Eric Cantona Is King Of New York Cosmos (With Photos) – Will He Bring Beckham To NYC?

Ollie Irish

19th, January 2011


By Ollie Irish

“It’s kind of a mix between football and art”

Eric Cantona is the new Director of Soccer at New York Cosmos. Trust King Eric to stun us all. And what a coup for MLS. We are set for interesting times across the pond.

Cantona said: “I am very honoured to join the legendary New York Cosmos. It’s a big project, a wonderful project.

“The Cosmos are very strong, beautifully made, with a great past. It’s kind of a mix between football and art.

“I will do everything I can to help us first find our way to regain the No.1 position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world.”

“Non, you can’t have your ball back”

Lofty ambitions, but such is Cantona’s charisma and standing in the game, you wouldn’t put it past him to attract all sorts of marquee names to the States. Of course, there is already baseless speculation that former Man Utd team-mate David Beckham could join Cantona in the Big Apple when his LA Galaxy contract runs out (in July 2012). So watch that space. Beckham will only be 47 by then, and still with mosty-eyed dreams of leading England to World Cup glory.

The Cosmos are set to return to MLS in 2013, having gone out of business in 1985.

Retro Soccer: 15 Brilliant Photos Of The New York Cosmos, Starring Pele And Cruyff

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  1. George says:

    Does Director of Soccer mean manager? Or is he going to be doing the same sort of thing that Commoli did at Spurs?

  2. adam says:

    Set to return? I dont believe they’ve worked that out with MLS yet. Clearly their intention though.

  3. Tom Addison says:

    Doing a Commolli.

  4. Markell says:

    Oh yeah… This is AWESOME!

  5. Grant says:

    Ollie, you’re a bit jumping the gun with the whole MLS thing.

    The Cosmos have been restarted (sans actual football team, if you can call that restarting), and MLS is interested in a second team in New York for it’s 20th franchise (Montreal being the 19th in 2012).

    This in no way means that the Cosmos are going to be MLS’s 20th team though, and to say that this is a huge coup for MLS, or that there’s a date for the league to bring on a 20th team is hogwash.

  6. Grant says:


    No, Director of Soccer is a front office position.

    Either way it doesn’t matter as, like I said above, the Cosmos don’t have any actual players yet, nor a league to play in, nor any concrete plans for any of that to change in the near future.

    MLS, nor NASL (the reformed league which is currently the 2nd tier of the pyramid here in North America for 2011), nor any other league has accepted the Cosmos either for the upcoming season or any future season.

    And as far as Becks links, I would say the bigger one is the fact that Terry Byrne is involved in the Cosmos. Much more important than King Eric.

  7. Grant says:

    On another note, these pictures are amazing.

    Cantona is really embracing and growing into his role as the half-absurdist, half-philosopher of footballs old guard isn’t he?

  8. Matty P says:

    now all they need is a league

    and players

    and a coaching staff

    and support staff

    and a place to play

    and a place to train

    details, details…

  9. The Yank says:

    As a yank and United supporter, I must say this is wonderful news. The MLS is a bit of a joke even here in the US and that saddens me because I believe Americans should embrace the Beautiful Game, but that seems highly unlikely. Why? Because the MLS is absolute rubbish. Poor football, poor format, poor everything. The MLS keeps expanding and getting TV time so there are positives, but apart from Beckham, Donovan, and Henry there aren’t any star players. Many Americans choose to play elsewhere because the MLS is just not a strong league. Over time, it could grow into something good and maybe even rival Ligue 1 one day.

    The revival of the New York Cosmos is a major step in the right direction. They were the biggest team in America at the peak of the NASL and all the country watched, even if it was just because of Pele. With Pele being involved in the plans and now Cantona becoming a director, the Cosmos could very well take the nation by storm again, but it is unlikely. If the Cosmos can get everything in order, they can become a proper team again, but the weakness of the MLS hinders all progress of the teams associated with it. Personally, I find the new NASL, the “second tier” in America, far more interesting because its players are just doing what they love. There is more honesty to it instead of the already over-saturated, corporation-infected, and quite frankly, ugly way the MLS is.

    The MLS needs character. It needs history. Without that, its just the Walmart of football leagues. The Cosmos could give some validity to the MLS. That is, once they actually get some players.

  10. Michael says:

    @The Yank

    I agree to a certain extent, but Cosmos could easily straddle the line between welcome addition and nostalgic novelty. MLS was only created a decade ago and is still growing, and I realize while we as football fans want everyone here in the States to want it as much as we do, these things take time. I do feel that this next generation appreciates it much more than my generation (mid-30s), even though I absolutely love it (Go Dynamo!!!). I fear that attempting to rely on “imports” as a way of raising MLS’ profile will only do so much. Right now, only teams in NY and LA can afford high-profile signings, and if it becomes a league of Galaxy and Red Bull/Cosmos, who wants to watch that? Wasn’t that the major issue for the past decade in the EPL, that basically the same 4 teams kept jostling for top billing? It’s only now beginning to become more interesting now that other teams are beginning to encroach on the fabled Top 4 positions. While there is a need for more technical talent from abroad, I realize it will take another good decade before MLS reaches a point where it would be considered more mainstream, but I’d happy if it reached that point by a mixture of organic, grassroots growth coupled with fair, even importation of talent from overseas.

  11. Grant says:

    For goodness’ sake, Yank, it’s MLS not “the MLS.”

    Ollie’s got it right, and he’s from blighty.

    I also think your criticism of MLS as “over-saturated, corporation-infested, and … ugly” falls a bit flat considering you support a club in the Premier League. I don’t know about ugly, but the Premier League is the very definition of over-saturated and corporation-infested.

    The Cosmos in their current state are nothing more than a crest at this point. The idea that they are even a real club, let alone set to “take the nation by storm again,” is a stretch at best. They’re a pretend team with no players, stadium, or league. In that sense, U-9 rec team down at your local park is infinitely better placed to “take the nation by storm” in that they, well, actually exist.

  12. The Yank says:

    @Michael – You make some good points. My comment was all about how I want the MLS to gain popularity and you are right in saying “imports” can only do so much. Home-grown talent is essential and I hope that the league as well as the players all improve over time, and more importantly, the general public recognizes that. I’d love to see the MLS be quite bigger in 10 years time and hopefully the Cosmos will be a part of it.

    @Grant – You are petty. Sit down, little boy. This isn’t English class. It must be tiring getting bothered by something that meaningless. I also commented that it will be a while until the Cosmos will get off the ground and that they haven’t any players. Its clear you missed that though because you were too concerned about my grammar.

  13. Grant says:

    @The Yank

    All I was pointing out was that your comment seemed to be filled with canned, cliched blather.

    Seriously, what the hell did you mean by knocking MLS as over-saturated? There are two or three nationally televised MLS games here in the country where the freaking league is based. Almost every Premier League game is on TV here in the States, where footy is a sporting afterthought. How can you say MLS is over-saturated?

    How can you say MLS is corporation-infested when four or five teams don’t even have shirt sponsors? The league is barely profitable, if at all.

    My point is that there’s a long list of things that you can call MLS, but over-saturated and corporation-infested aren’t on that list.

  14. Barry Horne says:

    I was offered the job but turned it down

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