Archive for the ‘David Beckham’ Category

MLS: Commissioner Don Garber and David Beckham-Press Conference

That’s the headline I’m contractually obligated to write in order to suck you in like the suckers you all are, but the reality is that using simple guidelines for success is a fool’s errand and it should be avoided at all costs. Even so, it’s important to remember that we literally know absolutely nothing about Beckham’s plans for a Miami club whatsoever. This was in part a failure of the assembled press:

But one thing I do want to speak to is the idea that a Miami MLS team will “fail” because other Florida teams aren’t exactly powerhouses, save for the Miami Heat. For more on that subject, I recommend reading Elliot Turner’s take on the subject from last November.

The thing to remember about MLS is that, despite the recent flash signings over at Toronto FC, it’s pretty financially diverse. Soccer specific stadia costs range from anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Considering the precedent and the lovely Southern Florida locale, it’s not hard to imagine Beckham building something relatively affordable for money which he could partly bankroll in addition to sponsorship money. The more difficult bit will be politicking his way into land acquisition, but MLS will probably be there each and every step in the way as they were when NYCFC first started sniffing around Flushing Meadows in Queens. Garber’s done it before.

I’m also not certain that using other struggling Florida franchises as a sign all is unwell is a good idea. The Dolphins do okay considering they’re kind of not very good. The Marlins are terrible and so, understandably, is their attendance. But on the other hand, the Miami Heat do great and their team is pretty kick great and has a star player leading the charge. It’s a pretty simple formula.

Several MLS clubs, particularly last season, have done quite well on relatively middling total salary costs. The two MLS Cup finalists last season, RSL and Sporting Kansas City, were 10th and 11th in league salaries last year respectively. Moreover, Beckham has many things working in his favour. Connection to agents, investors, sponsors, etc. A face made for corporate money. A recognizable celebrity in mainstream US media. It’s not hard to see he comes to Miami with some major market advantages that other owners would kill for, and pay for themselves as far as the discount franchise fee he’s received from MLS.

We basically know zilch at the specifics at this point, save for Beckham’s involvement. The potential there though should give doubters pause.

David Beckham bids adieu

We’ve been a little Beckham heavy in these parts over the last week. You can read about him here, here, here and here. Beckham–who wore the captain’s armband–probably played his last professional game today, as PSG defeated Brest 3-1 at the Parc Des Princes. Paris St.Germain have one more Ligue 1 game remaining, but Beckham’s teary exit after he was substituted with 10 minutes to play indicates this was probably it.

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Lookie here! Some rando on Twitter says so! Well, a Reuters Miami correspondent:

Perhaps not the most closely guarded secret in Major League Soccer at the moment. I emailed MLS’s vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche for comment on how far this thing has progressed and will get back to you if I hear anything that is remotely interesting.

But from a fantasists perspective, you know a league has arrived when the foreign owners start showing up trying to run the place.

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On David Beckham’s retirement, many words have been spoken – a large amount of these have achieved the important mark of being equally as bland as the man himself. But professional opinion-giver Chris Waddle managed the best opinion on Beckham. “You can go down a list of footballers since the Premier League and I don’t think David Beckham would probably be in the first 1000,” was what Chrissy said to the world so that everyone could hear. And he really did say that. I’m not lying. I’ve not taken him out of context here, stripping away valuable, clever thinking to make a sensible man sound silly. That’s what he said and meant.

What I think has happened here is that “Former England midfielder Chris Waddle has trashed the retiring David Beckham” essentially by mistake. Not that he didn’t mean what he was saying; but that he didn’t realise exactly what he meant. Something which regularly afflicts former football players. When Chris formed his opinion-which like all his opinions do have to be formed to happen at some point, they don’t appear from nowhere, despite all the evidence which suggests they do-he didn’t realise quite the implications of that opinion. He didn’t realise that he was essentially calling David Beckham a mid-table player.

You see, it comes down to maths. One thousand better Premier League players in the last 21 seasons: let’s try this out. Say that Top Four Player means Good Player. About 8 players start every single week for Top Four teams; that’s 32 Good Players per season. Multiply that by 21 seasons and you get 672 Good Players, except that number is meaningless because a lot of the Good Players in one season will be the same Good Players in the next season and the 672 figure counts them twice. My guess from this, anyway, is it leaves around four hundred Good Players in the Premier League era. Now, Chris Waddle has not only said Beckham wouldn’t fit into this 400 Top Four players, but he wouldn’t have him in the next 400 either. Or the next 200 after that.

I don’t want to say it, but I feel the question must at least be asked: has Chris Waddle, professional opinion-giver, got his numbers wrong? Because it feels like for someone to say that Beckham – however good exactly you think he is – is not in the best 1000 footballers to play in the Premier League requires one of two things: either 1. An extremely unusual interpretation of what the word ‘best’ means, or 2. A miscalculation, involving a large overestimation of the number of people to have actually played in the Premier League.

Now, far be for me to guess at what precisely Chris Waddle is thinking at any one time, but I think the second option is the most likely – the miscalculation. And if it is yet more Number Two from Chris Waddle, I think it might be, maybe, a little bit, good reason to question why exactly the people with camera lenses, tape-recorders and media jobs to fill keep going to ex-players for their opinions on the football. These are people who don’t realise what their own opinions are. Chris Waddle thinks David Beckham is outside of the top 1000 players to play in the Premier League. I’ve tried to contact him to ask just how many players he believes have played in the Premier League but heard nothing back, so have taken his answer to be “one squillion billion”. Chris Waddle has accidental opinions.

Okay, doubtless People Like Chris have some use. Laughing at them at fun fairs wouldn’t do, so sticking one of them on a panel as one of a few opinion-givers, with a very specific job talking about the ball-kicking bit in football, maybe, might be fine. But the deference to People Like Chris in football coverage should surely stop. Do I want to know how a dressing room works? A group of men coming together to do a job: I think I can guess. Is it interesting to hear an ex-pro’s opinion on how it must have felt so good to score that goal? I do not.

Where is this deference coming from? It’s got to be intellectual laziness from producers, because in terms of ex-player’s opinions, it goes two ways. Either it’s an insight which only they could give, on the dressing room or fame or how to kick a football, in which case we don’t have the exact insight but we have enough information to guess for ourselves or, in fact, it’s just not that interesting. Or it’s an insight which anyone could give, as is the case with Waddle on Beckham – because in terms of Beckham, Waddle is an outsider, just like anyone else. In both cases, we really shouldn’t value Chris Waddle’s.

Yet the people with money to spend on football coverage do. They choose to spend their cash on people who have opinions by mistake. David Beckham outside of the top 1000 Premier League players indeed, Chris. Well, you’re 1001 then, you idiot.

Merry Christmas, Twitter!

Merry Christmas, Twitter!

Chris Waddle, the former footballing semi-great, has opened his gob and the social media machine is now attempting to destroy him with Tweets. Anyway, this is the reason:

“I would say he has been a good player, I wouldn’t put him down as a great,” Waddle, 52, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“You can go down a list of footballers since the Premier League and I don’t think David Beckham would probably be in the first 1,000.”

Considering there are over 500 players currently registered in the Premier League as of writing, this would put Beckham considerably far down the historical list. I’m quite excited as I’m certain this implies Martin Laursen is better than David Beckham.

Anyway, this would be piss in a bucket save for the fact that Mr. Waddle is employed as a media person by both ESPN and BBC Five Live. Most of us suffer under the naive impression that pundits are meant to help inform the football-liking public about the sport they’re watching.

I think we can all say with confidence that placing Beckham out of the top 1000 best Premier League players of all time isn’t very informative. However, the reason Counter Attack is even clackity-clacking over this is because it’s a good reminder that television pundits aren’t hired to inform, but to aggravate, and thereby draw attention.

You weren’t thinking about Chris Waddle yesterday, were you? Or even most if not all of 2013? And now you are. The end.

You’re going to get all the gooey goal memories from the Big Papers today, so I thought I would remember Beckham’s career in the way he would have wanted—via his representation in popular media. Despite being considerably good at the football—HEY REMEMBER THE GOAL HE SCORED AGAINST GREECE THAT WON ENGLAND THE WORLD CUP OR SOMETHING?—the dude was made for TV. He was Pele without all the additional skill, although he certainly looked like himself playing football. And he made a hell of a lot of assists.
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The Daily Mail has “sources in Paris” who say so. But my inner Rob Beal detector says to be wary. Here’s the scoop from the paper:

Despite the offer of an extended one-year deal at Paris Saint-German, sources in Paris have told Sportsmail that the 38-year-old has played his last game, bowing out on a high after helping Carlo Ancelotti’s side win the French title for the first time in 19 years.

When approached for comment by Sportsmail, Beckham’s representative was today unavailable.

If true, it’s hardly a major footballing development. Still, despite George Best’s famous and ultimately kind of accurate quote—”He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right”—Beckham has likely done as much if not more to popularize football than Lionel Messi.

Anyway, this is pretty goddamn tenuous so maybe put the hankies away just for now…

UPDATE: Yeah, it’s legit, or at least Rob Harris says it is: