in preparation for his four circuits of the half-mile enclosed passageway around the stadium's fifth-floor level.
He pauses at the weight room. A young man is doing bench presses.
"Are you a member of the Alouettes?" Allen asks him.
"Yessir, I am."
"And what position do you play?"
"I'm Greg Batty, Mr. Allen. I'm your assistant equipment man."
"Oh." Pause. "And what does that door over there lead to?"
"The coaches' office, Mr. Allen."