Don’t sell out for Becks

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Neil Sherwin believes that the idea of playing in Australia should be sold to David Beckham using footballing reasons.

With David Beckham’s future up in the air following the announcement that he won’t be at LA Galaxy next year, the prospect of him playing in the Hyundai A-League understandably has people excited.

Beckham is a superstar, make no mistake about it, and his presence in Major League Soccer has done plenty for the game both on and off the field.

There is no denying that he is a marketing dream and if he were to sign for any one of the ten clubs in this country, their worldwide ‘street cred’ would instantly go through the roof.

Indeed, there is a feeling that a few clubs have only expressed an interest in Beckham so that their name can be tagged to some of the many stories doing the rounds now across the globe.

However, with such an appealing possibility comes the danger of falling into the trap of simply looking needy.

Over the past few days we’ve seen everything from a petition to bring him to Melbourne Heart to an offer of a part in a Christmas pageant in Perth.

While many will say this is just harmless fun, the fact of the matter is that to some of us here in Oz, and to plenty in the wider football world, it reeks of desperation.

The A-League has come a long way in recent times, and already this season there is further evidence of increasing interest in the game as attendances broke the 500,000 figure quicker than ever before.

The standard of football being played is constantly improving thanks to a healthy mix of seasoned professionals, both local and foreign, as well as the next batch of youngsters who will improve the reputation of Australian football when they eventually move overseas.

The talk around Beckham should be how much Tom Rogic’s vision could improve training alongside an international with over 100 caps for his country not how many shopping centre openings he could grace with his presence.

If clubs and fans want David Beckham to come to Australia they should be making their pitch on the merits of what has already been achieved in footballing terms, with a thorough proposal on what can be attained in the future with such a household name in the midst, and hopefully that’s what’s happening behind closed doors.

The A-League still has plenty to do before it is taken seriously in world terms; indeed two UK media outlets referred to “Melbourne Heat” and “Western Sydney Warriors” as possible destinations for Beckham in the last 48 hours, while Tony Popovic was referenced as Heart’s coach.

Playing the sycophant won’t do anything to change this mindset so for the integrity of football in Australia, leave the small time tweets and offers to one side and sell the league itself.

It worked with Del Piero, Heskey and Ono so why change tact now?

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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