… If you’ve enjoyed Martin Tyler’s PBP work during the 2010 FIFA World Cup for ESPN and ABC, then get used to it, because Soccernet reports Tyler will return in the same role for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
If you haven’t enjoyed Tyler, well, then … sorry for ruining your morning.
In the article, Tyler touched on how he saw his role as not being one to try and convert the non-believers. I agree with that approach. Tyler is best left to commentate on what he sees in front of him and other key events in the tournament, not preach about how other countries run their national team programs or how to grow the sport in the United States. I enjoy his work, I know some don’t. Your mileage may vary. That’s OK.
But he did say one particularly interesting thing that I wanted to call attention to, if only to gauge reader reaction:
I’m not here to fan the flames of the whole promotion/relegation argument. I think there are dynamics in place here that are so different than what we see in England and in other countries that such a system may never work right. But I’m not as down on the system in England as a whole as others are, and I don’t necessarily blame it for the financial troubles that several English clubs at different levels have gone through. Mismanagement is in the eye of the beholder.
But I do think Tyler makes an interesting point. Many have trumpeted how for Major League Soccer to be successful, “major” markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have to field strong sides and be influential. Yet, the league is now in its 15th season with a “New York” club that has basically only been good at bashing its head into a wall and failing catastrophically for most of its existence.
Tyler seems to suggest the opposite strategy to MLS – that a bottoms-up approach would be more effective. Would the dynamics of our geography, the nature of our sports fans, and the patterns with which sports fans spend their dollars support such an idea?
There has often been discussion about somehow working MLS and USL together to create a two-tiered association that would offer promotion/relegation between the two. What Tyler would seem to advocate is starting at the ground floor instead, perhaps with a number of regional leagues where teams are built in a community setting and over the course of many years, a pyramid is created to join MLS from the bottom, rather than reshaping MLS (and the USL) at or near the top.
I think the concept would be interesting in particular locales, but it wouldn’t have the same support all over the country. Funding would be a big question mark, and there’d have to be some level of cooperation from MLS with regard to funding and/or sponsorship so that it’s clear that while each regional league is somewhat independent, Big Brother is there to lend a hand and communities would know that it could be worth the effort over many years to step up to the big time. In some ways, though, it would be the ultimate in player development, as top-level clubs would have plenty of teams to scout, some in their own backyards.
In short, it’d be a 15- to 20-year effort. It’d probably take some soccer lover with deep, deep pockets, to manage the whole thing. It’s an intriguing idea.
But it’s more for discussion and for kicking around than anything else, because I can’t imagine it ever happening. It’s a nice idea on Tyler’s part, and maybe it ties into the whole pseudo-romanticism of the little club like an AFC Wimbledon trying to climb the ladder toward football immortality.
It might work in theory, but I’m just not sure that whole concept would ever take hold and be adequately supported here.
Your thoughts? If nothing else, it gives us something to talk about during this 2-day World Cup hiatus.