“Here Before; Here After; Here Despite 23”
“Go Home Fraud”
Those signs that greeted David Beckham were a lot more kind than what was yelled at David Beckham in his return home with the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday. Galaxy fans have had it with the superstar thrust upon them.
Ironically the return game was against AC Milan, the team Beckham bullied his way to play for last season, the team he reportedly paid $3 million out of his own pocket to stay with until the end of their season. The only reason he is back at all is the Galaxy and MLS ownership didn’t want to just let him off the hook — they thought for the good of the Galaxy and the league he needed to come back to the States.
They should have asked the fans first — they are smart enough to know when they aren’t wanted, and the feeling is mutual (despite the fact one of Beck's corner kicks led to a Galaxy goal in the 2-2 tie).
One fan was so vocal and cutting that at half Beckham walked toward the L.A. Riot Squad section — the Galaxy’s most vocal supporters — and motioned for the guy to come down. He did. And he was promptly arrested for going on to the field. Afterwards Beckham said it was to talk to the guy and shake his hand.
The fan probably wanted to throw a punch — that was the prevailing mood at the Home Depot Center.
This was in stark contrast to the reaction Manny Ramirez got at Dodger Stadium just three days earlier. But the reason is simple — Manny wanted to be in Los Angeles. He kept his head down during his suspension and when he came back he clearly wanted to be part of the team and the city. The fans responded to that.
Beckham pushed to get a loan out of Los Angeles then fought tooth and nail not to return. Rather than just taking the cash and letting him go, the MLS decided to split the difference, thinking half a season with the Galaxy was better than none.
Then again, when is pushing an athlete to do something he doesn’t want to ever something that works out well? First the Beckham Experience book hits the shelves where teammates call out Beckham’s leadership, then just as that seems resolved the fans rip him. At home. When he left the pitch he said that the cheers drowned out the boos, although that is doubtful from what everyone else heard.
Bottom line, the fans in Los Angeles know when they are not cared about, and the feeling has been returned in kind. MLS officials are learning it is possible that all publicity is not good publicity, like for example when your hometown fans are calling your star a fraud.