Messing, who grew up in Roslyn and lives in Westbury, wanted to bring a team back to the Island. With 200,000 registered soccer players, Long Island looked like fertile ground for a franchise. The Arrows won four MISL championships at Nassau Coliseum but went broke two years ago. "In the past," says community relations director Tom Mulroy, "some owners have had champagne tastes and Coca-Cola pockets." There's more optimism on the Express. They've already sold 1,000 partial- or full-season tickets. The best the Arrows ever did was 600.
A year and a half ago Messing took his idea for a team to Stan Henry, who owns 24 giveaway advertising weeklies on the Island. Henry claims his Pennysavers reach 450,000 homes. He put up $1 million to buy and run the Express and enlisted Ralph McNamara, chief executive officer of an Island brokerage house. Now the team offers stock to fans. You get a two-year season ticket with every $1,000 unit, but no guarantee of profit or even that the team will play that long.
On Friday, after Jan Goossens of Kansas City beat Messing at the net to clinch a 4-2 Comet victory, Henry muttered some things even Howard Stern might find offensive. "Can you imagine Shep blowing a play with 3,000 owners in the stands?" mused Henry. "They'll demand a shareholders meeting."