A sniff at the new book on Beckham


“The Beckham Experiment: How the World’s Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America,” by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, has a July 14 release date — two days before David Beckham makes his first appearance of 2009 for the MLS’ Galaxy, and almost two years to the day when the team held its introductory press conference at the Home Depot Center amidst confetti and fanfare.

Yes, the timing is right.

According to the publisher (book linked here) and publicity maker generating interest in the project, Wahl “went behind the scenes from Day 1 with truly unprecedented access to players, management, handlers and Beckham himself to bring readers the real story behind this intricately managed fiasco. The book is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows and shed new light on the relationship between the increasingly uncomfortable bedfellows of sports and the entertainment industry.”

The book is scheduled for release to reviewers by July 6 “because of the controversial nature of the book.”

More from the Crown publishers’ pub:

“With an intricate marketing plan, a brilliant media roll-out for Becks and Posh – which included an SI cover, an NBC special, a glitz-laden Hollywood party ‘welcoming the Beckhams to the upper stratosphere of Hollywood,’ and a Galaxy debut in front of 19 ESPN cameras — the Beckham Era would test the soccer star’s unique blend of raging celebrity and athletic virtuosity. The Beckham Experiment would pit the entertainment world against the sports world and heap magnificent amounts of pressure on the man who stood with one cleated foot in each arena.

“Unbeknownst to all but the icon himself, the fate of the Beckham roll-out rested on the damaged left ankle of the English superstar. His slow start would be a recipe for disaster and, as the world watched, a highly-orchestrated three-ring circus began.

“The injuries. The frustrations. The sideshow. The losses that started adding up with each nationally televised fiasco. The cult of personality and sub-rosa machinations surrounding ‘Captain Galaxy,’ including moves by American Idol and 19 Entertainment Svengali Simon Fuller and Beckham’s best friend, Terry Byrne. The growing coolness between Becks and Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan, its former captain and the best player in America. What was the most successful aspect of 2007-2008 for Beckham? Probably the Armani underwear campaign featuring lurid photos of Becks in his skivvies.”

More hyberbole:

== There’s more background on the Galaxy’s move to acquire Beckham. Tim Leiweke’s signing of Beckham was lauded as “one of the most audacious sports signings of the early twenty-first century.”

== And the “odd match made in Hollywood” of the Beckhams with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

== And how Landon Donovan “willingly” gave up being Galaxy captain upon Becks’ arrival.

== And looks at the other side of professional sports as Galaxy rising star Ty Harden retires from the MLS to pursue a career in community service.

== And tells how former cabdriver, massage therapist and equipment manager Terry Byrne became a power broker and paid consultant for the Galaxy after the 2007 season and conducted the search for new Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit.

== And takes readers behind-the-scenes of Leiweke’s house-cleaning on 8/8/08 when team president Alexi Lalas was unceremoniously fired, Gullit “resigned” and Terry Byrne was notified that his counsel was no longer needed.

== And it covers the odd scene that occurred when news of Beckham’s clandestine negotiations with AC Milan broke. “The world’s most famous athlete literally running away from a handful of media who had no desire to pursue him.”

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