Cosmos doubled, Willie Morgan, Foulkes quits

A Brief History of the Chicago Sting: Part 2

1976: The Sting’s second season saw the arrival of more players from the British Isles and the return to Chicago of Polish striker Janusz Kowalik. Kowalik had hit the heights with the Chicago Mustangs eight years earlier scoring 30 goals in 28 appearances in the Mustangs one and only season in the NASL.

Although the British incomers were less well known – John James (from Tranmere Rovers), John Lowey (from Manchester United’s youth team) , Lammie Robertson (Exeter City) and Alan Waldron (Bolton & Blackpool) – the side were good enough to win the club its first honour in the form of the Northern Division title.

Although the team were unable to make it past the first round of the playoffs, bowing out to the Toronto Blizzard, they had doubled the star studded New York Cosmos in regular season play, winning two-nil in New York, and in front of 28,000 home fans had beaten Pele, Chinaglia and company in a 4-1 romp.

1977: Head coach Bill Foulkes headed for Britain yet again before the ’77 season to sign a player who would prove to be one of the most successful and popular players in the NASL’s history – Willie Morgan, the Scottish international midfielder. Morgan, who arrived on loan from Bolton had played over 500 games in the Football League for the Trotters, Burnley and Manchester United.

Also arriving from the UK was Ronnie Moore a prolific striker from Tranmere, but despite these additions the Sting had a very poor year and Foulkes resigned halfway through the season leaving Willy Roy, his assistant, as interim coach.

Roy, a German by birth who had arrived with his family in Chicago at the age of six, was a veteran of the early years of the NASL and its forerunner the NPSL. The Sting finished the season with a 10 win 16 loss record. Unsurprisingly attendances were not improving, and a dramatic drop seemed likely when the Sting started the ’78 season by losing its first ten games!

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