Frans Beckenbauer comes to town today, and maybe soccer fans can find out what kind of humor he is in now that the New York-East Rutherford Cosmos have issued the last word to the West Germans: the Kaiser is all NASL's.
Taking up where Pele left off as the Cosmos', and North American league's, main attraction/goodwill envoy, Beckenbauer will headline a "first annual" Scholastic Coach/Sportcraft Soccer Coaches Clinic at the Charter House in Alexandria (registration 8-9 a.m. today, sessions at 9 today and tomorrow). He will not be playing World Cup for the West German national team he led to capture that prize in 1974.
Ahmet Ertegun, Cosmos president, yesterday told the German Soccer Federation - which kept asking after being told in January that Beckenbauer would not be released from his U.S. commitment except for the games proper in June - that no, no, the great midfielder will not be released immediately to practice with his homeland's cup squad. And because the Germans rejected the January offer, Ertegun concluded, "Now it is too late to do anything that would deprive us of Beckenbauer's services from league play" in June, either.
Also at the clinic here, with Dips Coach Gordon Bradley, will be Cosmos Coach Eddie Firmani. We already have an idea what kind of humor he is in - steaming, yesterday.
Cosmos defender Bobby Smith was suspended 10 days (games against Tulsa and Dallas) by Commissioner Phil Woosnam for "conduct unbecoming an NASL player," and Firmani said the suspension was uncalled for. "We find Smith before the league took any action; we felt that was sufficient. I believe (Woosnam acted) because the game was on (New York) television."
Smith's crime was on obscene gesture during the Cosmos' 1-0 win at Los Angeles on Sunday. The game was shown in New York on delayed tape; Smith's gesture was not edited out. Fumed Firmani:
"This could have been avoided if the television people did their job. After all, who do they work for? They should be loyal to the Cosmos."
Heck with the L.A. fans who saw it in person, hey coach? . .