Spend It like Beckham

Article excerpt

The British media is up in arms because a nice young man by the name of David Beckham has accepted a vast sum of money to play soccer for an American club. Here we have George W. Bush angling for war against Iran in the crowded Persian Gulf-and the Brits are in a lather about Beckham's defection. You would think he had been playing for an English club, an archrival of the unheard of LA Galaxy. But Beckham left Manchester United for Real Madrid three years ago after the English club treated him in the manner George Steinbrenner used to reserve for managers before Joe Torre.

Nothing makes an Englishman's blood boil more than seeing a fellow Brit strike it rich-which Beckham did, to the tune of $250 million. He is 31 years old, the ex-captain of an English football team, obviously in the autumn of his sporting career, and he is offered a contract dreams are made of by an obscure Los Angeles club trying to lure soccer-mad Hispanics into its stadium. (The money comes from casinos, so don't feel too sorry for the obscure soccer club dishing out the moolah.). Of course he grabbed it, and of course he said what was expected of him: "I'm not doing it for the money, but for the challenge..."

The challenge, needless to say, is enormous. If Beckham manages to do what the great Pelé failed to, I will personally send a large check to William Kristol. Americans like contact games like football or fast, up-and-down games like basketball in which one uses his hands and not his feet. If soccer was ever going to catch on in the U.S., it would have done so long ago.

Beckham was picked because he has film star looks-he's a clean-cut man who is far healthier looking than the sleaze balls Hollywood has been coining up with lately-and because of his wife. Victoria Beckham, or Posh Spice, is a former pop star who diets a lot and shops even more. The British tabloids loathe her and have been trying to wreck her life since she married David. I recently sat next to her at a luncheon in Rome, and she could not have been nicer and more polite. And she's a pretty little thing to boot, although too skinny for my taste. Where else but Los Angeles would this perfect, famous English couple end up? They even named their firstborn Brooklyn, which once upon a time had a baseball team that now plays out of LA. …