Brand Beckham throws down gauntlet to Fabio


Yeah, there’s really nothing like journalistic priorities. Have you ever switched on GMTV on the morning after the Oscars, and wondered, amid all the discussion of Keira Knightley’s dress, who actually won a bloody Oscar? It really is a bit much when this sort of thing starts cropping up on the BBC evening news.

We’ve seen a little of this with Sarko’s state visit. Okay, so Mrs Sarko does bring a touch of glamour to the occasion. As a talking point, I take it. But it’s almost been a running commentary on what Mrs Sarko has been wearing, with a little aside to the effect that, oh yes, Sarko made a speech.

Which brings me to the fitba the other night. Yes, the France match was only a friendly. Yes, it was Brand Beckham’s hundredth cap. Fair enough. But…

The reporter mentions that it’s Beckham’s hundredth cap. Cue VT of fans exclaiming how happy they are that Beckham got his hundredth cap.

The reporter mentions that Beckham was on the pitch for 67 minutes. Cue some VT of Beckham coming into contact with the ball.

The reporter talks about how happy Beckham was to get to a hundred. Cue VT of Beckham saying how happy he was to get to a hundred.

In conclusion – and this is into the fourth minute of the report – the reporter says, “By the way, France won one-nil. Back to the studio.”

As it happens, this is of some significance in that it’s an early wobble from the promised authoritarian Fabio regime. Beckham, you’ll have noted, threatened to go on for a few more years. This, what we might term the Beckham Doctrine, seems to posit that a sufficiently marketable player has the God-given right to represent his country regardless of fitness or form. Talk about a gauntlet being thrown down to Fabio.

There was also an interesting point made by a caller from Liverpool on talkSPORT, who asserted, against the protests of the host, that the sort of people who follow England are the sort of people who don’t follow clubs. The subtext was that people who turn out for England matches are, to a large extent, yuppies who don’t know frig all about football. This, in the caller’s view, was why they were so happy to see Brand Beckham on the pitch, and they were welcome to him.

Things start to come into a little focus now. I’ve been saying for ages that Beckham had long since ceased to be a footballer, as opposed to a male model who occasionally plays a little football. Certainly, his action in taking a ridiculous amount of money to go to Hollywood and play for a pub team suggests that he’s effectively retired from serious football.

And yet he still wants to play for England. But then, who said that was serious football?


  1. charliemarks said,

    March 29, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I like that you take the opportunity to include a picture of the wrong Fabio every time you talk about the England team…

    You’d never guess from the coverage (that I’ve seen!) of the Sarko visit that he’s the most unpopular french prez in modern times…

  2. mastershake said,

    March 29, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Conspiracy theory alert, but i reckon Fabio knew exactly what he was doing in making the match a Beckham circus. He knew he was unlikely to get a great performance from his team, against a much better side, so late in the premier league season. So he makes the game about Beckham and nobody really minds about the dullness of the match and the relative lack of progress. result!

    Eventually he is going to have to persuade english fans of the truth – that international football is almost always boring.

    Oh and Charlie, I completely agree about Sarko’s visit. Feels like he’s already pitching himself for post-Presidency jobs, Blair style.

  3. andyinswindon said,

    March 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I’m not sure why Splity uses this photo of me though


  4. Martin Wisse said,

    March 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Amazing what they can do with photoshop.

  5. ejh said,

    April 10, 2008 at 10:00 am

    The subtext was that people who turn out for England matches are, to a large extent, yuppies who don’t know frig all about football.

    Ah, this might apply a little to home games I suppose. Where away games are concerned, it’s about as wrong as wrong can be. I doubt there’s any national team whose away support is drawn so much from people who go to club matches. Look at the flags for God’s sake.

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