I’m sure I had heard about the Dallas Tornado, but probably only in relation to the North American Soccer League, and only then in relation to the Pele-starring New York Cosmos. I certainly had no idea about the team’s crazy barnstorming tour. How crazy?
Playing 32 games, across five continents and 26 countries over a seven-month period, Dallas, in just about every sense, took on the world. From Spain in August to Honduras in March, via Christmas in Tokyo and New Year in Manila, this was genuine football globetrotting. And long before it was fashionable, too. No product-placement, milking the market or “expanding the brand” here.
Dallas’ journey saw them cheat death, Final Destination style, at the hands of Greek-Cypriot terrorists, visit Vietnam whilst war raged around them, and survive an on-pitch riot in Singapore. The football, at times, must have felt like a sideshow. Some sideshow, mind. During the tour, Tornado played in front of crowds of up to 50,000, and against sides of the calibre of Real Oviedo, Fenerbahce and the Japanese national team.
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