Start the New Year with a Becks.

3 01 2011

This is what you paid to see!

There are always those who can transcend the shackles of their celebrity and ensure that they are known throughout the world.

Bono ( talented singer, good bloke to talk to about poverty), Madonna (musical chameleon, adoption advice), Steven Spielberg (makes movies, good guy to have mentioned in the credits), , Mohamed Ali (greatest boxer ever, possibly should have retired earlier), Angelina Jolie (actress, prepared to do own stunts), Tom Cruise (see Angelina Jolie), Bill Gates (quite good with computers), Michael Moore (really good at annoying people), Paris Hilton (knows some good restaurants/nightclubs).

These are not just A-List Celebrities. They are Uber-Celebs, famous beyond the realm of more mortals and probably unable to pop out for a pint of milk without it triggering a feeding frenzy of flashbulbs.

In sports, there are also those who are not just athletes any more.

Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, Ronaldinho, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O’Neal, Wayne Rooney, The Williams Sisters. All famous for reasons other than being talented sportspersons.

And then there is David Beckham.

Born in London, played for Manchester United, married a Spice Girl, had some kids whose names reflected their place of conception, moved to Real Madrid and then was offered a silly amount of money to come to America and give Major League Soccer the celebrity status it thought it deserved. Becks was to be the poster boy for a franchise that many who love the beautiful game would rank somewhere between the Turkish and Australian professional leagues. Not even Serie C (Italian), nowhere near Premiership (England) and possibly equal to J-League (Japan).

Anyone got the number for Magic Johnson?

But Beckham is known worldwide. You can buy shirts with his name on in New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Spain and England. You can even buy it in New York and Boston.

Despite the fact that he plays for LA Galaxy.

Becks is now 35, has more money than he knows what to do with and is convinced that he could still perform on the international stage with England – provided that he can retain his fitness and that Posh Spice isn’t feeling broody again.

For the last two seasons he has spent the MLS off-season in Milan, bringing his skills to an Italian audience and returning to LA just in time to become injured.

But apparently he wants to spend time in England and there are a number of Premiership teams eager to get his signature on paper and start selling shirts.

Tottenham Hotspur, my beloved club, are one of them.

According to Harry Redknapp (Manager, always known as a bit of wheeler & dealer), “David fancies it. He’s a fantastic lad and role model in the way he conducts himself and plays. He’d be a great influence on the younger players.

It would mean that he would swap the sunshine of LA for the glamor of North London. In January.

But Redknapp is confident that Becks – who actually used to train with Spurs up until he signed for Man Utd at 16 – isn’t coming here for some extra pocket-money and believes that “He isn’t going to come here and get big money – we aren’t massive payers at this club. But he wants to come over here to the freezing cold and play football. Doesn’t that tell you something about the boy that he lives in Los Angeles and might be a billionaire?

What it tells me is that some sports persons don’t know when their sell-by date is passed.

Brett Favre has just decided to call it a day (presumably because his record for consecutive starts is now ended), Mike Tyson has discovered that small cameos in movies is more fun than appearing at wrestling matches and Shaq is making sure that his legacy ends with a paycheck in Boston.

David Beckham was a supremely talented footballer, has 115 appearances for England and was a wonderful crosser of the ball. He was one of the best players in the world and ten years ago, I would have loved to see him playing for Tottenham.

But not now, we don’t need him.

Do you know who does need him? His club in LA – the ones who pay his wages, the ones who brought him to MLS because they believed that he would be the right role model to kick-start soccer in the USA, the ones who will be anxiously counting down the days until his return and hoping that he doesn’t get injured AGAIN!

And America needs David Beckham, it needs to know that foreign soccer stars aren’t just coming here for an easy last payout before dribbling into the sunset. America doesn’t need another NASL.

Time for Becks to just be content with what he has on this side of the pond. And I am confident that Posh will make sure that he makes the right decision.




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