The history of the Cosmos: birth, resurrection and myth of the team that returned Pelé to the courts

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if the Serie A football (mls), the major soccer league of the United States today can fuel the competition and the market with football players in full bloom and stars who still keep their shine, it is because before its existence, a group of tycoons planted a fundamental milestone in an existing non-dial of the universe of football, of which he still persists in talking about soccer.

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Brothers Nesuhi Y Ahmet Ertegunsons of the Turkish ambassador to the United States, founded the brand Atlantic recordswhich launched the careers of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus Y Ray Charles, among others. With a good fortune amassed, they were tempted by the managers of the North American soccer league (NASL) – the top division of football Yankeeat that time – to invest in a club representing New York.

The Ertegüns thought it was a good investment and shelled out some of the dollars enough to bring a Cosmos. The first game has been played Harlem, there was no water in the changing rooms and the ground was painted with a green spray because there was no grass. that mattered GavinNewsham in the book chronicling the beginnings of that team. Without pastures or an audience eager to watch football -o soccer-, heThe brothers believed that to win fans they had to get the best in the world to choose their club to fill the stadium, which had tickets cut when it was used for concerts.

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One year after its founding, in 1972, Cosmos retained the title awarded by the NASL. But everything tasted cheap. It was 1974 when the revolution took place: Pelé returned to action, to become the number 10 of the New York team. The Brazilian had lost his fortune and after systematically refusing the offer he received every year, he had to accept it and break his word: “I will never play for another team other than Santos”he said.

British businessman Clive Toyeshareholder of the New York Cosmos, was the one who, since 1971, had been proven wrong oh king. When the answer was yes in 1975, American soccer was in for a shock. Pele wore the shirt and attracted huge crowds to the stadium, including the Secretary of State henry kissinger, Mick Jagger, Robert Redford or Steven Spielberg. Atlantic Records’ Ertegün had their show outside the music.

Nothing cheap was his align. Pelé had a contract worth 2.8 million dollars, very little more than six times the highest salary of an athlete in the United States, the one he received Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the richest player in the NBA at the time. After three seasons, Pelé recovered financially and ended his career with a friendly match against Saints in which he played one half for each team.

But the extraordinary outlay did not generate the expected profits. In addition to the Turkish Ertegün, the Englishman Toye, the Cosmos share package was completed warnerthat in addition to the films, had bet the chips on the New York team and had released a video game inspired by the blockbuster tron, which was a failure with a sidereal loss. He got rid of the shares of him in Atari after the wrong experience and Global football, the holding company that controlled the team. In 1983 the idea that he kept business partners awake was no longer a reinforcement to revive the business, but to sell the team that no longer had Pele.

That year Cosmos all-time goalscorer, George Cinagliareturned to Italy to preside over the Rome, a club that would go down two years later. At the same time, in 1984, he bought a 60 percent stake in Cosmos, a bankrupt franchise. The Italian didn’t know, but the debt Warner left him reached $30 million. That same year, the New York team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time. The Nasl, a league which, moreover, has been dissolved.

Without Pelé, nor other figures, nor a championship to protect it, the Cosmos participated as a nomadic and independent team in various competitions, indoor tournaments and other unprofitable attractions. In 1985, the Cosmos ceased to exist.

After 25 years of absence, he resurfaced. Thus, MLS had completed 13 seasons and most of the teams had stars. It was a very different business than it was in the mid-1970s and 1980s, and in 2010 the former vice president of Tottenham paul kemsley he considered it good business to place the pioneering team in the league. He bought the name and announced that the New York Cosmos would join MLS before 2013.

Then Pele became the honorary president, good old Chinaglia became the club’s ambassador to the world and Eric Cantona He was the technical director of the project. Robert Deniro He was part of the board of directors and the legendary Spanish Raul, the star in the field. But the landing was not in MLS, but in the second division. The specter of bankruptcy once again spooked the Cosmos, and she let the screeching down and the owner busied herself with keeping the brand afloat, with the idea of ​​boosting the economy and being a major league cheerleader.

In 2017, the tycoon and president of Florentine Rocco Commisso He saved the Cosmos from what would have been the second demise in its history, but put off his sporting aspirations. Away from the MLS, he has come to play in the fourth division and in recent seasons he has done so in the third, the equivalent of Argentina’s Primera B. It is one of 10 clubs that make up the National League of Independent Soccer Clubs, NISA according to the acronym in English, but has not competed since the pandemic.

On January 29, 2021, the Cosmos announced that the team would stop competing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He never returned to the field and is listed as an inactive team in the league to which he belongs. Without stars, with Pelé as an unequivocal reference, the first soccer team that put the United States on the soccer map is barely a memory. A myth that fades away without football.

Source: Clarin

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