Goalkeeper Joe Cannon, one of the most personable men ever to pull on a Galaxy uniform, regaled Vancouver-based tabloid The Province this week with tales of his brief time in L.A.
Cannon, now with the Vancouver Whitecaps, spent the 2007 season with the Galaxy, starting 29 of 30 MLS matches under Frank Yallop, who was dismissed as coach following a weird and disappointing 9-14-7 campaign.
Of course, it was 2007 that the “circus” came to L.A., with David Beckham arriving in July.
“We were so good, but there was just a lot of inner squabbling between guys that had been in L.A. and guys coming in,” Cannon said. “It was a tough year. The pressure just mounted because the league backlogged our schedule so everyone could see Beckham at the end. There was just a huge pressure about that whole situation. It was a different MLS experience than you'll ever get.”
Life on the road also was unlike anything else in MLS, with parties and paparazzi.
“It was crazy,” Cannon said. “We were flying charter. We went first-class to Australia [after the season, with Ruud Gullit as coach]. I remember in Toronto, we were at the Supper Club, and -- I've never seen it before -- we had a VIP section roped off for us, and guys were just pointing at women: 'She can come up, she can come up.'
“I was flabbergasted. Growing up as a shy kid, I was in awe of the whole thing.”
Beckham's relationship with the club and his teammates certainly has evolved, and things are more low-key these days. Part of that, and the Galaxy's success the last two seasons, stems from the publication of Grant Wahl's fine The Beckham Experiment, which detailed the Galaxy's struggles during the 2008 season and included some frank criticism of Beckham by Landon Donovan. The book led to heart-to-heart talks -- and a stronger relationship in the locker room and on the field -- between the superstars.
“I haven't read it,” said Cannon, who was traded to the reassembled San Jose Earthquakes, under Yallop, in January 2008. “I'm close with Landon. I think what happened is Landon really thought there were some things David could have done the team. In hindsight, it was 50/50. I think they understand each other's place now.
“David lives a life that's so unique, and back then I didn't understand it. It was just a distraction, and it made the divide in the team even greater when he came. But the situation was over the heads of the people involved. No one could be ready for that kind of storm. Now they deal with it much better.”