Saturday, October 22, 2011

The picture of the year? No matter how good or bad football is, it always provides plenty of moments to chose from. But the spirit of 1975 was bad, so let’s go to the circus. NASL, of course. The North American league had to sell fast the sport to ignorant public, so any kind of publicity stunt was employed.
Pele and Joe Namath with unfamiliar balls, designed for different limbs of the body. Who can capture the minds and the wallets of the New Yorkers? The King? Numbers tell the true story: how much was $450 000 a year in football? A whole lot… but that’s silly ‘soccer’. Namath was getting $ 5 000 000 and ‘football’ remained the word for the ‘real’ game. And ‘pigskin’ was the real ball. The circus started in earnest across the Atlantic – for the joy of countless football veterans from Europe and South America: not very demanding and rather funny game, generously paid. Something like Sunday kickabout made old legs wealthy. Real money stayed on the gridiron… and in New York Namath was the King.