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David Beckham To Major League Soccer Is Still A Shocking Idea

No matter what Alexi Lalas tries to tell us, Edward knows that Beckham is heading for a watery, American grave.

There has been an explosion of writing on the subject of US soccer ever since Becks decided to join the LA Galaxy. A constant stream of articles from The Guardian have outlined:

a) How appalling the standard of MLS is…
b) How frustrated Europeans are with America’s lack of world view.. (WORLD Series, NFL WORLD Champions etc etc).
c) How the MLS fans are a gruesome chimera of a loyal and fierce enclave of hardcore fans and an indifferent mass of bums on seats, the “sunday drivers” of football fandom.

“Sawker” in the States is seen as a either womans sport or a kids sport, as full of ponces and divers, and crucially, a soporific sport.

So is soccer ever going to be a success in the US? I am extremely doubtful. It is simply impossible to generate all the things I find beautiful about football synthetically. Things that are permanently tethered to the heart of England, minnows gnawing at the ankles of giants in the FA Cup, the Dunkirk-esque idea of glorious failure, a well fought away point for Everton at Stanford Bridge, playing Sunday League on a muddy November with the ruddy stench of the local farms manure climbing up my nostrils. Things all football crazed englishmen may love – but if presented to an American sports
fan they will treat it in the same way that they treat Marmite or Branston Pickle, with bemused disgust.

If someone tells you in the UK that they haven’t missed an Arsenal game in 2 years, you can guarantee that they have seen them in the flesh and they are a season ticket holder. In Detroit, if someone says that they haven’t missed a Redwings game in two years they mean that they haven’t missed a game on tv. The idea of the “draw” is a complete anathema to American sports fans. Their language is a language of glory, of dancing and whooping on command, of abandoning a team as soon as they poorly
perform. There is no relegation , teams are instead kept afloat through the “Draft” system. People can point to the rise of soccer in certain states like California but the most painful thing that I discovered in my life over here was that Detroit has hosted a World Cup ’94 match between Brazil and Sweden.

And nobody cared. Romario who?

On finding out that cruel secret I feel like a combination of Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes” when he sees the Statue of Liberty, and Edward Woodward in “Wicker Man” when the wretched truth hits him as he comes over the hill.

All this has been done before with Pele, George Best et al. I’m with Rodney Marsh on this one, congratulations Becks – your career is officially over.



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