Monday, December 20, 2010

20 December 1992 - The Cosmos Lose A Star

On 20 December 1992, New York Cosmos co-founder Steve Ross died in Los Angeles at the age of 65.

Ross (pictured, center), who started his entrepreneurial career with a rental car business in the late 1950s, purchased the Warner Brothers-Seven Arts film studio in 1969 for $400 million. Ross served as CEO, president, and chairman of his new acquisition, soon expanded and renamed as Warner Communications.

Ross, along with brothers Ahmet and Neshui Ertegün from Atlantic Records, founded the Cosmos in 1971. With a collection of local talent, the Cosmos won the NASL title in their second season, but could not sustain their success, failing even to qualify for the playoffs in 1974. Their declining form prompted Ross to make a bid for Brazilian superstar Pelé, who came out of semi-retirement and joined the Cosmos in 1975. Ross also used Warner Communications' deep pockets to bring additional high-profile players to New York, including Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, and Giorgio Chinaglia.

Under Ross' stewardship, the Cosmos became a club célèbre, becoming a prominent fixture in the New York social scene. They were also successful, winning four more NASL titles. But the extravagant spending eventually caught up with them and Warner sold the club in the early '80s to a consortium led by Chinaglia, ending Ross' association with the club.

Ross's death in 1992 was caused by complications with prostate cancer.

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