To the surprise of absolutely nobody, David Beckham has expressed a desire to stay with AC Milan after his loan from the LA Galaxy is up on March 2.
Wasn't it just a year and a half ago that we were subjected to the arrival of His Beckhamness?
When every celebrity in Hollywood took in his first game and then gushed about his hair and cheekbones? When even his wife had her own reality show about their move from Madrid to Los Angeles? When seemingly every sports and celebrity show featured Beckham and his impact on soccer in America?
This was a bad idea from the start—a gimmicky promotion from Alexi Lallas that resembled the tactics of the bankrupt NASL of the '70s. That league's strategy was to attract the aged likes of Pele, George Best, and Franz Beckenbauer in the hope that crowds would stay after the legends had retired. They didn't and the league folded.
Beckham was all wrong for the mantle of pied piper of the MSL. He's not a leader or a goal scorer. He doesn't control the midfield or make scorching runs through lanes. He's a position player who specializes in free kicks and long passes and he relies upon the talent of his teammates to close.
Worst of all, the Galaxy were an awful team.
Lallas made the unholy decision to hire Ruud "L'Enfant Terrible" Gullitt to coach the team. That's like giving a 13-year-old the keys to a Ferrari. Something bad was going to happen.
Gullitt doesn't have the mentality to coach at any level, much less teach and mentor some guys who couldn't cut it at Tottenham or, worse, Sheffield United. He quit midway through his first season.
As soon as the crowds dispersed, the buzz wore off, and celebrities stopped attending Galaxy matches, Beckham seemed to lose interest. When the Galaxy continued to lose, he looked downright miserable.
I hope Beckham slinks back to Italy and stays away from the US. We don't need him.
I hope the MLS learns from this and invests in quality coaches and training clinics to bring the game up to another level. Continue to promote the game at the local level and gain the loyalty of a fanbase. It's not a top five league, but it has quality and it needs to understand its place in the pecking order.
Hopefully cooler heads will prevail the next time somebody mentions signing Thierry Henry.