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3.8 out of 5 stars6
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 2010
I have to confess that I don't read many sports books - and those I do read tend to be biographies of cricket/rugby players, with a sprinkling of football books thrown in. Those books don't tend to be anything special. But "The Beckham Experiment" has to be hands down the best sports book I've read. Not only is it about Beckham the football player, but it is also about Beckham the brand - a combination of sports and business. This had the potential to be off putting for a sports fan, but the author has done a fantastic job of combining these two elements of the Beckham Experiment, writing a readily accessible and enjoyable read of Beckham's ill fated dabble in the MLS.

Beckham's move to the US was always going to be either a spectacular success or a spectacular failure, and quite clearly by mid 2009 it is the latter. I can't claim to be a devoted follower of football, but I was certainly aware of Beckham's move to the Galaxy. But until I read this book, I had no real knowledge of the MLS - Wahl has done a good job of introducing the workings of the MLS without impacting on the pace of the story. There is also consideration given to the politics and business decisions that can be involved in the running of a football club. The involvement of big business (AEG) in Beckham's shift to the Galaxy is not surprising - but the degree of manipulation and control over the management of the team is quite astonishing. Right from the start, it is readily apparent that signing with the Galaxy also represented a skillful business move by Beckham and his advisers.

Wahl has delved deep into the personalities in the team in the course of preparing this book, and has done a warts and all expose. There is some fingerpointing here - but Wahl is reasonable in his criticism, and puts a good case forward as to why just about everyone needs to take some responsibility for the fiasco that resulted during the LA Galaxy's campaign in the 2007 and particularly the 2008 season. One of the most surprising relevations from the book is Ruud Gullit's performance as a coach. I was astonished that he appears to have little idea what he was doing, and was unable to adjust to the US scene. I felt some sympathy for the players - I guess I fell victim to the general perception that as professional sportsmen in a first world country, they would be well paid, which as it transpires is not the case for the majority of the players. This is one of the highlights of the book - the perspectives of some of the lesser lights in the team on Beckham, and the impact he had on the team.

This book has everything going for it - a superstar football player, a team falling apart, outspoken former associates of the team, all skillfully put together in a totally enjoyable - and easy (I read this in the course of a weekend) - read. Easily the best sports book I've ever read, and probably one of the best books of the year for me. Recommended to anyone interested in football, learning about the MLS, and the global phenomenon that is David Beckham.
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on 29 December 2012
Excellent read from Mr Wahl, which I steamed through in under three days to read.

I'm not much up on MLS at all, although I have a bit of knowledge of Beckham's run at Galaxy. Either way, it doesn't really matter as Grant makes this very accessible, explaining everything that needs to be known to properly understand what he is trying to put across. Even what you might think might be quite turgid details of Beckham's management team/company he navigates very well.

All in all an excellent, behind the scenes look at (predominantly) the first 18 months of Beckham's run at LA Galaxy. There's history covered throughout too, and the book (with the benefit of a bonus chapter) does cover to the end of the 2010 season, but much of the detail is within the first 18 months of him arriving.

If you've got any interest in Beckham I would recommend this. Along with being incredibly well written it's a really interesting story.
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on 6 October 2012
Well written book that covers what it's like to be a typical MLS player amongst the Beckham circus. From the goalkeeper on $12,000 struggling to make ends meat to the multi millionaire players. Great behind the scenes access. Great read and well written
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on 4 September 2015
A decent read, especially if you remember the run up to the move to LA. Good to get the inside story on some of the news items and get a feel for what it must be like to be Beckham, the good and the bad.
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on 9 November 2009
I very much enjoyed reading this book, it gives a great insight into the MLS and how Beckham's arrival affected it. It does not focus too much on Beckham's celebrity, mentioning it and how it affected his relationship with the media and his teammates but it very much focused on the football side of Beckham. The most interesting parts however were not about Beckham but how many of the "lesser" players struggle to get by, earning minimal wages and often forced to take a second job to pursue their passion. An informative and entertaining read that I highly recommend to all football fans.
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on 15 February 2013
What a hugely obnoxious and rather bland book. There is no tried. He did. He leveraged his football career into superstarddom in america making him a very successful model, shoe designer, perfume creater the list is endless.

There are many better books on Beckham than this, My world and VII being the top top for quantity quality and intensity of there scope of understanding of who why and how david beckham is successfull.

This is just another writer making gossip into a book.
Destined for the bargain bin like so many other books which a vague knowledge of a celebrity they've never known.
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