An in-depth look at the Beckham-MLS experiment

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If you ever wondered what David Beckham's arrival in Major League Soccer, and his impact on the Los Angeles Galaxy, was really like, wonder no more.

Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl has written a book, titled The Beckham Experiment, that gives us a detailed behind-the-scenes look at Beckham's arrival in America. The book isn't out yet (it comes out on July 14th), but  the first excerpt from the book was released today by Sports Illustrated. In short, it is a must-read.

Give the excerpt a read and feel free to share your thoughts on it below.

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105 Responses to An in-depth look at the Beckham-MLS experiment

  1. m says:

    So is he coming back to the Galaxy or what? If so when? What’s going on here?

  2. Max Zeger says:

    I always thought of Beckham as a class act, a victim of an overzealous crazy world, but he clearly has more to do with things than is let on. This was a fantastic read, the best bit of advertising possible for this book, because I’m sure to read this now. July 14th, I’m going to get it and not put it down until i have all the insided scoop on the man…the myth…the legend that is David Beckham.

  3. DWE4 says:

    Grant Wahl is both an excellent sports journalist and an excellent writer. Should be a good read.

  4. chris says:

    wait you sure this book is called the “The Beckham Experiment” not the “I’m Landon Donovan and I’m not the top dog in the LA or the MLS anymore, and gosh darnit I’m going to make sure everyone realizes it by the time they finish reading this book – Experiment” ???

  5. chris says:

    seriously, if this book is 200 pages of landon donovan soaking in his own self-pity like this excerpt was, count me out….

  6. Richard says:

    That too. I wonder what effect Landon’s role in the book will have on his transfer value. Some clubs may like it, some may not, some may not care.

  7. BFBS says:

    Darn, Donovan must have been seething to have revealed all of that to Wahl. It also might mean that Donovan is confident that he himself is on the way out.

    In any event, my dream match right now is USA v. England with us featuring real forwards (instead of EJ), and Donovan on the left destroying Beckham on the right.

  8. Murphy says:

    What the hell was Donovan thinking during that interview? I’m sure Beckham’s return will be a little awkward now…

  9. Matt says:

    Great stuff. Why do I suspect he and Landon will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year?

  10. EDB says:

    good read.. and it was more then just donovan who commented.

  11. Ed Ho says:

    That is awesome. I like Beckham, but agree with everything said in the article. It was clear that he stopped giving a s**t last year.

    Also, love Donovan’s c omments and stance. Almost every victory LA had over the last 3 years was 100% directly due to Donovan just taking over game or scoringa key goal. Its clear – he cares and Beckham thinks he is too good for MLS.

    BTW – two potential awesome endinds to the Beckham saga: 1) Beckham doesn’t make England’s World Cup roster or 2) US gets put in a group with England at the World Cup, with the US winning and Donovan scoring.

  12. Josh says:

    That’s a good read, and it’s apparent that you need the right kind of DP. Ironically enough, the player for whom the “Beckham Rule” is named is NOT the type of player you need on an MLS side.

    Well, let’s hope that everybody involved learned their lesson. As for Donovan, I hope he’s playing in Europe by the time Beckham gets back. Beckham? Well, insofar as I don’t like the Galaxy, I’m fine with him coming back :) Really, he’s not a leader, and even when he tried to take over LAG, he didn’t do so in a way that respected the coach and his tactics, but nobody had the guts to say “do it my way or you’re on the bench.”

    MLS has slowly climbed from a league that hemorrhaged money to an expanding league whose teams are building soccer-specific stadiums, and if they want to continue to be successful, they have to stick to their plan and not get overwhelmed by soccer star-power. Don’t let anybody treat you like you’re a mickey mouse league in the future.

  13. Turtle says:

    the whole time reading this I’m thinking…this is going to back fire on Landon but I applaud him. I would hope that the entire book isn’t based on his view of things though – this was only an excerpt, right? I guess that’s the juiciest bit – LD and Beck’s don’t get along. You gotta have that type of drama to sell books right.

    Watching LD, I’ve gotten the sense that this whole thing has had a positive affect on him but I couldn’t figure it out. I thought maybe Beckham was in his ear telling him he has what it takes to compete on top teams in Europe and even helped him work on his crossing (which has really improved since Beckham’s arrival).

    After reading this I think it’s perhaps the opposite. I think LD has learned how to be a better professional and has solidified his ideas of what kind of soccer player he wants to be by seeing a glaring example of how he doesn’t want to be. In that realization his confidence and belief in himself has grown and we have seen that change reflected on the field – his performance in the last two weeks are case and point.

  14. jleppig says:

    Quite possibly the best passive-aggressive note EVER

    “By mid-July, Donovan felt he needed to say something to Beckham about it, but it was a sign of their increasingly distant relationship that he did so by text message. I know you’re frustrated and I know you’re trying, Donovan wrote, but we need you farther up the field where you’re more dangerous. You’re the best player out there and you need the ball, but it doesn’t help us achieve anything if you’re doing other people’s jobs.”

  15. Kyle Feller says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Donovan has never been a bigger name for MLS and LA Galaxy than he is right now….and you better believe he is going to be on Beckham’s ass from day one this time around.

    Give the pretty boy hell Landon….show him how we do things on this side of the pond.

  16. dbex says:

    Daaaaaamn. I do believe Mr. Beckham just got served.

    Fascinating read, and just a brilliant idea for a book. It’ll sell a few copies in the states, but you can be sure it’ll be flying off the shelves across the pond. Very shrewd, Grant. =)

    @ Turtle: I think you’re dead on about Donovan. I kept wondering why he would be giving these interviews and how it would play, both at the Galaxy and with respect to his transfer potential. But in the end, I think he just said f*** it – this is what I think, and I’m moving on without him. Good for him. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens next; the timing of the book’s release is incredible: post-confederations cup, where Donovan now looks like a world-beater, pre-Beckham return. I can taste the awkwardness already. It’s going to be fun to watch this play out. And I’ll definitely pick up the book.

  17. ko'd says:

    Chris…soaking in self-pity? Seriously?

    He may have seemed a little frustrated to lose the captaincy. But as best I can tell, Donovan learned that he was still the leader of the team, even without an armband. I came away from that very short passage with the impression that Donovan is a committed, motivated player. I have MORE respect for him than I did.

    Obviously, the rest of the book will tell the story.

  18. Bill says:

    I’ve preordered it – but, then again, I’m not a beckham fan. So, perhaps that excerp was written just for my sensibilities (that beckham is NOT good for the american game).

    I’m fairly suprised with the quotes attributed to Donovan. We’ll see if they make up or if Donovan says ‘la isn’t big enough for the both of us – and moves back to san jose’

  19. Nick says:

    That was an awesome read.

  20. JP says:

    The responsibility for this fiasco has to lie with Leiweke, and maybe it’s been a good financial decision on his part and he doesn’t care either way?

    Great read by Wahl who makes it clear that Dononvan and his teammates have just been pawns in this PR game on the part of Leiweke and the Beckham camp. I hope Donovan is able to move on to bigger and better things following his Confederations Cup showing. A spot in La Liga would be ideal.

  21. Nicole says:

    This is fascinating.

    Good job, LD.

    I can guarantee they ain’t gonna rip the captaincy back from LD when pretty boy Becks gets back, that’s for sure.

    And I don’t LD will feel awkward at all when Becks gets back. Beckham should be the one to feel awkward.

  22. Phil says:

    In the midst of all these “soccer debate journalists” popping out of nowhere because of the recent USMNT success, it was a pleasure reading Grant Wahl’s piece. Arguably the best thing I read about MLS all season.

    This may be the only thing I buy with Beckham’s name on it.

  23. dman23 says:

    I hope if Henry comes to the Red Bulls he doesn’t pull the same crap as Beckham. I’m kinda pulling becks gets injured and doesn’t make the WC squad.

  24. casadelqueso says:

    Holy schnikey. After what Donovan says on page three, there’s no way that Beckham’s return goes smoothly. Which might be bad, except that everything Donovan says is kind of, you know, um, right.

  25. dman23 says:

    Also, didn’t anyone see this coming a mile away?

  26. beckster says:

    That was fascinating and I preordered the book. I will be very interested to see how Arena fit into all of this.

    Its going to be extremely interesting to see how the Beckham return plays out – particularly given Donovan’s resurgence as the best US player and leader at the Confederations cup.

  27. DJ says:

    After reading this, I can’t help but wonder if I like it so much simply because I am a big LD fan and a big USMNT fan. Would I feel different if I was an England supporter? I bet I would. This could be a classic case of biased journalism.

    Donovan is a class act so i’m a little suprised to see him make these comments. I would love to see him go to a big club in La Liga and succeed. oooo! I heard Man City is on a spending spree…

  28. Reid says:

    not just more respect for Landon, but for Lalas too, when a GM has all his power taken from him can the blame really be put on him?

    Can’t wait to read the book, just from this I have more respect for the galaxy players and less for beckham and the galaxy organization.

  29. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Donovan has always been honest and straightforward in his comments. It’s something he doesn’t get enough credit for.

  30. walter says:

    I think it is interesting to learn the Lalas wasnt as bad as I thought and simply was cut out.

  31. jleppig says:

    Would you expect anything less from a Simon Cowell production?

  32. JL says:

    How does this book come out before said experiment is over? I mean isn’t the juicy part now whether or not he comes back to LA, and if so, how he is treated by teammates, media, and fans alike? Especially after the way guys like Donovan and Klein call him out through an F’n book? And I think this shows a lot about Donovan btw, if you want to confront someone on issues you don’t do it through text or an author. Say what you want to to their face, maybe they will respect you a little more and actually give you an answer. Otherwise you get the treatment you deserve.

  33. ManicMessiah says:

    The part describing the dinner with the Galaxy players paints him as a more sympathetic figure than I thought. I wonder how much of this might get pawned off on an inability by Beckham to want to pay attention to or stand up to all of his advisors.

    I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to read this book, but I will probably be ordering it now.

  34. Tommy H says:

    I don’t think he’s coming back.

  35. EdTheRed says:

    @JL: publishing now means you can run an “updated” version when it comes out in paperback.

  36. Luke in NC says:

    If this is accurate, Beckham basically destroyed LA for those two seasons.

  37. Eric Griesheimer says:

    I do think its important that American kids be exposed to talents like Beckham even if he is a real D-bag. Kids dont even see that kind of talent very often. We need kids out on the play ground wanting to learn how strike a ball like that. We need some crazy Brazillian to light up the imagination of youth players. Instead of dreaming about doing an Iverson cross over kids need to dream about being creative with the ball like Xavi, Robihno, Messi, etc.

    Hopefully more great players will make it over to MLS, but they need to be treated like other players as much as possible. Their work rate needs to be high, practice demands high etc.

  38. ML says:

    With his Confederations Cup performance and his comments in the excerpt, my respect for Donovan has grown.

  39. Dave says:

    No surprise, beckham has proved himself to be a bigger prick than most expected, and landon is pure class

  40. tonytdc says:

    i am so looking forward to rbny v la galaxy. it’ll be like a 3 way grudge match in wwe – landy cakes v golden balls v rbny – (channeling vince mcmahon) who’ll be the last one standing!

  41. nebraskacoog says:

    I have gained more respect for LD over the last two weeks than I have ever before. This is the cherry on the cake. I also am surprised by how Lalas was pushed out. No wonder the Gals have been horrible.

    I knew the moment they started clearing their best players, except LD, to make room for Beckam’s salary, they were going down hill. This though, lends a whole new picture to the absolute fiasco that happened over the last 2 seasons. Beckham needs to be benched until he proves he should be out on the field, but I don’t think it comes to that. He is going to work out a deal to stay in Europe. I think at this point he should be scared to walk back in that locker room with those guys.

  42. JeffM says:

    I think I was too hard on Alexi Lalas. And I hope so badly that we draw England in the World Cup.

  43. EnginBlue says:

    I actually hope Beckham does come back now. His time at Real Madrid and with the national team has shown that when the gauntlet is thrown down he rises to the occasion. His commitment is being questioned.. lets see him man up and prove it on the field.

  44. JCC says:

    I’m no fan of Donovan, but I’m curious as to why some people are calling him out for talking to Wahl. I think it’s possible that Donovan never called Beckham out face to face because he didn’t want to make a bad situation worse. It actually seems that he wanted to call Beckham out a few times, but held back. Also, I now look at Lalas much differently from reading this excerpt. I always thought he was part of the main contributors of the whole circus, but it looks like he was more of a lame-duck GM, while Byrne called the shots.

  45. Teddie Boy Eddie says:

    Good for Landon. Finally, somebody has the sack to take on the golden boy.

    It’s pretty clear that most people’s fears about Beckham were on the money. He used MLS and the Galaxy as a toy to build up his own image here in the US. Strong work, David. You failed, miserably. Now please leave, so players who are committed to the team and the league can play here instead.

  46. inkedAG says:

    In the history of D—hebags, Beckham has to top the list.

  47. NG says:

    The excerpt is a fun read, but is pretty opaque about Beckham and his motivations – not surprising, as Wahl apparently had no access to the megastar and his entourage. Donovan comes across as a thoughtful, painfully honest and decent person. Selfishly, I hope that this book won’t be a source of drama and a distraction to Donovan – we need him focused in the lead-up to the World Cup!

  48. Chase says:

    “What the hell was Donovan thinking during that interview? I’m sure Beckham’s return will be a little awkward now…”

    Sounds like it was pretty damn awkward already, though I agree if they are both still playing in LA in August this thing could get a whole lot more weird. I can’t wait to read this.

  49. andy says:

    Hey….2 years ago, many thought this article would be about BLANCO not giving respect….instead he has

  50. mike says:

    Donovan has himself to blame for allowing himself to play for such a shite organization.

  51. Josh says:

    I don’t know that you can *respect* Lalas more, but at least you can sympathize. Both Donovan and Lalas should have stood up for themselves when there was still time to fix things (and if Leiweke insisted on marginalizing him, then he should’ve resigned in protest; then he would have at least salvaged a modicum of respect).

    This is soccer: on the pitch or in the front office, you’re not entitled to have your @$$ kissed; you have to earn respect. It’s great that Donovan kept playing hard even while Beckham lost interest, but Yallop, Donovan, Klein and everybody else should have taken Becks to task. If he doesn’t take it well and goes into a shell, fine, at least you know where everybody stands. But if it’s clear that he’s hurting the team ON THE FIELD, then call goldenballs out. After all, his apathy is negatively affecting YOUR livelihood.

  52. Steve says:

    Yay Landy! Give ‘im hell!

    If MLS wants to drive hits to its web-site, they shoudl throw a web-cam up over these guys lockers for their ‘reunion’ in two weeks.

  53. cam says:

    ha, i doubt he comes back now!

    good for landy, he should have opened his mouth, he and his team were screwed. the la fans need to know what happened.

    that being said, i think beckham and donovan can easily get beyond this and come to an understanding. hopefully that happens and this story has a somewhat happy ending.

  54. pat says:

    I am not sure it was a good idea to come out with this kind of book/story with Beckham coming back mid-season. the captain issue is interesting and if it is entirely true I have lost some respect for beckham who has always been a class act, i do not however think that Lalas Yallop and Donovan should portray the episode as if they were forced and as if they are some sort of pathetic victim. it is a shame that donovan seems to need the spotlight despite him fading nearly every time he enters it during a big match

  55. Luke says:

    Beckham, what a douche! Now I’m understanding why Ferguson kicked a boot at his head and gave him a gash. Then promptly sent him packing to Real Madrid!

    Layoff the Donovan bashing! He is telling it the way it was and it’s been coraborated by Chris Klien,Greg Vanney and Alexi Lalas.

  56. Bella says:

    Are we SURE that all of this is true? Even if we take every word of Donovan’s as gold, and not frustration based — to be kind — who’s the source on the front office stuff? Nothing-is-my-fault-ever Lalas? I’m interested in the book but even more interested in any responses from other people in and around the team. A lot going on in those 3 pages…

  57. pat says:

    Beckham is not a douche and your taking Lalas’ word (notoriour douche and moron), and Donovan who is definatly a good guy and a good player but was in a situation where it would be very easy to speak with emotion and not factual clarity. Beckham has never done anything disruptive at any team and why would we believe he would now. I think this problem was concieved by a combination of front office and PR politics in an attempt to inject the MLS with excitement and increase Beckhams profile and publicity. Certainly should be an interesting read but to me it seems an awful lot like muckraking journalism and a bit of controversy creation where there should not be at this stage.

  58. KingSnake says:

    Grant Wahl always tells it like it is.

    Even as cynical as I am — suspecting disaster from the first mention of Beckham coming to MLS — I had no clue it was that bad. He not only took advantage of MLS (and the rubes who run it), but he treated it like his prison b***h.

  59. Tolik says:

    2 things come to mind after reading this (I’ll have to buy the book)

    1. The DP/Beckham rule is very tricky. I am a capitalist through and through, and don’t care if somebody earns millions or billions as long as they play by the rules. Still, I was always wondering how can you manage players on the field when some earn 20K, 40K or 80K and another one a million plus. He’s got to be 2 heads above everybody in quality. On another hand, more often than not, the guys make 40K instead of 1 million because they are not worth 1 million. They are not that good. And here comes a player who used to be surrounded by much better players who are capable of reading his tricky moves and respond to his vision . Can you explain quantum physics to a very eager and even bright 10th grader? Can one side stomp its all-too-human jealousy, and can another side adjust down to still be effective and prove that it indeed worth so much more?

    2. I have a renewed respect of the managers of top teams who have a thankless job of dealing with primadonnas. It’s got to be some tricky psychological task to stroke 11 egos at the same time. 25 or 30 in case of Brazil.

  60. tres says:

    “Are we SURE that all of this is true?”

    Pedantically speaking, of course not.

    But good journalism is about knowing who to trust, then relaying that trustworthy information to the public. And Grant Wahl is a good journalist.

  61. smokedgouda says:

    Beckham turned out to be a disaster, but maybe future DPs will contribute more to the MLS.

    I will NEVER again attend a game with Beckham playing.

  62. t dub says:

    What goes around comes around Lalas. Burn in hell. Forza Metro.

  63. NG says:

    I’m interested to see if Lalas is portrayed as sympathetically in the book as this piece indicates. In his management positions with the Earthquakes, MetroStars and Galaxy, Alexi came across as a rather clueless tool of AEG, willing to do or say anything to promote his own advancement. I’m sure that Lalas relishes the opportunity to get back at his critics, but I would take his statements with more than a bit of skepticism.

    Another interesting sidenote to this story is how the AEG losses from the Michael Jackson concert refunds will impact on their future sponsorship of MLS in general, and the Galaxy in particular.

  64. jmac says:

    pat, what games were you watching the past 2 weeks in South Africa? How can you really say that Donovan failing to show up in the spotlight? Are you for real?

  65. Michael F. - SBI Mafia Original says:

    Wow. Great read. I just pre-ordered the book. You never see Beckham in that light. Just goes to show we really have no idea what athletes are like.

  66. He’s coming back to fulfill his contract, but is out after the season is over.

    He has already said, he wants to play in Europe next year.

  67. tres says:

    “Another interesting sidenote to this story is how the AEG losses from the Michael Jackson concert refunds will impact on their future sponsorship of MLS in general, and the Galaxy in particular.”

    You do know that concert promoters are insured for this very sort of thing, yes?

  68. Rafael says:

    Man, this is the kind of reading I needed today. I knew there were going to be problems with Beckham playing in the MLS. I just didn’t think the problems were going to be from the same locker room.

    Be the captain Donavan, screw Beckham.

  69. Elmer says:

    Love this. I can’t wait to read the book.

  70. Ryan says:

    Tolik makes a couple great points. The DP Rule has got to be extremely difficult for coaches to manage, and probably impossible when the DP actually selects the coach.

    Just one thing to add: Wahl’s piece makes me wonder if Beckham was the right guy to be leading England’s “Golden Generation” for all those years. No doubt he’s a competitor and a fantastic talent. But captain material?

  71. NG says:

    “You do know that concert promoters are insured for this very sort of thing, yes?”

    Sorry to get off topic, but… (WSJ)

    Concert promoter AEG Live spent the weekend after Michael Jackson’s death planning what could be one of the biggest ticket-refund programs in history, a challenge likely to be complicated by the possibility that the company may have trouble collecting on its insurance.

    link to

  72. Casey C. says:

    I love the guys coming on here and bashing Donovan. Give me a break. Fades in the spotlight? Just like that Fifa final we just saw?

  73. Johnny G says:

    I hope he comes back and I hope Arena benches his ass. I’m not sure if he can get away with that, but I know the man has the testicular fortitude to make that bitch ride pine until he can get on a flight back to Milan.
    My opinions of some people have changed in the past few weeks; I’d often thought LD was a great player but a bit of a prick. he might be, but he’s only shown himself to be a class act when it comes to being loyal to the Galaxy. I only wish he’d shown the same loyalty to the Quakes.
    I thougth Alexi Lalas was a complete douche, but his commentary on ESPN has been pretty spot on. The man knows his soccer and I’ll always remember seeing that giant red mop bouncing across the pitch back in the day.
    I once thought Beckham was a victim of his own skill and fame and just wanted to be one of the lads. After seeing how he talked out of both sides of his ass when it came to MLS and AC Milan, I knew he was just an opportunistic jackass who didn’t have the integrity to follow through with a commitment.
    It was a great read, but I hope the entire book isn’t about the Donovan/Beckham dynamic.

  74. Luke says:


    “your taking Lalas’ word (notoriour douche and moron)” Lalas’ word alone could not convince me of anything. Wahl is a smart enough writer to know he couldn’t write a story for that matter a book on one person’s account. That is why he had Lalas, Donovan, Vannay and Klein quoted in the excert. It will interesting to see if he has any more players, coaches, exec’s views.

    “Donovan who is definatly a good guy and a good player but was in a situation where it would be very easy to speak with emotion and not factual clarity.” I’m thinking he made his comments when it seemed Beckham was going to be staying at AC Milan. I would love to be a fly on the wall between their lockers. Definately there will be some friction!

    “Beckham has never done anything disruptive at any team and why would we believe he would now.” Wahl’s excert from the book doesn’t seem to paint him as disruptive, actually it says he’s a good teammate but not a good leader.

  75. Randy in CA says:

    It just shows that Beckham had the ability to do something AMAZING for American Soccer…and totally Effed it up. LD is the man, and I think that anyone who thinks he is just b*tching in the book hasn’t ever played competitive soccer. It’s about the team, not individual players.

  76. La Muela says:

    One of the BEST articles I’ve ever read. WOW, wow and wow they should make a soap opera out of this. Drama!

  77. Kevin says:

    No matter what we think about Donovan calling out Beckham, I think we can all be in agreement that Beckham should have picked up the first check when they all went out to dinner. I mean, come on. You make like 100 grand more a week than the next closest player. I think you can afford 5 grand for a nice dinner for everyone.

  78. nico says:

    Interesting, excited to read the book. I wonder if Donovan and others read the book and have an opinion about it…? Basically, it be nice to know how accurate some of the statements about how Donovan ‘felt’ and what he ‘thought’ are.
    Curious to see what affect this may or may not have when Beckham returns.

  79. KingSnake says:

    Did you hear about the new Hollywood blockbuster? It’s titled “Bend OVer For Beckham”, starring MLS …

  80. derek says:

    eh, picking up the check vs. not picking it up seemed to me like a lose-lose situation….u pick up the check, it seems like maybe u’re throwing your money around and over time if u keep doing it, u get what chris klein talked about — that maybe people are leeching off of you, and then all of a sudden team dinners become more and more awkward. you don’t pick up the check, then u look like a cheapskate, so i am not sure what he could’ve done without rubbing someone the wrong way.

  81. hc says:

    The MLS attempts to bring over aging European stars on the downside of their careers to boost interest in the league smacks of NASL marketing circa 1975. The American soccer fan base is more sophisticated than that. I believe most people would rather follow the struggles of a young US player on the rise. The passion displayed regarding Torres’ lack of playing time discussed on this site is just some of the evidence of that.
    I think the MLS would be better off trying to bring world class coaches to these shores in order to develop our own players. If the Advocaats, Scolaris or Hiddinks are too expensive, send scouts over to Europe to find the up and coming coaches.
    Beckham and his nonsense are a complete waste of time not to mention money. It’s a short term solution to a long term problem.

  82. alex says:

    I am just glad players stopped kissing the guy’s ass, what LD said was true, a true leader lifts his teammates, Becks needs to sit down with Kobe and learn how to lead a team when you are the best player. This is a must read and for those questioning the timing its perfect, now they can stand toe to toe, my money’s on Donovan and I second everyone who hopes for a US v england paring.

  83. teach says:

    WOW pre-ordered it from amazon.

  84. Rastafari says:

    Can we write in David for an ALL STAR spot?

  85. Jones71 says:

    Is Grant Wahl Landon Donovan’s publicist? I’ve read stuff planted in US Weekly that’s more credibility than this dreck. Truly embarrassing for Sports Illustrated. Who are the sources? Lame.

    And I take it back about Donovon’s publicist because Donovan comes off like a baby. Pathetic piece of writing.

  86. Mike says:

    I’m sorry but this book is completely one side d and as I always say, there are two sides to every story. I just can’t fully trust a book that only takes one stance on a subject. I like Donovan and all but he just comes off as the one time popular school who has been displaced by the new kid who everyone is now flocking to. I do believe Beckham was a fish out of water here and for many times during his two seasons felt he made a major mistake by coming here. I don’t think he’s the aloof superstar diva the book makes him out to be. Every team he has ever played on I’ve only heard nothing but great things coming from his teammates. From Man U, Real Madrid, England and most recently AC Milan. Just my two cents…

  87. Sandro says:

    Just wow! Now I really want to read this book. I am sorry but Beckham said he was coming here to promote the sport and when things didn’t go the way he wanted it he didn’t roll up his sleeves and work hard. Instead he found a way to get out of it. And really if he wants to leave I don’t mind. I think we should get players who want to come here and play not players who are coming for a quick payday or vacation. After all one of the reasons that US Soccer has been improving is attribute to MLS. Look how far we’ve come with both MLS and US National team. The progression are aligned.

  88. Kingsnake says:

    THere’s a reason, Mike, that Sir Alex dumped his ass. And lest we not forget, his manager at Real Madrid as well …

  89. jefferson says:

    could donovan be more jealous? ahhhh. no.

    This “writer” sounds like he is l. donovan’s bff – not going into the situation with impartiality. did he and donovan just sit at a bar till way past closing putting this piece of shite together? Reads like it.

    What garbage.

    Beckham has always been on the top of all his teammates lists as a great guy. What is up with these guys? wow.

  90. Troyglee says:

    Sheesh Josh, why taking folk to task gotta be your solution to everything? Thanks, but I’ll take the gentle diplomacy of a Chris Klein any day.

  91. jman81 says:

    To all the guys saying this book is completely one-sided and think Beckham would not do the things the book claims because of his previous record with his other clubs… must I remind you that he went from being in two of the best clubs in the world to the worst club in mls at the time? Wow, you don’t believe Beckham is a whiner and egoist because you never heard of such attitude with his other clubs? Well, what would be have to complain about with Man U and Real Madrid? Oh, ferdinad didn’t hold down the defence well enough, or robben didn’t give him the ball in dangerous spaces? He has NEVER been in a situation as he found himself in with the galaxy, where almost no one would be good enough for a low-level epl team. Those that don’t believe the words, then believe the tapes… go back to the 2008 season and see how beckham would get furious with his teammates and not give his all during games… exactly what the book says coincides with his frustration and lack of leadership. Most knowledable galaxy fans were mad at him for playing poorly and no longer saw him in such a positive light, even before the AC Milan fiasco occurred! There are too many things here that fit together for this book to at least not hold many truths in it.

  92. ras says:

    On first read I was a little shocked at the players going on the record saying negative things about Beckham (during mid-season, even) — but then I realized, this just suggests that the situation had gotten to be pretty damn awful.

    I can’t wait to read the book.

  93. Mike says:

    Just seems to me to be the current trend in sports books. Lets take a really big athlete, find out what’s wrong with them, overpublicize and overhype it, and sell lots and lots of books because of the name and sensationalism.

    Sir Alex Ferguson loved Becks but began to hate him because he was becoming a bigger star/personality than he was. Clashes between a superstar and a head coach have gone down before and will go down again. I never recall any of his Man Utd teammates ever having a negative thing to say about the guy. Furthermore, Capello and EVERYONE at Real Madrid wanted Beckham to go back on his Galaxy deal and stay in Madrid when that championship season came to an end. All of his teammates wanted him back when he was left off the England roster for that year and the team obviously suffered. Oh and amazing how welcomed he was at AC Milan (and wanted back) when he’s there to basically take someone’s spot.

    I find Beckham guilty of three things. Coming into the league too soon, taking it for granted and letting his unhappiness here affect his play. He probably thought MLS would be a walk in the park and it wasn’t. I’m also sure he thought what the hell am I doing here when he’s delivering cross after cross that isn’t being converted and playing for a subpar team. Once again the book is one sided and sensationalized to sell.

  94. bmvaughn says:

    I don’t think reading 197 more pages of that would be worth my time or money… I’ll just keep reading SBI for the up-to-date Becks v LD news :)

  95. TimN says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. Beckham clearly wanted more control than was let on upon his arrival. From what I’ve read so far, he was not up to the task, either as a teamate and certainly not captain. I think at this juncture he is probably more detrimental to the team than helpful…GET BENT BECKS!

    2. L.A. is no longer a great place for Donovan to be, if it EVER was, even before Beckham’s arrival. Donovan needs to move to the EPL and continue to develop his game. There’s nothing left for him in MLS. He had a great Confederations Cup, and somebody will surely come calling. He should avoid like the plaque the top 4 in EPL, as he will ride pine. I think somewhere like an Aston Villa, West Ham, Tottenham, Wigan would be a good fit…somewhere where he’ll get PT against top competition.

  96. JustinG says:

    I wasn’t sure before hand, but now I think I am. I never thought Lalas was that idiotic to bring in all those pieces and think they would work. Now I know, it wasn’t him calling a majority of the shots. The guy has awesome soccer knowledge, too bad he took the fall for the decisions of others. Or so it sounds.

    I can’t wait to read the book. It will be only the 2nd book I have ever read from front to back.

  97. elmatador says:

    It wasn’t only Donovan speaking of akward moments with Beck’s but also other teammates..You’re taught to work a certain way here in America, Beck’s just came here like a Conquistador and expected everyone to bow to him. F* him. stay in Italy, we no longer need you. donovan just had the balls to tell it like it is.

  98. jonathan says:

    I have numerous issues with what I have read so far in this book.

    1) Beckham does know what it is like to earn $12,000 a year in fact from being a 16 year trainee to when he signed first big pro-contract he earned less.
    3) So Landon who is earning 30X what some on the rookies make in the MLS wants beckham to pick up a check to prove he is a good guy. How many meals did Landon pick up!!?
    2) Captain can does not have to try to rally the troops but can also lead by example. When he was captaining England he didn’t need to rally troops because you have 11 captains. The galaxy players were passing the buck.
    3)Who sends a text to confront someone? maybe thats how you do it in high school or if you are a chick. If Landon really wanted to call him out he should have. Not gone crying to a journalist.
    4)Beckham is clearly too good for a lot of the garbage that he has had to play with here in the US and I have never heard him call out Cronin the Goalkeeper who couldn’t catch a cold, or Buddle or Gordon who couldn’t hit a barn door with a shovel. He has too much class.

  99. Diane says:

    Jonathan, I appreciate your comments regarding money and also bashing teammates in the media.

    Class and academy differences are a huge factor that separates most players raised in the US and those in the rest of the world. Klein’s comment that Beckham wouldn’t understand what these kids had experienced in college was spot-on. There’s no place else where players come up through a system like the NCAA. The number of English EPL players who finished what we would call high school is very small. Kids sign schoolboy papers at 13 or 14 and move to the club by 16 if they haven’t already. Most come from working class or more stringent backgrounds.

    In the US soccer attracts more athletes from affluent (I didn’t say rich here) backgrounds, and incomparably more college graduates than anywhere else in the world. Beckham played in a world where players have few other options once they commit to the game and where players don’t question the manager in public or in front of teammates–and for most of his career, for a manager that is not questioned at all.

    Dinner tabs? I’m sure Donovan picks up a lot, we’d heard that Beckham had as well, maybe he hadn’t. The story is about one incident that could have been avoided, as someone else mentioned, with a word in advance.

    I certainly agree that one thing Beckham’s never done is criticize a teammate in public — ever. He’s played in much higher-stakes (and pressure) situations where players failed miserably and the only negative thing he’s ever said referring to a team he’s been on started and ended with the word we. Even up through his last controversial comments on the level of soccer in the US, he never mentioned a specific Galaxy teammate unless it was in a positive light.

    Nothing surprises me when sports (or anything) and big money are involved, so who knows how much of the book is completely accurate and how much is one-sided. I like Grant Wahl but if he’s getting his front office info from Lalas… As for Donovan I can certainly understand his frustrations and he probably didn’t think he would be playing with Beckham again–since he so vocally expressed his own wishes to leave the Galaxy this season.

    Wahl and Donovan do get added to the list, though, of those who profit and/or raise their own profiles thanks to the power of Brand Beckham.

  100. Diane says:

    Note: none of that is to say that I think Beckham was a good fit for the Galaxy or that he didn’t give up the ghost in the second half of last season.

    I certainly wish the Galaxy had sold him to Milan when they had the chance so that we could all avoid whatever foolishness is coming in the next months — foolishness that is already bringing more attention back to the league. At too high a cost for my taste.

  101. cj says:

    It was an experiment gone bad. You don’t mix a player like Beckham in that kind of team environment and expect them to all come together and start winning and singing “Kum ba ya.”

    My respect has gone way up for Landon after the Confed Cup and has even gone up further after him standing up to Beckham. The only thing that was kind of weird is that Landon confronted Beckham via text on his play. Kind of weird but we are in a different generation.

    At least we will get to see this soap opera play out starting in July. Get the popcorn!

  102. R W says:

    I hope the book includes a chapter on Victoria’s role in all this.

    Should be an interesting read.

  103. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    “My respect has gone way up for Landon after the Confed Cup and has even gone up further after him standing up to Beckham.”


    As a “captain” it is up to Becks to support the team regardless, not flying to Houston sealed the deal to me.

    I was upset with Landon when he gave up the captaincy, I still remember thinking that damn LD is too unselfish (from his play with the USMNT), he seems not to want to be the star and Becks arrival may help him….but the manner in which it was handled wow! silly, clearly dumb. and good for Landon for texting, if you can’t have a conversation because somebody doesn’t want to talk, hey shoot a text get the conversation started….I can assure you there will be a team meeting with Becks with Lando the Man leading the troops and clearning the air.

    Go get em Landon!

  104. Mike says:

    Landon Donovan is doing the impossible and turning me into a fan of his.
    link to