You don’t get to have a chat with a footballing legend every day. That is why it is so special to see the past, present, and future of the beautiful game come to life in just a single conversation. You want to capture every moment of that discussion.
It’s pretty clear that they don’t make players like Dennis Tueart anymore. The Newcastle upon Tyne native had nearly 500 professional appearances with the biggest names in world football, including Manchester City, Sunderland, and the New York Cosmos. During that time he scored over 160 goals and even spent time on the England National Team. He had the fortune of being part of both a golden era of English football and the birth of the beautiful game in America.
No one is more suited to speak on the state of the modern game as he has literally seen it all.
Tueart was widely impressed with the recent World Cup in Brazil, but not so much with England’s performance there.
“The World Cup has been excellent. Teams like Columbia and Costa have raised their profiles and showcased their own national game. England, on the other hand, was very disappointing. Some serious analysis needs to be done.”
The biggest problem appears to be a lack of young players coming through the Premier League system. The lack of homegrown players and a high ratio of foreign players has been problematic for the domestic game in England. Thankfully there is a strong nucleus of young players on the horizon; they just need time to develop.
Tueart praised the potential of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Luke Shaw, and Ross Barkley. He believes that each have a bright future ahead of them, both in the domestic and international game and all should be in the mix for England in the 2018 World Cup.
Tueart was equally high on America’s potential in the sport. He sees MLS as a promising league with a solid foundation. That wasn’t the case with the original NASL.
While the NASL was an incredible stop in the American soccer journey, Tueart admits that “it was built on sand.” He explains that notion by saying:
“While the Cosmos experienced a global profile and brand, other clubs tried to compete and couldn’t. There was not enough time to develop young American players. It was too rushed.”
Why were other clubs at a disadvantage when it came to funding? Simply put, the Cosmos were backed by Steve Ross and the Warner Brothers brand. The team was a truly global one with thirteen nationalities in the dressing room, representing the best footballers the world had to offer. The Cosmos were literally 30 years ahead of their time.
Today Man City has that same feel of a global footballing superpower, but Tueart believes that there is still work to be done.
“Man City has won the Premier League two times in three years, but their performance in Europe has been poor. We need to increase the squad’s depth and quality. Champions League needs to be the #1 target.”
This would involve bringing in players with the view of competing and winning the Champions League.
Another of his former teams, Sunderland, has found themselves completely engulfed by just staying in the Premier League. The key to staying up and moving forward could be tied to U.S. national teamer Jozy Altidore.
Tueart sees great promise in Altidore, but admits injuries and the lack of a surrounding cast have kept the young American from consistently scoring goals. He believes that Sunderland needs to find stability and a consistent strategy going forward, which would include signing players to increase the depth and quality of the squad. This would go a long way in helping Altidore become the player we all know he is capable of.
He understands that the Blues and the Black Cats have their work cut out for them each and every week because playing in the EPL is no picnic. Indeed it is the best and most difficult league in the world. He believes that the playing style, playing conditions, and the sheer number of games make the league what it is.
Playing at such a high level is what Tueart’s career was all about. One commonality throughout was the fact that he often pulled on Admiral kit at pivotal points.
He believes that Admiral, like the Cosmos, were ahead of their time with the company being among the first to do a commercial kit deal. High-profile partnerships with Leeds United, the NASL, and the England National Team gave Admiral an even bigger share of the soccer market. While their past could be called iconic or even legendary, Tueart believes that Admiral’s best years could be ahead of them.
“I am delighted to see Paul Hamburger doing so well in North America. I think Admiral is perfectly placed to do well there.”
Admiral has already grown into the second-largest soccer brand supplying professional teams in the U.S. The company is a key partner with teams from every level, from the NASL to the NPSL and PDL. The sky is literally the limit for the brand in America and beyond.