Monday, May 26, 2008

Head for the hills, the Canadians are coming

Pity any poor fan of English soccer stuck cheering for Leeds United, they don't even know what's about to hit them. People are reporting from both sides of the pond that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the sports holding company last seen putting forty years between championship hockey teams, is now extending its gaze outward. Having conquered just about every sporting mountain there is to climb here in Toronto (money making hockey team, competitive basketball team, a Major League Soccer team with actual fans, and the groundwork for a future NFL team) this city must seem all of a sudden rather provincial. How better to extend the MLSE brand than to gain entrance to that playground of Russian oligarchs, oil rich Arabs and bored Americans, the English Premiership?

Of course MLSE has some work to do to make it that far. Leeds United, the unfortunate soccer team that has become choice number one for MLSE's great European soccer experiment, is not currently playing in England's top league; regulation has seen them tumble down two rungs to the third division, League One. But bad teams are nothing new to MLSE, it's the turn around that seems to give them difficulty.

Will Leeds fans take heart at this news? Going on nothing but a Wikipedia page MLSE certainly looks solid enough. Who wouldn't want their team owned by an organization with dollars and clout?

I don't want to be the petty, older child, jealous at his new sibling, but I don't like this at all. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has a hard enough time with the Maple Leaf aspect of their business, their crown jewel, the one aspect that any one ever expects anything from, and now it's time to invest in English football? The Premiership is serious business, and Leeds fans have an expectation that that is where their club belongs. They deserve an owner with a commitment to winning, who has a stake in the team, who understands the sport and what it takes to win.

Come to think about it, so do the Maple Leafs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Great topic, but will this really work?