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The Beckham Saga: Eurosnobbery 101

david beckham 001 300x180 The Beckham Saga: Eurosnobbery 101

Eurosnobs have taken control of English language world football. Between the media whose primary focus is European leagues and European World Cup qualifying ( Tim Vickery of the BBC, and Martin Rogers of Yahoo! are very notable exceptions to this unfortunate trend.) and newly minted football fans in English speaking countries whose sole focus and understanding is recent European football, balanced perspectives do not stand a chance.

Nowhere has the eurosnoberry had a more disturbing affect than in the United States home to an indigenous brand of football which should be thriving and a nation that has hosted the World Cup and reached the finals of a major international event more recently than England. The United States National Team has been more successful in recent years than their English counterparts, winning two consecutive continental championships. No question exists that England has far superior talent to the United States, but English football now represents more of a mish mash of continental and distinctly British styles while the US has developed its own flavor. But this flavor is not comprehensible to the American based fan whose sole perspective is in the European game and the British press.

During the ongoing soap opera created by David Beckham and his handlers, Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy have been ridiculed in the European press and most unsettling is the attitude of many a football fan stateside who seem to take their cue from the European press be it Italian, Spanish or English with regards to this matter.

Instead of supporting their domestic league and one its most prominent club sides, these American football fans have engaged in hyperbole about Beckham and AC Milan while simply parroting the unreasonable and often times hypocritical arguments that have found their way into the European press. The press, for the most part throughout Europe has made no attempt to understand football in the United States. Perhaps this is borne from a superiority complex or simply poor standards of journalism.

While Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Barcelona are not obligated to sell their best players even when they are discontented or even culturally not settled in a new country, the LA Galaxy are being told that they are being unreasonable and must allow David Beckham passage to his latest desired adventure. The aforementioned European sides we are told understand the business of football while the Galaxy and MLS do not.

All of these arguments are complete nonsense. AC Milan believed the press and forwarded an insulting offer to the Galaxy and then protested when it was rejected. The European press was then littered with commentaries about Americans not understanding the business of football.

One columnist in an English daily stated that LA Galaxy fans do not know football the way Manchester United fans do. This claim is absolutely laughable. United boasts a fan base largely made up of followers and front runners throughout the globe. While it is certainly true that a minority of football fans in Greater Manchester support the club, most of its worldwide marketing appeal lies with fans who may not even be able to locate Manchester on a map or worse yet may believe the club actually hails from London. Many United “fans” have just discovered the game of football in the past few years.

Contrast that with the fan base of the LA Galaxy only moderately enhanced by the Beckham signing. The Galaxy have been the most popular football club based in the United States over the past twelve years and a majority of the Galaxy’s fans were born in the football rich cultures of Latin America or are first generation Americans whose parents grew up in football oriented cultures.

Yet given this divergence in fan bases and club support, Manchester United was lauded as a club that understood football, loyalty and the meaning of a contract when Christiano Ronaldo’s wishes were ignored and he was not sold to Real Madrid. Yet the same press writes that the Galaxy are disrespecting Beckham and do not understand the world game by their similar stand.

The real crime isn’t that British or Italian journalists practice some form of jingoism or hypocrisy. It is that a large percentage of American based fans of the game by into these illogical arguments and undermine the strong stand of the Galaxy and the credibility of MLS with their words.

True fans of football in the United States need to understand the seriousness of this issue. In order to play with the big boys of world football you must hold your ground and force them to respect you. It is imperative that MLS establishes ground rules which force the European clubs to treat the league and MLS teams as equals in the player transfer market and in marketing efforts.

Don Garber’s deadline which passed without a new Milan offer may have been called a “cheap bluff” in the British and Italian press, but in fact it was a gauntlet thrown down that had to be marked. Job well done to MLS and the Galaxy, though it’s a pity so many at home don’t understand that.

This entry was posted in David Beckham, Leagues: Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

25 Responses to The Beckham Saga: Eurosnobbery 101

  1. Terry Cloth says:

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhaahhaha…

    boo hoo, get on with your NFL

  2. WendellGee says:

    “Nowhere has the eurosnoberry had a more disturbing affect than in the United States home to an indigenous brand of football which should be thriving and a nation that has hosted the World Cup and reached the finals of a major international event more recently than England.”

    Nonsense.

    What would attendance be like in Indonesia, or Thailand, or India, or China, or Norway, or even Brazil (not to mention most other countries on Earth) if the local fan bases prefered their domestic leagues to the top leagues of Europe? MLS actually does very well in terms of attendance globally in comparison to other leagues precisely because MLS has done a better job than most countries’ leagues (though still not a great job admitedly) at winning over the domenstic fan base. Other countries “suffer” from “Eurosnobbery” far more than the US.

  3. GoesUpTo11 says:

    Excellent article, exactly correct and on the mark. And wouldn’t you know it, just the kind of snobfan the article is talking about goes and posts the first comment, thereby helping to prove what Krishnaiyer is saying. Perfect!

  4. Chris says:

    Perfectly laughable! Although my parents were born in ireland i live in minnesota and am still a huge supporter of the LA Galaxy! Stupid Stupid Stupid!

  5. Diane says:

    I’m going to politely disagree and hope that that does not make me a Eurosnob.

    But first I am going to note that this article, hopefully not by intent, recommends that U.S. football be included in an European/American jingoistic view of the sport rather than the historically European one. The African and South American leagues are some of the best in the world — and have certainly produced more of the best players in the world — the Middle East is impressive, against tremendous odds at the moment,and Asia are coming on strong. MLS would be jumping the queue in asking for respect from European (and US) journalists ahead of a long line of leagues with more history, skill and success on the world stage — and with a far greater need for the resources than US clubs and players in the US.

    Regarding your point about Eurosnobbery: the US fan does not appreciate the American game because they have somehow been brainwashed by watching football from the rest of the world and following the British press!? Most fans I know in the US, and I spend time with quite a few, don’t read the British or US sport press. Until recently we were too busy finding bars with international broadcast access, that would open at the crack of dawn, so that they could watch any matches at all. Most of us have developed our assessment of the various leagues, including MLS, simply by watching the games. Which may be some kind of brainwashing, I’m not sure.

    I’m a Red Bulls season ticket holder and a born Liverpool supporter. I have no problem at all “comprehending” the flavor of the American game–like many aspiring leagues around the world the level of play is inconsistent (often painfully), the emphasis is more often on athleticism than technical skill, and possession is undervalued. To a lesser extent the last two issues affect the old “English style” as well. I also have no problem absorbing the fact that the level of play doesn’t compare to that of the Premiership, or that La Liga is more fun to watch than the lot. I don’t need cues from anyone for my assessments. I’m simply not blind or delusional.

    The MLS will continue to improve, less slowly if it sorts its salary and payroll cap, and with more Central and South American players coming in, there is a greater chance that the American “flavor” will be influenced by more fluid play — as English players have grown under the same influence. There’s no point making up fairy tales because we don’t want the league to be trashed for sport in the international press, that is how MLS opened itself up to such ridicule to begin with.

  6. Juan says:

    Love ya Kartik, but completely disagree.
    It is asinine for the Galaxy to think that they are going to have Beckham going all out for the Galaxy. He is majorly regretting signing the contract with MLS and the league hasn’t used him the way they should have.
    Did he screw up by signing with MLS? Completely.
    LA Galaxy will never be AC Milan. Beckham is thinking about the rest of his career as well as his brand at the international level. We need to have you on again.

  7. Lars says:

    Send Beckham home, not because the MLS is being unreasonable, but because he’s an overrated, overpaid European prissy and shouldn’t be playing in an American league, whether it be North, Central or South American.

    Develop our talent at home, Canadian and American stars will do more for Major League Soccer’s profitability than European stars will. We need more Donovans, and De Rosarios in this league, not more Beckhams.

  8. Jason says:

    What Lars said, though I’d expand the focus to finding Latin American stars as well.

    I’d much rather watch Martin Palermo than Beckham.

  9. Jonathan says:

    I don’t care whether Beckham comes or goes. I enjoy watching as a player but I far prefer American Soccer. MLS , USL and Canadian leagues are both underated. If you want American to reach the pinnacle that European football has reached – you have to support U.S. soccer from the youth game to our professional leagues. I like to attend games, put on my team colors and support the home team. This is far more exciting than watching European soccer on television. I still enjoy European soccer and also watch soccer from Mexico and the lands South of the the border. That is the beauty a global game. Fortunately, more and more Americans are coming to this realization.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m a Red Bulls season ticket holder and a born Liverpool supporter. I have no problem at all “comprehending” the flavor of the American game–like many aspiring leagues around the world the level of play is inconsistent (often painfully), the emphasis is more often on athleticism than technical skill, and possession is undervalued. To a lesser extent the last two issues affect the old “English style” as well. I also have no problem absorbing the fact that the level of play doesn’t compare to that of the Premiership, or that La Liga is more fun to watch than the lot. I don’t need cues from anyone for my assessments. I’m simply not blind or delusional.

    The MLS will continue to improve, less slowly if it sorts its salary and payroll cap, and with more Central and South American players coming in, there is a greater chance that the American “flavor” will be influenced by more fluid play — as English players have grown under the same influence. There’s no point making up fairy tales because we don’t want the league to be trashed for sport in the international press, that is how MLS opened itself up to such ridicule to begin with.

    Great point Dianne,
    I agree with you on on understanding the differences between MLS and other leagues. Sad to say, that I see and hear from people who are “new” soccer fans do not understand the differences. They do not see a 13yr old league growing, they only see that Giants stadium is not as exiting on TV as Anfield.

  11. eplnfl says:

    Keep on going Kartik ! You’ve never been more on point then on this issue. If anyone on the other side of the pond has any interest in fairness you will be appearing on the BBC, or Talksport, or Sky Sports. However, the eurosnobs do not want the other side of the story told!

    Maybe someone should suggest that Beckham didn’t have an on the field impact for MLS because the league is beyond his talent at his age but European football and England is more of an “old mans” game!

  12. Jonathan says:

    - I’m siding with Diane. Those who gets accused as “Eurosnobs” prefer the foreign leagues because they are pleasing to the eyes compared to the domestic one. IMO that’s not snobbery. It’s utilizing one’s spare time in a manner that would lead to more satisfaction.

    - The article is a bit all over the place.

  13. Soccer Guru says:

    The piece is pretty spot on with one very notable exception:

    Those who don’t know this, the author is a very notable and active Manchester City supporter. An underlying theme of this article is the shots at United, particularly the myth that a minority of people in Manchester support United. He doesn’t say it here but the implication is that the majority support City. That’s simply not true. United boasts more season card holders from the area than City. Many of City’s season card holders are from nearby places with their own clubs already like Stockport, Wigan, etc.

    The commentary on the English media and its treatment of MLS however is very valid, and I agree.

  14. eplnfl says:

    Latest is Beckham is reluctant to go back to LA! He wasn’t reluctant to accept the check in the first place. What garbage is this.

    As to the collateral issue about American’s following European leagues. Well, why not, we as American soccer fans have open minds and broad tastes. American’s have always been by nature interested in the world, soccer is not different. We can certainly follow another nations league, but we can not, must not, and should not sacrifice are own domestic league’s development and support based on our interest in a European league.

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  16. J.V.R. says:

    1- Beckham VOLUNTARILY signed with MLS
    2- The MLS has previously boasted some top Latin players, some like Marco Ethceverry whom the anglosnobs have not heard of spent his prime in MLS. We also had Cienfuegoes, Valderamma, Moreno, Graziani, Cosmos, Valenica, Hurtdado, Savarese, Alvarez, Vega, etc, etc. All were prominent latino players. All played in a world cup at one time or another. Most spent multiple years in MLS. But to the anglo-eurosnob these names make no difference.
    3- The point about an indigenous game is very true. The garbage trash league in australia resembles a the British game so you have english columnists and english commentators lauding the aussies as a world power while dismissing the US and MLS. The US game has become less euro oriented over the past 10-15 years and more latin oriented. That’s a threat to the euro way
    4- Living in just about any American urban area is more comfortable for a latin player than living in any English urban area. Spanish is widely spoken and understood in the US and latin culture is very much part of the american way in 2009. While it’s not as comfortable as Spain, perhaps the English press after the defection of Angel to MLS saw the threat and without mentioning it sought to undermine the league and its credibility.
    5- Their is no English “flavor” to the poster above. England has failed every time they have hired an English manager in the last ten years. Now they boast an Italian manager and a hodgepodge of tactics. The Swedish manager that departed did the same. How many English managers are in your domestic league? Did you know the US, whose best World Cup finish of the last 15 years matches your own has not been managed by a foreigner since early in 1995? Most of the managers in the US at either the MLS or USL level are either Americans or have lived in the country for a long time. An American “flavor” is developing while England has allowed the natural game from the British Isles to be subverted. Yet the Englishman that reads the jingoistic British press believes somehow he has conquered Europe and the world when a club side that plays in England but whose starting eleven boasts 9 foreign players is somehow “english.”
    6- Beckham is doing this because of Capello. With little experience managing outside Europe, Capello seems to believe a player cannot take long plane flights and perform at the international level. Clearly, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Columbia, Mexico, the USA, etc prove his point. Or do they? These countries routinely have players globetrotting for international matches. Yet they remain competitive on the world stage and in many cases more competitive than England.

    I could go on and on but you get my drift. Sing on brother Krishnaiyer……………

  17. eplnfl says:

    excellent stuff JVR

  18. Modibo says:

    I agree with most of what Krishnaier says here. I think that there is a difference between the play on the field in the US vs Europe, but that’s not Krishnaier’s primary point. He’s not even commenting on the level of skill or the consistency of the game, but the style. You can have an extremely talented team punting the ball up the wing all day long to Sir Stanley Mathews and you can have a crap pub team trying to play possession ball and failing miserably. Not to mention the difficulties of playing in the heat in the US summer and the tremendous distances traveled by teams in the US compared to tiny countries like England where you can take a cab to most of your domestic matches.

    I think that Krishnaier is commenting on the power of the press, and unlike in other areas of journalism in football matters the British press count considerably more than the US press. And for good reason. But US fans buy into that; we discount our own football history and our own football experts. This is why Martin Rogers is so exceptional. I just started listening to MLS Talk and though I have read Rogers on Yahoo I could scarcely believe that I was hearing a man with an English accent take the US game and CONCACAF football seriously!

    Culturally we somehow assume that “Americans” (people who speak American English) know less and more importantly care less about the game than people with foreign accents. And it ain’t necessarily so. So the Galaxy and AEG are not bush league for demanding more $$ for Beckham.

    The issue of his value to the team and his effort is another matter – he’s been very erratic himself. Now, is that because the domestic game is erratic or is there a problem with the player? Well, Schelotto played a fine season without phoning it in like Beckham, and Blanco also managed to turn in excellent performances outside of July-Aug. Not every foreign player is cut out for MLS, but the Anglo press doesn’t think about the unique challenges that playing in the US pose. Neither, unfortunately, do many US fans who not only watch games on TV but LISTEN TO THE EUROPEAN COMMENTATORS while they are watching, folks. Ives Galarcep recently stated that when he’s watching games, he turns off the announcers (at least for domestic matches) because he recognizes that they skew his vision of the game. Most US fans are also affected by these announcers even if they’re not going out of their way to read news articles about football.

  19. Modibo says:

    Oh, by the way I don’t really buy the bit about the Galaxy being the most popular US side for the past 12 years though – I think that’s a West Coast bias. I would hand that honor to DC United (though I’m a Fire fan myself).

  20. Curtis Spiteri says:

    Good article, very well stated.

    I love soccer, I watch it year round locally; regionally and soemtimes on the tube; I attend MLS games and support the game locally. I go to USNT games, youth games, Women’s games, high school games, middle school games and World Cup games.

    But I’m sick of all the comparisons to Euro football or Latin American futbol. This is American (and Canadian) soccer. It’s our brand of the game and I’ll enjoy supporting it live and in person while Eurposers only watch FSC, GolTv and Setanta for their fix.

    It’s the difference between having a girlfriend to make love to and watching porn on the internet. Let the Europsers have their porn, I’ll take the real thing in the flesh.

  21. Enrique says:

    We cannot expect objectivity from the English press, we know there is a lot of sensationalism and England is not the only place. I think that there is an anti-Americanism, although I don’t want generalize but I think in some of the cases with these journalists they just can’t wait to pounce on America and ridicule it. The Mexican press and fans have admitted many times the joy the have on beating the US, because is one of the things that they can feel superior in, as we know, football transmits passion, pride, hope and many other feelings when it comes to team and country, sadly sometimes that nationalism makes us loose objectivity.

  22. The Three Lions says:

    You are having a laugh mate.

    The United States is inconsequential on the world stage. What have the Yanks provided? A group of mediocre goal keepers and billionaire owners that cozy up to George Bush?

    The US has never beaten England. In 1994 we won at Wembley. In 2005 under Sven we beat you on your soil. Last year we routed you again at Wembley.

    The English league is the best league in the world. Most of the names of players thrown out above by the yank contingent are players lacking the quality to play in England. An American mate of mine goes on about some guy Blanco from the Chicago team but the truth is nobody in world football rates him and this fellow has never played Premiership football.

    The American domestic league is second rate as is the American national side. Until you can defeat a European side of some quality your national team will always be second rate.

  23. Johnathan Starling says:

    The Three Lions,

    So England’s defeats to the US in 1950 or 1993 don’t count in that ‘The US has never beaten England’?

    If you are going to spew garbage, please at least get your facts right.

  24. Nick Prodanovich says:

    Three kittens,

    Speaking as someone who was brought up in England and goes back frequently to see relatives and games, and as person that has been an MLS Season Ticket holder from day 1, I’m in a pretty good position to provide a reasonable perspective.

    First, as usual, without spending the time to really watch MLS or the US National Team over a period of time, people tend to way underestimate the quality of play in the US and the steady progress the US has made in the last 10 to 20 years. MLS teams are much much better than people think, and the US National Team has progressed to be the dominant power in CONCACAF, where prior to 1990 it could not even qualify for the World Cup. Is that a first tier League and National Team, obviously not but it is a stark improvement over 20 years ago and the quality is continuing to improve.

    As to the EPL and English National Team there are some significant facts that are ignored by my English supporters. First, the EPL only became a real top tier League when foreign players began to dominate the League and were bankrolled by massive amounts of TV money and rich foreign owners. The EPL is not an English League per se, it is an International League based in England.

    The English National Team both benefits and suffers from its League primarily populated with foreign stars, but at the end of the day the English Team is vastly overrated. England won its last World Cup in 1966 almost a half century ago to the point of questioning whether this was really in the modern era of Football.

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