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Monday, 15 March 2010

Beckham Dead

David Beckham has died. He was 34. The cause of death was his Achilles tendon snapping at the San Siro, Milan. And with his untimely demise, England’s World Cup chances were also laid to rest. Oh no wait, Wayne Rooney is still alive right? No death blow dealt to his metatarsal this year? England’s World Cup chances resurrected once more; for this Lazarus moment we are thankful.

Putting the overexaggeration aside, we should look at Beckham’s injury for what it is – a slightly premature end to what has been an incredible career. Now watch and enjoy the wheels coming off the media circus that surrounds Beckham’s every move.

Ah, the media circus. It’s been the practice of many a journalist to try and avoid this David Beckham effect. ‘If you’ve picked up a paper today,’ they say, forgetting they’ve been published in one, ‘you’ll see Beckham splashed across the front AND back pages’. Then, giving a cursory nod to the ‘media hype’ (of which they are not a part, remember) and promising to add some perspective or focus purely on the football side of things, off they go.

I’m always quite surprised by this. It’s not newsworthy to comment that other people will be commenting ceaselessly in other newspapers. It’s hypocritical for journalists to be all sniffy about the ‘circus’ and what’s more, gentlemen, it’s extremely difficult to ride a high horse if you’re wearing oversized trousers and your face is covered in custard pie. If you don’t want to talk about him, you don’t have to, alright?

I am not ashamed to talk about what is a very sad day for a very popular bloke. It is. I like him and I feel really bad for him. End of.

Let it never be said that Beckham doesn’t embody all things English though. Having been almost a sure thing to make the World Cup squad, his body has fallen apart at the last minute, as it is prone to do when you’re a 34-year old professional footballer and you’ve been playing since you were a child. Likewise England, who looked sure to go to the World Cup and do ok, have seen the first eleven slowly disintegrate to the point where even Beckham with one leg still looks a viable option to have on the bench. He’d be more mobile than Heskey.

The mania whipped up on the back pages today got me thinking about the behemoth that is going to roll into town as we edge closer and closer to June 12th and England’s date with destiny (the USA) in Rustenburg. One half of me is excited. Very excited. Like a kid whose drunk too much Slush Puppy at a ball pool before being rendered useless by brain freeze.

The other half of me, the cynic, is dreading, and I mean DREADING the inevitable injury to Wayne Rooney and the accompanying interminable media hell that will follow. ‘Wazza injury watch’ on Sky Sports News. Alex Quinn and Simon Thomas presenting hours of footage of a red-faced, sweaty Rooney in plaster, hobbling from the team bus to a hotel. Like a shit Groundhog Day. The Sun issuing free prayer mats so we can kiss his quad / calf / inner thigh and ‘get our Wayne fit to win us the World Cup’. Psychologists, psychiatrists, sports physicians, osteopaths, chiropodists, a whole host of reputable individuals and Uri Geller on GMTV, urging the nation to beam their good wishes to him through a spoon, all so we (and Wayne) can sit helplessly at home and watch England fail to win any group games and get knocked out in the quarters by Lionel Messi.

"Touch this boot. Or my face. I don't mind which."

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