Monday, July 20, 2009

David Beckham Knows How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

Say what you will about David Beckham but there aren't many people who can make Los Angeles sports fans legitimately passionate about anything. Too bad they're all about hating him. His return to the Home Depot Center vs. AC Milan was a bit less than pleasant as Galaxy fans made their feelings known about his Milan sabbatical. Let's just say they weren't as welcoming as they were during his 2007 debut against Chelsea.

Beckham was greeted with boos and signs saying things such as "Go Home Fraud" and "23: Repent". Things got interesting at halftime when he walked over and confronted the L.A. Riot Squad section. One supporter responded by leaping out of the stands before being jumped by security. He was arrested for trespassing.
"One of the guys was saying things that wasn't very nice. It was stepping over the line," Beckham said. "I said, `You need to calm down and come shake my hand,' and he jumped over."
Suckering fans into getting arrested isn't going to help Beckham's cause despite setting up both Galaxy goals. It's probably a matter of time before Goldenballs and Posh pack up and head back to Milan or London for good. Chelsea and Spurs have both expressed interest in acquiring the England international.

The anger and resentment of Galaxy fans is understandable but some of the abuse has been over the line. There are arguments to be made on both sides. England manager Fabio Capello told Beckham that he had no chance of making the 2010 World Cup side as long as he played in the MLS due to the quality of play. There's no question that it's much lower than top European leagues such as Serie A or the Premier League. He's simply doing what he has to do.

On the other hand, Beckham made a promise to the Galaxy and American soccer. He committed to playing in the league and raising the profile of the sport in the US. The Galaxy haven't improved because of him. It seems clear that he hasn't done much to raise the profile of the game in the country. He drew massive crowds during his MLS debut season but they've dropped off considerably. If he knew he wanted to play for England in 2010, he should have stayed in Europe to satisfy Capello. Was it a money grab or a chance for his wife to make it big in Hollywood? Check out Grant Wahl's "The Beckham Experiment" for details behind the Beckham fail. If anything, Landon Donovan will be happy to see Beckham leave for good so he can go back to being a big fish in a small pond.

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