Coming to America
"Footb…., sorry I mean soccer, I’ll have to get used to that!"
David Beckham will have to get used to a lot of things after he was officially unveiled
by LA Galaxy
on Friday. Beckham has been hailed as the second coming to American 'soccer' after Pele was the first back in 1975 (aged 35), and despite a few years success with the NASL
, which also included Mike Flanagan, Colin Powell and the legendary Laurie Abrahams. The NASL proved a false dawn for the world’s greatest game and folded in 1984 (Chicago Sting
were the last champions).
David Beckham is many things but naive and apathetic are not two of them, Beckham is clearly not just in America for the ride although hanging out with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is probably a nice little bonus (I couldn’t imagine anything worse, but you pick your own friends) and of course keeping his dreadful wife happy also makes his new life slightly more cushdy.
Beckham doesn’t need the money, ok he and the missus crave the fame, although he refused to appear in his wife’s reality TV show
, which starts on Monday and actually believe it or not his celebrity stock will be a lot less in LA than any other city in the world, but at just 32 (5 years younger than Chris Powell) taking the easy route to St James’ Park, Upton Park, Ibrox or even staying at the Bernabeu would in many ways been an easier ticket.
Beckham’s getting paid a fortune by the MLS, although most of the money will come in a cutting edge deal from sales of Galaxy jersey’s (read kits) and ticket sales. To put that into perspective Real Madrid recently announced
that they had sold £300m worth of Beckham #23 kits in the 4 years he was there. His actual salary is £3.2m and West Ham’s Lucas Neill’s annual £3.9m puts that into some perspective.
Coming to America in a blaze of media frenzy Beckham puts his career, his reputation and his coveted England place on the line. He is under immense media spotlight to perform and stand out in every game he plays, and whether he likes it or not, Americans’ minute attention span to sporting ‘plays’ will mean he will be expected to score every free kick he takes.
He will be kicked up in the air and wound up by fresh out of college kids on $15,000 a year, he will have to play and attempt to spray 40-yard passes with his golf-iron-esque right foot around some of the worst pitches he would have played on, some with awful astro-turf, others with gridiron field lines painted on the pitch and many with both.
It won’t be easy, and Becks, since getting sent off stupidly against Argentina in 1998 has never had being a football star easy – he’s right, he doesn’t dribble around 5 players or score 3 goals a game, but for many years at United, Madrid and with England he was the team’s driving force and talisman and I for one hopes he can be the talisman for footb…., sorry soccer in this country.