*Post updated (scroll down)
Officially, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and David Beckham claimed today after practice that a decision has yet to be made about the former Manchester United midfielder missing Wednesday’s MLS game against the Houston Dynamo in Carson to play in a testimonial for a former Manchester United teammate the day before in England.
Unofficially, according to reporter Phil Collin, who made it out to training today for the weekly Landon Donovan/David Beckham media meet and greet, it sounds like a done deal.
Beckham says the decision will be made after Saturday’s game against Chivas USA, although it is clear he wants to go and play in England.
Arena said he planned to rest Beckham for the Dynamo game anyway because the Galaxy plays three games in seven days, just as was done when a Galaxy-less Beckham played Philadelphia last week.
Whether a transatlantic round trip journey and playing in an exhibition game in England amounts to resting is up for debate. But Phil Collin tells me that Arena said something along the lines of Beckham knows how to travel and it’s not like he sits in the middle seat in coach.
It would be Beckham’s second trip to England within two months; he also attended last month’s royal wedding (on a Friday) and then flew to Dallas to meet the team their for their game Sunday.
BTW, it appears the Riot Squad plans to “comment” publicly at the Dynamo game if Beckham does indeed miss it.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise (or alert stadium security for that matter), but keep your eye out for an apt protest of some kind from fans who don’t appreciate Beckham missing a competitive game in this country for a meaningless one back home, no matter how much lipstick Arena wants to put on this pig, er, decision.
I should have a quote or two a little later from Phil, BTW.
Oh, and while we’re at it the Landon Donovan to Roma rumors are just a rumor says LD.
But is it kind of like that rumor about him playing at Everton? We’ll see.
As promised, here are a couple of quotes via reporter Phil Collin:
At the moment it’s not been decided (whether I attend the game in England), but I think the organization and Bruce know how important it is for Gary (Neville). They will decide after the game on Saturday and then we’ll wait and see. It’s such a tremendous occasion for Gary, celebrating it in the way he’s going to be doing it. That era, the ’92 era, was such an important phase of our lives. It’s a big occasion.
“It’s important for me to be there for Gary more than anything. That’s the big thing but the final decision is obviously up to the boss and the organization so we’ll see. I’m concentrating on this game on Saturday and then we’ll see what happens.”
I would think that we would be resting David in one of the games next week. That’s what we’ve done in the early going and there’s no reason to believe that we won’t continue to do that. I think the most important thing for all of our players is get them through the first half of the season because it’s been challenging. They’re not quite
as fit as they’re going to be, but at some point the older players can’t be run into the ground. That’s why we’re doing our best to keep David healthy. To me it makes sense that he doesn’t play three games in a week and if we can avoid that, we’re going to do that.
Asked whether Beckham can go with his blessing and whether travel equates to rest, Arena said:
“We will discuss (the trip) at the proper time. This week the focus is on this (Chivas USA) game and nothing else.
“He probably won’t be back in economy in the middle seat if he traveled. I’m sure his travel would be a little easier than most people are accustomed to. I think he probably has done that more than the president of the United States. I think he understands how to travel if that’s the case.
I’ve been told by a long-standing LA Riot Squad member the word “protest” in the headline on this post may be a little strong and in any case the LA Riot Squad as a group isn’t planning anything.
But some individuals within the group are indeed talking about making what could be called a statement or commentary about Beckham’s likely absence with a sign that could be displayed at the Dynamo game.
Guess we’ll wait and see if it actually happens.