David Beckham to West Ham: Why It Probably Won't Happen

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterJanuary 7, 2013

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 01:  David Beckham #23 of Los Angeles Galaxy waves to the crowd after he walks off the field after the Galaxy defeat the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

David Beckham and West Ham United are all tangled up in the rumor mill, but all the innuendo and speculation might be little more than wishful thinking.

The story starts with Beckham, now 37 and searching for a team, watching his former club Manchester United play at West Ham United in East London on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup. Beckham attended the match with sons Romeo and Brooklyn and celebrity friend James Corden (via Daily Mail).

For most other players, that wouldn't mean much of anything. But this is David Beckham, and anything David Beckham does makes headlines.

Beckham left the Los Angeles Galaxy last month after helping the club win its second straight Major League Soccer Cup final. Since then, rumors have flown from all directions about where Beckham might play next. Reported options have ranged from China to Australia to England, France and even a return to America.

After the match, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce refused to rule out a move for Beckham. "We will wait and see," he said (via Daily Mirror). "You never know."

Allardyce is right about that much, of course. Anything can happen in the world football transfer market, and of course Allardyce would like Beckham at West Ham. David Gold, the club's co-owner, has said signing Beckham would make a "fantastic statement" (via ESPN FC).

All that aside, this move seems highly unlikely. Here's why.

First, we need to consider Beckham's motives for attending the match. Born in Leytonstone in North East London, Beckham wasn't far from home at Upton Park. He was watching the match with a friend, and the away team happened to be his former employer for 10 years.

According to the Mirror, Beckham has enrolled his children in a London school. That would seem to suggest Beckham might be interested in joining a London-based club, but it could also simply mean he will base his family in London no matter which club he joins.

London is, after all, his home. Enrolling children in a London school and watching a West Ham match in person don't necessarily add up to Beckham in claret and blue. Admittedly, both actually could be clues to Beckham's true motives.

But they also might not have anything to do with anything.

Isn't it more likely that Beckham just wanted to watch Manchester United—his former club—play a match?

And isn't it hard to imagine Beckham joining West Ham after the hell he went through at the hands of club's supporters in 1998? After Beckham's infamous red card against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, about 500 West Ham fans greeted his return to the Premier League by throwing stones and bottles (via BBC Sport).

Time heals all wounds, but that's the sort of thing Beckham is unlikely to forget. What's more likely is that, in watching Saturday's match between West Ham and Manchester United, Beckham was remember his roots—both in London and Manchester.

Beckham might yet join West Ham. For now, though, the idea seems more like wishful thinking.