“Ever since I signed for the Galaxy, people have questioned why I have come to America,” he said, “but every move I’ve made in my career has been about football for me. It’s also about being an ambassador for the game here and, hopefully, it is going to encourage other players to come to the States and be part of this because soccer in America can become much bigger. That’s why I’m here. I want to be part of the growth of the game in the States.”
Those words spoken by David Beckham fell on deaf ears in his native England. Encouraged by Sir Bobby Robson and other football figures the British press has been unrelenting in their attacks on Beckham and Major League Soccer since early 2007.
Without having taken the time to do proper research on the league or ascertain the validity of many of the outlandish claims about MLS’s quality, the British press has had a field day. Beckham faced peer pressure and humiliation back home in England as he continuously had to justify his decision to join the LA Galaxy.
No question exists that Beckham’s perceived football career would be better served by playing for AC Milan than the Los Angeles Galaxy. No debating Serie A is a higher class of football than Major League Soccer. But what is galling is in these apparent final hours of the Beckham circus in MLS, the outright disrespect the league and his current contract employer, the LA Galaxy have been receiving.
This past summer the Fleet Street based UK press beat up on Real Madrid for their supposed tapping up of players and tampering with players under contract with English clubs. But yet when AC Milan, the giants of Serie A play a game worse with the LA Galaxy of MLS, the silence reigns.
The bottom line is this: As Martin Rogers reported in his article last week on Yahoo! Sports website and discussed on the most recent episode of the Major League Soccer Talk podcast, Beckham and AC Milan were plotting the footballers exit from the Galaxy, BEFORE the MLS season concluded last October. Now Beckham has publicly humiliated both the Galaxy and MLS with his unprofessional actions and the behavior of his over eager handlers.
We get articles proclaiming how Beckham needs to elevate his game in Europe and how Major League Soccer is ten years behind Europe. We read commentary that the LA Galaxy are somehow obligated to accept any transfer offer tendered for Becks. Tim Leiweke, the President of AEG and the Galaxy has rightly drawn a line in the sand and rejected the insulting offer AC Milan has made for Beckham.
Yet very little ink in the English press has been spent on Beckham’s unsavory actions and the lack of professionalism exhibited by his handlers. No emphasis has been placed on Beckham’s lack of effort or motivation in MLS and the shambles he helped turn the once proud Los Angeles Galaxy team into.
Some elements of the English press employ a clear double standard. English clubs and footballers are treated differently than clubs and footballers from other parts. Fleet Street assumes that those that ply their trade in MLS cannot be successful in the international game: those writers must have missed the performances of Eddie Pope and Landon Donovan at World Cup 2002, or of a Trinidad and Tobago team in 2006 whose core players with the exception of Dwight Yorke and Chris Birchall had all played in the United States at some point. That Soca Warriors squad put the fear of god into the greatest generation of English players since the 1960s in the World Cup.
The media in England is adding to their shame and the suspicion many American based football fans have of them with this episode. I encourage our readers to peruse the English press and bring to our attention any and all articles written in a British publication that is being fair to the Galaxy or MLS in this matter.