Rescinded Red

Oh the media monkeys and their junket junkies will invite you to their plastic pantomime. Throw their invites away.

Beckham Will Be a Bachelor In Italy

david-beckhamDavid Beckham is now flying solo, for his stay in Italy.

“Everyone knows how much I love my wife and children,” Beckham told the Times.  “My children will remain in Los Angeles due to school and Victoria will remain with them.  When she comes to Milan she will remain with me for a couple of days.”

For Beckham the footballer, this probably quashes notions of Beckham permanently relocating.

For Beckham the international celebrity, the tabloids quiver in anticipation.

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Filed under: Football, MLS, Serie A, Soccer, , ,

Beckham Isn’t a Farce. Only People Who Pontificate About Him.

david-beckham-airport09David Beckham, to lukewarm fanfare, moved to A.C. Milan on loan for two months, upsetting many in the American Soccer Community.  The Beckham experiment has had its problems, but, surely, it’s not worthy of shortsighted vitriol like this.

Mr. Gardner terms Beckham a “farce” and “on every count.”  He deems this so obvious “there’s no need to labor all those points.”  Nevertheless, he manages to do so for nearly 1,000 words.

First, we have the topic of Beckham’s loan to AC Milan.  His justification for the loan was clear.  He wants to play for England.  Fabio Capello would not select Beckham unless he was playing football.  He had the opportunity to go to a top-level European club during the interim.  He went.  Does this make Landon Donovan a “farce,” as well?

Beckham, like most players, enjoys representing the national team.  Offered the chance to play a useful role, he chose to do so.  There’s nothing “relentless” or “sycophantic” about it.  Selfish, maybe.  But how is it servile?  

He does miss MLS time because of it, but so does every MLS player who plays internationally.  It’s not Beckham’s fault that MLS does not follow international breaks.  It’s also not his fault that FIFA favors the country in club versus country disputes.  Beckham has flown cross-country and played immediately, despite fitness risks, on occasion, to mitigate that effect.

David Beckham has the right to play for England, if he chooses.  If called up, he should play.

Then we move to Beckham’s broader role in MLS.  His primary task was to make the league money and increase its exposure.  He has done both.

Mr. Gardner dismissively mentions “marketing and shirt-selling.” These aren’t savory aspects of the sport, but, unfortunately, professional leagues are a business and salaries aren’t paid in good will and fairy dust.

Beckham is not just selling shirts.  He’s sold about half-a-million shirts, more than any other athlete in the world, in any sport.  It’s probably safe to assume LA Galaxy wouldn’t be moving that kind of product without him.  Neither would they have the $4-5 million per year shirt sponsorship deal with Herbalife.

He’s raised attendance both home and away, allowing the Galaxy to sell out games and guaranteeing over 10,000 tickets sold on the road.

Viewership ratings haven’t been great.  However, ESPN’s ratings spike 150% when Beckham plays.  ESPN also now pays MLS for the rights to televise games, and the league just sold foreign TV rights for a ten-figure sum.  No one would pay that unless the league’s exposure, popularity and interest abroad had increased.

The Galaxy also profits from using Beckham as a wedge to play lucrative friendlies in foreign markets.  Australians and New Zealanders probably wouldn’t be jazzed about seeing a Beckham-less Galaxy.

The club made an estimated $13 million, more than his MLS salary for the first two seasons, before he had even arrived.  He’s making the league money, increasing its value and exposure.

Regarding his play on the pitch, he’s still one of eleven players.  Beckham didn’t hire Alexi Lalas to run the Galaxy.  The team had a failed coaching hire and a dearth of talent, outside Landon Donovan, supporting Beckham.  If anything, it is a testament to the league’s quality that one player, alone, can’t dominate it.

Finally, Gardner argues that Beckham is “actively damaging MLS” by not praising it enough.  The apparent evidence is that Beckham said he missed playing “at the highest level” when he was unveiled at Milan.  

What is Beckham supposed to say?  MLS is obviously not the highest level of world soccer.  Anyone who argues that it is on par in quality with the top European leagues is, to be frank, a dumbass.  He’s shaken hands, done interviews, kissed babies and done everything MLS asked him to do.  He would do more “active damage” to the league by being effusively dishonest in his praise of it.

Beckham hasn’t been happy losing at LA Galaxy.  What right-minded player, particularly one who played for the world’s two biggest clubs and won seven domestic titles and the Champions League, would be happy?  He hasn’t demanded a transfer.  He hasn’t whined to the media.  He’s been a good soldier.  He stated publicly he will return for the start of the MLS season.  What more can be asked of him?

David Beckham’s move to America has not been what it was hyped to be.  But, much of that hype was irrational and stupid.  

It’s foolish to term Beckham’s move a complete success.  But, it is equally foolish to deny the good things he has done for the league.  In order for MLS to become a stable, long-term presence and develop into a player internationally, it needs to be profitable.  There is no doubt that the increased revenue and exposure from David Beckham, has prodded MLS toward that goal.

Just because you don’t like David Beckham does not mean you can credibly call him a “farce” and impose sinister motives on him without justification.

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , ,

Landon Donovan’s Munich Move Finalized

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Landon Donovan, officially, has been loaned to German club Bayern Munich until March 15, leaving open the possibility of an extension or permanent deal.

The Galaxy attacker will join the German club for a training camp in Dubai on Jan. 2.   He had a tryout in November. 

The 26-year-old previously played 7 matches in Germany for Bayer Leverkusen, during a brief 2005 stint.

Donovan will replace striker Lukas Podolski, probably departing in the January window.  Unfortunately for Donovan, Podolski’s lack of playing time engended his departure.  With players such as Toni, Klose, Ribery and Schweinsteiger starting in his favored positions, it’s hard to see Donovan, with worse pedigree than Podolski, playing consistently.

Alternatively, it’s a sign of belated ambition from Donovan.  He believes he’s the best American player.  He believes he can play with the world’s best.  He’s risking ridicule to prove it at one of the world’s biggest clubs.  His gumption is noteworthy.

Even if Donovan flames out at Bayern, the training and experience will improve his play.  The worst thing that happens is an ignominious return to the Galaxy and his Malibu beach house.  Most could live with that.

Filed under: Bundesliga, Football, MLS, Soccer, , ,

Headlines: Little Mickey Back to Liverpool?

michael-owenMichael Owen may return to Liverpool in January. (The Beautiful Game)

Rafa Marquez may be bending it like Beckham. (MLS Rumors)

Why Zizou is not “ZiZi.” (The Offside)

Greek player booked for tripping a pitch invader. (Off The Post)

Drogba forbidden from getting his freak on in Miami (The Original Winger)

Filed under: Football, Soccer, , , , , ,

Bayern Munich Bring In Landon Donovan on Open-Ended Loan Deal

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Bayern Munich will loan Landon Donovan from the Los Angeles Galaxy until March.

“As a person and a player, I am completely different now to how I was then,” Donovan said.  “I have matured.  I am ready.  I believe I can keep up with all the other players, even if I am not the best player here.”

Donovan also addressed his first stint in Germany. “I recognize Leverkusen wasn’t the problem, I was,” he said.  “I just wasn’t ready for it.”

Donovan, 26, scored 20 goals in 25 MLS appearances last season.  He has 37 goals in 105 appearances for the United States.

Unlike Beckham’s move to A.C. Milan, the loan may not end at the start of the MLS season.

“The goal will be to see if we can get him long term, at least until the end of the season,” Jurgen Klinsmann told Bayern’s website.

Filed under: Bundesliga, Football, MLS, Soccer, , , ,

The Big Lead » Blog Archive » The Onion Bag: Much Ado About Lando

landon-donovan

The Big Lead » Blog Archive » The Onion Bag: Much Ado About Lando

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , , ,

Will Newcastle be the Next Club to go American?

newcastle-united“Historic” Newcastle United may be the next English club falling into American ownership.

Philip Anschutz, whose Anschutz Entertainment Group owns the LA Galaxy and parts of the Houston Dynamo and Swedish club Hammarby IF, is reportedly the favorite, of a cluster of Americans interested in buying the club for $225 million.

As contradictory it seems, buying Newcastle now may be prudent.  Mike Ashley is motivated to sell.  The pound fell sharply against the dollar, lowering the American price by about $100 million.  Newcastle have a large, loyal base and a refurbished stadium.  In competent hands, it can be one of the top 20 clubs in Europe and consistently compete for a Champions League place, potentially doubling or tripling the investment.

With a stable ownership and a stable manager, presumably, Newcastle’s fortunes would stabilize, staving off relegation and the associated fire sale.

Apart from Anschutz, other rumored investors include FC Dallas owner Clark Hunt and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Filed under: Football, Premier League, Soccer, , , ,

Did David Beckham Stand Up Salma Hayek?

salma-hayek-wolfpack-fanDavid Beckham may be avoiding Salma Hayek.

The actress paid more than $350,000 at an auction last February for the Raising Malawi charity to get a one-hour soccer lesson from Golden Balls.  Unfortunately, their people haven’t been able to arrange a mutually acceptable time.

With Beckham off to Milan at the year’s end, this expensive proposition may never be consummated.

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , ,

Lalas Blames Beckham, Ignores Own Role in Galaxy Failure

alexi-lalasAlexi Lalas hit out at his former signee David Beckham for his performance with the LA Galaxy.

“I think Arena’s first order of business is to find some leadership, to fill a void that exists,” Lalas said.  “Everybody has to understand that the team comes first.”

“When you talk about David Beckham, it’s about so much more than what he is on the field, for better or worse.”

This contrasts Lalas’ earlier aspiration, when he was in charge, to turn the Galaxy into a “SuperClub.”

“A SuperClub is relevant beyond the sports culture,” Lalas told ESPN.  “A SuperClub is as interesting off the field as it is on it.  We are not there yet, but we’re closer than we were yesterday.”

Beckham may be a distraction, but there are distractions anytime you have an iconic player.  Real Madrid, Manchester United, A.C. Milan and other clubs have distractions.  Lalas understood the distraction and welcomed it.

The far more pressing issue for the Galaxy is their lack of talent, something Lalas should be blamed for and which he conveniently ignores.  

David Beckham’s value on the pitch is as a facilitator.  His passing places other players in position to maximize their effectiveness.  When those players are terrible, it negates Beckham’s ability.  

Beckham can deliver all the rousing St. Crispin’s Day speeches he wants in the dressing room, the Galaxy stink and should address the root of the problem, not use him as a scapegoat.

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , ,

Beckham Can Leave MLS After 2009 Season

David Beckham can cancel his MLS contract after the 2009 season.

The 33-year-old midfielder signed a five-year contract in 2006, for a $32.5 million base salary plus incentives.  Unacknowledged by either party, was a clause permitting Beckham to void the final two years.  In MLS contracts, the team most often controls options not the player.  This would allow Beckham to leave as a free agent in 2009.

This knowledge makes next season crucial for the Galaxy.  Beckham has mired through two incompetent seasons in 2007 and 2008.  With the roster gutted and Landon Donovan possibly off to Europe, the 2009 outlook isn’t much better.  For someone as competitive and accustomed to victory as Beckham, the losing may become intolerable.

Though Beckham has lifestyle, financial and sentimental reasons to stay in Los Angeles, likely European opportunities may be too good to ignore.  Particularly, if he remains within the England fold, leading to the 2010 World Cup.

If Beckham does return to Europe, he leaves for free rather than the assumed lucrative transfer fee.

Beckham may be a classy guy, but Bruce Arena and the Galaxy need to reverse the club’s results, quickly.

Filed under: Football, MLS, Soccer, , , ,

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