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The List

Hi Friends.

Like many who had the opportunity to view the Union in Seattle on Saturday, I was left without words.

Leaving the analyzing of lineups and formations to others, what I’d like to do is ask you all, seriously, “Who should come here?”

I’ve heard we don’t have any money for DP’s (Why? Does Pajoy cost 4 mill a year? If so we should call him PaPAIN, though we should probably do that anyway). So, since our team doesn’t have any money or many goals, maybe we should just have some fun.

Way back in 2008, I wrote a list of my own big name hopes. I assumed as soon as we got a club, fancy names would be falling all over themselves to get here. After all, Philly, two years before we had a team, already had a fan base and major market exposure.

Here’s the “5 Guys the Union Will Probably Get ASAP” list I wrote four years ago:

  1. Raul – This was around the time Real Madrid was starting to bring in all those heavy hitters. With Raul’s wife “fond of the USA” I felt he was on the way. Heck 2008 version of me thought Raul was in the air already!
  2. Clarence Seedorf – The rumors, and the Union big Cheese Nick Sakiewicz apparently had met with him? Great, we’ll see him here!
  3. Michael Owen – You know, I’m a Liverpool fan too so I imagine that my excitement over Philadelphia Soccer had made me too giddy to remember that MICHAEL OWEN IS THE DEVIL. Also, in 2008 I became a first-time Dad so I wasn’t sleeping, logic had waved bye bye to me.
  4. Original Brazil Ronaldo – Back before his move to Corninthians, there was MLS talk. Of course, I figured Ronaldo would love to come here. After all he and Beckham were BFF’s at Real Madrid. Why not be BFF’s in MLS, too? Ronaldo and Becks could hang out at Flyers games and what not. Maybe go get a cheesesteak at Tony Lukes.
  5. Zidane – OK, OK, this was far fetched. But in “2008 Version of Tim’s” defense, Zidane was spotted at a Knick’s game in New York, and was in 2007 rumored to also be there to talk deal with the Red Bulls. Also, there was Chicago talk. So, big market MLS+Zidane rumors = He’d love it here! He’d be a mummer! (Insert headbutting mummer joke here, it’s just too easy)

OK, so that was my “list” when we were awarded our brand new expansion franchise. So, let’s re-write this thing after a dark weekend in Year 3, where Liverpool lost the FA Cup right before the Union lost in Seattle, with zero shots on goal. (I know the Pajoy mess was considered a “shot on goal”  but I think the stat guy simply took pity on us.)

  1. Raul – Well, in 2008 he was rumored to be out of contract. Now it’s 2012 and—lookeee, lookeeeeee—he’s out of contract and he’s still No. 1 on my list. And let’s just say I took one for the team, and may have had some fun on FIFA and made this transfer already happen. How’s he look? As you can tell from the featured image above, pretty sharp. (Side note, he’s really good on the Union, I pair him with Le Toux. What, just because the real Union gave up on him doesn’t mean my video game Union had to!) Wednesday will be his last game in a Schalke uniform. Somebody get him a Union jersey, stat!
  2. Seedorf – Also to be rumored on the way out of AC Milan, though the MLS rumor has been a constant for the last four years. Also, if Seedorf leaves he may bypass MLS and ply his trade in Brazil, where his wife is from. Though don’t count him out.
  3. Michael Owen – Since the 2008 list, he’s played on at least two teams, and has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at. Plus, he’s the devil. Plus, his injuries are so big I bet he’d land in Philadelphia to a fine Union fan greeting and then his head would fall off. Literally. So, let’s replace Owen here. In my head, I’d always hoped that Robbie Fowler would come to Philly, not as a DP type but more of a Paunovic type. Little depth, lot of knowledge, couple fun goals. And, I’ve always wanted to hear the fans and the River End sing the “We All Live In a Robbie Fowler House” song in unison to the tune of Yellow Submarine. Come on, you know that would be fun.
  4. Original Ronaldo - Called it quits and now apparently spends as much of his time as possible tampering with Neymar’s career. Let’s fill this slot with…Hmmmm, let’s think. Who’s a Brazilian superstar, looking to leave his club this summer and has also won a World Cup. Oh! OK, Ronaldinho, get on the bus! (Shot in the dark, but we need some fun after Saturday.)
  5. Zidane – OK, he was waaaaay retired by the time we got a team. However, he did recently admit that he’d like to coach a team one day. So, I’m just putting that out there.

So that’s my now updated list. Feel free to put a list together of  of your own below. Try to go for “possibles”—not Messi, let’s try to make this as “well… it could happen” as possible. Del Piero? Raul? Have some fun and don’t forget to keep your head up.

Get ‘em Union. You’ll never DOOP alone.

40 Comments

  1. snugsmac says:

    Can anyone tell me (or anyone for that matter) why they think the Union are so “poor”? Did we make a bad deal on the stadium? With Bimbo? Are there really cardboard cut-outs of fans everwhere else in the Park except for the River End? What is the deal? We have had (not for much longer) one of the best attendances consistently in the league, so income should be okay.

    Seriously, has anyone heard anything about why we are such a low-budget club?

    I would like to believe that we are waiting for this huge DP, or have maybe missed out barely on a few but….

    Help??

    • DarthLos117 says:

      Phrugal Philadelphia Union!!! I heard the loan(s) for the stadium were ridiculous and that they wouldnt turn a profit for 10 years…Its just what I heard and could be completely off

      • snugsmac says:

        Thanks Darth

        I have heard we made some bad deals too, but no one really say what went wrong.

        they are going to lose the fanbase if it takes 10 years to sign anyone decent.

        Anyone else have anything??

        • DarthLos117 says:

          The fans arent going anywhere. PPL is a great party win or lose…and the fans that go week in and week out are true football fans looking to support a home team. I got no real emotional attachment to say a Chelsea or Real Madrid…why would I, Im from a Philly suburb? As long as the seats are full, the FO isnt gonna be pressured to produce a product…this is my concern.

          • snugsmac says:

            I agree totally. If you say you support a club overseas you better have been to at least ONE match for that team…and a friendly against an MLS team does not count.

            that being said there are many casual fans that fill the regular seats in the Park, and they will leave eventually.

            For all of us fools in the River End, we will not being going anywhere…agree 100%

          • People will *absolutely* stop coming if the end result of a poor financial situation clearly manifests itself on the field for multiple seasons with no clear hope of resolution.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      The one thing I hear is that principal owner Jay Sugarman’s wealth was largely real estate-based and that he has suffered big losses in the recent economic downturn. What he receives from the club in terms of income I have no idea. But Nick Sakiewicz said at the meeting with select season ticket holders in February that the club is financially sound precisely because they haven’t spent a lot of DP money on players that may or may not bring results. Add to that consistent attendance, jersey and merch sales that are among the league’s best, strong local TV ratings and it would seem that income should be good. Nevertheless, the recent ESPN report puts the Union payroll at 5th or 6th largest in the league.
      All of which is a long-winded way to say I have no idea.

      • snugsmac says:

        Good stuff on the owner….that is believable

        5th or 6th in the league? if that is true then a management change in certainly needed. and if we really are 5th or 6th the folks on top of us must be double or triple what the U are paying out.

        “saving” money on DP’s is going to start costing them money very soon if losses and no offense continues. In fact the lack of goals could actually be more important then the record in Philly. People around here have a hard enough time with the sport, no goals or even freaking shots is not going to last in this town.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      I’ve drawn some conclusions based on circumstantial info, but not definitively enough that I felt comfortable writing a post about it yet.

      Bottom line: Owner Jay Sugarman’s company, iStar, took a beating in the real estate crash. That’s basically what iStar’s business is: Real estate. Also, see Scott’s comment below (posted at 2:55 pm today). Until the crash, iStar had never gone a quarter with an operating loss, if I recall correctly. Then they started losing money.

      Beyond Sugarman, the Union’s investors are small timers in comparison.

      • snugsmac says:

        This is getting better and better. So we can look forward to selling our high priced talent and NEVER signing a DP

  2. 1. Raul. It’s odds on to happen right? (i certainly hope so).

    2. Kaka. Probably on his way out of Real Madrid at some point, MLS a good fit? Maybe not yet but one can hope.

    3. Drogba. Rumors have been around for a while that he will be coming to MLS, Union are a perfect fit as he is exactly what we need. If we go out and get 2 DPs in Raul and Drogba, the MLS Cup is ours.

    4. Del Piero – likely to be in MLS, rumors have him where there is no room for him in NY and LA. Philly next best right? Also, this would make my wife eternally happy.

    5. Paul Scholes. A little out of left field, looked good for Man U, looking to retire again? Lets try and get him here instead.

  3. I’m thinking the fact that the Union has the 5th highest payroll in the league – sans DPs – could have something to do with their “frugality”.

    • Oh, and looking at potential “big names” out of contract this summer who are over 30 because, honestly, we are still considered a retirement league. Here’s my top 5 striker wish list:
      1) Raul (Schalke plays here this summer …)
      2) Dimatar Birbatov
      3) Didier Drogba
      4) Harry Kewell (don’t really know contract status)
      5) Emile Heskey (Villa plays here this summer …)

  4. snugsmac says:

    Barry,

    Pass over whatever you are puffin bro! I would love some.

    We are not getting either of those guys, but dreams are better the reality right now so have at it.

    • Yet more negative comments on a messageboard without having a go yourself? Leave me to my dreams. I need them to avoid becoming an alcoholic over the team right now lol.

      • snugsmac says:

        Just two weeks ago I was preaching positivity on the board, sorry, today is a venting day.

        On a postitive note, we are 4 points from a playoff spot, that is all I have.

        PS – Give me Giggs and Drogba and we will win it all!

  5. OK, I’ll play along, here’s my wish list:

    1. Carlos Tevez: Mancini wants him out and I think the guy could become a River End legend.
    2. Ian Harte: Just promoted with Reading FC, is out of contract with the Royals but trying to re-up at the MadStad. Left back and dead ball specialist.
    3. Didier Drogba: Cause he’d looking so f-ing cool in Zolo colors. He scores goals too.
    4. Herculez Gomez: We can dream, yes?
    5. Maurice Edu: We already have Adu, why not added Edu to really give Rigby fits.

  6. snugsmac says:

    ESPN does rank us forth at a whopping 4.5 million…about the average of a mid-relief pitcher in the MLB….sad.

    Even the mighty Galaxy and NYRB only have about 15 each, still pretty rough being that Clint Dempsey will probably make more then about 15 teams combined next year.

  7. Would love to see Ballack right the ship, but the rest of the roster would probably drive him to drink. Bring on Raul — we need someone who can make goals out of nothing.

  8. Seankins says:

    What’s Diego Forlan up to these days?
    Is he still on the bench at Inter?

  9. Sugarman is the CEO of iStar Financial (NYSE: SFI), a fund based on real estate investments, which traded as high as $47 in 2007, $19 the day the franchise was awrded, and today at $6.36. Per Forbes – http://people.forbes.com/profile/jay-sugarman/45671 he takes in about $3-5M per year in compensation. Business Week (http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=344286&ticker=SFI:US) adds in restricted stock options of $23M, he’s no Abramovitch. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but when you factor in transfer fees and salary, it points to more of a”Moneyball” kind of owner. Unfortunately for us, we’re not building the team that won 21 in a row.

    • snugsmac says:

      Great stuff.

      If we are going to be the Oakland A’s just shoot me now please.

      BTW on the list of team salaries they listed us 4th but there were 3 teams below us that ESPN showed their payrolls higher then us and at least 6-9 others that are within 100-200k of us (basically a Pajoy away)

      The worst thing that could have happened to our upper managment was the success we had last year, my opionion is the wanted us to be just below average for about 5-7 years. Once you have tasted some success you are going to want more.

      PS – Toronto is clearly the #3 payroll after NY and LA

      • I kind of had the Union pegged as a moneyball team after the deals they made this winter. That would explain why they were so pissed when Letoux didn’t go to Everton. But even after that they had to have been pleased when Vancouver got took him for a chunk of change.

        When that happened it must have seemed to them that the plan was working especially with the crop of young players they had. But now after the slow start they must be worried that they may be stuck with some of these under performing players and no way to unload them.

        I also suspect that with Adu’s ambitions I suspect they were disappointed that no European team picked him up in the offseason. And that would explain the fact he is a DP if the rumors are true.

        BTW this is pure speculation on my part.

  10. Ugh. I hate that this is infinitely more fun than actually watching our boys play.

  11. snugsmac says:

    Great, glad I asked the question.

    So, to recap

    1. We can’t score
    2. We have one of the worst offenses in league history so far
    3. We gave away our only 2 offensive threats ever (Letoux and Ruiz) for two bags of Lay’s Potato Chips
    4. Our coach can’t coach
    5. our annoucers can’t annouce
    6. Our GM looked like Forrest Gump out there.
    7. Our owner is broke

    Glad I asked, also glad I work on the 13th floor, it will save me time finding somewhere to jump from!!!

    Thankfully we have the River End, and lots of Beer, we are going to need it boys!!!

    Doop

    • I left out the Nick S. contributions to MLS were overseeing the Tampa Mutiny getting contracted and seeing the MetroStars sold to Red Bull. No Cups and actually lost a team…

  12. Really though, unless we sign Messi or Rooney or Ronaldo, a DP signing will NOT help us.
    This coaching staff would still be coaching and would find someway to leave us agape at their terrible decisions.

    • msg24365 says:

      This may be the most insightful comment I have read about the Union … ever….

      In terms of DP’s, as a city, Philadelphia is not even close to being viewed as an attractive place to live by most Europeans. Not saying I agree with them, but that is not a small factor in the failure of the U to lure a big name from Europe (unless you count the Greek second division or Turkish second division)

      • snugsmac says:

        I agree, the Euro’s could not care less about this City and have no idea about SoB.

        The good ones are always going to want to play for NY or LA

  13. snugsmac says:

    If anyone is still on here and cares I did read a little more about Sugarman our owner. He is not even a rich dude, he is basically a working guy made good taking jobs as CEO’s and COO’s. While that may be wildly successful in most our minds from a personal perspective…and I am sure he has the required import car and McManshion….this guy owns our team and still goes to work every day as some financial schlep.

    The Union is the hobby of our owner….GREAT…something he takes a peek at at night over a scotch….awesome!

  14. MikeRSoccer says:

    Last year there were reports about an investment company pany called Striker Group joining the Union’s ownership group along with another report about one of the ownership groups behind the Galaxy and Red Bulls investing in the team because of the market size. Is there any information out there on if those additions increased the funds available to the team enough to impact transfers? (I’m guessing not, but why not ask)

  15. id much rather have Zidane as a coach than Nowak

  16. Bad contracts, crippling stadium debt and an owner who took a beating in the real estate crash isn’t the A’s – it’s the Mets.

  17. Why not an asian star player?
    Man-U and Arsenal, and other European big clubs makes so much money through Asian Market.
    My wish list is Ji-sung Park, a former South Korean National Captain and still idolized by many Koreans and through out Asia.
    If he comes to philly, there are potential of big time sponsors like
    hyundai, samsung, or LG, Kia
    I think he is a side midfielder who is very good at attacking and defending. he played more than 200 games with Man-U and Ferguson is always using him on big matches.
    looks like he is about depart Man-U now, We should get him.

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