Soccer: Phoenix keen on Beckham

By Michael Brown

David Beckham. Photo / AP
David Beckham. Photo / AP

He has played in Wellington once before and the Phoenix are investigating whether David Beckham might be keen again after expressing interest in luring the global phenomenon and sometime footballer to play in the capital.

Football Federation Australia indicated last week they were keen on enticing Beckham to play a guest stint in the A-League. While Beckham seemed to pour cold water on the idea when he said it was news to him, the idea is not so fanciful now the 37-year-old has indicated next month's MLS Cup final will be his last for the LA Galaxy after six years playing in the US.

"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy,'' Beckham said in a statement. "However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.''

The FFA will hope that's in the A-League. They recently contacted all 10 clubs to see who was interested in Beckham and Phoenix chief executive David Dome reported back that they were keen to pursue the idea. The FFA will approach Beckham's people on the clubs' behalf.

"If there's some interest from the Beckham camp, the FFA will work with the clubs where the best fit will be,'' Dome said.

"We haven't ruled out going after any player anywhere. What we have ruled out is bringing in a marquee for the sake of it.''

Beckham won't come cheaply but a guest stint would make him more affordable. Former Italy striker Alessandro Del Piero has joined Sydney FC for reportedly A$2 million for two seasons, although he also has a number of add-ons to supplement his wage.

The chances of Beckham coming to Wellington appear slim but there's little doubt he would put bums on seats.

Westpac Stadium sold out in 2007 when his LA Galaxy played the Phoenix and Wellington are attracting considerably fewer fans than the 10,000 needed for the club to break even. More than 12,000 turned up for the season opener against Del Piero's Sydney but crowds have dwindled since and only 6568 turned out for the recent 1-0 defeat to Central Coast.

"We are extremely concerned,'' Dome said. "There's no doubt the crowds outside the first game with Del Piero have been poor. It's not sustainable. At the moment, Wellington is saying to us that football in the capital is not a sustainable business model.

"If it means playing away from Wellington, we will look at it. If it means more money to buy players, we will do that. It's all up for grabs.''

So, it seems, is David Beckham.

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