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American Soccer’s Greatest Players: When Football Went Disco

A passerby scratches his head as he studies a sign posted in a window at Warner Communications, Inc., on Tuesday, June 11, 1975 in Rockefeller Center at New York, announcing the appearance of Brazilian soccer great Pele on Sunday as a member of the New York Cosmos, a professional soccer team owned by Warner. (AP Photo/ Ron Frehm)

A passerby scratches his head as he studies a sign posted in a window at Warner Communications, Inc., on Tuesday, June 11, 1975 in Rockefeller Center at New York, announcing the appearance of Brazilian soccer great Pele on Sunday as a member of the New York Cosmos, a professional soccer team owned by Warner. (AP Photo/ Ron Frehm)

 

NEW YORK COSMOS have had a bewildering array of fantastic players, and the latest in the club’s bumpy history is the Spanish legend, Raul. The Real Madrid superhuman decided to come out of retirement to play for the club made famous by Pele.

As well as being a player, Raul is all set to take on the role of technical adviser to the club’s soon-to-be opened youth academy, which he’ll look after when he’s retired.

“Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously,” Raul said in a statement. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honoured to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

 

 

Of course, moving to New York doesn’t hurt either, and no doubt, he’ll be on fantastic amounts of money. You’d be mad not to!

Likewise, back in the ’70s and ’80s, footballers from all over the world saw the footballing goldrush of America. When the NASL started to become more popular and investors started throwing their money around, everyone started taking notice.

It was the arrival of Pele at NY Cosmos that saw the floodgates open and a huge number of footballers going Stateside for a huge paycheck and all the coke and champagne they could stomach in America’s disco clubs.

 

Strikers 79 Home Back Gerd Mueller

 

So with that, let us look at some of the true greats that moved to America, just like David Villa and Frank Lampard are doing in the winter of their careers right now.

And be sure to watch all the videos because there’s a corker tucked away in there.

 

Johann Cruyff

The mighty Cruyff left Europe to play in the sunshine, ending up playing for the Washington Diplomats and LA Aztecs. He, of course, scored one of the most memorable goals in the league’s history.

 

 

Pele

The player that really opened America up was Pele when he moved to the NY Cosmos. Little needs to be said about that, other than it must’ve been absolutely brilliant in New York with all those superstars dossing about the place.

 

 

George Best

Post Manchester United, it feels like Georgie Best played for just about everyone. Somewhere in there, he managed to sup his way around America, working on his tan at Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes. Between one-night stands and hangovers, he managed to score the NASL’s greatest goal.

 

 

Franz Beckenbauer

Also at NY Cosmos was the technical brilliance of Der Kaiser. You can imagine he took it all quite seriously, which must have been borderline hilarious to everyone else there.

 

 

Eusebio

Eusebio left his beloved Benfica and decided to get one last payday. America beckoned and he found himself lording it up with the Boston Minutemen, Toronto Metros-Croatia and Las Vegas Quicksilvers. Openly in it for the money, but no-one minded. He’s Eusebio. He can do what he wants.

 

 

Giorgio Chinaglia

Napoli legend, Chinaglia rocked up at the New York Cosmos like he owned the place, regardless of who was there. Arrogant, bullish and egocentric, Chinaglia was the disco strut of that famous team and he knew it. However, he wasn’t Pele, which drove him mad. Cue: sporting soap operas galore!

 

 

Geoff Hurst

World Cup winner Geoff Hurst buggered off to play for the Seattle Sounders. He banged some goals in and picked up his money. Below, you can see his debut. He must have wondered what he’d let himself in for.

 

 

Carlos Alberto

Pele’s captain, Carlos Alberto also went to the NY Cosmos. It doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do, because he’s Carlos Alberto who scored perhaps the most perfect goal in World Cup history.

 

 

Gerd Muller

The brilliant Munich hitman, Gerd Muller, went to Ft Lauderdale and thrashed a load of goals in while growing an absolutely magnificent beard (as seen above with a disappointingly clean-shaven George Best). 38 goals in 71 appearances, and then he rightly put his feet up.

 

 

AND FINALLY

Peter Withe made his way to America, playing for the Portland Timbers. The best record of his time there is getting involved in a tussle the a player and squaring up to a referee just after a cameraman gets taken out with a thunderous clearance from close range. Bravo lads. Bravo.

 

Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


The 17 British sports legends and pop stars who owned their own shops

WHEN Huddersfield Giants star Danny Brough (seen here with his bestselling blueberry bonbons) revealed his other life as co-owner of the Hull confectionery shop Sweeet Shack (with an extra ‘e’) some people may have raised an eyebrow or two.

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Once upon a time, however, there was nothing unusual about celebrities operating a sideline. Former footballers, boxers and cricketers opened newsagents, sports shops and pubs. And they weren’t the only ones. Even the Beatles got in on the act.

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Posted: 1st, October 2013 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts, Music, Sports | Comment (1)


New George Best Waxwork Goes On Show

YOU know you’ve arrived when you’re made into a wax statue. There is something creepy about waxworks. At Ireland’s National Wax Museum Television pundit Eamon Dunphy unveils a new waxwork of himself. Besides him a waxy Calum Best, doe-faced song to George Best, puts his arm around a candle made to look like his departed father and grins.

The only people who have ever looked exactly like their waxworks massed at David Gest’s wedding to Liza Minnelli. The bride and groom stood beside Michael Jackson and Liz Taylor looked less like flesh and bone humans being than a wax exhibit. This impression was encouraged by them all appearing to be on the point of melting, a single turn of the central heating dial from turning into puddles. And then there is this lot who seem to be turning into wax.

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STANDALONE. The museum director and Calum Best (right) unveil a new waxwork of his father, the late football legend George Best, to mark the fourth anniversary of his death at The National Wax Museum Plus in Dublin today.

Posted: 25th, November 2009 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Chris Lewis Presents Britain’s Jailed Sportsmen

chris-lewisFORMER England cricketer Chris Lewis has been found guilty of smuggling cocaine into Britain, having carried the drug inside his cricket bag on a flight to the UK from St Lucia.

Croydon Crown Court heard that Lewis had on him cans of fruit and vegetable juice containing dissolved cocaine with a street value of more than £140,000.

In hindsight, such capers always seem foolish: the recognisable face walking through customs will not be stopped by an official looking to experience the thrill of meeting a celebrity; and on his person he carries the exotica of canned vegetable juice.

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Posted: 20th, May 2009 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment