Will Tidey - The legendary New York Cosmos turn to Cantona
Published: 20 Jan 2011 - 07:27:59
Pele, Eusabio, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Johan Neeskens. Just a few of legendary names who stepped out for the iconic New York Cosmos. It's a collective that makes David Beckham's turn at LA Galaxy seem like a sideshow.
The Cosmos brought a new profile to soccer in America, and a new glitz to the game generally. They played at first Yankee Stadium, and then Giants Stadium, and wore a strip designed by Ralph Lauren.
Bankrolled by Warner Communications they won three titles in five years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and had the honour of giving Pele his final performance in a game against his former club Santos.
But eventually the money ran out. Warner sold to a consortium led by former player Giorgio Chinaglia, and they could no longer afford the kind of wages and transfer fees that had made the Cosmos the closest thing to the Harlem Globetrotters in football.
The 1984-85 season saw the Cosmos play their last game. A empire collapsed and those white shirts have been retired ever since. But the coolest team in history are planning a comeback.
A group of investors have purchased the naming rights and Pele has returned in the role of honorary president. Paul Kemsley, former vice-chairman of Tottenham, is also involved. And it turned out yesterday, Eric Cantona will be part of the revolution too.
The 44-year-old, who walked away from football at 30 after leading Manchester United to a fourth title in five years in 1997, has been unveiled as the club's new director of soccer.
"I am very honoured to join the legendary New York Cosmos," he said. "It's a big project, a wonderful project. The Cosmos are very strong, beautifully made, with a great past. It's kind of a mix between football and art.
"I will do everything I can to help us first find our way to regain the No. 1 position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world."
There's a long way to go. When I spoke to the Cosmos press office yesterday they confirmed there were currently no players on the payroll. A buy-in to the MLS would take at least two years to realise, so the earliest we can expect to see those white shirts in full competitive action is probably 2013.
But the likelihood is it will happen. The MLS have been looking to expand their 16-team roster and the Cosmos represent a marketing dream for all involved.
Perhaps it's a good thing, but this time they won't be able to spend so wildly. MLS teams are allowed three 'designated players', which roughly translated means three very expensive ones.
With star power on the pitch limited, it's obvious why they want to put a high-profile name like Cantona on the staff. The mercurial Frenchman is also representative of the counter-culture cool the Cosmos stood for in their heady halcyon days.
The club website met the announcement with a video of Cantona smoking a cigar. With him on board, you can be sure whatever happens next is going to be worth watching.
Maybe it wasn't the Hollywood appeal of Beckham that the MLS needed after all.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
Previous Blog Posts
- It's now or never for Arsene Wenger's Arsenal
- My Premier League predictions for the new season
- Twitter is the closest we get to modern footballers
- Why the Premier League needs Mario Balotelli
- The Five Greatest Premier League Transfers
- Levy should cut his losses and let Modric leave
- False Arsenomics have put Arsenal on course for mediocrity
- After Goal-line technology, what's next?
- Villas-Boas has been mentored for greatness
- Optimism is once again through the roof at Anfield
- Ferguson's United re-lay their foundations
- Time to talk up England's chances at Euro 2012
- The best Champions League final build-up...EVER
- Kaka to Kettering: Transfer Gossip Rules the Web
- Please corruption, take the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar
- Why Manchester United will beat Barcelona at Wembley
- Lionel Messi unlocks the door to greatness
- Why Arsenal and Tottenham should sell Fabregas and Bale
- Real Madrid could whitewash the El Clasico World Series
- Ferguson's United have rediscovered their sense of timing
- Can Bernard Mullin bring back the 1980s at Everton?
- Wilshere must be trusted to spark England's evolution
- Are Liverpool fans ready for the Andy Carroll era?
- All hail Harry Redknapp, the next manager of England
- Charlie Sheen shows Rooney and Cole how it's done
- Smalling could give Ferguson a big decision to make
- Arsenal took Spurs' feat in Milan and raised it
- There are no real winners in the Olympic Stadium debate
- Gary Neville was the ultimate fan on the pitch
- Tekaboo Andy Gray and Richard Keys
- The legendary New York Cosmos turn to Cantona
- Is Sepp Blatter right about the Premier League?
- Tottenham have everything to gain from Beckham
- 2010: A Footballing Odyssey
- Can Arsenal win the title without beating their rivals?
- Alan Pardew rolls up at the Newcastle United circus
- FIFA get ready to play God for World Cups 2018 and 2022
- Chelsea without Lampard are a ship without a rudder
- Free-flowing French give England a lesson in progress
- Cautious City suffocated the Manchester derby
- Mourinho's Madrid are everything you'd expect and more
- Meanwhile, in a Galaxy far far away
- Jack Wilshere has the talent to define his generation
- Ferguson revelation could threaten Rooney's United future
- Red Sox story is the stuff of Liverpool dreams
- True fans couldn't care less about tactics
- Manchester City v Chelsea: The Future's blue
- El Nino terminado? Fernando Torres on trial
- Stuart Pearce represents the future for England