Ljungberg presents his new uniform
Photo © Joe Armand
apologise for being late with this article. The press
conference and big announcement was Tuesday and we thought
it wise to delay the article rather than write a piece about
some other matter when the rest of the footballing world has
been talking about this. As I’m sure have you.
has signed on a 2 year contract worth $2.5m, making him the
third highest paid player in Major League Soccer behind LA’s
David Beckham and Chicago Fire’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
That Sounders FC now have one of the top earners in MLS
underlines their commitment, both financial and footballing,
to making Seattle the ‘epicenter of football in
North America’ according
to Tod Leiweke CEO of Vulcan Sports and
Entertainment, owners of the Seattle Seahawks and one of the
minority shareholders of the club.
reaction has not been overwhelmingly supportive. Tom Bryant
writing in the Manchester Guardian said “Meanwhile, with
£6m of West Ham's money filling out the front of his kecks,
Freddie Ljungberg will be taking his chiselled pecs,
undercrackers and wonky knees off to
Sounders in order to replace David Beckham as the American
player of choice.”
other comparisons to David Beckham whose LA Galaxy
failed to make the play-offs in a league where more than
half the teams qualify. The LA Times Graeme Jones wrote
“Some MLS fans are going to have a tough time telling
Ljungberg and David Beckham apart. Consider: Beckham plays
on the right wing. So does Ljungberg. Beckham wears his hair
cut very short. So does Ljungberg. Beckham is a male model.
So is Ljungberg. Beckham captained his national team. So did
Ljungberg. Beckham has never won a World Cup or a European
Championship. Neither has Ljungberg. Beckham is covered in
tatoos. Ljungberg also has one or two. Beckham has been
injury prone. So has Ljungberg.”
Seattle seem to care little what the English press say, least of all
Ljungberg himself. “Of course there will be mixed
reactions. I know how it works. When David (Beckham) went to
the MLS, and how the Europeans see the MLS that maybe the
league is not that great. I think that isn’t true. Now David
may be gone to
Milan for a
stop. I think in Europe we look at, if he can crack it in
still doing very well, and shows that MLS is a good level if
he can do that. Me personally, I’m coming here because I
want to play football, and I see this as a great experience.
I want to make this league better and develop it, like all
these guys here want to do as well. I’ve had three months to
think about my future a lot,”
he told a morning press conference.
in, Joe Roth Sounders FC Majority owner added
"This is not a gimmick. We don’t need anyone to come here to
sell tickets". Indeed he doesn’t. With 17,000 season
tickets already sold before Ljungberg’s arrival, Seattle has
more season ticket holders than most MLS clubs have fans.
And notwithstanding what Roth said, this acquisition cannot
do anything other than help.
in the game of football and even if people initially come to
the Sounders to look at Ljungberg, I sincerely believe they
will stay to watch the beautiful game”
that a bit of showbiz is a good thing and tend to disagree
with some of the more hardcore fans who don’t. I believe in
the game of football and even if people initially come to
the Sounders to look at Ljungberg, I sincerely believe they
will stay to watch the beautiful game because Sounders FC
will play it the beautiful way. In Gambian Sanna Nyassi,
they have one of the best raw talents I have seen for many
years and I believe he will capture the hearts of football
purist and football ‘tourist’ alike. Kasey Keller is
an American legend and his arrival checks off the box marked
‘get someone American sports fans have heard of’ on GM
Adrian Hanauer’s fabled checklist. Washington State
native Keller also plays to the local interest factor but he
still has a hunger to play, and play well in front of his
what’s left of our Sounders soccer sub-culture, Sébastien
Le Toux stands out for his previous service. Moreover,
anyone who sticks the ball in the back of the net like Seb
can will always have a cult status. Besides, he promised me
another interview after he scores his first MLS goal so he
has my totally impartial support! (Comme on dit à Québec
Seba, je me souviens).
reaction has been far better with even some initial doubters
being swung round by the way Ljungberg was presented. A
GOALSeattle.com opinion poll showed over 60% believing
he’ll be an immediate success. These guys are at the more
knowledgeable (and arguably more sceptical) end of the
Seattle soccer spectrum. Webmaster David Falk probably came
closest to summing up the prevailing view of his posters
when he said “Freddie is a calculated risk that has much
more chance of a payoff than some people are giving it
Some of you
may have noticed a lack of defenders so far. Well, in one of
Tuesday’s lighter moments, Roth revealed with a huge
Hollywood size grin on his face “If someone said to me
today, you’re playing next week .. honestly what I would say
is I need two defenders and we’re ready to go.” Part of
me believes he would say it too!
will soon begin as to who they might be, but current
Sounders players will have to wait till the next stage of
the MLS expansion draft on November 26 according to Hanauer.
The Sounders Front Office is remarkably patient, has a
process in mind, and my earlier reference to Hanauer having
a checklist is only partially in jest. I suspect ‘ignore
flak from the international media’ has just been checked off
that list with ‘get defenders’ up next.
late November at least Seattle is Freddie Town, and really
none of us will know whether this was a case of the Lake
Havasu authorities buying London Bridge thinking they were
getting Tower Bridge* or a piece of opportunistic brilliance
by the smartest of American entrepreneurs. It could turn out
to be either but is far more likely to be the latter.
However more depends on who the other 24 additions to the
roster are than on Ljungberg’s past. One thing I am sure
of, we don’t have a Beckham situation where Sounders FC will
delude themselves that one man can win championships.
Quality defenders will hopefully follow and the
effectiveness of those more than anything will deliver the
final verdict on Freddie’s signing.
then, let’s just enjoy the arrival of a world class name to
help build a world class football club, and let the English
press say what’s on their mind without worrying too much.
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popular myth that
was bought in the belief that it was, in fact,
more recognisable Tower Bridge has been repeatedly denied by
Ivan F Luckin, Chairman of the City of London Police and
London Councillor, who sold it in 1968, according to his
nephew Terry Bedford.