David Beckham Superstar

Beckham has a question for the teacher

The other day I was at some giant box store buying some Chinese product and there was a little kid in an LA Galaxy shirt. Sandy blond hair, little square glasses, white LA Galaxy shirt. Now, in my imagination, the back of the shirt said “Donovan,” and I started imagining this little kid idolizing team USA’s captain and LA Galaxy mainstay Landon Donovan and I thought “that’s nice.” When he turned around I saw not Donovan or one of the other LA Galaxy players but “Beckham” and I actually laughed, out loud, derisively.


I hadn’t really thought of Beckham since the end of the season when he was “earning” his 100th cap for the England team and his face was all over the papers and now here was his name emblazoned on some unfortunate kid’s shirt.

Beckham, he’s like a cold sore, he’s always around when you don’t want him.

Beckham and that shirt encapsulate everything that’s wrong with world football; huge salaries, selfishness, mercenary players, the lure of the national team, media manipulation, lies, deceit, and ultimately, the way sport can both uplift and destroy a kids dreams.

Beckham and his flotilla of photographers docked in Los Angeles  last year and like the first Europeans who “discovered” America, he promised to bring us enlightenment. He was going to “bring soccer to America” he said. In essence he wanted to convert us from our backwards religion where we worship 500 lb behemoths who carry the football to the world’s religion, proper football.

Though he still called it soccer, which in retrospect was a blatant clue.

Before the ink was even dry on his multi-multi-million dollar contract the shirts were flying off the store shelves and Americans embraced Beckham, the savior of American Soccer. We bought the hype, and who could blame us? He and his media machine are master manipulators. So, for what seemed like an endless summer I, being the local “soccer guy,” was bombarded with questions about Beckham.

“You must be excited.”  Uhhh, not as much as I am that Arsenal signed Aaron Ramsey.

“What do you think, will the Galaxy win the league?” Beckham’s past his prime and never did defend well on the wing, he will be a liability on that team defensively, though they will probably get better from set plays.

“His contract is huge but the Galaxy seem to think they’ll recover the money, how?” HA! If I understand his contract, Beckham gets part of the gate receipts. THE GATE. This isn’t about business, this is a spectacle and Beckham is the rock star. He’s made a mockery of the so called “salary cap” in the MLS and pretty much insulted all of the decent players who work hard in the league and get paid a regular wage.

I’ll admit that I watched the first few matches, I mean “games,” and sure enough the cracks showed right away: he didn’t defend, he got stepped on by the big talentless defenders in the MLS, he was pretty much constantly frustrated with his teammates (who, to be fair, aren’t used to putting together more than 2 or 3 passes) and the comical announcers kept wondering why he hadn’t scored 30 odd goals in his first game. So, as he hobbled on and off the plastic pitches and the Galaxy started coming apart at the seams everyone started questioning the sanity of this experiment.

Then the England National Team had to go and hire someone with a spine and Beckham’s well orchestrated set play in America was dismantled. Capello basically said

American Football is shit and no one playing in the MLS will make this team. No one, not even Golden Balls. Oh and I don’t give two fucks if he’s approaching his 100th cap, I want to win something.

So, Beckham used the fact that the MLS starts and stops their season so that they don’t conflict with the more important sports in America (like college football, Olympic skeet shooting, and the World Series of Poker) and he orchestrated a “loan” move to AC Milan, where decrepit old pervert Silvio Berlusconi was assembling a hodge podge of washed up has-beens. All so that he could get his 100th cap.

It worked. Hooray for international football. David Beckham is now the most capped outfield player in England history. They should make a movie about it.

Having successfully gotten all he wanted he now returns to his club and the response has been, well, less than enthusiastic. Landon Donovan has this to say:

My sense is that David’s clearly frustrated, that he’s unhappy and, honestly, that he thinks it’s a joke. I also kind of feel (he has taken the team) for granted. I don’t see dedication or commitment to this team, and that’s troubling.

Let’s say he does stay here for three more years. I’m not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way. This is fucking miserable. I don’t want to have soccer be this way.

What do you expect? I can’t imagine an Arsenal player doing the same thing, hell, we boo guys who make bad passes, could you imagine the response that a lazy, selfish, pretty boy rich kid would get if he orchestrated a loan deal that took him away from the team for half the season, so he could earn some personal milestone in international football?

So, what has David Beckham taught us ignorant Americans about football? That the club doesn’t matter, so long as you get your caps. That you can get a huge paycheck and put in a half assed work rate. That you can screw your “teammates,” so long as you get your caps. That American soccer sucks so bad that it doesn’t rate as even decent practice for international games. That salary caps are a joke. And that in the end all that matters is one man’s ego.

Welcome back, Dave.


  1. Speaking of Donovan, I thought he had a fantastic Confederations Cup. It might finally be time for him to make a permanent move over to Europe. I could see him doing quite well for himself in the Colaship.

    Beckham? Whatever.

  2. Also, Tim, you are showing up in Reader as “Title Unknown” – I think this is something you need to fix on your end.

    And, this is silly, but aesthetics do matter, you should really add an avatar/logo that visitors see in their browser winder. Like the crest on Arsenal.com, or the big silver F on fark.com,

  3. Unsub and resub in Reader and the title will show up properly.

    I’m working on a bunch of graphics stuff during down time today. You should see some of those changes soon.

    Also, I need to figure out why Gooner News and Arsenal News are not picking up my articles.

  4. Like I said yesterday, just teething pains for the infant site 🙂

    I was never, I repeat, never, a Beckham fan so all the hullabaloo did not faze me. He provided a 6 month bang and sunk back into oblivion.

    Donovan is pure class and the best US player by far, except maybe for Howard. He would definitely do good in Europe.

    Altidore has great potential and all the required physical skills, especially for someone that young. However, he needs an attitude adjustment in “HUSTLE” and needs to remove diving from his repertoire. Seeing a huge bollox falling all over the place really infuriates me.

  5. By and large the most overrated player of the last decade. Sure Becks can cross a ball, but that’s about it – he’s a one trick pony, though it’s a very good trick. However, once you find out the science behind his “magic”, he’s no longer Copperfield, but maybe Criss Angel. Can’t run, can’t dribble, can’t tackle – he sells shirts though doesn’t he?

    He could never bring football to America like it was expected because he’s a mediocre player – yes I said it. He barely understands the theory of the game and lacks the instinctual intelligence of a Zidane for argument’s sake. He’s showed up in more tabloids since moving to LA, than sporting magazines. He was a cog in an already well built machine at Man Utd and it’s not he who made that golden generation at Old Trafford, but the likes of Scholes, Giggs, Cantona et al. – Becks was just at the right place at the right time.

  6. He went there because of Victoria Beckham. ‘Bringing soccer to America’ was just an excuse. But I used to like him. He does not deserve a place in the England squad now but that doesn’t mean he was never good. He used to be a brilliant player and calling him a mediocre player is very harsh

  7. I wouldn’t go as far to say Becks was a mediocre player, but he never was a top echelon player on the field. Beckham was a rock star because of his wife, Posh Spice, and was marketed well in the US due to the movie “Bend It Like Beckham” which became a Soccer cult item in the US.

    A lot of dash and little quality in comparison with the Best’s, Pele’s, Maradonnas’s, Zidane’s and Kaka’s of the football world.

  8. A day late and several dollars short but Tim if you want to keep your prematch ritual going and dont want to buy the 2nd or 3rd strip (neverminding the 4th mockup I sent you) here’s a novel idea: Buy almunias Strip

  9. I do believe Beckham soon realized that moving to the MLS was a huge step down in terms of the quality of footy being played. When a team like AC Milan comes knocking on the door, wouldn’t you listen? AC Milan are one of the most prestigious clubs in world football so I can’t blame him for giving it a try. He also did well at Milan and fitted in perfectly well with the likes of Kaka and other great players. This has to say something about his quality.

    I also feel he can offer England something at the World Cup. Should he start? Absolutely not, but if we need an experienced head to help steady the ship for the last 30 mins or so, then bring him on. His dead ball skills are still spot on which always gives a team a chance at a goal.

    America didn’t work for Beckham and that is too bad. However, the success of the national team in the confederations cup has really opened people’s eyes to the potential of soccer in this country. Everyone else is doing it, so why shoudn’t we?

  10. Hey Charlie! I’m marking you on Sunday so you don’t get any touches…

    I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and it makes a certain sense, but read Landon Donovan’s comments: Beckham checked out long before he moved to AC Milan.

    Also, it wasn’t a case of AC Milan calling, he engineered the move saying that he wanted to play somewhere in Europe.

    I think he should have honored his contract and put in the hard work here in the states that he was getting paid to do. Not following through on his promise broke a lot of American kids hearts, man!

  11. In all fairness to Beckham, he is only doing what has become the common culture in football now. Player signs a long term deal with a team, plays for a short while, a better team comes along with a better deal and now the player wants to renege on his contract and leave for the better team. We have seen this happen all too often these days. The problem is not with the player (granted he doesn’t help) but with the clubs and the agents. I dont understand why FIFA/UEFA don’t make more stringent rules about honoring the contracts these players sign… oh wait I take that back.. I do understand. It’s because these organizations are headed by a couple of buffons in the shape of Platini and Blatter. Xenophobic, washed out has beens who are more concerned with keeping out foreigners and technology rather than addressing the real issues with modern football. F*** them.

    ps. Happy 4th of July!

  12. David Beckham although I will never like him much being a United boy and all of that is a top, top draw player. I have watched him since he was a boy, he has great technical ability, he came dribble, or maybe should I say could dribble he showed this in his younger days (maybe lack of pace, or simply not what he is asked to do these days.) His passing ability is second to…. uuumm… maybe none and he can score goals and make loads of assists too.

    Man U was not already made winners before the Beckham generation (including the Nevilles, Scholes and Giggs) The Beckham generation along with the excellent Cantona made Man U consistent winners. everyonr knows how astute Alex the alcoholic is, you know he did not rate Beckham because of his good looks.

    Tim I feel you though, what DB did was disrespectful and to imply hat he was bringing “soccer” to America and then abandon ship at such an early stage was absolutely out of order. He should have honoured his contract for at least two years before making any noises.

    But I can understand his frustration as the rest of the team may not have been on his wavelength on the pitch and he may not have been too popular in the dressing room either. His desire to play for his country is also deeper than the average England player, when I hear him speak about the pride of playing for his country you sense it is heart felt,so i can see him searching for ways to engineer that happening. However I do think what he done was out of order though.

  13. Tim – won’t be there on Sunday as I’m outta town. Maybe next week you can mark me off the pitch.

    I agree that Beckham should have honored his contract. Sadly, contracts are a running joke. Players are over paid, and can sign a contract one week and head off somewhere else the next. Platini himself expressed his concern over this recently. For once, I agree with the guy.

    Football is the beautiful game, the world game, and it is sad to see players greedily giving it a bad rep.

  14. Thats It I am officially done trying to get my stupid “Gravatar” to work here.

  15. Hey Tim,
    I am a regular reader of your blog posts via Google reader and I have greatly admired your writing style. You are in a small but growing breed of American “soccer” fans who actually understands the nuances of football and football fandom. Kudos to you and keep up the good work.
    But, now and then, you come up with an absolutely spell binding article that hits one right in the heart….one of which that comes first to mind is something which you wrote a year or so back titled “We are not Chelsea” which actually got me hooked onto your blog. This article on Beckham falls into that category of articles making it incumbent for me to comment on your site. Amazingly written with emotion pouring out from the words. Keep it going bro, you have guys reading your every world in places as far away as India.

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