Sidekicks need help to stay in Dallas

SOCCER

April 07, 1991|By Bill Free

Not all is well with the Dallas Sidekicks these days.

Sidekicks owner Phil Cobb said last week that he expects to lose more than $800,000 this season, prompting him to put the team up for sale.

Cobb said he has received overtures from one group of investors that would move the team to Cincinnati and most likely continue play in the Major Soccer League.

Cobb said there is a chance the Cincinnati group would take the team out of the MSL and put it in the indoor National Professional Soccer League (formerly American Indoor Soccer Association, which includes the Hershey Impact).

Cobb said he would be reluctant to sell the team to the Cincinnati group if it dropped out of the MSL.

"The NPSL is basically a minor league," said Cobb. "It's not like the AFL [American Football League] was when it was competing with the NFL. Those leagues were more on a par than the MSL and the NPSL are."

Cobb said he has been willing to listen to the Cincinnati group because it "has home-state interest." Cobb was born in Toledo, Ohio.

The Sidekicks owner also said there is a possibility he could sell the team to some Dallas investors or obtain some new investors to join him in ownership of the team.

"We want to do the best we can to ensure that the team stays in Dallas," said Cobb. "Right now, I'd have to say that the team will be playing in Dallas next year. But we won't know anything definite for another week."

Cobb said he has been talking to MSL commissioner Earl Foreman about the possible sale of the Sidekicks.

Foreman said Friday that he didn't want to comment on the Dallas situation. Cobb said he entered the season expecting to lose $300,000 to $400,000 at the most and had hoped to keep losses at $210,000.

"It was a tremendous shock to find out how much we were going to lose," said Cobb. "I think the front office did a poor job of marketing the Dallas Sidekicks, and I believe Billy [Phillips, who was fired as coach in January and replaced by president Gordon Jago] didn't do a good job of putting the team together. He got rid of too many good players and thought he would rely on coaching instead of good players."

Dallas lost defender Richard Chinapoo to the Baltimore Blast and forwards Steve Kinsey and Mark Karpun and midfielder Willie Molano to the Tacoma Stars.

The Sidekicks, despite having the leading scorer in the league in Tatu, have spent most of the season in last place in the Western Division.

* Foreman's two-year contract as MSL commissioner runs out June 30, and he said last week he has had no negotiations with league officials to sign a new contract.

"I've been so pre-occupied with league affairs that I haven't had a chance to meet with Ron Fowler [chairman of the MSL board of directors and San Diego Sockers owner]," said Foreman. "The league directors told me to meet with Ron and whatever we worked out would be fine. But Ron has been out of the country traveling on business and I haven't had a chance to get to San Diego."

Foreman said he is interested in returning as MSL commissioner.

* Harlee Russ, longtime successful soccer coach at Patterson High School, will be honored at a retirement banquet April 23 at La Fontaine Rouge on Belair Road.

The banquet will run from 6-10 p.m. For information, call Paula Perkins at 396-9276.

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