116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Wizards Stay, After All

The craziest transfer deadline in recent memory came to a close yesterday, with the Cole-Gallas sagas coming to an intertwined, anticlimactic conclusion (they really needed to go down to the wire for this one?), conspiracy theories already popping up about the Tevez-Mascherano deal (and really, who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory?), Vinny Chase finally getting a shot with Mandy Moore (be careful what you ask for), and, surprise, Run DMB joining up with City. Good times all around, unless you're a Man U fan, in which case, you've got nothing, or if you're Jose Mourinho and you just lost your best defender in exchange for Ashley Cole (I feel you, Jose).
Getting significantly less press, but perhaps just as significant, was yesterday's handover of the Kansas City Wizards, from Lamar Hunt to entrepreneurs Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig. Whether or not this move manages to save the Wizards remains to be seen, but in the short term, it gives a struggling franchise a new lease on life, and gives MLS some slightly firmer ground upon which to stand. MLS is a league that simply cannot survive waves of franchise relocation or contraction, and even though moving the Wizards from Kansas City to Philadelphia does have its benefits, the league needs to prove that it can keep its clubs established for it to achieve any kind of legitimacy.
Now that the Wizards have ownership, the team can focus on finding a location in which to play for next year, with Arrowhead Stadium off-limits, and the odds of building a soccer-specific stadium improve with dedicated ownership backing the team. MLS needs to show that it can survive a rough marketplace, not just to win over a tough U.S. audience, but also just to keep itself growing. Hopefully with this, as well as the recent developments in Utah, the league has outgrown its contraction/relocation phase, and can begin making some actual inroads in becoming a lasting part of the communities it caters to.


Anonymous Matt said...

For what it's worth, Chelsea have hotly dispusted that bust-up story, and I don't buy it either. Frankly I think this transfer was - for once - a marvelous piece of business by Kenyon. Chelsea get rid of a player who had one year left on his contract and was prepared to sulk all season in the reserves, and in the process get one of the best left backs in the world - and a younger player than Gallas - for just £5 million more, less than what we took from Boro for Robert Huth.

The West Ham Tevez/Mascherano story is very interesting, but I personally don't think that it has anything to do with Roman or that Chelsea are pulling the strings. Rather, it's another example of new money coming into the league (Lerner at Villa is another example), and that is good news for everyone. Ever since Abramovich's arrival, people who have been moaning about the dominance of a few elite clubs (and Chelsea in particular). This influx of cash into clubs like Villa, West Ham and even Pompey will make the league even stronger over the long term.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

Agreed. I don't really buy into the media speculation very much either, other than to derive a great deal of entertainment from it.

Generally, the Cole/Gallas swap works to the advantage of both sides, although I do believe that Chelsea will miss Gallas considerably more than Arsenal will miss Cole.

Adding to your point regarding the West Ham deal, maybe (hopefully) we will see players becoming more reluctant to join bloated clubs where their chance to display their talents become diminished. Why not have a guaranteed place in a club with young talent like West Ham, over constantly struggling to keep your pace at a Man U or Chelsea? I hope we see more of this, although that Chelsea money must be hard to turn down...

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

That's a good point. It's Chelsea's ability to shell out massive weekly wages that clubs often find it hard to match. It's interesting to see Chelsea with a much smaller squad this year. I don't imagine we'll be hearing too much complaining about lack of playing time this year. I'm almost wondering if Jose might have gone too far in the opposite direction. Chelsea have plenty of midfield options, but one key injury at the back or among the strikers (say Terry or Shevchenko) and they could be in for some trouble.

9:24 PM  

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