Galaxy boss Bruce Arena tells fans to behave themselves after Becks abuse
21 July 2009 10:59
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Los Angeles Galaxy boss Bruce Arena has called on players and fans alike to hold themselves to 'higher standards' after David Beckham confronted a fan during half-time of a friendly against AC Milan.
The former England captain, making his first appearance for the Galaxy since his loan spell with the Italian club, attempted to jump over a barrier as he left the field at half-time into a section of the crowd that had been jeering him.
The former Manchester United star was held back by security staff, members of whom were also needed to restrain an angry fan who left his seat and rushed towards the footballer.
'We regret the incident that happened at the end of the first half of last night's friendly at The Home Depot Center,' Arena said in a statement.
'While it is important that our fans remain free to voice their opinions, they must do so in an appropriate manner. We appreciate our players and fans passion for the team and the game, but we
all must aim to hold ourselves to higher standards.'
Beckham explained afterwards in comments broadcast on Sky Sports News: 'I tried to shake one of the guy's hands but he didn't want any of it. That's the way it is.'
The 34-year-old received a less than friendly welcome at his first home game after returning from a five-month loan spell at Milan that caused him to miss the start of the Galaxy's season - angering fans who now question his commitment.
A hardcore section of the crowd, known as the 'LA Riot Squad', booed Beckham every time he touched the ball and held aloft signs reading 'Go Home Fraud' and
Another read: 'Hey Becks, Here Before You, Here after You, Here Despite You' while one stated: 'Is evil something u are.or something u do?'
Arena added that the club has been in close contact with the supporters' group, who have banned one member as a result of the incident.
'We have a very good relationship with the LA Riot Squad and have already reached out to them to set up a meeting to discuss moving forward together in a positive direction,' Arena said.
'In addition, the LA Riot Squad has informed us that they have issued a lifetime ban to the fan that went onto the field of play.
'We want to move in a positive direction as an organisation, and ask our fans to support our players and our club as we look to return to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
'We need the support of our fans to continue providing an amazing home environment at The Home Depot Center as we look to reach our shared goal of qualifying for the play-offs.'
Throughout the first half of the game he was subjected to jeers and obscene chants.
After the referee blew for half time, Beckham tried to hurdle an advertising boarding and appeared to make a 'come on' gesture towards fans.
In response, one man left his seat, jumped down on to the pitch and attempted to run towards Beckham. At this point security intervened and escorted Beckham to the changing room, while removing the fan from the pitch.
Despite the incident, Beckham returned in the second half. He was the last man to take to the pitch and hugged several of his former Milan team-mates before gesturing towards the rowdy section of the crowd.
A line of yellow-jacketed security staff stood below the supporters in the trouble area as a precaution.
On the pitch Beckham had a hand in both Galaxy goals, scored by
Alan Gordon and Bryan Jordan, as they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with the Rossoneri.
Thiago Silva and Filippo Inzaghi scored for Milan.
After the second Galaxy goal, Beckham turned and shrugged his shoulders in the direction of the section of crowd that had been jeering him.
The former Manchester United star was substituted after 75 minutes and walked off to a mixture of cheers and boos.
On the boos, Beckham said: 'It's to be expected. Sometimes it goes beyond it. The majority of the fans have been great.'