As Manchester United prepare to take on New York Cosmos, take a moment to relish the return to football of the game's coolest club. America in the 1970s was a much different country to today. A country of easy riders, raging bulls, taxi drivers and rock ‘n’ roll. At the top of this iconic tree, gaining admirers wherever they roamed, was the New York Cosmos. From Pele to Beckenbauer, Chinaglia to Carlos Alberto, the roll call of former players makes even Real Madrid look pedestrian in comparison.
Of course, it all ended in the 80s. A decade that was the diametric opposite of its leaner and meaner forebear. Excess, yuppies, bad music and worse hair meant no place for a squad of footballing vagabonds in the hearts of the American public. And despite a recent book and film on the project, it seemed the Cosmos were dead forever. And then the King rocked up.
Viewed originally as a publicity stunt, the hiring of Eric Cantona as overlord of the once famous club is an intriguing one. For two years at least, until they can enter the league as a new franchise, the Cosmos will exist as the Harlem Globetrotters of football. Roberto Carlos. Thierry Henry, David Beckham and, wait for it, Jimmy Bullard have all been linked with a move to the club.
For now though, we will have to wait and see what happens. And we’ll be doing it wearing some of the ace Umbro retro gear from Kitbag as seen in the gallery above.
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