The many dilemmas that face Didier Drogba as player-owner of Phoenix Rising

Drogba is taking up an unusual combination of roles with a club hoping to join MLS

On Wednesday it was announced that Didier Drogba will join three-year-old USL club Phoenix Rising as both a player and a part-owner. On the pitch, Drogba will join Mexico great Omar Bravo and he’ll be reunited with former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips. In the board room, Drogba will join an ownership group that includes the likes of Diplo, Pete Wentz from the band Fall Out Boy, and LA Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy. It’s as if the club was formed by someone filling out a Mad Libs in the waiting room of a dentist’s office.

Drogba joins Phoenix with the intention of helping to lift them from the second division to MLS—which is a tricky proposition given that there are a number of clubs and cities vying for a spot in the league and promotion/relegation doesn’t exist in the U.S. In addition to this, Drogba will also have to navigate the rare combination of being both a player and a part-owner. With all this in mind, here are some of the unique challenges he will face:

  • If a teammate argues with him over who gets to take a penalty, can he fine the guy right then and there?
  • Does he have to pretend to like Fall Out Boy?
  • How much should he pay himself?
  • If it’s not enough, should he demand he sell himself?
  • What if he wants to stay, but they get a really good offer for him, should he sell himself then?
  • Can he sack manager Frank Yallop if he doesn’t play him enough?
  • If he decides that his pal Shaun Wright-Phillips isn’t working out and has to go, can he say it was Diplo’s decision?
  • Should he just change the name of the team to the Phoenix Drogbas?
  • Seriously, who invited Pete Wentz?
  • Will MLS be afraid that if they don’t admit Phoenix to the league, he will call them “a fucking disgrace” on live television?
  • If his teammates complain about the owners not springing for first-class plane tickets, does he lecture them on controlling costs or does he pretend his music is too loud to be able to hear them?
  • Does he let an increasingly desperate David Beckham join the ownership group?
  • If his teammates pass to him rather than shoot themselves, should he give them a bonus?
  • How awkward will it be if the other players try to negotiate new contracts with him in the dressing room?
  • Should he be the groundskeeper and team chef, too?
  • When he’s not playing, does he sit in the owner’s box or on the bench?
  • Since he’ll be using it too, should he spring for the extra soft toilet paper in the bathroom or secretly carry around just enough for himself?

As you can see, this situation is fraught with peril. But Didier Drogba has ended civil wars. If anyone can navigate these waters, it’s him.