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Beckham and Galaxy: This Is Not Going to End Well

July 12th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Galaxy, soccer

David Beckham back in town, and on Day 1 he vents on Landon Donovan … who vented on him something like nine months ago … and how is this all supposed to work for the Los Angeles Galaxy, exactly?

Becks will be around, at least physically, for the final three months of the MLS season. At the end of which he is expected to buy himself out of MLS and the Galaxy. And knowing he’s going to be gone … well, how excited can he be about being here? How willing will he be to play hard and as often as possible?

Beckham already is reacting badly to the Landon Donovan comments culled from the upcoming book “The Beckham Experience” … even though he had a couple of weeks to get a handle on things.

He called Donovan’s comments “unprofessional,” and it went downhill from there.

The main, biggest problems here are these:

1. Becks is a short-timer. He has no future in this league or with this franchise. He has a potential to be a cancer to his team.

2. The Galaxy absolutely does not need these distractions. And not just a pouty Beckham. It doesn’t need the traveling circus of his handlers and fluffers and various and sundry factotums whose job is to burnish Beckham’s star image, and their pushing into the team and interfering with its operation. Coach/GM Bruce Arena does not need this. The whole club does not need this. It might have been fun, for a bit, to be treated like rock stars by association, but it did nothing to make the team win. And that is what the club needs to do: Win.

So, on to some quotes and a link to a Q&A with Grant Wahl, author of “The Beckham Experiment.”

First, let’s start with the first batch of quotes from Becks reacting to Donovan’s comments in the book.

Now, mind, Beckham has had nearly two weeks to process what went down, and to be measured in his response. He could have ended the “feud” instantly by saying, “Well, Landon wants to win as much as I do, and in the heat of a moment and with the frustration of last season so keen, I can see how he might say things he regrets.” And Donovan did say he regretted not telling Beckham to his face that he had come to believe he was a bad teammate and a worse captain.

But Becks only inflamed the situation. Meaning it will have legs. And fester.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Beckham as saying, on Saturday, his first full day back in the States, that “In every football player’s eyes throughout the world it would be unprofessional to speak out about a teammate, especially in the press and not to your face.”

Then came a slap at Donovan’s credentials and the Galaxy.

“In 17 years, I have played with the biggest teams in the world and the biggest players and not once have I been criticized for my professionalism,” Beckham said. “It’s important to get this cleared up, and I will be speaking to Landon either this evening or over the next couple of days.

“Me and Landon will talk, but that will be a private conversation.”

So, boil that down: Landon is unprofessional. And Becks has never been criticized like that by anyone anywhere, and he is saying that he sure as hell has played with  guys and teams that the Galaxy and Donovan can’t hope to compete with.

Great start. So much for his future as a diplomat.

For more background, check out the Q&A with Grant Wahl at the New York Times web site.

If one thing comes out of that piece, it is this: Beckham is more worried about his star status than the Galaxy or MLS — or any of the other bunk we heard when he first came over about making soccer big in the United States. It is about money and celebrity. The Galaxy is the sideshow.

That drive for celebrity over results means non-soccer Beckham handlers mucking things up, hanging around the team, sidetracking it, dragging it down.

This will not end well.

If the Galaxy does the right thing, and treats Beckham like a three-month loaner who might help them win a few games — and does not allow him or his “people” to interfere/take over in any other realm of team matters … well, Beckham & Co. are going to be madly unhappy, because they have become conditioned to near-absolute control.

How it plays probably hinges on whether Tim Leiwecke and AEG give Bruce Arena the clout to run a soccer team — rather than a life-support system for the greater glorification of HMS David Beckham and all who sail with him.

If the Galaxy buckles under the star power of Becks again, look for another season down in flames — just as the club was making strides, too — and another rebuilding program commencing in November, when Becks happily returns to Italy and wherever else it is that people will worship the ground he walks on.

The sooner he is gone, the better. The Galaxy has been to the circus, and seen the elephant, and that thrill is gone. They should get back to trying to be a successful soccer club on the field — and that almost certainly will come after David Beckham is gone and this “experiment” gone badly wrong is given up.


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Footie // Jul 12, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    Sorry have clearly taken Beckham’s words the wrong way there. And it seems like you have been blinded by your hatred to Beckham, just like Grant Wahl did/does.

    If you really take your time to follow his responds carefully in the interview, (go see the Youtube videos by on his interview), you’ll see that Beckham is EAGER to patch things up POSITIVELY with Donovan, Bruce and Galaxy as soon as possible and put all of this behind them.

    And Beckham didn’t get pissed off at Donovan, instead, he is looking more pissed off at Grant Wahl himself. Beckham even calls Grant Wahl and his book/work as a LAZY journalism!

    Yes..Beckham did call Donovan as “unprofessional”..but that’s it. Nothing more. Besides, IT IS/WAS TRUE. And Becks has been asked by the reporters there of what he thinks about Donovan’s action with his comments..and NOT about the contents of the comments.

    And Beckham did say that he is still eager for this thing to be positive, and will discuss this with Donovan and the team on how to solve it, and that he will STILL pass the ball to Donovan whenever the chance comes up. So..I think it is all positive signs there.

    And Donovan himself seems to be listening to what Bekham’s been saying, coz Donovan has refused to talk about this publicly anymore. And that is good/positive in my book. happened 9 months ago, but Bekham didn’t know about it until now. Yes, he has 2 weeks to ponder about it, but he just responded to the question of “what he thinks of Donovan’s comments and his actions”. And the answer is..Donovan WAS unprofessional, venting it to a reporter of all people.

    And thank God Donovan took Beckham’s respond postitvely, coz from now on, everything will be solved PRIVATELY between themselves (team etc). This will of course turn out positively to LAG.

  • 2 Dave // Jul 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    The experiment was with the DP program. I doubt that’s going away. It will get modified as MLS moves into 2010 and beyond.

    But from an off-field perspective, I’m certain that AEG likes the business of having Beckham under contract with MLS (LAG). Even if Beckham goes away — I’d say it’s likely LA tries and will sign a new DP. (and this is all assuming he really buys out his contract — as opposed to just demanding another 6-month loan in 2010 to return to MLS after WC2010.)

    My guess is that LA will (have to) improve their on-field product in the months/years ahead with a DP (as I think they’ll have to), no matter if that DP is Beckham or perhaps some less-circus and jersey-sales-based player.

    Turning away from Beckham (if that happens) does not mean that LA or the league are turning away from the idea of the DP — and all the pluses and minuses that come with such an initiative.

  • 3 Doug // Jul 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    I’d say Becks has a legitimate beef about the way Landon went about criticizing him, but that doesn’t mean that the criticism wasn’t valid. Just compare the way Beckham played for the Galaxy as opposed to the way he played in Europe. I hope management backs Arena and tells Beckham to shut up and go out on the field and show everyone what a great player/teammate/leader he is. That would be best for the team and for Beckham’s all-important image.

  • 4 TJ // Jul 12, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    I personally cannot wait for him to return to the field for the Galaxy. I plan on booing him until I’m blue in the face. I pray that Bruce has the courage to trade Becks to Columbus or RSL or some other smaller-market team where he will surely break down into tears.

    David, get out of my league. We don’t want you anymore. You’re used up and washed up, and we’re fed up with your crap.

  • 5 Joseph D'Hippolito // Jul 13, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    Footie and Doug, I have read an advance copy of the book. For one thing, Donovan attempted to approach Beckham during the latter half of last season but Beckham was standoffish and unresponsive. For another, Donovan was expressing legitimate frustration during an abomination of a season.

    Beckham is too concerned about controlling his image. I was at Galaxy training Monday and when the media gathered afterward to interview him, a British reporter called Beckham the Galaxy captain while asking him a question. Beckham never bothered to correct the reporter! Also, when asked whether Donovan’s criticisms had any merit, regardless of whether they were made public, Beckham just said that he would refuse to address the issue.

    The key here is whether the veteran players — especially the ones Arena brought in — will support Donovan or Beckham. I’ll bet they support Donovan; after all, Arena named him captain and they support Arena. Besides, people like Lewis, Berhalter, Sanneh and Kirovski are tough men who won’t tolerate prima donnas and drama queens. If Beckham gets his comeuppance, it will certainly be behind the scenes and out of public view.

  • 6 soccer goals // Jul 24, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    I hope that LD jumps ship and goes to Europe.

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