The New York Times Magazine had an article on the New York Cosmos last Sunday — The Ruler of the Cosmos — with this subtitle:
Can a former real estate magnate from the U.K. revive the storied New York soccer team and turn it into the sport’s biggest club in the world?
Not surprisingly, the article, written by a business reporter, is more about Paul Kemsley, the “real estate magnate” in question, than the MLS. But the MLS and Commissioner Don Garber, in particular, do get some play. According to the NYT:
(T)he country’s biggest professional soccer league will soon sell off rights to its 20th team, which Commissioner Don Garber has earmarked for New York City. The hope is to start a local rivalry with the New York Red Bulls, who play in Harrison, NJ. The winning bidder for the 20th franchise will have to fork over as much as $100 million, Garber says, and have enough left over to build a stadium in the city.
But quite a bit of relevant information didn’t make it into the article. There is, for example, no mention of le Impact de Montréal (the Montreal Impact), who will be joining the MLS as the 19th team in 2012. According to the Associated Press, le Impact paid a $40 million “expansion fee” to join the league and as part of the deal the Quebec government chipped in $23 million to expand the capacity of the existing Saputo Stadium—named after the “cheese-making family” that owns the team—from 13,034 to 20,341.
And despite mentioning David Beckham in passing—Cosmos magnate Kemsley “has a staff of 16 already (including an executive named Terry Byrne, a close friend and former manager of David Beckham)”—there’s no mention in the NYT article of Beckham’s own interest in becoming an MLS team owner. As MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated elsewhere:
David Beckham has the right to an expansion team as part of his contract after he finishes playing. I’m sure at some point he’ll exercise that right and we hope to welcome him as an owner.
And at a fixed price too. Beckham has been rumored to be associated with Miami, San Diego, Atlanta, and even Montreal. Apparently there are some geographical restrictions to the deal, and he’s precluded from establishing another franchise in LA or New York. Yeah. I don’t know. Details are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. But stay tuned, we at GP are on it.
I suppose it could be argued that these things are tangential to the story at hand, but the NYT also fails to mention some things that seem directly relevant to Kemsley and the Cosmos. There is, of course, a lot of talk about Kemsley in the article, there’s that passing reference to Terry Byrne, and Pelé –still part of the Cosmos program 34 years later–comes up a few times. But strangely no mention of former Manchester United star Eric Cantona, who was a high profile signing as Director of Football for the Cosmos, just a couple of months ago. And also no mention of former U.S. international Coby Jones who was signed as Associate Director of Football around the same time.
And, finally, for all the talk about Kemsley—his dodgy business dealings, the rent for his new flat in New York, his tattoo, his role as “Rottweiler in chief” on the British version of The Apprentice—the article inexplicably fails to mention that he was formerly Vice Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
But maybe I’m splitting hairs here, expecting the full story. This is U.S. soccer in the New York Times Magazine, after all, which is a pretty big deal in of itself. And the piece does capture the Cosmos heyday from back in the 1970s, noting:
The Cosmos started drawing huge crowds to Giants Stadium, and during a summer best remembered for a blackout and the Son of Sam murders, the team was a gorgeous diversion. Mick Jagger showed up in the locker room. Liza Minnelli, Grace Jones, Andy Warhol and Bjorn Borg hovered around the team at Studio 54.