David Beckham waves to fans after the Serie A soccer match today between AC Milan and Atalanta at the San Siro.
You almost had to feel sorry for Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and President of Business Operations Tom Payne who were on today’s conference call with reporters, trying valiantly to put a positive spin on what’s shaping up to be the biggest public relations debacle to ever hit MLS.
The smooth-talking architect behind the Beckham time share – AEG President Tim Leiweke – was presumably resting under a rock somewhere and was unavailable to justify to fans how it can be remotely construed as good for the Galaxy that his Beckhamness will grace us with his presence for six whole MLS home games beginning after the all-star break with the Aug. 15 encounter with the Seattle Sounders.
Arena did his best though:
“This situation is considerably better than it was in 2007 for a variety of reasons. One is that David is settled in L.A. Two, he is well aware of his environment now, he knows the league, he knows the team – so I think his transition is much smoother this time around. … He could suffer an injury at any time, just like any other player. We’re hopeful he’s healthy and fully fit.”
Actually, Bruce, the situation is uncomfortably close to the 2007 debacle and claiming that he’s “settled in L.A.” when he clearly isn’t because he’s going to move to AC Milan for good ASAP is just a silly statement to make.
I asked Arena why you would want a player back who clearly doesn’t want to be with the Galaxy:
“I actually had contact with David today, we e-mailed each other,” Arena said. “He’s pretty pleased to be coming back. He is happy coming back. He wants to be in L.A., he wants to take on this challenge. Despite the public statements that have been made over the last couple of months, I think we’re getting back a player who wants to be here and is motivated to do well. If it was the other way around and this player had no interest in being here we would not have done this – I can guarantee you that. … The only way were going to be able to answer your question is when David shows up here in July and we watch the way he contributes to the team. … I’m very optimistic that David’s addition to our team in July is going to be a positive.”
I’ll have more later on the unfolding reaction to the Beckham shell game.