Monday, January 15, 2007

The wild west beckons for David Beckham

After seasonal items on his missus, metatarsal and misfortunes for England, David Beckham is once again making the headlines in the back pages of our daily reads. Now he’s off to America to tantalize the other side of the Atlantic with his celebrity, charisma and charm. Even Rocky is backing him to get back over the top once again in his new home.

The papers are already
full of it. They’re all saying that Europe’s big loss can only be America’s big gain.

I say: Good riddance!

A lot of shit on that roof, and not just from the birds

I am part of many who really think that America offered the altogether best option for Beckham, a player who in spite of all his alleged talent and his so-called place in the pantheon of footballing greats is already in the darkening twilight of his career at the grand age of a mere 31 years.

Conquering the final frontier
When the great Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and a few notable others joined the
New York Cosmos in the late 70s, FIFA and the world projected a period of unprecedented growth of the sport’s popularity in America. Almost 30 years later, it is Africa and Asia that is recording the success many expected to see from America.

The hosting of the 1994 World Cup was mooted to be (yet another) watershed milestone; the eventual result was a very flat soufflĂ©, both in terms of in-event audience participation and post-event momentum. Japan and South Korea on the other hand hosted a wildly successful World Cup in 2002, and all indications are that Africa’s turn in 2010 will record the same, if not a greater, level of success.

So where does America stand on the football world map, then? And importantly what will Beckham bring to the sport in a country that already ranks the world’s number one game a lowly seventh after baseball, American football (do they even use their feet?) basketball, tennis, golf and ice hockey?

Beckham is first and foremost a figurehead, and being a footballer comes a distant second. He is the proverbial catalyst of the materialistic world, symptomatic of the greed and decadence that has besieged the sport in the past two decades.

While he may not be responsible for much of it happening, if you accept the philosophy of supply and demand, in himself he embodies the reasons why there are more and more empty seats in football stadiums all over the world, and really – when you think of it – the very reason why children all over Britain wait till a few days before Christmas before asking daddy for a Manchester United or a Chelsea shirt (or indeed, a Real Madrid or a Barcelona shirt) under the tree on December 25th, depending on who is on top at that time.

Hero worship is not wrong in sport. Not when the they are about stalwarts like Diego Maradona, Pele or Zinedine Zidane. Or Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Sachin Tendulkar, Boris Becker or Roger Federer - men who brought so much to their game.

But when players like David Beckham enjoy so much from the sport for the very little that they bring to it, there has got to be something very wrong.

Now, let not all of this detract from the fact that come May, we can all expect to see and hear more of football (the ‘real’ football) from America. That can't be bad for the sport. Already there is talk of Ronaldo and Luis Figo heading stateside, at the invitation of their former Real Madrid colleague, and a few more notable names may follow. The newspapers and Nokia Football Crazy are sure to afford America a few cursory column inches and footage respectively. For a while, we may even believe Beckham and America are on well on their way to making good on the previously unfulfilled promise

But with his 32nd birthday coming in May, Beckham's peak as a player is well behind him. Most would say his zenith was reached in the years between 1999 and 2002, with the crunch of Aldo Duscher's boot on his metatarsal in a Champions League tie between Manchester United and Deportivo La Coruna being the moment that stopped the Beckham juggernaut dead in its tracks.

The fact is Beckham was perhaps never all that. All he had was a very good right foot at a time when right feet weren’t very fashionable, and he brought a sense that something could seriously happen if his team won a free-kick at the edge of the box. He could not tackle, he could not dribble, he could not head, he was atrocious at penalties, he did absolutely nothing with his left foot, and to say that he was a captain would still be too kind; the man simply couldn’t lead a kid into a toy store with an open door and a handful of twenties!

A crying shame: He was very good at turning on the waterworks, though...

So you would please excuse me if I think the whole damned thing is a bit too farcical. Give it a year and let’s all see how big a joke it actually turns out to be.

For now, good luck America. Good luck David Beckham. God bless us all!

Finally, for the benefit of any American who might read this: In Malaysia, and the rest of the civilized world, we refer to the sport as football, and rightly so. None of this soccer nonsense!

Pray tell me, anyway: Why on earth do you call it American Football, when all you’re doing it throwing the pigskin about? With your hands!

I don't want to jinx it, but...
With Liverpool hosting Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday, there is a sense at Old Trafford that this is a weekend that seriously offer my beloved Manchester United a chance of stretching their legs over the dreadful Chelsea, if (and it’s a big ‘if’) we get things right against Arsenal.

If Rafa Benitez needs help motivating his players, he need only show them the videos of the games against Arsenal, and the photographs of the Liverpool bench
holding their heads in despair after that 6-3 drubbing. My bets are on Liverpool, if only because they definitely need this win, and also because I desperately need them to!

I’ve always been grudgingly impressed with Arsenal.
On their day they can really play the opposition out of the game with a display of jaw-dropping finesse and flair.

That said, when Man Utd turn it on, they are simply irresistible, and we’ve seen that a number of times this season already. And the 85th minute goal and the resulting defeat at Old Trafford earlier this season will not be forgotten, for sure.

Arsenal vs. Manchester United
LIVE from the Emirates Stadium. Sunday, 21st January. 11:55pm.

This is the match of the week!


Kenny Ng said...

Yeah... 6 points ahead!!! The huge amount to buy Beckham really crazy. Does he really worth that much? I'm same with u, I bet on Liverpool. I'm looking forward for this match of the week, MU!!!

Metria said...

In 2007 Beckham will unleash his style in the US, but not on the football pitch.

Don't you know who engineered the move to the US? It's the powerful Hairdressers Association of the US. They're already drooling at the extra business he's going to generate.

Thousands and thousands will be asking for the 2007 DB look, and Keropok, you'd be among the first except of course for the fact that you're follicly-challenged :P

Mong said...

Why such a long post, Keropok?

Why not just just say:

Beckham? 125 million pounds???

Manal said...

A serious article, 180deg the opposite of what lilybird presented.

Tuah orang yea...this DB is blessed with flukes.

kickciggys said...

well predicted and said...this one is for the idiotic fools who think DB is all that and irritatingly used to mix Bergkamp's name with the 'Almighty' called football fanatics..suckers

Gallivanter said...

Don't know about Liverpoo beating Chelski, possibly a draw. As for the Arsenal Manure clash, well, that's gonna be interesting.

lilyliverbird said...

wanker has no dignity. Money can't buy class eh?

Mr Glory Hunter would feel right at home in UAss of A!

the kimster said...

Beckham was a crap football, and always will be. He will go to the USA and the Yanks will think "Aha.. so THIS is football." They will think that football is about running up and down the pitch, and also the red carpet.

No craft, no skills, nothing. That is football as defined by a crap player with a crap voice.

Fergie was right all along, and he did the right thing when he kicked Becks into touch. Beckham should have pulled the plug after the 1999 Champions League. Instead, that was the beginning of the Insufferable Beckham who believed in his own shit.

Doreen said...

Oh god. I've had enough of Becks. I hated him even more when I saw the breakdown of his gaji, and he's making like 80 pence a freaking second or something. What is the world coming to?!

Yup, god bless America indeed.

spiller said...

personally, i don't think there's anything wrong with DB moving to MLS. it's his life and i'm sure ESPN and even yourself has explain all the possibilities behind that decision.

to be honest, i think DB is quite a role model, socially & professionally, being a father, being a footballer and being an icon.

well, i still prefer him than Pennant to be on our right flank. nuf said.

Desparil said...

it all went downhill the moment he hooked up with posh! nuff said.

my prediction: draw for both games. 6 point lead maintained.

A Shabby Singh said...

What a waste of money!!!!!! If DB is positioned as the best representative of football in America, those guys there will probably be thinking "no wonder its such a crappy game".

Or maybe they'll be thinking "If a guy who playslike this can get so much $$$, then I better play too...", resulting in fotball becming more and more popular!!!

One way or the other we win!!!!

Keropok said...

Man, the Beckham debate goes on and on. Besides Spiller (what are you drinking dude - good role model? right flank for Liverpool???), most everyone I speak to seems to think it's a laugh.

I'm looking forward to the blockbuster weekend of football coming up. Liverpool surely must realise that Chelsea are there for the taking. No point being negative Rafa, give it a go!

Gilberto's sending off will be a big losss for Arsenal no doubt, but even with 10 men and the torrential weather they overcame a tough Blackburn, so it's going be tough for United.

But as always, when the going get's tough, United get going!

Anonymous said...

It is very strange (and telling) how United fans are quick to discredit Beckham since the time he left Old Trafford.

He was a loyal player for the club, who was shown the exit door long before he started thinking about it. In a sense he paid the price for the way he lived, but he was a loyal servant nonetheless. The fact that he's not as good as many say he is, doesn't mean is is also as bad as people paint him to be (as eloquently done by Keropok here)


Anonymous said...

To be fair to Beckham, the only people who say he's a great player is the media. He's created this fashionable image for himself which is a piece of shit, but he doesn't have any delusions of being Pele (which some american journalists seem to have).

As for being a waste of money, well MLS pays him $400,000 and most of the rest is probably from marketing opportunities. He's not really getting paid for his playing.

In anycase, it's an unfortunately necessary if grossly inflated move by the league. I'm American, and I kept tabs on my local team but only watched a game when they were in the finals. Most of the people who watch soccer (more on that later) here watch the premiership or champions league. Simply put, the play is awful over here, and it will stay awful until players get some incentive to come and play. This shows the league can and will pay for good players. And, unfortunately, Beckham has got more skill in his right foot than most of the current MLS players and will increase the quality of deadball situation tenfold.

And one last note. Growing up loving soccer in America, I used to also like to make the old jab at american football for not involving the feet. A few years ago, however, I read that when the game was made back in the day, it was played with a ball that was a foot long. Or a football. I'm sure it made sense to someone at the time to name the sport after the ball, so now we Americans are stuck with it. As for the rest of the world calling it football, I do believe the Italians use the word "calcio" which, oddly, doesn't include the word for foot or ball in any language. But who listens to the Italians...

Keropok said...

Thanks Miguel and our anonymous friend from America for your thoughts, and of course for the information on why the Americans call it 'football'.

They could have saved a lot of debate if they stuck to foot-long ball tho :)

Jemima said...

Hi mate, u updated & I only found out now..

How have you been? Miss you la..

David Beckham.. no matter what anybody says.. he's a successful personality - glamour-wise esp.

Anonymous said...


These are good thoughts, along with so many other that have been said about the Beckham-USA debate.

The fact is, they (Beckham-USA) are as good a match as ever. As you rightly say DB's days as a serious footballer are long behind him; he is a brand now, more than anything else, and projects an image and a lifestyle that can really help America make the sport popular over there. The sport in America needs the image boost / popularity more than it does good players. In any case DB brings very little to lift the playing standards, so it is really besides the point.

Likewise, DB too needs America, a much needed boost for his fast-waning career. In spite of all the so called iterest from the Italians and some Premiership club, only a handful placed half-hearted bids for him. All of them would have meant DB taking a step back. America gave his career a different dimension.

He was never a great player, ad as you say, he is a figurehead, a brand.

S. Play

Mr D said...

DB is a smart man, he CONvinced the Yanks to pay him 500,000 pounds a week to kick a ball. That is smart negotiating. He also goes to LA, snuggles up to Tommy Cruise for his part is MI4 and the global phenomenon grows.

Yes an overrated player who no one really cares about apart from the Journo's and now the USeless of A.

MU fans should note that since he left you guys have only wonthe Mickey Mouse cup.....interesting eh! Maybe this year it will change.

Keropok said...

S. Play, a match made in heaven, with the (Los) Angel(es) watching then. Pardon the corn!

Mr. D, you conveniently forget 2004 FA Cup. Champions League apart we've done better than Liverpool and Arsenal I think.

Most important is that Beckham's leaving restored the club back to being a serious football club, rather than a media circus that it once was in the early 00s. It paved the way for the building of a new team, Ronaldo and for the current crop of decent players.

I couldn't have been happier at his departure.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Me with U Bro. Long live MU.

Anonymous said...

"My bets are on Liverpool, if only because they definitely need this win, and also because I desperately need them to!"

i've been waiting so long for a Man Yoo fans make a statement like this!
you Man Yoo pathetics would do anything dont long you win the league!

Gallivanter said...

Up the Arse. Twice. :-) Still I think the title is yours to lose. Good luck.

Mr D said...

Hmmw ell I had a word to Rafa and told him to go our positively aqnd he did that. And Chelsea did theur best to also appeas you by playing two 5 foot tall centre backs.

We did our part, too bad you guys finished the match 1 minute before the whistle was blown.

But the good news is the top 4 is close so this makes the season more interesting what!

Keropok said...

Looks like I did jinx it after all...

sic6sense said...

match of the week indeed. :D

Mr Hobo said...

alamak another footie blog ... where do kaki bangku like me nak hang out now??

Doreen said...

Keropok: Heh. Painful no? Me too. But I'm glad the Liverpool game went well.