Programme: Portland Timbers vs New York Cosmos
Date: June 12, 1976
So let’s get this out of the way: I LOVE the NASL.
And not just the cheerleaders, although my soft spot for the Tampa Bay “Rowdies Wowdies” can’t be under-stated.
What a league. The weird mix of crooks and chancers (including a fleeing the country Jimmy Hill), ex-pat celebrities like Rick Wakeman and Elton John getting involved, teams coming and going, and teams featuring terrible American players, 4th division ex-Rochdale pros and Pele all in one set of jerseys make for the greatest history of any league ever written.
Alas, while I’ve devoured several histories and know a lot more about the Boston Minutemen or the Memphis Rogues, finding programmes or magazines from the late 70s hey day is prohibitive. Ebay peddlers want 50 or 60 bucks just to flick through articles on Pele (or as I know him, “Pete”, after a Daily Record press release referred to everyone’s favourite Viagra booster as “the immortal Pete”) or how a Playboy playmate was kicking off a Chicago Sting game.
So the only programme I can share with you comes from 1976 – the Portland Timbers taking on “Pete” and his New York Cosmos.
This is of course a mere sampling of a fantastic document – we’ve had to skip the moment Portland compare Eusebio to Chris Dangerfield, George Best has a “poor physique”, the celebrity tennis tournament where Charlton Heston plays Bill Cosby (ahem), and the soccer IQ Quiz where question 12 is: “What is a striker?”
Instead, here’s a small sampling featuring Dr Pepper soccer balls, Pete selling Pepsi, and the official grooming gear of the NASL. Oh, and the answer to Question 12? “A central forward position in the team with a major responsibility for scoring goals”…so now you know.
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