Pele (left) and Shep Messing (right). By 1976, Pele had helped boost the profile of the game in the United States. Image Credit: Rex Features

Start spreading the news, as Frank Sinatra famously crooned — a "soccer movement" has descended on the Big Apple.

The New York Cosmos's extravagant brand of football and celebrity, made famous by Pele and Franz Beckenbauer in the 1970s, is set to return, with a Major League Soccer debut mooted for 2013.

A new stadium in the city's borough of Queens, a multi-million-dollar kit deal with Umbro, and the backing of ‘cultural ambassadors' Jay-Z and Kanye West tells you everything you need to know; The New York Cosmos are back. And this time, they're serious.

The renaissance of a team who, at their peak, saw over a million fans flood through the gates of Giants Stadium in a single season, will be orchestrated by three British businessmen, led by Paul Kemsley, a former director of Tottenham Hotspur.

Kemsley, the Cosmos Chairman, will be joined in the boardroom by CEO Carl Johnson, a 51-year-old marketing guru whose agency, Anomaly, works with mega brands and Director of Soccer, Terry Byrne, 44, whose role is simple — to make The New York Cosmos credible on the pitch again. But for a team with a heritage as rich as the Cosmos's, surely that's an impossible task.

"We absolutely respect the legacy of The New York Cosmos with everything we do," said Byrne, a former Director of Football at Watford under Gianluca Vialli.

"But we realise we need to make it contemporary for today's game and today's fan base. So our intentions are clear: We want to be a fully functioning team that will play at the highest level in America — Major League Soccer".

The Cosmos's quest to become a force in the MLS has been received positively by commissioner Don Garber, who has announced that he is interested in a second New York franchise alongside Thierry Henry's Red Bulls, meaning the MLS would have its first city rivalry.

"We have had numerous high-level meetings with Don Garber. He knows our intent and is giving us serious consideration," said Byrne, who spent many years as David Beckham's personal manager, and was instrumental in his transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.

"There is a space available from 2013 onwards, and we've made our intentions very clear to the MLS that we would like to be that team. It looks promising, and the Red Bulls welcome the rivalry, as it will bring more excitement to the MLS."

Until the Cosmos get into the serious business of receiving television revenue, they will be funded by Kemsley and his private investors, who have already started generating money through sponsorship and the sale of official merchandise before they have even kicked a ball. Just as well really, because a purpose-built stadium is also part of their masterplan, with the borough of Queens looking likely to be their new home.

But while the Cosmos are investing, literally from grassroots level, and building their empire of training academies and scouting networks, the temptation to indulge in nostalgia and recruit big-name players is surely eating away at them.

Pele was tempted out of retirement (and a possible move to Real Madrid or Juventus) in 1975 with a salary of between $2 million and $4 million during his two years in New York (his exact Cosmos wage is still not in the public domain). But that figure dwarfed the salary of the highest-paid baseball star of the time, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Brewers, who earned $200,000 a year.

Pele became the highest-paid athlete in the world overnight and, in a country where money talks louder than most, America sat up and took notice of a sport that had suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. And, with a crucial television contract with the ABC network agreed, soccer was finally mainstream.

"Can you imagine a Cosmos team today, with the talent they had on the field? It would be worth a billion dollars," suggested former Cosmos striker Giorgio Chinaglia. "You can talk about Real Madrid and Manchester United, but in those days the Cosmos were it. You look at global football now, they were 20 years ahead of their time."

Chinaglia is right, but the Cosmos were always about more than just football. Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, Elton John and Andy Warhol regularly attended games (not to mention the wild after-parties) and Byrne is aware of the need to build two Cosmos teams: the football XI and the celebrity XI.

"We have a number of celebrities who are excited about the return of the Cosmos — some of whom were part of the original movement, and others who are excited to help make it relevant today. Celebrities will always be a part of the Cosmos culture," said Byrne.

Given that the MLS's previous incarnation, the North American Soccer League (NASL) became a haven for fading stars of the European game during the 1970s and 80s, the chances of Lampard, Ronaldinho and even Beckham wanting a slice of that history are high.

"Under the current rules of the MLS, we could not bring in as many stars as we had in the past. But we are developing talent from the ground up through our two elite youth academies — Cosmos Academy East and West, in New York and LA respectively," said Byrne.

"We think that some of those top players will have the opportunity to form part of our first team one day and, with a name like The New York Cosmos, we don't believe we will have any problem attracting top talent from the US and overseas."

While the Cosmos nuture the talent in their academies and worldwide interest is drummed up through Facebook and Twitter in preparation for that all-important debut match, Honorary President Pele will invite the top football stars in the world today to be involved in a one-off exhibition charity game which will, of course, be televised.

Byrne said: "In 2011, in honour of the 40th Anniversary since the inception of The New York Cosmos, we will host a Celebration Match in New York which will comprise an all-star team featuring top players from around the world, whom Pele will personally invite to participate".

The Cosmos's original existence, under the direction of Steve Ross, creator of Warner Communications, was both an extraordinary success and an epic failure within the space of just 14 years. But in that time, the Cosmos created a legacy that has lasted much longer.

This re-birth is about more than reliving the silky skills of Pele and the circus of celebrity fans. Three Brits have recognised that the Cosmos, with their unique history and the stable surroundings of the MLS, can once again take American soccer by storm.

"The New York Cosmos was always more than a soccer club," concluded Byrne.

"This is an incredible opportunity to bring them back. Not only because of my childhood memories of them, but because we are taking a worldwide brand and becoming a team again.

"This second-coming is significant, not just for the sport in America, but to embrace football fans throughout the world. We will make The New York Cosmos credible on the pitch again.

"But you can also trust that we will bring a cool factor to everything that we do, which will always be a part of the club's ethos."

For more information on The New York Cosmos, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheNYCosmos  or follow the club on Twitter at @TheNYCosmos.