The reasons Cleveland sucks are many and varied; first, of course, would have to be setting a river on fire. Not far behind many would argue are the local sports teams. Browns, Cavs, Indians…barely an ounce of success among them. One could even argue the most successful team Cleveland’s seen was their soccer team.
Yes, soccer team. In two years the not at all storied or fabled Cleveland Stokers finished second in their division in the United Soccer Association (USA; the 60s were great for absurd names) and first in their division in the ’68 season of the NASL. Not bad really, not bad. But what kind of nickname is “Stokers?”
The USA’s one year experiment explains. The winners that year were the LA Wolves…aka Wolverhampton Wanderers. In a rather audacious move to create a rival league to the NASL, the USA imported foreign teams (mostly English and Scottish) wholesale during their summer breaks to play out the season. LA received Wolves, Boston got Shamrock Rovers (because, well, they’re Irish), Vancouver Sunderland, Chicago Cagliari, and so on. And Cleveland?
Cleveland hosted everyone’s favourite team, Stoke City.
Yes, that Stoke City.
So, when someone next bags on Stoke, which they surely will (it’s almost hard not to), just remember, it could be worse.
They could still be playing in Cleveland.