One of my all-time favorite NASL Sounders was attacker Steve Daley. He lit up the Kingdome along with his mates in the early 80's. At the time I was a young pup who had no idea what Daley had gone through on his way to Seattle.
Daley had 'escaped' to the States after what was termed a 'disastrous' deal that brought him to Manchester City for a then-record transfer fee £1,437,500. He struggled with the Citizens and was bombarded with media critiques and fan disapproval. He was called 'the biggest waste of money in football history' for almost two decades.
Here we are in 2008 and rumors are flying that Sounders FC are interested in yet another English League cast-off, Swedish attacker Freddie Ljungberg. So what does the press have to say about Freddie's recent foibles with West Ham United? That he was a complete waste of money for West Ham and a big disappointment, of course.
Now I am not disagreeing about the poor play and injuries and even the 'waste' labels applied to Daley and Ljungberg. What I would like to point out is that Steve Daley rose above those comments and dazzled Sounders fans in America. I dare say the North American Soccer League of Daley's years was richer in talent than the 2009 MLS will be. Yet Daley bounced back, even on the Kingdome astroturf, and had three very nice years here.
There is no reason to think that if Sounders FC sign Ljungberg that the same thing can't happen again. At his best Ljungberg has been a fierce competitor who causes troubles for defenses on the move and in the box. He has a scent for goal that made Arsenal fans vote him to their all-time starting eleven.
Maybe he won't 'pull a Steve Daley' and mesmerize the league and Seattle crowds with his flair and determination to resuscitate his career. But maybe he will.
Now that's the kind of story I wouldn't mind hearing again.
(Click the photo at right to read about Steve Daley off the pitch for the 1983 Seattle Sounders.)
*Mati Bishop has a completely different take. Read it here.
*SounderatHeart.com wonders about early fan reaction
See a youtube video made by a Freddie fan in 2006: