How to Become a Professional Footballer

I have been writing a series on articles on How to become a Professional Footballer. Starting from how I became a Football player with some good advice to young children on what is required to make the leap from Amateur status to a Professional. Following on from this are several articles on my career at Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Here are the links to the Articles.
Click on any of the above links to be directed to the articles

The Power of One Football Player - David Beckham

Many football commentators will have had an inkling of David Beckhams desire to move to the USA, but the magnitude of his contract, reported to be $250,000,000 over 5 years is astonishing. (The $250 million gamble). Especially when you consider that most other players within his team and the MLS league will be earning a decent wage, but certainly nothing comparable to Beckhams contract or even the wages of well paid players in the UK. How that will unravel over the coming seasons in the dressing room of LA Galaxy, only time will tell. I remember when I played in England that as soon as one players wages were increased beyond a reasonable level of the rest of the squad, there would be unrest until parity returned to the clubs wage bill.

Beckham bigger than the Club

Of course when you have a star of Beckhams magnitude in an otherwise average team/league, he will be treated with such reverence that I do believe resentment will build within his team-mates. Fans will walk past and ignore 20 players and head straight for Beckham. That does not make for good team spirit. And how can parity be returned to a squad when the leading player is earning more than the rest of the team put together?? Beckham will enjoy the status but if his performances and teams success don't equate to his wages (which is quite likely), he will feel the wrath of team-mates. The problem is that a fair balance can never return to the LA Galaxy because they cannot afford a squad of 20 players each earning $50,000,000 annually. And what about the LA Galaxy manager/coach. Beckham is bigger than all of these people. Which Is why Ferguson (Manchester United) sold him to Real Madrid. Ferguson saw the bright lights and media circus of Beckhams career a long time ago. When a player is bigger than the manager or the club, you have a problem on and off the field.

Global Brand

I own a resort in Belize, Central America and most of our guests are Americans. When they ask me about my days playing Professional Football, they always bring up the name David Beckham. I think he is the only English Football player they have heard of. Even without playing Football in the USA he has a massive worldwide following and is globally recognised, which has always been a huge surprise to me. Football is not a greatly supported sport in America and how Beckham has reached this superstar status is a bit of a mystery.

Nevertheless he is a superstar in the USA already and he has secured a contract as big as any American superstar in Baseball or the NFL. Beckham is the ultimate marketing machine, liked by the ladies, respected by the men that follow football and carrying a squeaky clean image that Adidas surely adore. Married to a spice girl, he oozes sponsorship credibility.

Igniting Football in America

It’s a convenient fit that Beckham moves to LA Galaxy where he has started his own Football Academy called the “David Beckham Academy” in Los Angeles and will attract hordes of paying youngsters to his Training Camps. The Beckham Gravy Train will roll on into the USA hoping to set a torch under the revival of Football in America. I wish him good luck because I have seen the facilities available all over America for Football and it definitely has the infrastructure to start a footballing frenzy.

I will enjoy watching his interviews as he will have to use the word Soccer for his American audience but at the same time will be causing great offence to the British Football diehards who find the use of this term and not "Football" to be almost sacrilege.

Beckhams deal is all about the merchandising ($10,000,000 per year), sponsorship deals (Motorola, Pepsi, Volkswagen and Gillette totalling $25,000,000 per year) and a very bold attempt to boost the image of Football in America. The MLS cannot sustain a player on these wages and I suspect that the fat egos of the people behind this deal have very little interest in the welfare of Football. Quote Simone Fuller, Beckhams Commercial Agent "I have long dreamt of being responsible for the biggest sporting deal. With the help of David Beckham and his unique sporting talents I have helped achieve my aim". It seems that Fuller has got his way. Hopefully Beckham will survive the onslaught of paparazzi and media attention that his advisors have in store for him.

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