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NYCFC needs a tough defensive midfielder with big-game experience. And his name is Charles Oakley.


Knicks V Heat Getty Images

We’ve said it over and over again. New York City FC must figure out an answer for the defensive midfield role if it hopes to be taken seriously as a trophy contender.

Think about it. Has a genuine number six ever donned the famous Etihad shirt here in the Five Boroughs? In Year One, of course, Andrew Jacobson took on the job by necessity, despite better fitting the role of a box-to-box pirate-jedi-assassin. Don’t get us wrong; in a manner of speaking, we f—- with AJ. You could even say that we f—- with him hardbody karate. But the CDM role wasn’t right for him, and it showed.

In Year Two, Andoni Iraola slid over to the six after an admirable fifteen-year career as a right fullback. Without question, Iraola is a serious favorite of ours. But still, New York City’s defensive corps leaked worse than the White House.

But forget waiting around for Alexander Ring or Yangel Herrera to acclimate themselves to Patrick Vieira’s playing style (which is to assume that they can). Why even bother? NYCFC’s issues at the back could be over TONIGHT, and we know exactly how to make it happen: sign a relentless defensive force for the ages. A man who would give New Yorkers cause to stand up and cheer. A golden god of brawn and gumption.

Charles Oakley.

This city loves Oak. His bona fides are beyond doubt, what with the all-inclusive beatdowns he administered to the Heat and the Pacers back when the NBA let you hit people.

Need more proof? Michael Jordan — the most ruthless, pathologically competitive menace of all time — swore by Charles Oakley, dating back to their days together in Chicago. Oak wasn’t just MJ’s body man; he was a BODY, MAN. The authorities are still finding pieces of Paul Mokeski around.

And more recently, the New York public have reasserted their unconditional admiration for the 1994 NBA All-Star when he ran afoul of James Dolan’s flunkies at Madison Square Garden.

Oak is so authentically New York that he makes the Papaya King look like a carpetbagging fop. Oak invented Timberlands; he just doesn’t brag about it. Oak is Famous Original Ray.

He’s the kind of man that would cut you and then scream your face off for getting blood on his silk cravat. If you tried something slick, he wouldn’t just lay you out flat, he would tell you why he did it.

Think of the all the apprehension and involuntary full-body quivering that would doubtlessly befall a Sebastian Giovinco or a Nacho Piatti were either one to race toward Oakley with the ball at their feet.

Go on— think about what they’d surely imagine him saying as they approached the attacking third with that man lined up at defensive mid:

“You’re corny. Oak eats families.”

Who in MLS possesses the testicular fortitude to step to Charles Oakley? The answer is nobody, because Nigel “Death Wish” De Jong already studs-upped his way right out of the league. Oakley would grind up Jelle Van Damme and use him as fertilizer. Oak would eat Jermaine Jones’s lunch on principle even if he were still in the process of digesting an entire lamb from earlier. He’d swallow Axel Sjoberg in three bites and poop out Tiffany cuff links.

Listen, when it comes to defensive mids, we truly do love !!!JAMES SANDS!!! here at Hudson River Blue. After all, the NYCFC Academy wunderkind died for our sins at age 30, only to resurrect himself as a mild-mannered 16 year old who loves the taste of blood. We’re also hopeful for Ring and Herrera. But shouldn’t the Bronx Blues try to get as real as possible at the base of their midfield? And shouldn’t that include signing the realest human being currently alive?

As Oakley once explained to WQAM sports radio in Miami:

“I know what I’m talking about. If somebody told you something and you take it and run with it, you don’t know facts. If you don’t know facts you shouldn’t even interview me because I’m gonna expose you because its bullshit. It is what it is."

h/t Andrew Sharp

I’m gonna expose you. Do you really need to hear more?

For a New York City defensive unit all too used to getting exposed itself, Charles Oakley represents a brilliant dose of swaggering, bone-snapping panacea. Just like the Garden, he would make Yankee Stadium into the most glorious of all rage cages. His unforgiving industry is the stuff championship dreams are made on.

Think about it this way— whatever James Dolan wants, do the fucking opposite! With that in mind, the ‘chips may well begin fairly falling from the sky.

So, I say to Claudio Reyna and the NYCFC front office:

Free Oak.

Sign Oak.

And laugh all the way to the ticker-tape parade.