Forums / The footytube Blog
Order: Newest / Oldest
Did Beckham Deserve Criticism?
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
In a new book, 'The Beckam Experiment', Los Angeles Galaxy captian, Landon Donovan was quoted calling Beckham and his play at the MLS side "cheap." Donovan also called in to question Becks' leadership and devotion to getting the club back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

"As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways - on the field, off the field. Does the fact that he earns that much more money come into it? Yeah. If someone's paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you are suspended or not. Show up and train hard, show up and play hard.

"When David first came, I believed he was committed to what he was doing," Donovan said. "He cared. He wanted to do well. He wanted the team and the league to do well. Somewhere along the way - and in my mind it coincides with Ruud being let go - he just flipped a switch and said, 'Uh-huh, I'm not doing it anymore'

"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."

After hearing the comments, Beckham called Donovan "unprofessional," and said that the words should have been exchanged in private.

I remember at the time, that the Beckham move was supposed to change 'soccer' in America forever.

Sadly, it didn't really pan out this way. First of all, his first "game," saw him play a full scintillating 8 minutes, before taking an obvious dive infront of Hollywood's finest, who had paid through the teeth to buy boxes to see him. Listed as doubtful, he hobbled through the match only to go onto to get re-injured, and see the next half of the season sat on the bench. Even on the bench, the media frenzy still ensued.

At one game in Dallas, I remember seeing a sign that read, "Bench it like Beckham." Personally, I think this was a humongous joke, and brought attention to football for all the wrong reasons.

Football is about fans who sing and chant after hitting the pub a couple hours before hand on every Saturday. The media shouldn't be storming in to throw the limelight on an injured player who's way past his prime. It makes you wonder why, at the same time, someone like Freddie Ljungberg didn't gather any attention outside of the Northwest.

I am often perplexed as to what the motives behind many American sports fans are?

What is your take on the Beckham saga? Was it a successful move, that ultimately proved to be good for the sport, or a cynical marketing ploy that backfired? Do you think Donovan's comments were absurd, the truth, or a cynical marketing ploy to sell more books?
Delta162 (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I can see why david would be upset, donavon did put it out there. But.... He's right. In watching those games david didn't really care in the end. Why else would he leave. And why else would he be leaving again. As an american it made me a little disappointed to watch how david didn't really do anything for football here in the states. What a waste. They should of just left him in europe and gotten more south american players instead. Players like marcelo salas who still had a lot of talent and experience to offer to the league and help it grow. Oh well. Maybe next time I guess
Kafka (Bayern Munchen-A) 7 years ago
Beckham should get the hell out. What american fans want is an exciting goalscorer, not an old, slow midfielder who hogs the limelight. The Galaxy should have gotten Ronaldinho instead
Kushdog21 (AC Milan) 7 years ago
As much as I would've liked to see Beckham play harder I can't blame him for wanting to go back to Europe (even if it was revealed in an unprofessional manner). Though he deserves a fair amount of criticism the fact that he didn't bring soccer to the popularity level of football, basketball and baseball in the US was not at all his fault. Internationals have been coming for years (Pele, Stoichkov, Ljungberg) in the twilight of their careers and their presence has yet to do a great deal for the popularity of the sport. While it has been steadily increasing, I don't know that it'll ever be at the level of other sports here. In fact, I think our players going to big leagues in Europe (Premiership, Bindesliga, Serie A) actually does more to increase the popularity of the sport than the stars of these leagues spending their mid-thirties here. For the record, I hope Beckham returns to AC because that seemed to both revitalize him and significantly impact Milan (we need all the help we can get right now)
ManUK (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Donovan's comments were the truth I saw him thinking in his mind "Wow why am I playing with these Americans" and you could kinda see an attitude. Donovan spoke the truth just not at the right time and place, It was the start of Becks season so there's no time for arguing.

Beckham also wants the 2010 World Cup. He wants to be in the squad badly and hadn't been over in America.

I also think he's way past his prime, He wasn't the best player in his day anyway. Now days I see him take set pieces and pass and that's bout it. I think he should be behind Lennon and others for England.

Beckham came to America big already, That's why why got the armband (well the manager helped also). He din't deserve it cause he had never played with them, and he didn't prove he did deserve it with it, just played halfway intense and seemingly didn't care
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
I think he doesn't deserve the armband for england
TFoAV (Manchester City) 7 years ago
No way he should get the armband for England. There's a handful of players that I'd give it to before I'd give it to Beckham. He's obviously past his prime, and I know that there are better players and leaders on the English side than Becks.

Also, as far as Becks' impact on the sport in America.... I think it helped a little bit. Him coming got people to talk about soccer. This got people pondering about soccer, and MLS ratings went up a little bit. Basically, Donovan was right by saying "Any cameras are good cameras. " for the MLS.

But Donovan was right.... Beckham didn't come to MLS to improve soccer in America. He just went to MLS so that he could improve his profile by going to LA and playing a little footy on the side with some Americans. I think it was bad that it was public and could've been handled privately, but it wasn't like he was speaking the truth
Hill (Arsenal) 7 years ago
Apparently he got the armband because his people wanted him to have it and they pressured the Galaxy's front office to have Donovan pass it on
Sayuri (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Beckham deserves better than all the critisism he is getting! ^. ^
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 7 years ago
America wanted him for the wrong reasons - they wanted a big name to promote 'soccer' and paraded Becks around more like he was the latest Nike wonder shoe than an actual player going to a club to do his job.

And, Becks wanted to go for the wrong reasons - I think the way McClaren dropped him the instant he took over with Becks shoes still covered in mud from the last england match, was disgusting, and factored heavily in his decision.

Whatever you say about Becks, he always gave 110% (and still does) whenever he wore that england shirt, he would die for his country, unlike many of the current crop of 'talent'.

And just look at the new era that McClaren ushered in by dropping Becks (just about the only significant change he made after Sven). An absolute disgrace, which ended up in Becks being recalled, braving jet lag and proving his commitment to the england team once more. Whatever you say, despite his age, he is still the only player we possess that can cross the ball into the box and create chances time and time again with pin-point accuracy.

So when did he become frustrated during LA Galaxy and why? The fact that the whole thing was a marketing exercise in the first place musta' weighed heavily on his mind. The fact that his coach didn't even know FIFA regulations on international call-ups (he said something like we won't allow beckham to play friendlies for england - er they have to), must have been a real WTF moment for him. He was sat in a culture so utterly detached from the football culture back home that his own coach didn't even understand the importance of playing for your own country.

Likewise, the fact that he had made a big mistake in allowing McClaren, (and Capello at Real Madrid) as well as all the naysayers in the media sway him into going in the first place, must have been demoralising, especially in light of how his season ended (on a high) at Real Madrid.

He realised the grave error of judgment that he had made in basically choosing early retirement from the top-flight way too early. And although he tried his best to honour his commitment, and no matter how good his intentions (and others) were at the beginning - there is only so long you can keep the charade up before cracks begin to appear, division creeps in, and everyone starts the tug of war.

As for Donovan's comments, I think they show a massive lack of empathy and analysis on his part of the many many deep rooted problems that lead to the situation, and like Beckham said, should've been exchanged in private, not saved for a 'book' to get media attention for his trite little expose of a man and a footballing culture he understands very little about
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
Very true. That manager you speak of is "Ruud" from the article, Ruud Gullit. He was quickly fired and replaced by an interm for a while, but now Bruce Arena, a much more respected, and understanding coach is at the helm
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 7 years ago
Nah it was Alexi Lalas, my bad (LA Galaxy boss?)    Gullit above all others knows the importance of playing for your country
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
No, before that it was frank yallop (2006-2007). Ruud was (2007-2008)
Cristiano9rocks (Real Madrid) 7 years ago
Yes, america was all exited to have a great player from england! That's all they were looking for a star just to come over here and every one was buying beckham jerseys and other stuff of his! America did not for one minute stop and think of what and how he would do in MLS.

That was the issue! And then when he did not do so good every one starts criticising him, when they had never seen him play here, its very different from english play! So I don't think he deserves criticism because he has most likely done his best, I don''t see why he wouldn't! And I think allot of it is because galaxy had a star but still got in last place last year!
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
You say he most likely did his best, that's the whole reason behind Donovan's comments. I watched that first season, and saw zero effort from him to get back on the field. Yet he still managed to get interviewed on the bench every game, despite his "injury"
Cristiano9rocks (Real Madrid) 7 years ago
Yes, I agree its okay to question his %100, and Yes I think he gave his %80 percent!
Hill (Arsenal) 7 years ago
I'm not sure what to think of everything. I can't see Lalas not being understanding about playing for your country. Also, there seems to be a lot of behind the scenes garbage that we'll never know. I tend to agree with Donovan, however he should have said it in private
EmYouEffSee (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I forgot who, but when they introduced beckham at galaxy for the first time someone said that beckham was gonna' do for soccer what michael jordan did for basketball.... I can't think of a sillier thing ever said. To me beckham thought his career wasnt going to go very well anymore so he came to america, but then he thought "hey I'm still pretty good" so now he wishes he was at a bigger club but he's at galaxy for the money and would rather get sold than just leave, in fear he would get a bad rep
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 7 years ago
Ha first time I read that, I thought you said "gonna' do for soccer what Michael JACKSON did for basketball".

I was about to chastise you for having a problem with that, since that makes perfect sense
Bizquick (Liverpool) 7 years ago
People were in the States were expecting Becks to be a flashy and creative playmaker, but he's never been that kind of player
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
No, they were epecting him to score goals, because the majority of America doesn't know a thing about soccer, and just thinks, "ooo, David Beckham, the guy who scores a lot and is married to a spice girl. "
Matt (Footytube Staff) 7 years ago
In my opinion 'The Beckham Experiment' in my opinion was doomed to failure from the start for the following reasons.

As stated here by others Beckham made the choice to end his career in the United States whilst being left at in the cold at Real Madrid. As we all know he then started getting regular games and showed he still had a lot to offer top flight football.

Just before he was due to go there was a flurry of transfer rumours and speculation which can not of done anything except place the seed of doubt in his mind that he had made a mistake.

This has been further compounded by a successful loan move to AC Milan and a regular place in the England squad.

So it's not hard to see why his commitment would wane.

From the point of view of raising interest in Football (yeah I said it) I just feel he was the wrong player for this. Yes his massive media profile provided a mass if initial interest but after that has died down what do you have?

Beckham is a player for people who appreciate the technical aspects of the game, people who clap at the pinpoint cross field pass and notice the spot on delivery from nearly every corner and free kick.

Are these elements of the game that are gonna' excite the uninitiated? These new fans turn up to game to watch this superstar from England and will leave after the match wondering what all the fuss is about.

As such I can see no end other than US football maintaining the same level of interest as it has now. In my opinion only success on the international scene will ever make any impact. And for Beckham, well after his recent comments I can see him coming back to The Premiership for a swansong season before moving into the media
Bizquick (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I'm from the states and I regularly go to MLS games to support the local team. Every time I leave frustrated. Most fans know absolutely nothing about football. I remember one guy in front of me complaining about how the players were making back passes to the half backs to keep possession calling them idiots for not passing forward.

My local team has a small support section with a few people banging on drums. This other lady near me started complaining about the noise. She obviously knows nothing about the culture.

The few people that appreciate watching the game on the club grounds and love football are mostly minorities who come from football cultures. At my club they're mostly Mexicans and they show up wearing shirts from Mexican clubs.

And it doesn't help that the quality on the pitch is closer to League 1. Perhaps even lower.
Lee (Kidderminster Harriers) 7 years ago
Yes, I think it's endemic of American sport in general. Football simply doesn't stir the same passions in American that baseball and egg-hand-ball do. It will take time, and like matt says, you. S. National team success on the world circuit, before much changes
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
This really makes me wonder, because in a previous comment, I noted that outside of MLS fans and the Northwest, no one noticed Ljungberg making a jump to Sounders FC. Rumours were out that Thierry Henry was set to head to NY Red Bulls once he lost his luster at Barca, but I really don't think the general public knows who he is. He's a goal scorer, but at his age, I don't know how exciting he'd be. I guess I can't blame anyone, because they tried to do their best. It's reall hard to find a flashy player who is well known, and still good enough to attract people to the sport. If US fans were like, say England ffans, they should be more excited about 21 year-old Freddy Montero, 2-time player of the year in Colombia, and wicked attacker, rather than David Beckham
Eric (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Agreed.... Once the National Team start performing well on the World Circuit and beats teams like Spain and Brazil, football will start to pick up in my country. The Confederations Cup was a great start to this. I feel that it's important for the US to beat Brazil in some World tournament, as this is the only team that Americans really know is supposed to be awesome.... You'd have to be a football enthusiast to know that Spain was actually the best team in the world at the moment, but any Joe Shmoe knows that Brazilians are really good at soccer. A big upset like that in the Confederations Cup, or the World Cup more importantly, would mean more attention for football in America
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
True, when I first got interested in soccer, WC 2006, I thought Brazil were supposed to win it all, and that Ronaldo (old) was the best player in the world. I was wrong, so stupid at the time. The reason why we believe that, is that Brazil, and England is not far behind, has the biggest ego to go with their play. Flashy back heals, step-overs, and announcers that act they were just saved from a hostage situation each time a goal is scored
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
"The few people that appreciate watching the game on the club grounds and love football are mostly minorities who come from football cultures. At my club they're mostly Mexicans and they show up wearing shirts from Mexican clubs. "

My wife is American and she says the same thing. There is already a massive fanbase of football loving people in America, its just that for the most part they are Mexican and therefore support Mexico. Every time I've been there (Oregon, for reference) I've seen football pitches all over the place, filled with kids all playing and enjoying football. 90% of those kids were mexican. The sports shops sell Mexico jerseys.

Bizquick, I feel for you because I can just imagine being there trying to enjoy the game but constantly feeling like slapping your forehead at the other people around you.

I genuinely think that after the Confed cup recently and Americas amazing performance, people are starting to really notice the game. After the next world cup, I think it'll really take off in America.

I think its a little embaressing that the powers that be thought that the sport needed a superstar like Beckham to ignite the fans. Surely if America produced it's own Beckham (I see this happening within ten years) he would be the same kind of icon that Michael Jordan or Michael Phelps were and would cause the nation to sit up and pay attention to the sport that the rest of the world already loves
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
About the hispan thing. The reason behind that, is that 90% of teams are in near-border cities or large cities, which tend to have be ethnically diverse(Chicago, Columbus, NY, Dallas, Houston, LAx2, San Jose). Although, without them, tickets and attention wouldbe waaaaaay down
(Colorado, Salt Lake, Boston). That's what makes the Northwest so promising. 30, 000 every game for Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland (plus TFC) and those 30, 000 are the drunk white guys who suck at singing, but do it because they love their team. This sound similar to anywhere (england)?! That's what we're aiming for
Darius (Southampton) 7 years ago
The closest footy shop to me is called Galaxy Deportes Atletico, which is also the store that sponsors my team! On top of that, my coach is Colombian and about 90% of my teammates are from a South American country. By the way, like Ant said, Galaxy Deportes Atletico, obviously by its name, sells majority Mexican Premier League and La Liga jerseys
Hithere (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I hope, regardless of the criticism, Beckham comes back to the EPL. Maybe Tottenham or (god forbid) Man City
Gavrazor (Manchester City) 7 years ago
Who would he replace for man city? SWP, Petrov and Robinho are all much much better then him, if he comes back it will be to someteam like bolton or fulham etc, but no team challanging for honours
Mattdog87 (Manchester United) 7 years ago
I believe he will return to AC Milan
Casualbear (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
StrikersMT28 makes some very valid points. International players in the MLS have put in incredible amounts of work - ljungberg, scholetto, etc. With his injury-riddled past ljungberg has performed at an incredible level for the sounders. I know my opinions in this matter are biased, being a sounders fan, but it seems that these other internationals have played longer and harder than beckham. Much respect if he can come back and be the playmaker the MLS paid for in the second half of the season but zero excuses for someone who just spent the winter in Serie A to "sharpen his game"
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
Schelloto is another stud I forgot to mention
Darius (Southampton) 7 years ago
Like you said, he should come back and be a much more effective and potent threat, since he's been playing in Serie A as well as some international matches. As far as the media goes, or mainly ESPN, doesn't care much about Beckham anymore. They've been fed up with him for quite a while now. And to answer the question, he does deserve criticism because, again like Casualbear said, he hasn't played half as well as Freddy Ljungberg and not even mile close to the way Guillermo has performed over the last year-and-a half or so
Reds89 (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Beckham went for the image stuff that's all, the american league is a nothing league compared to european 1s. If he really wanted to play decent football he should hav stayed in Europe.... It was all image stuff
Monterofan (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
Am I the only conspiracy theorist? Could it be that Sports Illustrated, the author of The Beckham Experiment, MLS, and L. A. Orchestrated a crazy media event? Never!

We hear about it all the time anymore when the media uses an event to advertise a product. This media attention gave the MLS international headlines with Beckham and Donovan on the cover right after a sweet US bout in South Africa. Beckham and Donovan are probably laughing over yet another Beckham media blitz in the US.

On the other hand, if Donovan is telling the truth then as captain he was probably echoing his teammates feelings as well as his own. To have premeditated comments like that to the international soccer community means they really hate the guy. Landon wanted to expose Becks for the poor leader he thought he was. Sux for Galaxy if that's the case. Lets face it Becks is an international hero and will probably go home soon after all this if it turns out to be all true.

He doesn't need to be hated on one team when he can still play anywhere else and get the respect from his team. Lot of changes going on at Galaxy from Lalas (I know he wasn't coach) to Ruud to Bruce. Can't say that I hope Galaxy turns it around. Go Sounders! We could always use Landon and Becks up here. Who said 30K sell out crowds here isn't better than England? Anyone? That's better than the NBA too
Yamsy (Liverpool) 7 years ago
Never thought Becks would work out.... But I feel that things are different for other players.... Look at Angel, he's doing pretty well, always banging in those goals.... And Ljungberg is playing decent as well.... If any other players, like Henry should come to the MLS, it wouldprobably work out better than Backs did, cause I think Becks has too much of a reputation or ego to please.... So that's why he doesn't give his all every game....
Hopefully Americans will come to love the game as much as we do....
Darius (Southampton) 7 years ago
The only thing that could come positive out of this is if Beckham could possibly return in great form, helping the Galaxy reach the top of the table and care about the team. L. A. Is in dire straights right now, since they haven't reached the playoffs for over three or four years
Ant (Liverpool) 7 years ago
I thought this was an interesting read:

Boos rained down and fans sent negative messages with their homemade signs. Things sure got ugly when David Beckham came back to town.

Anti-Beckham sentiment ran high as the English star returned after missing half of the Major League Soccer season while on a five-month loan to the Italian club. He was the target of frequent booing and derisive banners held up in a corner of the stadium, where one of the team's fan groups sits.

The signs all had messages directed at Beckham. "Go home fraud" read one, with a red slash through his No. 23 jersey number. Another said, "23: Repent," while another read, "Hey Becks, Here Before You, Here After You, Here Despite You." Another read, "Is evil something you are....Or something you do."

Eric (Manchester United) 7 years ago
Pretty harsh.... He's not doing right by the LA Galaxy, but I can't really blame him. He wants in on the World Cup next year, staying in the MLS isn't going to do him any favors. I can understand why the Galaxy fans are so pissed though
StrikersMT28 (Seattle Sounders) 7 years ago
Every time he touched the ball against AC Milan, he got boos. Mainly from the left end, with the GA grass section, and the largest supporters group. A corner in the second half was near the "riot squad" corner. It was headed in, he turned around, and threw his arms up in responsse to them
Cristiano9rocks (Real Madrid) 7 years ago
WOW, The fans and him are not good what so ever, if he does not change and score at least a goal in the nexed games I don't think he will be the beckham the the usa had!
Elucari (Liverpool) 7 years ago
People in the States are frustrated because Becks only came here for the money. He's attracted attention to the sport here, but only negative attention. I respect that he wants the higher level play, but if he could've at least shown consistent commitment here, maybe they would have been more willing to let him go

Kick4Life - changing lives through football