Sylvia and I found ourselves in Nashville on the day of Beckham’s friendly run out for LA Galaxy against Chelski, and had the pre-match build up on ESPN in the hotel whilst getting ready to go out for the evening.
Who should we spot in the briefest glimpse warming up on the pitch for Chelsea, but recent Reading old boy Sid (Steve Sidwell) – I say glimpse, because football was very much third-fiddle to the Beckhams new found LA glitterati and papparazi as far as the US sports coverage was concerned – what a circus.
We chuckled at the “Sid breaks Becks leg” headline potential – keen to impress in his first appearance for his new mega-club – as we switched the drivel off and went out to cruise the honky-tonks on Broadway. (Talking of Cruises, the nightmare currently appearing before me, as I see the Beckhams alongside them, is next year’s headline as Scientology takes the world by storm – tell me I’m dreaming – hoping never to report you heard it here first, with hopes pinned on that nice Essex boy.)
Anyway imagine our suprise at finding the music bars already too full to get to eat, so we dropped into a sports-bar for an early evening bite – ironically only one screen (of dozens) was actually showing the “soccer” and that was barely in view from where we were sitting – situation normal, in this land where more kids play organised youth football than anywhere on the planet. But someone must have asked to see the game, because suddenly there were several screens showing the HD spectacle.
What a circus, I think I said, barely 3 minutes at a stretch between zooming in, (even interviewing during the game) opportunities with the assembled celebs and pundits. Can US football survive the attention span deficit ? I seriously doubt it.
But with Beckham-Cam showing most of the screen time from the moment the boy came on, and with Sid joining the game only minutes before in a position directly opposite the superstar, Sid was truly in the US media spotlight. Surreal for us Royals. Oh oh, was that Sid, smack on that $250-million right ankle ? Yep, sure was. Phew, be thankful Sid that Becks is (still) the professional – no quarter sought apparently, even though he was clearly hobbled. A friendly pat accepted in apology as play resumed, and more handshakes and jokey words at the final whistle.
You could write this stuff.
“I saw him coming and I jumped just in time so my foot wasn’t planted when he hit me,” Beckham explained. “You expect that in games and, even though it was a friendly, he’s a competitive player. It’s his first start this season, he’s going to be a good player and he’s done well in the Premiership so far. Now he’s playing for Chelsea and he’s going to smash some people along the way, even in friendlies. Unfortunately, it was me tonight but that’s part and parcel of being a footballer and it’s fine.”
Clearly, the ankle is not. Beckham hobbled around for the remainder of the game and managed to take a corner kick at the end but he is unlikely to be able to demonstrate his true worth to his new team, on the pitch at least, for another couple of weeks.
The above from Times Online.
Sadly Chelsea really should have hammered Galaxy on the form on display.
Better news though, good though Sid was for Reading I was never quite sure he was that good, but if he gets that positional freedom in the premiership, to run into the box onto square passes or intercept loose balls as he did here, he should make an impression.
Even better news the band whose name I didn’t catch playing the late night session in a honky-tonk whose name I forget were tremendous, really tight rhythm section even on requests they didn’t seem sure they knew when they started … an immense version of G.L.O.R.I.A amongst a collection of country and blue-grass (complete with electric 5-string fiddle) evolving through the night from Hank Williams & Willie Nelson through Chuck Berry (Nadine & others), Who (My Generation), The Stones (Jumpin Jack, Brown Sugar, Sympathy), Cheap Trick, U2 (I Will Follow) and ending totally unexpectedly with a manic version of the Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Not at all what we imagined in a Broadway Honky Tonk called Layla’s Bluegrass Inn.
The band it turns out was Heath Haynes and the Four Ballers. Actually more about Heath Haynes on bassist Aaron Oliva’s website than his own. Guitarist Rich Gilbert has his own myspace too. Apparently when not entertaining the punters with covers, they perform originals as Heath Haynes and the Cryin’ Shames. Must look out for them.
And, that annoyingly catchy riff and chorus that everybody – inlcuding Heath Haynes – seems to cover in these parts was Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun”.
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