Dips Fan Day

Dips Fan Day

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Story

Just as Ralph Parker yearned for an official Red Ryder carbine action 200 shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time, I longed for a Sears Roebuck catalog Washington Diplomats official replica NASL game jersey, which Santa brought in 1979. It was impressive looking, with the only alteration being the removal of the third stripe across the chest not to infringe on the Adidas logo. Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Collecting Johan Cruyff

Rod Sangala was kind enough to send along this beautiful signed Johan Cruyff cover of Soccer Digest. Check out his blog at http://myvintageautographs.blogspot.com/. This photo provides a beautiful close up of what I think were the most unique jerseys in the NASL. Below are front and rear views of a Cruyff gamer that came straight from the team.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Rare Find-1978 Promo Film

Dave Wasser, who has done an outstanding job locating NASL games for posterity, was kind enough to share this gem. In 1978, the Dips released a promotional piece produced by NFL films. This 6 odd minute work was only shown during the previews of movies screened at Roth Theatres, a DC area chain of yesteryear. The jingle included in the film, "Get your kicks with the Dips," is a delicious, if obscure, part of Diplomania. If anyone has any Dips photos, games, or highlight films to share, please contact me.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Open Tryouts, Spring 1980

After acquiring world class players like Johan Cruyff, Wim Janse, and Juan Jose Lozano, management realized they had not sufficiently scoured DC and it's suburbs.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roy Willner

From 1974 through 1978, Roy Willner gave Dips fans a clinic in heart, grit and effort. He was not the fastest, nor the most talented player, but you had to respect the way he played. Despite his size, 5' 7" & 150 pounds, Willner took no guff from opponents.

John Rowlands can personally attest to what happened to those who tried to get physical with ol' number 16. The Dips and San Jose Earthquakes engaged in a particularly physical match on May 23, 1977.

The game was still scoreless with about 3 minutes left in regulation when Willner received a pass near midfield. He dribbled once or twice and then passed the ball to his left. Just then, Rowlands delivered a cheap shot that Karl Malone would have envied. Willner turned and dropped his assailant with one right hook to the jaw.

"It was just a real dirty play," Willner said of Rawlands hijinks. "We went out to celebrate after the game (the Dips eventually won, 1-0. via a shootout), and my jaw was killing me."

Willner, who retired after the 1978 season due to knee problems, now lives in the neighborhood in which I grew up. He allowed me the honor of adding his personal equipment bag to my Diplomats collection.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dennis Viollet Relieved

Just eight days after a front page profile in the Washington Post Sports section hailed him as "a respected NASL coach," Dennis Viollet was relieved of that duty. While most players declined to comment, team captain Gary Darrell observed, "Dennis has been different this year. He wasn't as organized as he's been in the past and he hasn't been as enthused." Viollet had finished runner-up in NASL Coach of the Year voting less than a year before.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dennis Viollet

On June 22, 1977, Donald Huff of the Washington Post wrote the following profile of Diplomats Head Coach Dennis Viollet. The timing of the piece, which portrayed Viollet as a survivor, would soon seem ironic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

1980 Fan Appreciation Day II

Gary Darrell

Bobby Stokes

Tom Rongen

Ken Mokgojoa

Add ImageNick Mijatovik

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fan Appreciation Day 1980

Washington Post Advertisement

Carmine Posillico

Carmine Marcantonio & Wim Jansen

Alan Green

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For This Team, An Offensive Explosion

The 1977 Dips were offensively impotent, scoring a paltry 31 goals in 26 games, for a 1.2 goals per game average. However, the Connecticut Bicentennials were slightly more inept, tallying just 3o. The strange thing, however, is that this 10-16 team averaged 13,068 per game at RFK. The 1978 & 1979 Diplomats, each of whom made the playoffs, averaged just 10, 783 and 11,973, respectively. One side note, the Washington Post's sports editor made a rather unfortunate choice of words when constructing a headline for the game.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today, everything in sports has a sponsor. Whether it's the Capitol One Visa AFC Wild Card Game Halftime Show, or Flippin Pizza, the official pizza of the Washington Nationals, teams will couple with just about any product, short of personal hygene, to make a buck. In a way, the Dips were pioneers in this dog eat dog (pardon the pun) sponsorship enterprise. Case in point, Diplomats Esskay Soccer Franks.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Jim Reed School of Cool was established sometime in the late 1970s for those who wanted to emulate that wise cracking, C- poster child, yours truely. Essential to the wardrobe portion of instruction was atleast one piece of Dips wear from the 1979 ticket brochure.

While I'm not certain what articles of clothing came from what year, for these give aways were an annual ritual, I know I had the tube socks, shorts, t-shirt jersey, gym bag and atleast two of those rubberized Adidas replica balls. Unofrtunately, I've lost these momentoes over the past thirty some years.

It would be six years after the original Dips ceased operations that I would obtain my first true game worn jersey. However, I treasured those giveaways then as much as I do my gamer collection now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Diplomats First Trip To the Playoffs

The Diplomats made their first appearance in the NASL playoffs on August 17, 1976, in Shea Stadium, against the Cosmos. The Cosmos usual home venue was Yankee Stadium, but the Yanks were playing at home that evening. Fortunately, the Mets were out of town. The teams had split their two regular season meetings, with the Dips winning, 3-2, at H.D. Woodson High School, and the Cosmos taking the second game, 5-0, at Yankee Stadium. Entering the game, the Washingtonians felt it was a good omen that they would not return to the house the Ruth built.

Pele scored 2 in the Cosmos 5-0 win at Yankee Stadium.

To say that the playoffs were unkind to the Dips would be apropos. Of the seven post season games they appeared in, the franchise compiled a 1-6 record. Three of the losses were in sudden death. While this inagural playoff game did up the way the vast majority would, the Washington Star was optimistic in it's coverage.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Little Things

When Carmine Marcantonio arrived in 1978, the font used for the player's name on the back of their jersey could not fit five syllables. By 1980, a new font was used that provided smaller letters for longer names.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kevin Keegan a Diplomat?

For a few fleeting weeks in January, 1979, it looked as if the Diplomats were going to land “one of the top three players in the world.” On January 5, in a front page story in the Sports section, the Washington Post announced the Dips were courting Kevin Keegan, recently named Europe’s 1978 footballer of the year.

“Gordon Bradley (Diplomat coach) has met informally with Keegan on several occasions,” General Manager John Carbray was quoted as saying. Both the Dips and the Tampa Bay Rowdies made multimillion dollar offers to Keegan, according to contemporary European newspapers. The article stated that if Keegan came to Washington he would receive at least $250,000 annually. The article stated NASL sources believed there was “an excellent chance” that Keegan would wind up in DC.

On January 23, the Post ran the banner headline: “Diplomats, Keegan Reach Agreement.” It detailed a three year deal in excess of $1 million, a sum that exceeded the team’s entire payroll in 1978. The agreement was verbally agreed too by both parties. It called for Keegan to play in about 20 of the Dips 30 games in 1979. The contract allowed Keegan to continue playing for Hamburg S.V. in the German League. He would then join the Dips on June 10, 1979, the day after Hamburg’s last match. The agreement also allowed Keegan to rejoin Hamburg by mid-August, which was the start of the new European season. However, he would stay with the Dips as far as they lasted into the playoffs, which could have run until September 9.

Three days later, however, in a story planted on page 4, the Post announced that Keegan would not be coming to the Dips, or any other NASL franchise. “Thank God I haven’t signed a contract with the Diplomats,” Keegan exclaimed. “I have been negotiating with them for three months and now the whole thing has fallen through. The whole thing is very unpleasant.” The whole thing “fell through” when Keegan discovered a clause in European Federation rules which stated that only players under contract to their clubs by August 13 would be eligible to play for the European Cup.

The Dips finished with a franchise best 19-9 regular season record before being swept out of the playoff by the John Cruyff led LA Aztecs. In their coverage of the season ending defeat, the Washington Star resurrected the notion of Keegan playing in DC.

A world renowned star would don a Dips jersey for the 1980 season. It was not in the form of Kevin Keegan, however, but in the afore mentioned Cruyff. Keegan and Bradley were old friends, and would have made a wonderful partnership. Cruyff and Bradley were not, and their acrimony was palpable.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

1977-78 Warm Up Jacket

The Dips debuted new jerseys in 1977. It employed a new team logo that featured DIPS slanted across the front and made by Adidas. A new warm up was also issued that year, but this used the old logo of a soccer ball with top hat and cane, also made by Adidas. The team uniforms had previously been supplied by Umbro. This particular jacket was obtained from Ane Mahailovich, who played with the Dips from 1978-80, despite the fact that it originally belonged to defender Mike Dillon. "We wore each others equipment all the time," Mahailovich told me. This was largely due to the fact that they roomed together on the road. Ane also had a lighter suit that
was issued for rain games, but it did not have any Diplomats identifiers on it, unfortunately.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sonny Askew's Influence on 70s Pop Culture

Robert Reed, aka Mike Brady, was an obvious Sonny Askew fan, if not the team as a whole.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arthur Treacher's Soccer Teacher

Ask any member of the current U.S. World Cup Team where they picked up the finer points of the game and they will readily admit from this 1980 magazine given away at Washington area Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inagural Game

Photo courtesy: http://philadelphiaatoms.com/atomsphotos.htm

Note the large white painted wooden

seats in RFK Stadium in 1974. These

would soon be replaced by orange

plastic seats that were much more

narrow and uncomfortable.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Last Original

During their seven year tenure in DC, the one constant within the organization was Gary Darrell. The 5' 9" midfielder/defender was a fan favorite and constant contributor. Gordon Bradley stated, "Despite being 31 years old and seldom starting, Gary Darrell was probably our most valuable player in 1978. That tells you a lot about the character of this man." Indeed, Darrell was the heart and soul of the franchise.