In the height of the North American Soccer League tours by British clubs to the States in the summer were common. What perhaps wasn’t so common was an American side travelling to the UK to play a fixture. This is exactly what Tampa Bay Rowdies (coached by Rodney Marsh) did in 1984 when they travelled to Hull to play the first-leg of the alliteratively named “Arrow Air Anglo-American Cup”.
Rodney Marsh spends a lot of his interview dismissing the quality of soccer in the States, comparing it to Fourth Division football before hastily correcting himself by saying it was nearer lower-Division Three standard. Hull City certainly knew how to greet their American visitors, they put on a marching band before the game whilst stetson-wearing-sixgun-toting chairman Don Robinson rode a horse around the pitch proving that there’s a bit of a tradition of eccentric owners on Humberside.
Despite Hull City having played a league fixture at Plough Lane against Wimbledon the day before, they won out comfortable 3-0 winners against their American opposition. Rodney Marsh seemed very pleased with himself in the post-match interview, his only lament that his side didn’t get the ball forward quick enough.
For the record, Hull City lost the away leg 1-0 after a 3-0 victory at home, making them the current holders of the Arrow Air Anglo-American Cup.
The ever obscure footysphere has the programme cover and a few more details about the match and the terrific My Tampa Bay Rowdies blog has a great picture of a sign advertising the return fixture in Tampa.