Will Tidey - Meanwhile, in a Galaxy far far away

By 28 October 2010 07:41

To be taken seriously there's a requirement to be smug and cynical when you write about football. After all, millionaire athletes running around feigning injuries and complaining about their obscene salaries lends a farcical tone to proceedings that's impossible to ignore.

Even the World Cup bidding process has stooped to schoolyard levels. Russia thinks we're a nation of teenage binge drinkers and criminals (Ouch). Ours is a "primitive" and "comical" bid they say, and we're really, really scared of how bad it's going.

Seriously Russia, what happened to the subtlety of the Cold War? And what would happen if we fired some slander back? I'll hazard a guess and it plays out like an episode of Spooks.

Then there's Rooney-geddon, the soap opera on sabbatical in Dubai that continues to enthrall. Is Coleen giving Wayne the cold shoulder? Did Wayne break a glass on purpose? Is that really the body of a world-class athlete?

Carrying the weight of the footballing world I tuned into Newcastle v Arsenal last night. With the Toon Army getting schooled by the Wengerboys, Chris Hughton called on two convicted criminals, in Joey Barton and Andy Carroll. "There's a lot of pastoral care at Newcastle these days," said the Sky Sports commentator. And that said it all.

All of which left me yearning for more innocent times. And duly prompted renewed interested in the MLS, the footballing equivalent of Disney World - where players live forever, every goal is fantastic and joy is pure.

It's play-off season in America, and to the huge relief of brand MLS, David Beckham's LA Galaxy are very much in the mix. Without them, the whole affair could pass by largely unnoticed for most of the footballing world.

Even in the US the MLS play-offs are at best fourth on the sporting agenda. Ahead of them are the World Series, the start of the new NFL season and daily slog of the NBA (not to mention college sports, ice hockey and cage fighting).

But Beckham is fighting the fight. According to coach Bruce Arena he put in his best ever Galaxy performance in win against FC Dallas at the weekend, and followed it with an inspired guest appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show (see below).

Galaxy won the Western Division and were awarded the Supporters' Shield as 'top points scorers' in the MLS - Beckham's first piece of silverware since crossing the pond.

Up next they face Seattle Sounders in a two-legged quarter-final, a team they've beaten twice this season with an aggregate score of 7-1 in Galaxy's favour. Win that and a semi-final against Dallas or Real Salt Lake is next on the agenda - before a possible final meeting with Thierry Henry's New York Red Bulls.

If that happens the MLS will enjoy arguably its highest profile moment, and brand Beckham will have gone some way to justifying his price tag. Moreover, it will be a deserved victory for a league that has an unashamed lack of cynicism at its core.

Source: DSG

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