Wednesday, September 05, 2007

'You've got no chance of succeeding in the States', Fergie warns Beckham

David Beckham faces a near-impossible task to turn football into one of the USA's major sports, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United manager feels his former Old Trafford protege cannot transform the fortunes of the sport by himself.

And he argued the sheer size of the USA and the exodus of young American talent to Europe would stunt the growth of Major League Soccer despite Beckham's best efforts.

Ferguson also claimed the former Real Madrid player's celebrity status had overshadowed his significance as a footballer.

Los Angeles Galaxy signed Beckham - currently out with a knee injury - on a five-year contract worth up to £128million in a bid to boost the popularity of the game. But Ferguson feels the England midfielder will struggle to have a major impact on his own when the combined talents of Pele, Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer failed to have a lasting impact after playing for New York Cosmos three decades ago.

"In the late '70s I went to America with Aberdeen and there were guys like (Teofilo) Cubillas and (Peter) Shilton there," the Scot said.

"Before that there was Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer. It is difficult with David going there - I don't know what kind of impact he can make. David Beckham himself can't change the whole country."

And Ferguson feels the distance between teams affects the impact of football on American society.

"The size of the country makes it difficult," he said. "In European football, and especially in British football, you can travel easily. "If you are Boston and need to go to Los Angeles it's a six-hour flight. Supporters don't travel so you are missing that rivalry between fans.

"So you have a problem. To make it substantial you would have to go regional but there's not enough teams to have four strong leagues."

Ferguson, who was speaking to an audience at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, feels the MLS is also undermined by an exodus of young homegrown talent.

"What you have got in the States is that a lot of kids are playing football in the States and there is nowhere to go," he said. "The best American players go to Europe very early, like Brad Friedel (at Blackburn), (Brian) McBride and (Clint) Dempsey at Fulham. So that situation doesn't help the American game."

And while Ferguson feels Beckham will struggle to have the required impact on the field, he claimed the 31-year-old's celebrity persona had overtaken his status as a sportsman following his marriage to Spice Girl Victoria.

When asked if Beckham was difficult to deal with at United, the 65-year-old said: "He was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time, he was a fantastic young lad.

"Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing - from that moment his life was never going to be the same.

"He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part. The big part is his persona."

Source: Daily Mail

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At 7:14 pm, Blogger Paulsworld said...

Thing is I agree with Ferguson on Beckham's impact on football in the US. If the likes of Pele can't make an impact then it does beg the question what impact can Beckham make on his own?

There seems to be this belief that Beckham on his own will make LA Galaxy successful. It's eleven players that makes a team successful not one.

And you just have to hear the criticism of Beckham in the US because of his injury. I was astonished by this. He has been there less than a couple of months and some people are saying he's a let down. Expectations are way too high!

Don't get me wrong - Beckham is my all-time favourite player and I admire his desire to push football more into the US awareness but it's gonna be an up-hill task. I know we all want it to work because it would add a totally new dimension to football around the world.

And yeah maybe I am biased but I have never liked Posh and still don't. I know she is a major reason why Beckham fell out with Ferguson and ultimately left Manchester United. That hurt big time!

Alex is just giving a reality check to all the hype about Beckham in the US. It's not a criticism of Beckham or the US. I know Beckham is gonna be great at Galaxy when he is fit again - it's just gonna take some kind of miracle to make football in the US what is is everywhere else in the world.

There is no need to preach to us, the converted - it's the culture and millions of baseball and US football fans that need to be won over!

At 7:51 pm, Blogger Rooney Magic said...

seconded specially that Victoria part.

At 4:08 am, Blogger King_Kolo said...

He is dead on about that travel thing!!! Forget the league they need to blow up the team first.

I have no idea why L.A are trying to make the world think he can make the team just blow up alone. You guys should have heard the L.A boss on the Fox Football Fone-In goodness. He was talking like L.A was the biggest club in the world. Putting it up there with Man U and Real come on. The callers called in and just came down on him, telling him that Becks and Landon are the only good players in the whole team.

You got to use Becks to get attention for the other players but when the other players are bad and you know it, it doesn't work. You got to make the people who love Becks love his team until then they just watch it when he play and if he is hurt their not watching. I'll go so far as to say that they might not be so mad if L.A was winning while Becks is hurt. One caller said that they need to just lower the price for the tickets because the team sucks that's sad because that was a season ticket holder but I was laughing for about 10 mins. You can't have the best player playing in the worst team. They got 14 points what the hell is that!?! He's got more cars then they have points.

oh yeah about Posh and Fergie. He should have told her "look you got your singing just shut up and sing" she's the main reason he is more of a brand now. If 2 didn't become 1 I bet he would still be playing for Man U right now.

Really MLS either put him on a better team or have D.C United players change shirts with L.A players. I mean the man hit a back flip to come here. He really he in his heart wants to help you can tell but dame they put him on a team that Paul, Rooney Magic and I with Alex Ferguson as our goal keeper can beat. Come on now I want this to work but it really looks bad.


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