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Why David Beckham sucks

Old 07-17-07, 01:41 PM
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Why David Beckham sucks

This piece sums up my own feelings fairly well. I've never been much of a fan of 'Becks', and it's pretty obvious to even the most casual observer that he's always been a player of limited abilities. One only can hope that his career will be ended quickly by injury, so MLS can go on about its business. Oh, and while it's not mentioned here, Alexi Lalas is an ass.
Why David Beckham sucks.

by Aleksandar Hemon

Post date 07.16.07 | Issue date 07.23.07

George Best, arguably the greatest British soccer player of all time, once said of David Beckham: "He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle, and he does not score many goals. Apart from that, he's all right." Best minced his words at a time when Beckham was a runner-up for the 1999 fifa world player of the year and at the peak of his career, having successfully recovered from vilification following a mindless tantrum that led to his expulsion from a 1998 World Cup game against Argentina. Playing with a man short, England lost the game, being thus eliminated from the tournament. Beckham was widely blamed for the loss; indeed, the Daily Mirror printed a dartboard with a picture of him centered on the bull's-eye, while his effigy was hanged outside a London pub. But, in 1999, Manchester United, his club, would win the English Premier League title, the F.A. Cup, and, to top it all, the European Champions League, and Beckham was instrumental in those achievements. At the time of Best's generous assessment, Beckham's star was as blindingly sparkling as ever, but Best managed to squint and see the truth beyond the glare.

And he was right, of course: Beckham--whom you no doubt have heard has just joined the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer for $250 million--leans on a golden right foot, capable of producing sublime crosses and free-kicks, but his range as a player has always been severely limited. On Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United team, Beckham's role as a right wing feeding the forwards was narrowly defined, and he was never allowed to stray from it. The team won when he and his mates stuck to the game plan, often enforced by the half-time "hair-dryer treatment"--Ferguson screaming in their faces. In 2003, they claimed another Premier title. It would be four years before David Beckham won anything again.

The cleats started coming off Beckham's Man U career after he married one Victoria Adams, commonly known at the time as Posh Spice, a member of the bimbo-band Spice Girls. The courtship of Becks and Posh--as they were lovingly called--had been a dream come true for the British tabloids, especially since the couple did not exactly try to escape the life of trashy celebrity. They sold the rights to cover their wedding to OK! Magazine and then put on a show: The wedding took place at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland; cost about $1,000,000; required a staff of 437; and bore fruit in the shape of photos, published in every gossip rag, of Posh and Becks sitting on golden thrones.

Ferguson believed that the Beckhams' life of celebrity and Victoria's rising influence over David, evident in his frequent hairstyle changes, were detrimental to the young lad's game and to team spirit. In 2000, Beckham missed training to care for Brooklyn, the Beckhams' first child, suffering from gastroenteritis. But that same night, Victoria posed for photographers at a London Fashion Week event, and Ferguson was hair-dryingly furious. Beckham's fame now exceeded his teammates', even if his performances started slacking. In 2003, after a defeat to London rivals Arsenal, Ferguson kicked a soccer shoe that struck Beckham above the eye, resulting in a cut that required two sutures. That summer, Beckham was offloaded to spending-crazy Real Madrid, building a squad of soccer stars bloated with greatness and uninterested in running, for whom making a fancy pass with a back heel would always be far more attractive than defending. They were known as the galacticos, and Beckham fit right in. Real Madrid, the most successful European club of all time and one of the richest, won absolutely nothing during Beckham's tenure--until this year. In the same period, Beckham won no international tournaments with the English national team. On top of not scoring goals, he does not win much. Did the L.A. Galaxy people read his resumť at all?

The day he arrived in Madrid, the team shirt with Beckham's name on it sold out at the club store. It was obvious that the primary reason for Beckham's signing was Real's ambition to sell itself and Beckham as galactically renowned brands. Beckham was entirely unneeded as a player: He could not play in his right-wing position, which was beholden to Luis Figo, another exorbitantly paid galactico. Therefore, he frequently embarrassed himself playing in positions that required all the skills he never had: defense, tackling, using his left foot. His soccer career has steadily declined since 2003, and, when he started negotiating with the L.A. Galaxy, a place on Real's first team was beyond his reach. After the Galaxy deal's announcement, Real's coach, Fabio Capello, declared that Beckham would never play for him again. But, in the desperate race for the Spanish title, he reinstated Beckham, who actually briefly managed to contribute to Real's successful pursuit of the championship. The pressure of having to prove that he was one of the Real greats made him play like an occasionally good player, as he has been for most of his life.

Beckham arrives in the United States with the dubious achievement of being the most overrated and overpaid player in the history of sports. The bright minds of U.S. soccer have apparently decided there is no longer need to avoid the mistakes made by the ill-fated North American Soccer League (nasl). Back in the '70s, nasl spent all its money on aged, exhausted stars in the hopes of attracting the elusive American fan, who prefers sports with enough breaks to permit fetching another beer from the remote fridge. MLS has, in one fell swoop, destroyed its wage structure, creating a situation in which Beckham's teammates will earn up to 350 times less than him--it is a question of time before a player earning the soccer equivalent of minimum wage unleashes a vengeful two-footed tackle at Becks' delicate, precious legs (particularly since Beckham injured one of them in his last game for Real). With Beckham's landing on the American pitch, over will be the days when U.S. soccer was built from the ground up, when the primary fan base was immigrants familiar with the rules of the sport and capable of pronouncing correctly the players' names. Indeed, over are the days of U.S. soccer.

Beckham's main quality in the U.S. market is, of course, his brand-name celebrity aura. If in doubt, witness the image of Becks as a fetching prince on a white horse, saving his Sleeping Beauty as part of Disney World's "Year of a Million Dreams" advertising campaign. Thus Beckham has joined Donald Duck and Goofy in the U.S. soccer pantheon. Unlike the elitist circles of global soccer, where professional players are actually required to win games between their celebrity stunts, American sports-as-entertainment culture seems ready to worship unconditionally Beckham's right foot and boyish attractiveness. It also appears to be hungry for Mrs. Beckham's impressive vacuity--she once frankly owned up to never having read a book in her life--which should reach its height on U.S. television: Victoria has signed up with NBC for her own fashion reality special, in which David might be subjected to kinder, gentler hair-drying treatments.

The Beckhams' move to California should perhaps be of interest to a tired anthropologist studying the American penchant for turning moronic mediocrity into profitable celebrity--but never, ever to a soccer fan. For a true fan prefers watching the lesser celebrities who can use both of their feet, head the ball, and tackle; those players who score goals and do the unfashionable work of winning.

Aleksandar Hemon the author of Nowhere Man, writes about and plays soccer.

Last edited by wendersfan; 07-17-07 at 02:26 PM.
Old 07-17-07, 02:12 PM
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Interesting article, never mentioned the famous "Bend it like Beckham".
Old 07-17-07, 02:15 PM
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I like how Best said all those things as Beckham finished 2nd in the World Player of the Year race. 2nd best player in the world but he sucks?

His image, media coverage, marketing etc will never let his actual abilities as a player be accurately covered.
Old 07-17-07, 02:25 PM
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I'm not a particularly big Beckham fan, but he's not a goal-scorer. He's a passing and free-kick specialist, and like him or not, he generates scoring opportunities. With 11 players on the field at a time, it's nice to have a role-player like him out there. I don't think soccer/football fans see him as anything more than what he is: one of the best in the world at what he does but not one of the best in the world in the overall sport. In this case, hate the game (the media hype machine), not the player.

As for the statements about his MLS contract, they may want to check their facts.

das
Old 07-17-07, 02:59 PM
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I just don't get all of the hate for the guy. As far as I can tell, David Beckham seems to be pretty humble, especially considering his worldwide popularity (along the lines of Tiger Woods). Its not like he's going around announcing that he is the second coming of Pele.

For soccer fans, it seems like they wish it were a more talented player who was coming to America and recieving all of this attention. The fact that its Beckham, instead of a player like say Ronaldinho or Zidane garnering all of this hype seems to rub these people the wrong way.

For non-soccer fans, I get the feeling that they are somewhat threatened by the thought that the sport might actually experience some growth in this country. Beckham, some pretty boy from overseas, will now be the face of the game in America. Asshat media personalities like Jim Rome and Jay Marriotti perpetuate this attitude. They'd love nothing more than to see Beckham and the MLS fail.
Old 07-17-07, 03:02 PM
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well this is the first major soccer star to play for the MLS.... thats important... the MLS needs the names to show they are legit... hell... RED Bulls almost paid Zidane or Ronaldo 100 mill for 10 years just to play for them
Old 07-17-07, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy_Harn
For soccer fans, it seems like they wish it were a more talented player who was coming to America and recieving all of this attention. The fact that its Beckham, instead of a player like say Ronaldinho or Zidane garnering all of this hype seems to rub these people the wrong way.
Clearly I want to see MLS succeed. It's really the only American sport I follow, aside from the few times a year I go to NHL games.

The whole Beckham thing is emblematic of everything I don't like about the way the league is run. Instead of promoting teams they promote personalities or big stars. What happens if the big star leaves or underperforms? The popularity of the sport suffers. The way to build a successful league is to tie support of the fans to their local team, the way that baseball has done for the past century, and the way soccer has done in other countries. Did people support the Cubs because of Sosa? Some did, sure, but most did because they love the Cubs, win or lose, and now that Sammy's gone they still love the Cubs.

Aside from the whole cult of personality issue, there's simply the problem that Beckham really isn't that good, and is a player of limited abilities. Sure, I'd rather have Ronaldinho come to America, but even more than that, I want the league to encourage greatness from within, and by acquiring unsung, lesser known foreign players. That takes work, however, and I don't think the league is willing to put in that kind of work, and would rather go with a gimmick.
Old 07-17-07, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by raven56706
well this is the first major soccer star to play for the MLS....
Roberto Donadoni
Hristo Stoitchkov
Carlos Valderrama
Lothar Mattheus
Old 07-17-07, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Aside from the whole cult of personality issue, there's simply the problem that Beckham really isn't that good, and is a player of limited abilities. Sure, I'd rather have Ronaldinho come to America, but even more than that, I want the league to encourage greatness from within, and by acquiring unsung, lesser known foreign players. That takes work, however, and I don't think the league is willing to put in that kind of work, and would rather go with a gimmick.
Isn't it possible that Beckham's move will raise the profile of the league on an international level? Thus, a talented young foreign-born player might take a chance at playing in the MLS knowing that established names like Beckham have made the move and been successful.
Old 07-17-07, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Roberto Donadoni
Hristo Stoitchkov
Carlos Valderrama
Lothar Mattheus

worldwide known soccer star...
Old 07-17-07, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
The way to build a successful league is to tie support of the fans to their local team, the way that baseball has done for the past century, and the way soccer has done in other countries.
The problem is that to tie fans to their local team, you need people to pay attention to your sport. The way to get people to pay attention to your sport is to generate some media visibility. The fastest way to generate media visibility is to get someone who is famous for something else and make people think about your sport when they think about him.

The hope is that people will watch Beckham for his off-the-field issues, become interested, and then watch soccer because of him. Then become interested in soccer and identify with their local team.

It's difficult to compare anything to baseball because, back in the 1860's - 1940's, you didn't have anything really competing with baseball. When other major sports started to come along, baseball was established enough to succeed.

Now, soccer just doesn't have to compete with major sports like MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, IFOCE, NCAA, etc, but it also has to compete with secondary sports like MLL, AFL, WNBA, and the CFL.

Not to mention indivual sports which also pull viewers: tennis, boxing, golf, mixed mixed martial arts fighting, etc.
Old 07-17-07, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Carlos Valderrama
The guy who played the foreign kid on That 70's show?
Old 07-17-07, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by raven56706
worldwide known soccer star...
Just because you don't know who Matthaus (captained a World Cup winning German team, 1990 world player of the year) and Stoitchkov (1994 European player of the year, 1994 World Cup top scorer) are doesn't mean they aren't known worldwide.
Old 07-17-07, 03:34 PM
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I'm glad he's here and I hope the MLS succeeds. But lets not call him the best because 75 % of the Brazilian team is better than him (although his passing accuracy is still phenominal). And if anybody thinks he's gonna be as big here as he is in Europe or Japan thats just idioteque.
Old 07-17-07, 03:34 PM
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I think the MLS has tried to do things the right way in a lot of instances. It's just incredibly difficult to gain any momentum here in the US. They did screw up the Adu hype, but between bitter sportswriters who actively campaign for the league to fail, general disinterest from the casual fan, and countless other sports competing for the attention, I'm not sure what else they can do. In truth, though, I think the Beckham signing is less about bringing attention to the MLS as it is the Galaxy seeking a major revenue opportunity in celebrity-obsessed LA.

das
Old 07-17-07, 03:35 PM
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i know who they are.... if you are definitely into soccer but no one else does... hell but now adays... no one remembers stoitchkov.....
Old 07-17-07, 03:45 PM
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The problem IMO is that it's a lose-lose situation for the league - if Beckham turns out to be the overrated flop many of us feel he'll be, the league and the Galaxy look like morons and asshats like Rome or Marriotti will gloat and gloat. If he ends up being a phenomenon and brings a bunch of silverware to LA, then the balance of the league is upset, other teams suffer unless they can get their own superstar, and some teams go bankrupt trying.

I'm happy with the league the way it is. The quality of play is much higher than a decade ago, and I'd rather it grow organically than with these types of stunts.
Old 07-17-07, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
The problem IMO is that it's a lose-lose situation for the league - if Beckham turns out to be the overrated flop many of us feel he'll be, the league and the Galaxy look like morons and asshats like Rome or Marriotti will gloat and gloat. If he ends up being a phenomenon and brings a bunch of silverware to LA, then the balance of the league is upset, other teams suffer unless they can get their own superstar, and some teams go bankrupt trying.
I disagree. I think there is middle-ground. Besides, if a team is going to go bankrupt by signing one or two star players (which is all the current system will allow), then they don't deserve to have a team.
Old 07-17-07, 03:56 PM
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We could win the World Cup, and the US National Team could save the planet from an alien attack (and I don't mean defeating Mexico ), and douchebags like Rome and Marriotti would still find a way to complain.

The reality is that Beckham will likely do exactly what the Galaxy expect him to: generate revenue and make them a little better with some high-precision passing. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. The way the media is hounding this story, though, combined with viewer ignorance regarding Beckham's skills, it's definitely going to provide ammunition for all the assholes who don't know shit about the sport and just want it to fail to spite those of us who enjoy it.

das
Old 07-17-07, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
The reality is that Beckham will likely do exactly what the Galaxy expect him to: generate revenue and make them a little better with some high-precision passing. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. The way the media is hounding this story, though, combined with viewer ignorance regarding Beckham's skills, it's definitely going to provide ammunition for all the assholes who don't know shit about the sport and just want it to fail to spite those of us who enjoy it.
See, it's this attitude which will lead me down the path to hell, i.e., rooting for the LA Galaxy to do well...
Old 07-17-07, 04:08 PM
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Yeah, I came to that sad realization earlier too. I have to think of the greater good, though.

das
Old 07-17-07, 04:24 PM
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Who the hell do root for down in Atlanta, anyway?
Old 07-17-07, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
We could win the World Cup, and the US National Team could save the planet from an alien attack (and I don't mean defeating Mexico ), and douchebags like Rome and Marriotti would still find a way to complain.

The reality is that Beckham will likely do exactly what the Galaxy expect him to: generate revenue and make them a little better with some high-precision passing. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. The way the media is hounding this story, though, combined with viewer ignorance regarding Beckham's skills, it's definitely going to provide ammunition for all the assholes who don't know shit about the sport and just want it to fail to spite those of us who enjoy it.

das
Not only will Beckham likely do exactly what the Galaxy expect, but he will likely do more. Him coming here isn't for ignorant tv people like Rome or Marriotti and its not even for ignorant sports viewers that don't know a thing about soccer or just dismiss soccer with no thought. Deny it all you want America...there are millions and millions of American soccer fans that pay attention, but they are just paying attention to S. America or Europe. If Beckham coming here just gets a fraction of them to pay attention to the MLS then job well done.
Old 07-17-07, 04:35 PM
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Too angry to be taken seriously. His paragraph about the wedding to Posh is embarassing. Lighten up buddy. 99% of people in this country don't know shit about soccer.
Old 07-17-07, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Who the hell do root for down in Atlanta, anyway?
The Silverbacks! When the league began, I cheered for Chicago, because I thought Fire was a cool name, and I tend to like teams from Chicago in general. Then they signed a friend of mine, and so I became a legitimate fan. Since he left, I've been kind of drifting in the breeze, still hoping the Fire do well but not really caring that much. I keep hoping they'll expand to Atlanta. There's a lot of soccer played around here, but we're not a very good sports town. I'd be an instant fan if it ever happened, though. Hell, I went to every Atlanta Beat game.

das

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