Friday, January 12, 2007

Honestly Becks - why America?

Today it was confirmed that David Beckham will definitely be leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season to join American side LA Galaxy in a £128 million move.

Beckham was quoted as saying "I didn't want to go there at 34 years old and for people to say he's only going for the money. It's not what I'm going out there to do." Well to that I say 'poppycock'.

If Beckham had been offered £25 million to go there - the same amount that Real Madrid paid for his services - I doubt he'd have bothered. The fact is there are currently only two reasons why anyone remotely like David Beckham would want to go and play their club football in the USA:

1) They're desperate, or
2) They're being offered a disgustingly large amount of money.

Unfortunately, despite the advances made by Major League Soccer in the States since it began just over ten years ago, there is still only one direction being taken by the big stars over there, and it involves turning your back on the Land of the Free.

Only this week while the Premiership transfer window's been open, we've heard of Clint Dempsey signing for Fulham. Dempsey, a regular in the USA national team and New England Revolution midfielder, signed on the dotted line for Chris Coleman in return for £2 million. And according to his old boss in the States (former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol) "It's a great credit to him and the level of the MLS that Fulham pushed so hard to get him."

Damn, that Chris Coleman must have been sweating like a pregnant baboon when he finally had to write out that cheque for... was it £2 million, did I say? Sheesh, Mr. Al-Fayed must have thought that was the kind of deal that could send him badly into the red and no mistake.

To underline the point I'm trying to make, Clint Dempsey now joins Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride in the ever-growing band of Americans who now prefer to play their football somewhere other than on home soil, and more specifically at Fulham. Look beyond Fulham and you're likely to find a lot more than that even.

So let's get back to Beckham. If you thought LA Galaxy was the name of a popular French chocolate bar, perhaps you need some education on who David Beckham's new team is.

Well what do we know about them? Apparently they play in yellow shirts with a green diagonal stripe and green shorts. Their most famous player at present is Cobi Jones, who happens to be their all-time leading goalscorer too. They've won the MLS championship twice in 2002 and 2005, and their biggest rivals were the San Jose Earthquakes... or at least they were until the franchise moved to Houston and changed their name completely.

Hardly inspiring, is it? Add to that the fact that in recent years LA Galaxy have been playing to average crowds of around 20,000, and there's not much to suggest why any half-decent English football player would want to play there, let alone David Beckham.

Sir Alex Ferguson may have been right when he said that Becks was always likely to leave Real Madrid due to the lack of games he was playing. Then again, Fergie also said Becks wouldn't come back to England as Man United was his first love and he wouldn't play for anyone else here.

Wanna bet? Didn't they part company rather acrimoniously due to a lack of respect for each other? My my - what a short memory Fergie has...

Nope, as far as I can see David Beckham has sold his soul to Uncle Sam for one reason and one reason only: copious amounts of money. He might be trying to convince us all that he's doing his bit to take soccer in America to another level, but frankly it won't wash. He's out to line the pockets of him and his family so that they have a comfortable and affluent future.

And I sincerely wish him well in accomplishing that goal. It's just a shame he wasn't honest enough to admit that in the first place.

2 comments:

Smart said...

To be honest, as far as I am concerned, Beckham sold out years ago - around about the time he married 'The Stick'.

Good luck to him in the USA, where even if he isnt a success on the pitch, he certainly will be with his bank manager, but like you say Chris, its blindingly obvious why he is joining a Galaxy not so far far away.

Chris said...

Well my only other thought is whether he'd have chosen America if Steve McLaren hadn't taken over as England boss. He may have continued his role in the national team, but to do that, you need to be playing for a club where the coach can keep an eye on you. America ain't really it.

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