Which got me to thinking about the history of pro soccer over here; particularly about the foreign players who came to play when they could no longer hook on with a European club.
Or some English player who might have developed in the American minor league and was signed back over by an English club. So to my question... Below is a list of players who came to America either back in the old NASL league or to MLS.
Do you remember any of them and what do you remember of them in their primes in the top leagues? I know a few of the names and actually saw the ones who played with Cosmos way back when. But, since ToffeeWebbers seems to have such a wide age-range, I?m curious as to what you remember of these fellows when they were at their peak?
(Did any of you see Pele in person in his prime? There?s a sight I?d liked to have seen.)
Juan Pablo Angel
Guillermo Barros Schelotto
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1 Posted 15/03/2011 at 05:55:21
Alan Ball - FANTASTIC
None of the rest compare.
2 Posted 15/03/2011 at 06:58:39
3 Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:58:54
4 Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:15:30
The best I've ever seen play in the flesh was. George Best. Alan Ball remains the greatest Evertonian I've seen play ? the measure of how you judge skill and commitment combined.
5 Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:30:45
Talking of which, and going totally off the point, the greatest game I ever saw was Hungary v Brazil in that World Cup. Almost 60,000 spectators and the crowd seemed to be behind the Magyars. One of the greatest goals I ever saw as well... Florian Albert knocked it into the box and a guy, I think called Vargas (?) volleyed it first time into the Gwladys St goal.
Sorry, James, that had bugger all to do with your point but it will always remain one of my special Goodison moments... like curly scoring from that ridiculous angle against the RS in the cup that Saturday night in '67.
I recall it all so clearly... shame I can't remember what I've come upstairs to do!
6 Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:56:44
I read in his autobiography that Clough said about him, that "he didn't find space, space found him".
One of the real hard men who could actually play football.
7 Posted 15/03/2011 at 10:05:37
Some truly world class players in there, some personel favourites too... Charlie Cook? Forgot all about him, he was an absolute wizzard. Alan Hudson too, makes you realise Chelsea didn't just spring up ten years ago.
We loved Bally, he was somebody you would call "That Guy".
I have similar memories to Phil of Pele, as kids we would go to all the World Cup games ? as a bunch of scallies from Scottie Road, we didn't realise you were actually expected to pay to get in ? and we judged Pele rather harshly, he was dismissed as a tart for not being able to take a tackle, LOL ? they`d kicked fuck out of him, but what a player though.
You`ll have probably seen that wonderful goal The Belfast Boy scored when he was over there (can't remember who for)... Oh but if you could have seen him in his pomp.
8 Posted 15/03/2011 at 10:24:39
9 Posted 15/03/2011 at 10:36:42
By the way, I've seen that goal (Janos Farkas) since. Such memories of magical Goodison... Have this one on me:
10 Posted 15/03/2011 at 10:48:51
11 Posted 15/03/2011 at 13:03:23
12 Posted 15/03/2011 at 14:09:47
13 Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:02:38
Pele, Maradona, Messi, Henry, Cruyff, Floran Albert, Puskas, Di Stefano, Tostao, Garrincha... they are the best foreign players I have ever seen... BUT Pele was Number One for me!!
Best was definitely the best ever Brit but, like Gazza, he ruined his career and was finished too young... so I have more time for players who realise their potential and have full careers ? not arseholes who don't!!
14 Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:25:17
15 Posted 15/03/2011 at 20:42:55
Terry was not the most skilful of players, but was such a committed Blue and I'll never forget his reaction the day he thought he scored (unsighted by a defender after the shot, Martin Dobson tapped in the rebound off the keeper).
16 Posted 15/03/2011 at 22:37:53
To this day, I can't believe Man U fans voted Cantona over Best as their all time player a few years ago.
17 Posted 16/03/2011 at 00:23:58
But the cast of characters who played in the NASL is much much more impressive for the most part, and it includes a good number of the consensus top twenty players in the history of the universe ("first ballot Hall of Famers" if you will) ? Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Eusebio, Best, Banks ? legends all.
It also includes many who were stars or at least mainstays of the better teams in England in the 70s, including what looks like about half of Brian Clough's great Derby County team of that era.
Rodney Marsh (should be mentioned here), Alan Hudson, Charlie Cooke, and Gordon Hill were all personal favourites of mine because of their very un-British, playful virtuosity.
Pele was a better all-round player than Best ? he could do literally everything brilliantly. But when he could be bothered, Best could do things that no-one else, not even Pele, could do. Mercurial genius, bless him.
18 Posted 16/03/2011 at 01:06:13
19 Posted 16/03/2011 at 11:34:34
Thanks for that, Phil, it brings back some memories.I was at those games with my old feller, I got my tickets due to having a season ticket in the Street End. I well remember Bené and Albert as wonderful footballers who would have graced any side.
The game that caught the imagination,though, was the North Korea v Portugal match, Portugal being 3-0 down but winning 5-3. I remember Eusebio, another true great, having some good things to say about the Goodison crowd and the stadium itself. Actually, if he came back now he'd still remember much of it!
20 Posted 16/03/2011 at 13:30:29
When players are about to retire, they are offered one last hurrah with a big packet for a year or two.
I am not convinced that the players listed by your good self have really done a thing for MLS (or American soccer in general).
The people who end up over there are usually very washed out over-aged players earning big money, with the MLS trying to make a name for itself in the footballing world. To me, it's all desperate Dan stuff, lol.
I have seen quite a few of the players in your list.
21 Posted 16/03/2011 at 16:45:54
For the rest of your post, the point of signing these guys is so the rest of the players can see how the game is played correctly. MLS means fast, athletic, in-condition players with, unfortunately little soccer talent. That'll be changing here soon (5 years tops, I estimate). But in the mean-time an over-the-hill Beckam still knows how to find a little space to make a beautiful cross or 3 and have us American fans think, "Ah, one day. One day we'll have a league full of these types in their prime".
22 Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:20:18
You guys (like every other MLS team) need to find or sign a top goal scorer. The goal scorers make the highlight reel on sports shows and create the interest. On the other hand, what great supporters the team has. Like I said, one of the great sports towns on the continent.
Regarding your currently poorly run franchises, look at the bright side. When the Wilsons move the Buffalo Bills there, you'll have added another shitily-run franchise to the Toronto sports panorama. Ha!
23 Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:32:59
I can't add to the list that went to the USA because they were normally at an age where they were soon forgotten.
I don't rate Pele as the greatest personally but Maradona. Lional Messi is probably as good as either given his day and age when it is so much harder to shine. His skill is sublime. Johny Giles was also an exquisite player who like other greats such as Ray wilson and Bobby Moore just always found space and movement. Like every player in that great Leeds side though Giles was a dirty bastard when it came to it, it was institutionalised.
24 Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:28:16
Pele was clearly past it when he came here. mainly just jogged around the field, making some fantastic passes, but only the occasional attack of goal. But you could see it. The hand of God had touched this man.
Plus (If you'll forgive the walk down memory lane. I envy you all your memories of the game. NASL is as far back as we go over here), the complete and utter pandemonium that surrounded the Cosmos. They were treated like rock stars everywhere they went. I'll always remember Beckenbauer saying (and still does when asked) he got to live in a beautiful suburb with his family. Made a nice buck, played the game he loved in front of packed houses and on a good team. then go to the mall with his kids and no one would recognize him. So he got to do what he loved beyond the years he thought he would AND lived a normal lifestyle while doing so.
Sorry, wish I had your memories, but that's as far back as an American fan can go. When my grandkids are they age of the oldest ToffeeWebber, they'll be able to talk of the "Old" MLS stars just as you all can about the English game now.
25 Posted 16/03/2011 at 17:49:27
26 Posted 16/03/2011 at 21:49:34
27 Posted 17/03/2011 at 03:26:09
Peter Beardsley played in an Everton team where it was embarrassing how much better he was than everyone else!
Richard Gough is a legend purely because, on a hunch, I stuck a fiver on him to score against Southampton I think it was... and he did (his only goal for the Blues?!)
28 Posted 18/03/2011 at 01:09:16
The mark of a true genius is originality. Everyone remembers Beckham's halfway line goal but would he have even thought of trying it if Pele had not missed with the same effort 25 tears before?
29 Posted 19/03/2011 at 05:47:15
Didn't see your post.
The Belfast boy was George Best, the name stems from a truly awful song about him.
30 Posted 21/03/2011 at 01:44:21
And good to see you back here trading blows.
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