Monday, September 15, 2008

Here we go again

I'm not sure why the British tabloid press continues to insist that Los Angeles Galaxy fans are booing David Beckham.

I'm sure a few Galaxy fans were at the game, but a game in the MidWest is not going to bring in many LA fans. It's simply too far away.

So it's not Galaxy fans booing David Beckham - it's Kansas City fans. Which, I suppose, would not be much of a story to report. Why not just say "fans", then?


Anonymous said...

the comments from the readers a hilarious... love the one where they call the mls "pub football"... the mls does not exactly enjoy a have great rep overseas, despite the flow of americans playing in the premiership.

TJ said...

Well, count me amongst the Galaxy fans who are really disappointed with David's contributions lately. I know a lot of people in my section feel the same way...

This guy is supposed to be the best set-piece taker the world has ever seen, yet I can't recall the last time he even looked dangerous standing over a free kick. For example, that horrendous attempt in Kansas City that he hit 20 rows up. At home games, I turn my head in the stands when he is about to take a free kick or corner kick, because I know that nothing good will come of it.

It seems like his game has hit a wall since earlier this year. Is it the travel? Playing in the heat? Is he just not working as hard?

When he hit that 60-yard shot against KC in May of this year, he may have just jumped the shark... am I being too harsh?

It's hard to boo him at a home game, as I'm afraid of getting attacked by a mob of angry 14-year-old girls and soccer moms.

Anonymous said...

becks is just past his prime... he wouldn't be in the mls otherwise

Diane said...

tj, I don't think you're being too harsh (especially since I got to google the expression "jumped the shark" after reading your comment!). I'm just not sure that's why Beckham's game is suffering -- and yeah, it really is suffering. The strange thing for me is that much of what has fallen off are things that age wouldn't have much impact on: set pieces, crossing accuracy, reading of the game, intensity of play.

From pre-season he was playing as if given two instructions: stay in position (right) and don't get hurt. Over many years he's been both lauded and criticized for "playing every position" when his side is struggling, and the "passion" he's famous for certainly never allowed much caution. Obviously we've seen him in good form, especially in the first few months, and the All-Star game was telling in mid-summer. But then things come strange again.

So this season has looked different in more unusual ways, to long time fans, than what country Becks is playing in. And we've seen him through more than a few ups and downs on the pitch -- both actual slumps or those manufactured by our UK press. The closest I can come to putting my finger on something is it's his mental energy that's lagging, and that's always been at the core of his success. Maybe it is travel, heat, frustration, but he's had all that before save for the length of travel to matches, and of course his age, but can a bit over a year make this big a difference?

He's also had owners that were willing to suspend common sense to make money off him although AEG is definitely setting a record there.

People have suggested he should retire from international play or skip things like the Olympics so that he can fulfill his commitment to the Galaxy. The problem with that is that AEG would do anything to fly Becks to kick such a visible ball in the one market every one of his teams and sponsors seeks to access through him. The same, to some extent, with playing in World Cup qualifiers.

As I was writing that last bit, it occurred to me that this may be the first time Becks' commercial/"ambassadorial" commitments are truly getting in the way of what he's committed to team/fans. I'm pretty sure he would give up most save for the Galaxy and England, but its all of a package now more than its ever been before.

Sorry to have gone on so long, but it is a bit sad for Galaxy fans, Beckham fans, and the player himself -- if nothing new in the business of sport. Galaxy will never have Becks of five years ago, but he still has enough in him to contribute massively more to the team and certainly give the fans more to enjoy as well.