Los Angeles Soccer: Jamie Redknapp
David Beckham's practice stint with Tottenham wasn't the first time the Galaxy and Spurs have worked together. And apparently it won't be last: the clubs are planning a partnership, L.A.'s ownership's president told reporters in England.
Anschutz Entertainment Group president Tim Leiweke, who is involved in Spurs' bid to play in the London 2012 Olympic stadium after the Games, said the teams were forming a strategic partnership which could include player movement between the clubs.
“We have an existing relationship now with Tottenham, where we are beginning to think outside the box on football and how we do things together on football,” Leiweke said in a conference call with English media. “Whether that's David Beckham training [with Spurs] or maybe players from Tottenham coming to the Galaxy, [or the clubs] playing games against each other.
“Strategically, you'll see more of an alliance between us and Tottenham.”
Leiweke says Beckham, who has trained with Tottenham since Jan. 10 and is slated to return to the Galaxy on Feb. 24, was encouraged to go to the north London club because of L.A.'s relationship with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. Beckham earlier said he looked into training with Spurs, and a potential loan deal, after running into former England national-teamer Jamie Redknapp -- Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp's son -- while Christmas shopping.
“There are other examples of conversations we've had with Daniel in how to take that kind of cooperation and now extend it to our team in the United States,” Leiweke said. “You are going to hear more about that in the future, but part of what has been created here is a strategic alliance between AEG and Tottenham on thinking about how we can be involved in Tottenham the football club.”
DEMA DONE? Ukrainian midfielder Dema Kovalenko, who played a huge role in the Galaxy's victory over Seattle in the first round of last year's playoffs but saw the option on his contract declined in December, has told Russian newspaper Gazeta he has retired.
“I feel that my body can no longer withstand the load,” he said. “Very sore Achilles' tendon, back. Even last year I missed most of the season because of injury. I not so much played as tormented. …
“In the end, the Galaxy asked me to extend my contract on terms that are unacceptable to me. Roughly speaking, the money I would earn would be enough only for rental housing, meals and gasoline. I thought: Why kill yourself and risk your health? … It is better to quit and look for a different occupation.”
Kovalenko, 33, said he wanted to treat health-related issues, maybe in Israel or Ukraine, and that “perhaps my health after treatment and rest will improve so much so that I am pulled back on the field.”
Will David Beckham be in England by the next week?
Silly question. Beckham has been in England the past month, but reports from over there say the Galaxy is willing to deal.
And perhaps the most substantial word on the subject comes from a report in The Sun, which claims Beckham and his wife, Victoria, have enrolled their sons Brooklyn, 11, Romeo, 8, and Cruz, 5, into a private school near their Beckingham Palace mansion in London.
The Sun says the boys will start classes Thursday.
The Beckhams live in Beverly Hills, but Victoria -- the former “Posh Spice” from the 1990s pop group Spice Girls -- wants to be in London for the run-up to next month's “Fashion Week,” the tabloid reports.
Beckham has been linked most closely with Tottenham Hotspur, the north London club his maternal grandfather cheered on, and Sky Sports, citing “Sky Sports News sources,” reported Wednesday that L.A. would consider a loan “only if their terms are agreed” -- and those terms, the broadcaster's Web site says, are financial.
There are now 14 teams, most in England, that have signaled an interest in taking Beckham on a short-term loan, with Tottenham, Blackburn and Newcastle United making the strongest statements of desire.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who has been the most vocal suitor, told reporters Wednesday that a deal must be struck quickly. Spurs played the first of 11 games through March 11 on Wednesday, and “it can't go on too long, because otherwise it would be a waste of time ...,” Redknapp said. “It's dragged on a bit, and [the Galaxy] might not let him go. It's 50-50. We need to know, really.”
The Sun says the Tottenham possibility opened when Beckham was Christmas shopping in Harrods in London and ran into Jamie Redknapp, a former English national-teamer and Harry's son.
"David spoke to my son, and that's how it all came about,” Harry Redknapp said, according to the newspaper. “He told Jamie, 'I'd fancy playing for Tottenham -- I like the way they play.' ”
Beckham is seeking a two-month loan deal, which would enable him to report to the Galaxy before the Major League Soccer opener on March 15. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's only public statement on the matter has been that the 35-year-old midfielder is expected to be in camp when preseason training begins later this month.