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David Beckham would harm the Australian league

Focus would be on "brand" not football

icon becksbrand23 November ~ Please make it stop. I bear David Beckham no ill will as a person but if I hear one more time about the significance of Beckham the brand, I won't be responsible for my actions. Australasian football has been in a lather about Beckham for a week, ever since mysterious rumours began to spread that the A-League would be his final football destination after leaving Los Angeles. Denials from Team Beckham that anything was planned have done nothing to dampen the excitement. Six of the league's ten clubs have said they would have him on board.

However, not all of these are equally promising fits. The chances he is going to see out his days with Wellington Phoenix must be slight, especially after the New Zealand prime minister, John Key, said that his impression after meeting Beckham was that he was "thick as batshit".

The fawning over the Beckham "phenomenon" is pitiful and painful in stretching it beyond the point of all sporting credibility. Sports news programmes here have been continuously rerunning some of his most famous moments. You know, like the goal against Greece in 2001 (that's 11 years ago) and the one against Wimbledon in 1996 (that's 16 years ago).

Beckham is 37. Even at his peak he was very good but hardly one of the greats. This season, as a US commentator remarked on Australian ABC radio today, he has been well behind Landon Donovan for Galaxy and often "overshadowed by Robbie Keane".  So what benefit could Beckham bring to the A-League that would justify the hysteria around his potential availability? It's not that players of his age and talent can't offer something valuable. Alessandro del Piero has done impressive work in a terrible Sydney FC team so far and Emile Heskey is scoring more freely for Newcastle Jets than at any time in his career.

The problem with Beckham is that the devotees of his "brand" will be falling over themselves to insert him and his family circus into every possible media occasion, an endless parade of tosh that reduces rather than increases the chances of football being taken seriously. It's a craven and undignified trade-off for skills that have not remotely matched the hype for many years now.

His global appeal has always been unfathomable to me but whatever its cause, it's over – it's time for the world to grow up and move on. Come on Paris, China, Celtic, anywhere – spare us the shame of being the last to realise it. Mike Ticher

On the subject...

Comment on 23-11-2012 12:44:49 by PRB #734920
If Emile Heskey can score freely then there's surely room for David Beckham! As they say though, no such thing as bad publicity and he'd sure bring plenty of publicity. Age and what he can actually still do on the pitch might be a problem though.
Comment on 23-11-2012 15:50:58 by Lincoln #734997
"So what benefit could Beckham bring to the A-League that would justify the hysteria around his potential availability?"

I have watched the last few US finals because there was much more interest in the league and since then quite a number of high profile players have made the move to the US. As Sean Wheelock ackowledges, Beckham has enhanced the profile of the US league. He hated Beckham to begin with, including Beck's trips back to royal weddings, but has since said it was good for the game.

People always have a dig about his career, that he was good but not great and that his record breaking caps for England was mostly as a sub (incorrect) or due to more games now than before. There is never a mention of Champion's league winning, Premiership winning, FA Cup winning, La Liga winning, nearly Seria A winning, and captain of his country. Not that it makes him great, it just tends to get ignored. It is generally cynicsm bourne from his brand. Fair enough. But that brand would enhance the A league no end, whether you think he is a good player or not.
Comment on 23-11-2012 17:58:09 by geobra #735049
Don't forget, though, that the charisma of Del Piero proved too much for Sydney coach Ian Crook to handle. And that's no criticism of Del Piero who, by all accounts, has not been throwing his weight around.
Comment on 24-11-2012 19:15:52 by Vulgarian Visigoth #735290
I'm as sceptic as the author. In the US, Beckham has enhanced his own profile as a celebrity rather than the profile of the American game. I'm sure a large majority of the American population recognise David Beckam, but how many of them can name an MLS team or a national team player? As soon as he's gone MLS will return to to oblivion as far as the general public is concerned.
Comment on 26-11-2012 10:14:21 by ingoldale #735700
Beckham was class. The three top European sides he played for he was very much appreciated. It wasn't just his passing and crossing but the work off the ball he did. You needed to see him play in person to fully appreciate that aspect of his game. Or ask Gary Neville.

He is an England great for that moment and generally qualifying us for 2002 almost singlehandedly in that game and one of a few players in recent years who you could see generally relished wearing the England shirt, somewhat like Gazza.
Comment on 26-11-2012 16:00:01 by Borracho #735809
If he's being outshone by Robbie Keane, he must be in some state. Keane is finished.
Comment on 26-11-2012 16:01:50 by Borracho #735811
Ingoldale, Beckham missed 60% of Real Madrid's games in the one season that they won the league while he was there, and by the time he went to Milan he could barely move.

He's not done his stuff as a player since about 2001. He took his eye off the ball in a big way after all that Greece bullshit.
Comment on 28-11-2012 13:09:30 by peakevilla #736371
John Key may have a point about Beckham. Great passer of a ball, and an expert at taking free-kicks, but don't let him near a microphone. During an interview before a Man Utd. match years ago, Beckham stated: " The thing about football is that if they score one, we have to score 2 to win"
Comment on 29-11-2012 10:37:31 by Jimafc #736621

I agree with the main point of your article, but only on the basis that what's being talked about with Beckham seems to be, effectively, a guest stint - 10 games.

That, or even just a commitment for one season is a gimmick, and of no use to the A-League at all.

If, on the other hand, he game down for a couple of seasons, I think it would be of benefit (as Del Pierro's stint will be (tho' I have my doubts about him staying beyond this season, the way things are with Sydney FC)).

"Very good" but not one of "the greats" at his peak? How many "greats" are there. Not many. And a 37 year old who was very good at his peak (and was therefore, and still is a "name") is (like Del Pierro) going to be of a way superior standard than average down here, and, if he were to commit for a reasonable length of time, undoubtedly raise the league's profile, which may, quite likely encourage other talent to come over.

I should add that I think there's no chance he'll come, even for a guest stint, and also, for context that, as the proverbial life-long Arsenal fan, I hate his guts - I do tho' recognize his talent (and get heartily sick of people making a big deal about the supposed fact that he's thick - he's achieved all but greatness at one form of human endevour. That's a damn site more than most of us (including NZ's Prime Minister...))


Comment on 30-11-2012 22:48:52 by ManFeelings #737324
"Thick as batshit"; always amuses me the way they don't mix their words down under.

Send Goldenballs and Posh to freezing Glasgow, try living somewhere realistic for a change!

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