Donovan Vs. Beckham: Part Deux

After Landon Donovan’s well-publicized ripping of David Beckham in the forthcoming book The Beckham Experiment and Chris Klein’s subsequent
plea for clear the air talks, Donovan today also suggested that a little chat between himself and Beckham was in order, too.

Beckham is supposedly back with the Galaxy next week.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes 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!
  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    I’ve read both the excerpts and the book. I believe that Donovan *tried* to approach Beckham directly but Beckham’s standoffish behavior frustrated him. Besides, let’s not forget that Beckham was the captain of the team. How do approach a captain in soccer, even if you’re a star in you’re own right, if you believe he is playing below his capability? Chris Klein and Greg Vanney felt the same frustrations, and nobody would call them stars.

    As a captain, Beckham had the responsibility to come clean with his teammates, regardless of how he was feeling at the time. Now that Donovan is the Galaxy’s captain, he not only has the authority but the *obligation* to confront Beckham — for the good of the team, if nothing else.

    This problem never would have surfaced if either Beckham or Terry Byrne demanded the captaincy — and if Tim Leiweke hadn’t acquiesed to those demands. Leiweke is the main culprit here because of the way he indulged Beckham and his representatives — at the expense of his own GM, Alexi Lalas (who’s no genius, as we all know), his own coach at the time, Frank Yallop, and all the players.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    One more thing:

    I believe that Arena made Donovan captain precisely because Arena knew this situation would develop. Arena could see what was happening with Beckham and in the clubhouse (why do you think Arena acquired “his guys” in the first place — all of whom have substantial experience?).

    Nobody could challenge Beckham during the past two years because, outside of Donovan and Xavier, nobody else had even similar experience. People probably felt intimidated about challenging Beckham because of his iconic status and Leiweke’s indulgent attitude.

    However, w/Berhalter, Sanneh, Kirovski and Lewis in the clubhouse (all of whom w/significant overseas experience and apparently very loyal to Arena), intimidation is no longer a factor. These are tough men who don’t take crap from anybody. If Donovan can’t get through to Beckham, they will — especially given Donovan’s performance w/the Galaxy over the past season and a half. They will back Donovan up and they will back Arena up.

    Whether the Galaxy will make the playoffs is another question altogether but one thing is clear: Arena and his “boys” will not allow the locker room to become the second coming of Verdun.

  • Studs Up

    Bunch of good points J. D’Hip. Where do you think Birchall will fit in this equation? I thought he was brought in as Beckham’s on-field body guard (sort of McSorley for Gretzky) but Bruce signed him so where would his loyalty be?

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, I don’t think Birchall really fits into this equation because he’s too young. Berhalter, Sanneh, Kirovski and Leiws have dealt with Arena extensively, either on the national team or with D.C. United. In this regard, Birchall hasn’t. I’m sure Birchall will feel awed playing alongside Beckham, at first. But I think he’ll lose that feeling fairly quickly in the face of getting acclimated to his other new teammates, to the league and to living in the U.S.