Apologies for not getting in touch sooner, but you know how it goes: you were busy, we were busy; now it's the whole end-of-year parade of festivities. And you're just settling in! Plenty of time to get to know each other when you're properly moved and the cable has been hooked up and...What's that? You got a fully furnished, all-mod-cons place right off the bat? Congrats!
Waaay uptown, eh? Well, it's a big city for a reason: a lot of people want to live in it. Room for everyone, and you gotta start somewhere. We started out in a rental too, pretty sweet pad to be honest, but in the end it was too big for us. Plus our roommates trashed it every time we were away. Had to get out of there.
We're set up in our own place now. It's perfect for us. You should swing by sometime and check it out, might help you decide what you're looking for when you get ready to buy.
We're just over the river, in New...Woah. Slow down there, neighbor. You're coming off kinda strident. Zip-code fascism is hard to pull off. You're in New York. Everyone has been in your shoes: starting out in a not-so-sexy neighborhood, trying to get things moving forward as quickly as possible, cutting a few corners here and there cos that's what you have to do when you're in start-up mode.
Seriously, neighbor, don't kid yourself because you got into a nicer building than most. Like I said, we were in exactly your position 20 years ago.
Actually, that sort of brings us to the point. See, we get that most chart much the same path when they get here. We expect a few similarities. Especially given our backgrounds.
Let's not be shy, neighbor: we both have rich parents. Word is Big Daddy Manchester hooked you up with some spare shirts. No shame; we don't judge: our Papa gave us our wardrobe too. Much like you, we're in the family business; or rather, the family side business.
Papa makes his money slinging soda. Turns out it is surprisingly lucrative. Your Big Daddy makes his money by...Oh. Wow. Yeah, easy to see why you don't brag about that.
Let's just say we've each got rich parents and leave it at that for now, shall we?
Here's the thing, neighbor. Similarities notwithstanding, things are getting a little...how to put this? There was a movie way back starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Connolly. Things are getting a bit like that movie.
Sure, you expect a few similarities: we're in much the same place trying to do much the same thing. If swank rental plus Daddy's hand-me-down shirts is the ticket to success - glad to have helped pave the way.
And if spotting you one of our guys to get things started was also of assistance: we're just being good neighbors! (How're things, Claudio?)
Recently, though, things have been getting a little too similar.
We've been watching the brouhaha you've created around Frank Lampard. Making a hash of big name transfers is straight out of our playbook. We're still doing it. (Hi there, Tim: how was the safari?)
We saw you grabbed a handful of local guys in the Expansion Draft. Smart move: we kicked off in '96 with a similar approach. And we never really stopped after that: right now, we've got Mike Petke and John Wolyniec on the coaching staff; and a whole bunch of homegrown players in the squad (you will too, once you've been around long enough to grow some).
Unexpectedly, you picked up Mehdi Ballouchy too. He's not from New York, but he is one of our former players.
Then you reached for Ryan Meara, one of our current players.
It's one thing to copy the strategy - we can't fault you, it's the only way we know - but I'm not sure literally taking one of our guys and putting him in a different shirt for a year is quite the same. We feel for you: it's hard to do everything exactly right. Trust us, we know: not doing things exactly right is our signature move.
But even if you're just painting in between the lines of a borrowed template, you still need to get out the paint. Don't just lean over and take the one we finished. Also, it's hard to make a credible statement about your authenticity when one of your key local guys has "LOANER" stamped on his back.
Most recently, you announced you'd signed another goalkeeper: Akira Fitzgerald. Great! Gotta have goalkeepers. Weirdly, we signed a guy named Akira on the same day. A guy who has been in our development system for years.
Yes, we know Akira is the second most common Japanese given name (according to the first website that popped up with information on the subject), but it isn't a particularly common name in MLS.
It's getting a little strange, neighbor.
You're setting up in a rental that has a lot in common with our first home in this league, with one of our old guys as your Sporting Director, wearing your Daddy's old clothes (like we do), building a team with some local flavor and a sprinkle of star names that may or may not want to be playing for you (try as hard as you like, you will never get anything close to a Matthaeus or a Marquez), and now you've gone and got yourself an Akira.
We're giving you the benefit of the doubt here, neighbor. We're going to say it's all just a coincidence. For now.
MLS really wants us to be rivals (almost too much). We get the impression a lot of your fans want that as well. You're new in town: we're not here to make things hard for you. We left most of New York City completely free of any advertising material so you wouldn't feel intimidated. We want you to feel at home.
But you don't need to try this hard. We are truly flattered that you have gone to all this trouble to be just like us, but it really isn't necessary.
Seriously, cut it out. You're making us uncomfortable.