By Mary Buckheit
Page 2

Editor's Note: After Thursday's blockbuster deal that sent David Beckham and his spicy wife, Victoria, to the City of Angels, Page 2 sent its own Posh Spice, Mary Buckheit -- 90012 resident -- out into her 'hood to see if anybody cares about the newest pretty face on the local pitch.

Venice (bodybuilding beach city)
At the laundromat, Mary sees a guy in three-stripe adidas tear-away pants and thinks, "soccer fan." Turns out she was right …

Mary: "Hey bud, you know David Beckham?"

Fortysomething Polyester Pant Man: "Yeah. He's on his way over here, right? He's perfect for this city -- pretty and gentle. He's like a really expensive fabric softener. He smells good and takes out all the toughness."

David and Victoria Beckham
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Do these two look ready for L.A., or what?

Los Angeles (downtown)
At an ARCO gas station, Mary is filling up her tank when she spots a possibly soccer-friendly gent (a young, Honda Civic-driving, shaggy blond thirtysomething) …

Mary: "Hey you at Pump 2, what do you think about David Beckham coming to the Galaxy?"

Pump 2 Guy: "Well, it makes total sense. The MLS is a perfect high-class retirement home for a has-been European soccer star."

West Hollywood (gay L.A.)
In the neighborhood where nearly everything on two legs is gayer than a picnic basket, the ladies love sports and Spice Girls while the fellas fawn over Becks. It's almost too easy …

Christopher: "If anything could get me to watch sports it's David Beckham. Finally, I'll be able to connect with my father! Spice Boy is reuniting American families in his first day on the job!"

Jaime: "I'm a lesbian and I am wholly in love with David Beckham. The man is so pretty he could turn me around."

Becky: "Soccer, shmoccer. Or should I say futbol, shmoot-ball? The greatest thing about David Beckham moving to L.A. is that the chance of seeing his little Posh Spice rack on the street has been increased exponentially. I, for one, am all for it."

The South Bay (moneyed southern peninsula of the county)
Mary places a phone call to her half-ass college soccer-playing friend, a longtime Manchester United fan …

Trey: "Putting a little Backstreet Boy into MLS is only going to make Americans pay attention to soccer for as long as it takes for a frat boy to download a Paris Hilton crotch shot. That is, people will pay attention to his red carpet appearances and can-be-expected reality series "Meet the Beckhams," but [his] on-field performance will go unnoticed. Bottom line -- there will be a huge hit in MLS press coverage, but after the season starts everyone in America will go back to believing soccer is a communist sport. Honestly, I would much rather Vinnie Jones [Bullet Tooth Tony from "Snatch"] come back to the game. That guy could play."

San Diego (biggest city south of the Home Depot Center)
Mary places a phone call to her American football-loving friend 125 miles down the 405 to ask if Southern California has any reason to care about soccer …

Amy: "No. Not at the moment. But that's the point, isn't it? If anyone can get us interested it's David Beckham and his wife."

Santa Monica (quintessential Pacific Coast town)
Just in time for happy hour, Mary heads for the Cock & Bull Pub, which is assumed to be the most O.G. British tavern in Los Angeles. Says CitySearch, "The longtime local favorite of soccer fans and expatriates boasts televisions which broadcast 'the match.' A small (underused) stage sits in front of a giant mural of John Lennon strumming his guitar. Drinkers pound Stella and Guinness by the pitcher and nosh on authentic pub grub like meat pies and fish and chips."

Dave, Ronnie and Dave McNally
Mary Buckheit/ESPN.com
The boys at the Cock & Bull Pub had plenty to say about Mr. Beckham.

Mary sidles up to three blokes sitting at the bar, including one American, and the English owner/bartender, Dave McNally:

Dave McNally: "Of course it's great for business. People will be in here wanting to see Beckham play and we'll put on the MLS, even though we never do. This is the first bar to offer Premier League soccer. We used to pump it in, 15 years ago, via satellite when you could only get one game per Saturday and the place would jump. Now, with television the way it is, I can watch more football here than you can in England. And the bar is packed. So, of course, people will come in here to watch the Galaxy now. And, you wait, after [Beckham's] done playing in the States, he'll probably take over this city. He'll own three restaurants and a bar. I'm telling you."

Ronnie: "I'm from Liverpool so, of course, I think the guy is a total wanker. No, but seriously, he was a great player at one time and he's only 31, he's not finished. But the MLS is really just a poor standard of soccer. At this point, it's all about merchandising. Still, every kid in California will be running around with Beckham on his back, won't they?"

Dave (originally from Boston; has lived 20 years in L.A.): "David Beckham will be in the Valley making porn in two years! Mark my words! And these guys can slam him and American soccer all they want, but they've been here 20 years and they still haven't assimilated. They're my best friends, but they're not watching baseball or NFL. If you walked into this bar during the NBA Finals, say -- Game 7, Lakers playing for the championship -- these guys would be watching VHS tapes of the FA Cup from 1963! No joke. That's how much they love soccer over there. Of course they are going to laugh at Beckham playing in America. You can't take this seriously. Our kids play soccer, but then they grow up, and our best athletes just don't go into soccer. That's a fact."

Paul, the third bloke at the bar who ran out of funds and/or liver functionality before the picture was taken, was the most vocal of the three. The scruffy, stocky Geordie with an accent as tough as his hard-working hands and a faded Union Jack ink rendition on his forearm lectured Mary about class structure, the bastards in Sunderland, and the magic of the pitch. His politics were so tightly enveloped in soccer, it was as if the present state of affairs were the ball's bladder. When Mary asked him what he thought about Becks' $250 million salary, he waxed emphatically …

Paul: It's [expletive] ridiculous. Absolutely [expletive] ridiculous. That's what's wrong with the world. [expletive] David Beckham getting millions of [expletive] dollars to play [expletive] soccer. But then, these days you get a [expletive] million dollars for finishing dead last in a golf tournament, too. [expletive] capitalism. That's the problem. I'm serious. I want communism back. … But Americans want goals and high scores. I'll tell you [expletive] what. The best football game I ever saw was a nothing-nothing draw. … And you know what else, when England won the Cup, we shouldn't have won it. Portugal was the best team. But we [expletive] won it all and we didn't get millions of dollars. In the World [expletive] Cup. That was a different time. People were playing football because they loved it and …

Ronnie: Hey Paul, how old were you when England won the Cup?

Paul: (wide-eyed and unwavering) Four.

Four hours and about as many pints later, Mary stops by the crowded Ye Olde King's Head (a legit British bar by the beach) on her way home and nabs the following quotes from an L.A.-dwelling English couple.

Steve: "It's really too bad. Becks is much too good of a footballer to come over and play soccer."

Ms. Sidney: "I adore David! I would love to have him on the telly … if only I could put him on mute."

Mary Buckheit is a Page 2 columnist who can be reached at marybuckheit@hotmail.com. She shares an OCD condition with David and knows every lyric to "Wannabe," which she believes confirms her Beckham destiny.




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