Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1982-1983 Oklahoma City Slickers

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1982 Oklahoma City Slickers ProgramAmerican Soccer League (1982-1983)

Born: 1981 – ASL expansion franchise
Re-Branded: 1984 (Oklahoma City Stampede)

Stadium: Taft Stadium

Team Colors: Black & Gold

Owners:

ASL Championships: None

 

The Oklahoma City Slickers were an expansion entry in the American Soccer League in the spring of 1982.   The ASL was a de facto 2nd Division league that traced its roots back to the early 1930’s.  By the time the Slickers entered the league in 1982, the ASL was on its last legs, doomed by over expansion, invisibility and constant franchise turnover.

Slickers Head Coach Brian Harvey put together a stellar expansion side, led by English NASL veterans Phil Parkes in goal and Jeff Bourne at forward.  Parkes played all 28 games in 1982, posting a 19-6-3 record.  Bourne finished third in the ASL in scoring with 20 goals and eight assists.

The Slickers carried a 13-match winning streak into the best-of-three ASL championship series against the Detroit Express in late September 1982.  The Slickers won the first match on the road at the Pontiac Silverdome and had the chance to ice the series at home, where the Slickers had a 15-game unbeaten streak.  But the Express scored two late goals to defeat the Slickers 2-0 at Taft Stadium and send the series back to Pontiac for a deciding Game Three.  The Express won the rubber match 4-1 before an announced crowd of 33,762 at the Silverdome on September 22, 1982.

By the 1983 season, the ASL had dwindled to just six franchises, with five southern clubs scattered from Dallas to Charlotte, plus Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Slickers were one of the league’s problem child franchises. Club owner Ralph Penn faced multiple legal actions over unpaid loans and payroll related to the Slickers and other businesses. The club was placed into receivership in May 1983 after Penn failed to repay a loan to the Slickers’ office manager.  A few days later a district court judge tossed Penn into jail for failing to make good on a separate judgment. The Slickers limped through the rest of the 1983 season under the control of a court-appointed receiver. David Fraser stepped forward to save the team, purchasing the ownership shares that the court forced Penn to sell off.

One the field, the Slickers were unable to retain Jeff Bourne who joined the ASL’s expansion club in Dallas.  Phil Parkes returned for part of the season, but the Slickers sold his contract to the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League in early July 1983.  Brian Harvey’s team could not recapture the magic of the first season and the Slickers dropped to a league-worst record of 8-17.

In late 1983, the American Soccer League finally threw in the towel after 51 years of operation.  The Slickers joined three other ASL clubs – the Rochester Flash, the Dallas Americans and the Jacksonville Tea Men – to help form a successor organization, the United Soccer League, in February 1984. New owner David Fraser re-branded the team as the Oklahoma City Stampede for its entry into the USL. The franchise moved again in 1985 to Tulsa where it became the Tulsa Tornados. The club and the USL eventually folded in the spring of 1985.

 

Oklahoma City Slickers Memorabilia

 

Slickers Video

 

In Memoriam

Striker Jeff Bourne (Slickers ’82) died of ALS on July 31, 2014 at the age of 66.

 

Downloads

1982 Oklahoma City Slickers Roster as of 5-15-1982

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

January 26th, 2012 at 12:29 am

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