Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1975-1993 Tampa Bay Rowdies

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Tampa Bay Rowdies 1975North American Soccer League (1975-1984)
American Indoor Soccer Association (1986-1987)
American Soccer League (1988-1989)
American Professional Soccer League (1990-1993)

Born: 1974 – NASL expansion franchise.
Died: January 31, 1994 – The Rowdies cease operations.


  • 1975-1990: Tampa Stadium (71,000)
  • 1991-1992: USF Soccer Stadium
  • 1993: Tampa Stadium


Team Colors:





==Tampa Bay Rowdies Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1975 5/3/1975 vs. New York Cosmos W 1-0 Program
1975 8/24/1975 Portland Timbers W 2-0 Program
1976 5/7/1976 @ Chicago Sting W 1-0 (OT) Program
1976 5/19/1976 vs. Hartford Bicentennials W 5-2 Program
1977 4/30/1977 vs. Rochester Lancers W 3-1 Program
1977 7/27/1977 @ Portland Timbers L 4-1 Program
1977 8/10/1977 @ New York Cosmos L 3-0 Program
1978 2/3/1978 vs. Washington Diplomats ?? Program
1978 4/16/1978 @ Detroit Express W 2-1 Program
1979 8/12/1979 @ Detroit Express L 2-1 Program
1979 8/25/1979 vs. Philadelphia Fury W 1-0 Video
1979 8/30/1979 @ San Diego Sockers L 2-1 Program
1979 9/8/1979 Vancouver Whitecaps L 2-1 Program
1979-80 1/22/1980 @ Detroit Express ?? Program
1979-80 2/23/1980 vs. Atlanta Chiefs W 7-3 Program
1979-80 3/2/1980 vs. Memphis Rogues W 10-4 (W 1-0 MG) Program
1980 4/20/1980  @ New York Cosmos L 4-2 Program Game Notes
1980 5/17/1980 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps W 3-2 Video
1980 6/8/1980 @ Fort Lauderdale Strikers W 2-1 (2 OT) Program Video
1980 6/14/1980 vs. New York Cosmos W 4-3 Program
1980 9/29/1980 @ Luton Town (UK) W 1-0 Program
1980 10/8/1980 @ St. Mirren F.C. (Scotland) L 4-2 Program
1980 10/11/1980 @ Hereford United (UK) T 1-1 Program
1980 10/13/1980 @ Nottingham Forest (UK) L 7-1 Program
1981 5/16/1981 @ Fort Lauderdale Strikers W 1-0 (SO) Program
1981 7/11/1981 @ San Diego Sockers L 4-3 (OT) Program
1981 8/26/1981 @ Vancouver Whitecaps W 1-0 Program
1981-82 2/14/1982 @ Chicago Sting  L 10-9 (OT) Program
1982 6/16/1982 vs. New York Cosmos L 2-0 Program Game Notes
1982 8/4/1982 @ Chicago Sting  L 3-1 Program
1983 5/11/1983 @ Toronto Blizzard W 3-1 Program
1983 6/1/1983 vs. Team America W 3-1 Program
1983 7/16/1983 @ Chicago Sting  L 4-1 Program
1983 8/12/1983 @ San Diego Sockers L 9-1 Program
1983-84 11/26/1983 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks L 7-6 Program
1983-84 1/28/1984 @ Chicago Sting  L 14-6 Program
1983-84 2/18/1984 @ Chicago Sting  L 4-2 Program
1984 5/13/1984 @ New York Cosmos L 1-0 Program
1984 5/26/1984 vs. New York Cosmos  W 3-2 (SO) Game Notes
1984 6/22/1984 vs. Toronto Blizzard W 1-0 Full Ticket
1984 8/12/1984 @ San Diego Sockers L 5-1 Program
1989 5/7/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles L 1-0 Program Game Notes
1990 5/6/1990  @ New Jersey Eagles  W 1-0 Program Game Notes
1990 7/26/1990 @ Fort Lauderdale Strikers ?? Program
1992 8/4/1992 vs. Miami Freedom W 4-2 Program
1992 8/16/1992 @ Fort Lauderdale Strikers L 2-1 Program


==Key Players==

  • Oscar Fabbiani
  • Rodney Marsh
  • Derek Smethurst








==In Memoriam==




North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs


August 21, 1993 – Detroit Drive vs. Tampa Bay Storm

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Arena Bowl VIIDetroit Drive vs. Tampa Bay Storm
Arena Bowl VII
August 21, 1993
Joe Louis Arena
Attendance: 12,989

Arena Football League Programs
62 pages


Arena Bowl VII was the second and final meeting between Arena Football’s two greatest dynasties: the Detroit Drive, who played in the title game in all six seasons of their existence, and the Jay Gruden-era Tampa Bay Storm, who won four titles in six years with Gruden under center.  In fact, the Storm were the only force standing between the Drive and a perfect six-for-six record in championship games.  Gruden & Co. handed Detroit their only two Arena Bowl losses in 1991 and in this 1993 rematch.

The Storm took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, winning or tying every quarter en route to a 51-31 victory.  Gruden was named the MVP of Arena Bowl VII, passing for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Gruden, the brother of Super Bowl champion coach and Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden, ultimately won four Arena Bowls with the Storm.  He later won two more as an Arena Football head coach.  In 2014 he was named Head Coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Another standout was Storm OL-DL Keith Browner, who recovered a fumble for a touchdown on defense and also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass.  Browner, a former 2nd round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who played five seasons in the NFL, is part of the remarkable Browner family.  His brothers Ross and Joey were NFL standouts during the 1980′s.  Joey Browner’s son Keith Jr. and nephew Max Starks would also play in the NFL.  Keith Browner was named the “Ironman of the Game” as the top two-way player in Arena Bowl VII.

Arena Bowl VII proved to be the final appearance of the Detroit Drive franchise.  During the offseason, owner Mike Ilitch sold the team and the new owners relocate it to Worcester, Massachusetts where it became the Massachusetts Marauders.  The Marauders lasted just one season and failed to extend the Drive’s dynasty.

The evening’s game program (above right) pictured the Arena Football League’s 1993 award winners on the cover:





1993 Detroit Drive Arena Bowl VII Roster

1993 Tampa Bay Storm Arena Bowl VII Roster



More Arena Bowls on Fun While It Lasted

Detroit Drive Home Page









1987-2000 Vancouver 86ers

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Vancouver 86ersCanadian Soccer League (1987-1992)
American Professional Soccer League (1993-1996)
A-League (1997-2000)

Born: 1986 – CSL founding franchise.
Died: October 26, 2000 – Re-branded as the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Stadium: Swangard Stadium (6,500)

Team Colors:

  • 1993-????: Red, Black & White





==Vancouver 86ers Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1987 6/28/1987 vs. Calgary Kickers ?? Program



==In Memoriam==

Former 86ers owner Milan Ilich died of leukemia on June 29, 2011 at age 76.



Canadian Soccer League Media Guides

Canadian Soccer League Programs

American Professional Soccer League Media Guides

American Professional Soccer League Programs




Written by andycrossley

July 28th, 2014 at 1:49 am

October 15, 1979 – Birmingham City F.C. vs. Los Angeles Aztecs

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Birmingham City Los Angeles AztecsBirmingham City F.C. vs. Los Angeles Aztecs
October 15, 1979
St. Andrew’s
Attendance: ?

North American Soccer League Programs
10 pages


This is one of my favorites from our batch of vintage international friendly programmes from the North American Soccer League (1968-1984).  Postseason tours of Western Europe were not uncommon for some of the league’s more ambitious and stable clubs, such as the Cosmos, Rowdies and Whitecaps, during the late 1970′s and early 1980′s.

Few seem to ever count the Los Angeles Aztecs among that fraternity of top American clubs, although they periodically reached for the brass ring with the splashy signing of a George Best or Johan Cruyff.  The Aztecs also sprang for arguably the top manager ever to join the NASL, when they imported Cruyff’s former Ajax and Dutch national team coach Rinus Michels in 1979.

This September-October 1979 jaunt through Holland and England was both the first and last foreign tour that the Aztecs would ever undertake.  The promotional hook for the expedition was the presence of Cruyff, the NASL’s reigning Most Valuable Player and one of the greatest players in the world.  Most of the games were in the Netherlands, where Cruyff was a national icon.  (So was Michels, but he did not accompany the Aztecs on this trip for some reason).   The Aztecs stopped off for two matches in the UK at the very end of the trip – this one against the Blues on a Monday evening at St. Andrew’s and a tour-closing date with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two nights later.

This match ended up a 1-1 draw.  English journeyman Gerry Ingram netted to lone goal for the Aztecs – a club he never played for other than on this tour.  (Ingram played for the Anaheim-based California Surf of the NASL during the regular season).

These October 1980 English friendlies turned out to be the final matches that Cruyff ever played for the Aztecs.  Early in 1980 the club was sold to a Mexican syndicate who wanted to market the team more specifically to Los Angeles’ Hispanic market.  They had little interest in retaining Cruyff and his $700,000 annual salary.  The Aztecs sold his contract to the Washington Diplomats for a reported $1M transfer fee in February 1980.



More NASL International Friendlies


Written by andycrossley

July 27th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

1988-1994 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

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Fort Lauderdale Strikers APSLAmerican Soccer League (1988-1989)
American Professional Soccer League (1990-1994)

Born: 1987 – ASL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1994 – The Strikers withdraw from the APSL.



Team Colors: Red, Yellow & Black


The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of 1988 to 1994 were the second incarnation of the famed American soccer club.  (The brand name has subsequently been revived two more times).   The original Strikers played in the North American Soccer League from 1977 through 1983 and were owned by the Robbie family, who also owned the NFL’s Miami Dolphins at the time.  The NASL strikers attracted world class international such as West Germany’s Gerd Mueller, Northern Ireland’s George Best and Peru’s Teofilo Cubillas.  The club was popular in South Florida and occasionally sold out Lockhart Stadium to the tune of nearly 20,000 fans in the late 1970′s.

But enthusiasm for the Strikers and the NASL more generally faded in the early 1980′s and the Robbies moved the club to Minneapolis in late 1983.   In Minnesota the original Strikers soon transformed into an indoor team and dissolved in June 1988 after years of multi-million dollar losses.  Meanwhile, the NASL went out of business in early 1985, leaving the United States without a major outdoor pro soccer league for the next three years.

The American Soccer League launched in 1988 to fill the pro soccer void along the East Coast.  A number of former NASL cities joined and dusted off old their identities, including the Strikers, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and a new version of the Washington Diplomats.  One promising sign was the return of the Robbie family to operate the Strikers in Fort Lauderdale.  Several old Strikers fan favorites from the NASL era – now mostly in their mid-30′s – returned to the club as well, including Cubillas, midfielders Ray Hudson and Thomas Rongen and goalkeeper Arnie Mausser. Jimmy McGeough Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The Robbies entrusted the on-field product to long-time soccer executive Noel Lemon, another veteran of the NASL days.  Lemon hired Wim Suurbier as Head Coach and the Strikers finished the 1988 debut season of the American Soccer League in first place.  But the Strikers lost both legs of the two-game ASL championship series to the Washington Diplomats.  The deciding loss came at home on August 27, 1988 before 4,257 fans at Lockhart Stadium.  In the locker room following the match, an angry Noel Lemon cut Teofilo Cubillas, ostensibly for missing a team practice several days earlier.

“<Cubillas> is the biggest disgrace I’ve ever been associated with,” Lemon added after the loss.  Cubillas would play a handful of games for the ASL’s Miami Sharks the following summer before his pro career came to a quiet end in 1989.  The Peruvian World Cup hero is a fixture on Top 50 and Top 100 rankings of the best footballers of the 20th century.

It was an ignominious dismissal for one of the franchise’s all-time greats.  Lemon’s outburst drew a public admonition from Joe Robbie, but Robbie’s health was in decline and his time with the Strikers was short.  Robbie sold the majority interest in the Strikers to Lemon in early 1989 before the club’s second season.  Joe Robbie would pass away in January 1990.  His wife Elizabeth, founder of the original Strikers in 1977, died in 1991.

Long-time Striker Thomas Rongen replaced Wim Suurbier as Head Coach for the 1989.  The Strikers defeated the Boston Bolts to win the ASL championship in August.  In early September, the Strikers travelled to San Jose, California to play in a “national championship” match against the San Diego Nomads, the champions of the Western Soccer Alliance.  The Strikers prevailed 3-1.  The Strikers would reach the ASL final for a third straight season in 1990, losing to the Maryland Bays.

After the Robbies left the picture in early 1989, the Strikers financial fortunes declined steadily.  Noel Lemon was not a wealthy man and the club experienced cash flow problems, ultimately resulting in Lemon’s loss of the franchise in late 1991.  The ownership turned over several times in the early 1990′s, including a period late in the 1992 season where the team became an owner-less ward of the league.  Lemon sued to regain control of the club and fought for his reinstatement until the team’s demise following the 1994 season.


==Fort Lauderdale Strikers Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1988 7/1/1988 @ Orlando Lions ?? Program
1989 6/11/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles W 1-0 Program
1989 9/9/1989 San Diego Nomads W 3-1 Program
1990 5/5/1990 vs. Miami Freedom ?? Program
1990 5/20/1990 @ New Jersey Eagles W 2-1 Program
1990 5/26 1990 vs. New Jersey Eagles ?? Program
1990 7/26/1990 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies ?? Program
1992 8/16/1992 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies W 2-1 Program



==In Memoriam==

Strikers owner (1988) Joe Robbie died on January 7, 1990 at age 73.

Strikers founder/owner Elizabeth Robbie passed away in November 1991.

Defender Barry Wallace succumbed to cancer on October 17, 2006 at age 47.

Strikers President and owner Noel Lemon died on November 22, 2012.  Lemon was 68 years old.



American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs