Before I begin, some ground rules:
1. This is a thread for those who are interested in 'soccer' (to make it clear that we're not talking about American Football). If you are of the disposition that insists on slagging the game off, please post elsewhere.
2. Please don't turn this in to a 'Beckham is crap' vs 'Beckham is world class' thread. We've had plenty of those.
3. Please keep it civil and on-topic. Football related threads have a habit of going down hill fairly quickly...
So, now that we're done with that, last night I was the Giant's stadium for the New York Red Bulls vs. Los Angeles Galaxy game. I'm a Galaxy season ticket holder but don't go to many away games simply because of the distance involved. However, the fixture was somewhat appealing so the missus and I took a last minute trip.
Having watched with intrigue for whatever effects Beckham's presence in MLS would have, I'm beginning to draw some fairly decent conclusions. Even with his limited time on the pitch so far, there are some things that just jump out at me:
1. He's bringing far more money in to MLS than ever before. This is a good thing. Galaxy merchandise sales are up massively, and last night's game set a new attendance record for a single regular season game. More money means more expansion and the ability to bring in better players.
2. Although it's obvious that Beckham isn't going to carry a team on his own, there is a notable difference in approach from the entire team when he's on the pitch. People used to say the same about Eric Cantona when he played for Man Utd, and now I see what he means. When Beckham is playing, the team work harder. They chase dead ball situations (something they've been notoriously lazy about this season), they get in to better open spaces, they respond to challenges more positively etc. In short, his presence has so far been a good think for Galaxy.
3. He's been a humble player. There were those on here a few months ago that were saying he was in it for the glory and the spotlight, but all I've seen so far is team work. He's set up goals and scored one himself, but it's clear from the way he passes the ball around and seeks out the through balls for those ahead of him are testament to his team work style. In fact, last night he was almost playing as a defending midfield, the way he was sitting back from attack.
4. Just a little observation from last night specifically. The atmosphere was amazing. It was the closest I've experienced to a 'European' atmosphere (chanting, singing, booing the ref etc.) at an MLS game. It was simply excellent. And cheers to every New Yorker who made my wife and I feel welcome for our first time in New York.
Anyway...any other thoughts from MLS followers? And England fans, how do you think his England prospects are over the next year or so now that he's playing in a less competitive league?
Delivering Anecdotes of Dubious Relevance Since 1978