Lampard gaffe unveils NYCFC farce

January 3, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Posted in General Football, Major League Soccer | 3 Comments
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One of the things I prattle on about in Whitecapsfanblog is my deep regret the New York Cosmos and Major League Soccer never got it right and got married. It is rather like having two friends you know are perfect for each other who fail to tie the knot.

Major League Soccer has a big problem. Major League Soccer’s only “New York” franchise, the New York Red Bulls, are not even in New York but are stuck out somewhere near the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey. They have a lovely soccer specific stadium out in swampy New Jersey, but only rarely fill it. In spite of the fact Thierry Henri was in the ranks, New Yorkers have largely failed to take notice of the Red Bulls, whose uniforms make them look like a team of pop tins.

The solution to the New York market is easy: just get the New York Cosmos to join. The New York Cosmos brand is possibly the most under-utilized brand in world sport, which currently languishes in the NASL, the second tier of American football. New Yorkers still fondly remember the New York Cosmos. Indeed, the world still remembers the Cosmos. The New York Cosmos were a big deal not only in North America, but thanks to Pele, Neeskins, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia et al, they were a big deal around the world. They used to routinely thump many of the top teams in world football in exhibition matches.

Rather than negotiate a deal with the New York Cosmos to join MLS, the MLS dealt with the owners of Manchester City in the English Premier League, who formed a partnership with the New York Yankees to form New York City Football Club (NYCFC). My theory is that the New York Cosmos owners wanted a lesser franchise fee because of the huge value the Cosmos brand would bring to the MLS. The MLS wanted a big franchise fee and went for the mega rich owners of Manchester City instead. Whatever happened in the failure to negotiate a deal with the Cosmos, it all seemed to be going so well with NYCFC. The shiny new NYCFC signed Spanish star David Villa and…Frank Lampard.

The owners of Manchester City and NYCFC have recently agreed with Frank Lampard that he will play with Manchester City until May 2015, meaning he will miss NYCFC’s training camp and the first three months of the MLS season. There is no question where NYCFC sits for its owners: it is a lesser team and a lower priority than Manchester City. NYCFC has been proven to be a second class concern.

This reflects very poorly on MLS and its leader, Don Garber, who has shot himself in the foot with his NYCFC project, inviting football fans the world over to conclude that MLS is a second-class league.

The newly minted NYCFC unveiled its jersey which was the same colour as Manchester City’s. Wait… Hadn’t we seen this before? Remember that old team Chivas USA that played in the same outfit as the Mexican Giant Chivas? The team that failed to launch as a concept and recently folded, sending MLS back to the drawing board where the Los Angeles market was concerned?

The lesson of the Chivas USA disaster was clear: Major League Soccer fans want their own free standing football club that competes with all other world football clubs, not one that is the distant and lesser cousin of some foreign giant playing in another league in another country.

Had Major League Soccer concluded a deal with the New York Cosmos, a free standing, world-beating brand, the league would have had the respect and admiration of the football world. Now, as a result of the NYCFC- Lampard disaster, it looks like world football’s laughing stock.



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  1. MLS has always been world football’s laughing stock. Attempting to change the rules as a newcomer is a complete no no. Why do I get the feeling that if Cosmos were in NYC FC’s position, you would be taking a swipe at them instead. Reeks of point scoring to me chum. Anyhow, being an MCFC fan all my life, I can honestly tell you that our owners are as good as it gets. NYC FC will become the behemoth of US soccer. This club will drag MLS up onto another level.

  2. MLS a 2nd class league? Say it ain’t so, Joe…okay, I will. The MLS is more akin to a 4th class league, although it has the potential to become a 3rd class league relatively quickly, given the influx of funds and recent rise in profile.

    Surely you’re not going to compare it to those venerable old institutions in Brazil and Argentina? Or the Turkish Super Liga, etc.?

    • The real issue is that the MLS management (who controls the contracts) and NYCFC in the end lied and actually committed fraud. They stated they had signed Lampard to a contract when in the end Lampard never signed a player contract with NYCFC (it was confirmed that his only contract was with Man City). They have signed one now this past week after grumblings by NY season ticket fans about launching a class action against the MLS and NYCFC. This alone strengthened the view that the MLS single entity set up is not much better than professional wrestling..until that changes the MLS is a joke.

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