Watching all the back and forth in what could very easily be called the ‘Galaxy-Beckham-Milan’ Tug’o’War, I have to say that I feel that LA Galaxy are really being a touch childish, and would suggest that it would be better for them as a club, and as a representative of the MLS and American football in general, that they ‘give up’ and let Beckham have his wish, in the form of a move to Milan. Of course I understand that much of what is said in the media may very well be exaggerated, but i think there’s enough rumour there to establish at least a fraction of truth.
The thing is, when Beckham signed for the Galaxy, everyone sort of thought that that was it for him. He was all but hanging up the ol’ boots and was just sort of winding down on his way to retirement. Of course, Beckham denied this at the time, but hell, when did we ever listen to what a player says. Well, turns out that Becks was not pulling our legs, and that he very much intended to keep playing at the top level despite his move to a second rate league (don’t even think about arguing that).
On the Galaxy’s part, the only reason they signed him at all was to create a massive media hullabaloo, draw in a shitload of money through merchandise and bring extra fans to their matches. They knew that it would benefit American football at the same time, which was a bonus, but let’s face it, after the palaver with Pele and Cruyff and all the exiled greats a few years ago, it’s clear that big names aren’t going to make America fall in love with football.
But the Galaxy got exactly what they wanted from Beckham. It did cause a big hullabaloo and Beckham did make a bit of a splash for them, and I imagine the profile of the game in America was raised slightly. But now it’s all starting to fade back down again. Because actually, extra attention and cash is all they got. Beckham didn’t actually help their on pitch performances, despite clearly being a top player. They haven’t won anything since he’s been there and so the American public have almost come to regard him as human again.
So in that sense, the honeymoon period for the Galaxy seems to be drawing to an end, and I can’t see why they’re battling so hard and so stubbornly to keep Beckham in America. Especially seeing as the man himself so clearly wants to remain in Milan beyond his loan spell. And lets face it, Milan want him too. He’s played very well for them since joining and they are struggling domestically. They need him as much as he needs them, in his bid to remain in contention for the England squad.
I understand that Beckham is under contract with the Galaxy, and I understand that they’d like to hold him to that, but unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned in football. And if a player doesn’t want to play for a club, I fail to see why a club would want to hold him there against his will. He’s never going to produce his best performances if he’s always glancing resentfully over the Atlantic is he?
What’s more, I think in this whole palaver, Galaxy are the ones coming off looking the worst. Everyone can understand why Beckham wants to be in Milan. Beckham belongs in Milan, he belongs in a top flight league. Galaxy have had their day in the sun, they’ve milked the guy’s cash value for all it’s worth, and they should be thankful to him for that. Now that he has got his foot back in the door of top European football, they should let him go, pat him on the shoulder, say “Thanks, and good luck kid.”
What they shouldn’t do, is threaten to prevent him from playing friendlies for England when he returns from his prolonged loan spell in Milan. Not only is that childish and petulant, it’s downright foolish. They should know as well as anyone that Beckham lives for pulling on that jersey with three lions emblazoned on the chest. If there is one sure fir way to ensure that Beckham won’t play for you again, it is threatening to stop him playing for his country. Hell, the whole reason they’re in this mess in the first place is because he is so determined to continue playing for England.
At the end of the day then, one can’t help rooting for Milan in this tug’o’war. Beckaham is a great footballer, and they recognise that. Sure, they know he’ll sell shirts, but first and foremost they want him because he’s helping them to perform better on the pitch – where it counts. Galaxy on the other hand, clearly don’t give a shit about how he plays on the pitch. He hasn’t really done much to aid the team towards success, and perhaps they’d even be better off without him there, disrupting the team’s atmosphere. But all they see when they look at him is a big sack of money with a funny haircut.
So however long this saga rumbles on, I hope that at the end of the day, Beckham ends up in Milan. I think Galaxy have shot themselves in the foot anyway. As if they had been accommodating, let Beckham leave and have another few years in the big time, he may have returned there happily enough when he was ready to wind down his playing career. Now though, they have simply shown Beckham their true colours, that they regard him as a money maker and nothing more. And more than that, they’ve done nothing to enhance the reputation of America as a whole through their actions in this whole saga. They’ve come across as our worst nightmare of the average Americans: stubborn, greedy and controlling.
Come home Becks, come home.