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. šŸ˜‰ .”

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 soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!