Ooooh, Aaaaah, Cantona!

There are wire reports everywhere at the moment claiming that New York Cosmos, the Greatest Footballing Club in the History of the Universe, has just signed Eric Cantona as their Director of Soccer with overall responsibility for all soccer-related matters at Cosmos, which would include the proposed first team.

Ah, memories:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-WmfTIRUWY"]YouTube - Clash Foot - Cantona vs supporter Crystal Palace[/ame]

Fair warning: your keyboard is in jeopardy if you read further.

The report states:

"He will work closely with former US World Cup star Cobi Jones, who has been taken on as Associate Director of Soccer and Ambassador.

"Together, Cantona and Jones will carry forth the club?s legacy and integrity while developing and attracting world-class soccer talent from all areas of the globe," The Cosmos statement said.

Did you honestly ever in your life think that you would see the names "Cobi Jones" and "Eric Cantona" in the same sentence?

Yes, Jones and Cantona, Cantona and Jones. Two immortals.

If nothing else, does Cobi have a highlight reel like this?

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QrPJZjDUK0"]YouTube - Eric Cantona the King[/ame]

Eric the Red is quoted as saying that he was "honoured to join the legendary club 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 that I can to help us first find our way to regain the number one position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years."

Eric, who is my favorite footballer of all time, is apparently unaware that the Cosmos do not actually have a team, which of course is not any kind of impediment to him observing that they are "very strong" and "beautifully made...kind of a mix between football and art".

His goal is to help the team "find our way to regain the number one position in the United States". a lofty enough purpose to be sure.

But that's not all; he then wants the team to become "one of the best clubs in the world", which would be a remarkable achievement for a team playing in a league with a $2.6 million salary cap.

But of course, he can do whatever he wishes because, as we all know, he's not a man....

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdTsKIX6oBw&feature=related"]YouTube - I am not a man, I am Cantona[/ame]

I hope Don Garber isn't so smitten with enthusiasm - he tends to get excited by hype as we know - that he misses the larger point, namely that the last Cosmos team was largely responsible for killing the last US professional league and it sounds like this outfit, if they ever get the chance, would dearly love to repeat that history.

More to the point, however:

I'm on record as saying that this whole affair smells bad and I'll stick to that.

Look at it this way:

If your goal is to start an MLS team, why would anyone hire a semi-insane old French guy who's been out of football for 20 years to run it?

Or Cobi Jones, either? Or hire Pele to be your "President"? If brains were dynamite, the three of them together couldn't blow your hat off.

If you were really serious about putting an organization together, don't you hire, say, Ritchie Williams or Paul Mariner?

You don't hire schmoos like Cantona and Jones for their executive expertise: they don't have any.

Rather, you hire them for publicity. Because "signings" like that get you media attention. Big splash of ink all around the world.

Which is fine I suppose but does it get you even one inch closer to landing an MLS team? Absolutely not.

The point of publicity is money. In this case, raising it. Because more and more it appears that they really don't have any.

As I have said so many time that it's becoming embarrassing, if you want an MLS team all you have to do is walk into MLS HQ in New York with a check for $40 million and a map to your soccer stadium (or a reasonable facsimile of same).

That's it. That's all.

You don't need Eric Cantona, Cobi Jones, Pepe Pinton, some dusty old club name or Santa Claus.

I keep reading people who ought to know better saying that the Cosmos "are going about it the right way".

Really? What way is that? Hiring old ignorant football has beens in order to get media attention? If that's your definition of "the right way" then what the hell would "the wrong way" be, exactly?

The more of this crap tey do the less convinced I am that they're serious. A serious man with serious plan doesn't waste time and money on meaningless hirings and PR campaigns that will get you absolutely nothing.

There's one way to get an MLS team and these guys have shown no inclination whatever to do it, which only means one thing:

They don't have the money.