Beckham Backlash Brewing?

While Landon Donovan was quietly making his competitive debut for Bayern Munich Tuesday – coming on as a 67th minute sub with the game effectively over in what ended up as a 5-1 mauling of Stuttgart in the German Cup – David Beckham will be assured of a much more attentive audience when AC Milan faces Genoa Wednesday (5 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel).

England Manager Fabio Capello will be watching amid reports that AC Milan are prepared to pay $6.5 million for Beckham now ahead of October when a clause in his contract would supposedly let him leave the Galaxy for free.

As usual the Galaxy have yet to comment, but AC Milan apparently took L.A. Coach Bruce Arena seriously when he essentially exhorted them Monday to shut up or make a formal offer for the player.

That’s unlikely to sit well with Galaxy season ticket holders who plunked down money to see Becks next season and sure enough I heard from an angry Ed Kaspar of Hermosa Beach today who wrote in part:

I have been a Galaxy season ticket-holder all the way back to the Rose Bowl days, and I’m furious over all of this transfer talk about Beckham, especially since I was assured by the club’s season ticket representatives that he would definitely be back this season. I was so confident that I even shelled out an additional $2K and bought an additional pair of season tickets.

So what will happen to people like me if they allow Beckham to bail out this season? Will we be made “whole” and refunded our money if I elect to cancel the additional tickets that I just purchased?

And what will this say about the MLS? Would the “failure” of the Beckham experiment relegate the league to laughing-stock status among the sporting public? Are they (AEG..) willing to deal Beckham just so they can pick-up a measly $6-million dollar transfer fee? I think that the headline of any such deal would be all of the negativity that Beckham was a failure and so is the MLS. They’d be signing their own death warrant.

Interestingly, while the Galaxy front office is typically mum, Kaspar observed that their ticket reps weren’t quite so reticent, firing off a “damage control” memo based on Arena’s remarks to me and other reporters on Monday that both players were expected back at the end of their loans as scheduled.

The rep sent part of a news story based on that conversation with the accompanying comment “below is part of an article sent to me by my boss, it proves rumors are not always true. ;) .”

Or not, perhaps.

Kaspar is surely representative of a lot of season ticket holders, who having endured an injury-stricken Becks first season and a bloody awful second one could rightly be expected to see a half decent effort from Beckham and the Galaxy under Arena the third time around.

Or not.

Incidentally, Kaspar told his ticket rep he’s first in line for a refund should Beckham leave.

Updated: For those needing to get caught up, the story in the print edition this morning wraps up the events of the last two days.

And here’s the latest from the Italian press this morning, which includes the Beckham quote:

“Playing here is the dream of every footballer. But it’s not easy to make a decision, this situation needs time.

“I have a contract and I have a lot of respect for Galaxy. But the opportunity to play with Milan is something special.

“I knew I would enjoy it here but I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much.”

We’ll have more from the Galaxy later today, I’m sure.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Ben

    No offense to the season ticket holder(s), but if you get yourself season tickets for a team you can never be sure player x or y will play.

    Ive done trips across Europe which cost me my whole savings and holiday money only to see certain players injured, rested, not called up etc.

    Its almost like the folks complaining when Becks didnt play when he was injured

    Obviously the mistake is and was that Lie-w(r)eck-e promised they both would be back (which still is a possibility btw, even if unlikely) tough.

    Lets hope for those to get their full money back.

  • Bob

    Meh. Who the hell would shell out an extra 2000 dollars to just see Beckham when he’s already been here for a few years?

    Personally, while it will be seen as a failure when he leaves, MLS will always have the chance to redeem itself. It needs to start winning the CONCACAF Champions League, and participating and doing well in the Copa Sudamericana and maybe someday the Copa Libertadores. That is the only way it will gain respect (along with a salary cap raise).

  • Jon Tuler

    There is no way AEG is going to leave $6.5 million on the table…This is the team that holds a ” player tryout” for profit. As long as the current ownership is in charge, it’s only going to be about the money, and the team will continue to stink. Look for Landon to go as well and the Galaxy will end up with the worst record in the league…

  • http://www.thecolumbusultra.blogspot.com TheUltra

    I’m with Bob, why would you just now plop down tickets to see one player? Let alone a player who’s been here for the last two years. If this guy really was a fan since the Rose Bowl days he’d appreciate the team and not just one player. A player who most hardcore fans seem to dislike for turning the Gals from a solid club into a laughing stock. Becks did his job and brought us attention, AEG needs to come out and say that the experiment didn’t live up to their standards, Becks can’t compete in MLS because he didn’t want to, and this league is to tough to just “half ass” it through.

  • CapeCodFutbol

    These complaints are almost laughable. Wait. No. I did laugh. You bought season tix for the LAG, not Beckham.

  • Michoacano

    LMFAO!!! The only reason this so-called “Galaxy season-ticket holder all the way back to the Rose Bowl days” bought extra tickets is because he wanted to make a profit. Once you give them the money, you are S.O.L. I bet you were already counting your chickens before they hatched. The FO should not return one cent of your money! LMFAO!!!

    Michoacano

  • Anonymous Galaxy Season ticket holder

    I understand Bob’s predicament. Although you don’t buy tickets for one player, when the team advertises to its season ticket holders that Beckham and Donovan will start the season with the Galaxy as a hook to make sure ticket holders renew and then it doesn’t happen… well I’m pretty sure I would be upset too. If there were doubts the Galaxy weren’t going to have Donovan or Beckham, then they should not have made this claim in October/November and Bruce Arena should not have stated the same in a season ticket holder event. It is a false claim and season ticket holders should have some recourse.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    It is a false claim and season ticket holders should have some recourse.

    Why don’t Galaxy season-ticket holders bring a class-action suit against AEG if Beckham and Donovan don’t return?

  • http://www.lifetwo.com Greg Yorke

    I was in Soccer Central on 190th this evening, and while they had the Milan game playing on TV, featuring you know who, they also had signs for 30% markdowns on all Galaxy merchandise. Maybe that’s what the Galaxy need to do for their season ticketholders!

  • Beaten

    What dismays me the most is the fact that AEG would even allow such talk to continue without issuing a bold denial that Beckham will not be transfered to Milan and that he will be playing in Los Angeles this season.

    But MLS Comissoner Don Garber has pretty much made Beckham’s departure all but a formality when he stated “If it’s something that makes sense for him and the Galaxy we’ll certainly be supportive of that..”

    I think that comment speaks volumes about who is really running the show here, and it certainly isn’t Garber. When you’ve got someone who is under contract, then you are supposed to be the one who decides what makes sense.

    What businessman says that he is “supportive” when his key asset wakes up in Italy one morning and decides that he wants to walk out the building???

    Hopefully Garber will come to his senses and make sure that Beckham returns to Los Angeles, plays a full season, and then see where things stand come October.

  • Michoacano

    I’m not a lawyer, but since Beckham and Donovan are currently under contract, AEG can legally advertise them and use them as bait to sell tickets. They are very smart and I am sure that they have fine print somehwere stating that if you purchase, it does not guarantee that certain players will play or be there for certain matches.

    Class action lawsuit? That’s funny.