Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Becks Battles With Boo Birds

Oh, this is amusing. As a DC United fan, anything that throws the Galaxy into chaos is a good thing, but this is particularly rich.

First, a bit of background. Even since David Beckham arrived on these shores, it's looked like he wants nothing more than to leave. His off season loan to AC Milan was extended to the end of the Serie A season, such that Becks didn't make his MLS debut this season until last week. Theoretically, he'll head back to AC Milan next fall, although he's angling for another job, too.

Amidst all this, Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl has a new book coming out, The Beckham Experiment, in which he dissects the whole spectacle of Becks coming here in the first place. As part of the book, Beckham's Galaxy teammate (and US National Team leader) Landon Donovan blasted him for basically just showing up to collect a check and plan his next move. In other words, being a complete douche (unlike, say Mexican legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco in Chicago, who's been a model pro*).

Cut, then, to Beckham's home debut this season this past weekend in a friendly against - guess who? - AC Milan. Becks was not given a warm welcome:

Beckham was expecting some boos, but not many. And a majority of the crowd sounded glad to see him. Many fans rose to their feet as he prepared for free kicks, which were accompanied by camera flashes throughout the stadium. But the minority was visible and vocal.

When Beckham took the field for warm-ups, he was greeted by a bed sheet that read 'Go Home Fraud' with his number, 23, circled and slashed. 'Here Before, Here After, Here Despite 23' read another. Galaxy officials asked the fans to remove the signs early in the game.

But there was no silencing the messages. Boos followed Beckham whenever the ball came to him, and on several occasions he was addressed with R-rated chants.
Becks even had a moment with a fan at halftime. Ha! Good on the Galaxy faithful. It was said back during the Confederations Cup that fans calling for US coach Bob Bradley's head was a good sign that people were starting to feel passionately about the game. So to, I think, does the general souring on Beckham perhaps mark a similar milestone.

It's no longer enough to be famous and from a good footballing pedigree. You gotta show up, work hard, and earn even the respect of your home fans. Even if you're married to a Spice Girl.

Hell, especially if you're married to a Spice Girl!

* Holy shit, did I say something positive about a Mexican footballer?!?

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