Posts tagged david beckham
Posts tagged david beckham
“John Terry: it never ends for that man.” That was one England fan’s viewpoint on the latest episode in the current miniseries of the John Terry debacle that typifies the fiascos that have ghosted his career. The quote appears somewhat sympathetic to the dethroned ex-England skipper, but it is not: it’s a polite euphemism - highlighting his knack for being in the wrong place or saying/doing the wrong thing at the wrong time - which the Chelsea captain doesn’t deserve.
If he did, which I don’t think he does, deserve any co-operation and support from footballing’s governing bodies, he didn’t get it: typical of the F.A., inconsistency and inefficiency was on display again. While Luis Suarez received an eight-match ban for his racist abuse of Patrice Evra, John Terry had his case passed onto the Crown Prosecution Service: but why? How can two similar acts be treated vastly different?
Secondly, the F.A have now, unintentionally I am assured, cast a moody and delicate backlight to England’s preparation for and participation in the European Championships 2012 by removing John Terry as the captain of The Three Lions as a result of his case not being heard until after the competition. It was inevitable and necessary to remove Terry from his position, but it could have been better dealt with considering the F.A’s initial tacit support for the centre-back, with him making the squad for November’s friendlies with European and World Champions Spain, and Sweden days later in which John Terry captained the side having been an unused substitute in the 1-0 win over Spain.
If, like Rodney Hinds suggests in The Guardian, Luis Suarez’s ban had restored English football’s credibility, then the management of the John Terry case and the sub story of England’s captaincy has partly undone that, as the rest of Europe look on and yet again wonder why we place such importance on it: a sentiment echoed by Fabio Capello.
However, we do and a new captain must be instated and the decision must be carefully considered: but who stands a chance of wearing the elastic strapping round their bicep, providing a vocal presence and leading by example?
Steven Gerrard – The Obvious Choice
The Liverpool captain is a natural leader: he leads by example on the pitch and has been an ever-present in the England squad under four different managers since his debut in 2000 under Kevin Keegan, whilst in the Premier League, he captains Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool side.
Having captained England in their last major tournament, South Africa’s World Cup 2010, and leading The Three Lions out for the beginning of their qualifying campaign for this summer’s European Championship, Gerrard is the obvious choice.
However, he’s often been overlooked for senior positions within the England hierarchy: but with Rio Ferdinand ruling himself out of the captaincy, Steven Gerrard has become the obvious choice pitted against an out of favour Frank Lampard as the most experienced players in the England camp.
Ultimately, some may see the Liverpool captain as a regressive step for England as there is no guarantee that he will start this summer. Whilst, he unquestionably has the drive, commitment and direction to make a sufficient captain, it would be a temporary solution to a long term problem: at 31 and with England undergoing a transition, with numerous talented youngsters on the verge of regular starting positions, it is unlikely that the scouser will be in the 2014 World Cup team and the captaincy could be better appointed to a player that will be in the foundations of the side over the next decade. However, with Capello set to leave after the Euros, a new manager will have the ability to state a new captain anyway and no one would begrudge him so: Gerrard is the obvious choice this summer.
Joe Hart – The Choice of Potential
With Joe Hart in the side, England are unbeaten: yet, frustratingly for most England fans, the 24-year old shot stopper didn’t play in South Africa. Since then he has grasped his chance with both gloved hands, building on the three substitute appearances he had prior to the World Cup.
With his 6’5 figure filling the England goal, The Three Lions are yet to lose and he was one of only two players to feature in every game of 2011, guaranteeing himself, bar injury, the #1 jersey for Poland & Ukraine. Furthermore he is the only player to go 14 games unbeaten for England since ’96. In 9 starts in 2011, Hart conceded just six times: his goalkeeping exploits surely warrants responsibility and inspiration from the back can only channel positivity forward to the front.
In giving the captaincy to someone young, yet established, that will be in the team for years to come, yet already with experience and someone likeable and professional, yet as talented and determined on the pitch, is forward thinking; and with Gerrard, Ferdinand, Lampard and Cole all expected to be in the Euro squad, the presence and voice of experience will still be felt and heard.
He is assured a place in an England side that has few guaranteed starters nowadays and so far, the media has been kind to Hart – something England captains are rarely benefactors of. Whilst some outdated sceptics would err on the side of caution giving the captaincy to a ‘keeper, Joe Hart has the longevity needed for stability and is the choice of potential.
Wayne Rooney – The Choice of Naivety
Picking Wayne Rooney would prove: England never learns from history, at least in footballing terms; the same mistakes will be made again and that football still rates practical authority (authority through status), over theoretical authority (authority through expertise). Appointing Wayne Rooney as captain would not surprise me: appointing him as captain would be typical of England and would fail to address the problems we have had with captains since David Beckham led the nation with pride, passion and professionalism on and off the pitch.
However, as always with the English footballing fraternity of fans, a methodology of working in extremes is at play: for every fan that would deem it wise and a curb on Rooney’s behaviour if he was appointed, there is another that declares he is not even worthy of a place in the England side and should be cast aside with the other players considered dead weight – Gerrard, Lampard and Cole - by fans with clearly no appreciation of skill and talent and a lack of realisation that chemistry is built over time with consistency – something England have lacked.
The case with Rooney is that his talent is tarnished by his petulance and responsibility cannot fall into dirty hands. Yet, there is still time for Rooney to change as a player, like Joey Barton has done, and now performs his role as captain for Q.P.R. expertly.
As it stands, Rooney is our most talented striker and when he is at his best, he competes with the finest players in the world for individual talent: appointing him captain could be the unnecessary burden that could tip him over the edge on a more frequent basis than he is already inclined to do. It could, however, curtail his petulance. The ban has already effectively ruled him out of candidacy: however, Rooney remains the choice of naivety.
Frustratingly, if you’re a football fan, a football player or involved in football in any way at any level, you can expect to be sniggered at and have your intelligence questioned: the game is seen as the game of idiots, and it is no surprise considering what some players get up to and the level of intellect they display on and off the pitch.
When asked if he was volatile, David Beckham chose to reply with, “well, I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side,” in a sheer display of ignorance over temper and flexibility; David O’Leary accurately described his childhood as so, “I was a young lad when I was growing up,” clearing up any concerns that O’Leary may have been a real life Benjamin Button; and a former England manager proved everyone wrong, concerning England not learning from the past, “ If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing.” Take a bow, Terry Venables. Hardly inspiring, is it?
Then, you have the scenarios that happen off the pitch, away from the interviewer and in the private lives of these seemingly unintelligent human beings: the same man who stated that, “Argentina are the second best team in the world, and there’s no higher praise than that,” ruled himself out for a month by getting his toe stuck in a bath tap (he then went on to manage Newcastle and England, to name a couple – yes, Kevin Keegan); Real Madrid right-back Sergio Ramos dropped the Copa Del Rey under the tour bus, as it weaved the roads of Madrid; and of course, our Premier League madcap maverick Mario Balotelli has done many a stupid thing off the pitch, including driving into a women’s prison out of curiosity.
When Oliver Holt, Mirror journalist, met Mark Hughes in 2008, then managing Blackburn Rovers, the now Q.P.R. boss made his viewpoint clear on the cause of idiocy among footballers: “They get too much way too soon,” he explained, citing the loss of hierarchy at a football club that sees respect for the first team, absent through the ranks. He puts this down to one simple thing: youth players no longer clean the boots of the first team – for him, this taught respect and reinforced the hierarchy.
However, there are footballers that should be highlighted for their achievements off the pitch, shown to the aspiring youngsters as an ideal role model and written about in the media; yet, graduate footballers are in the minority. Socrates, who died late last year, was a doctor of medicine and philosophy; Oliver Bierhoff, between scoring a goal every other game for Germany, gained a degree in Economics, as did Arsene Wenger and Steve Coppell; and Frank Lampard left the prestigious Brentwood School with 11 GCSEs including an A in Latin. There are others, but they’re either few and far between, or an interest is just not shown in educated footballers and it goes unreported.
Now in its 10th year, The Premier League Reading Stars scheme is underway for 2012 and Theo Walcott, Mark Schwarzer and Joey Barton are 3 of 20 Premier League footballers getting involved with the project, which aims to promote reading among children and families. Since it started, 11 Premier League footballers have acted as their club’s Reading Star and as part of their duty, they nominate their favourite children’s book and adult book, thus composing a 20 to 40-book shortlist for their local area, which is then supplied, free of cost, to their adopted local library.
The scheme, in partnership with the Football Foundation, the Premier League and the National Literacy Trust, which has the objectives of bringing literacy into the home, supporting the acquisition of literacy skills and using literacy as a lever for social mobility and social justice, has now gone online to widen its scope and now has aims to reach 30,000 more young people across the U.K, by the means of the podcasts they have. The podcasts, each roughly 5 minutes long, see the Premier League footballers involved read segments of books that are part of the scheme and an interactive quiz follows, engaging the children at home, with their heroes, through the means of literacy. It is a project well worth the investment, and to date, over 16,000 children and parents have participated.
Amongst the wide range of books chosen, varying from Meg and Mog to The Da Vinci Code to Operation Mincemeat to The Cat in the Hat, picked from the likes of Mike Williamson, Chris Smalling, David Fox and Owen Hargreaves, were some particular titles and authors that cropped up more than others. Roald Dahl occurred 7 times, picked by Tim Cahill and John O’Shea among others, JK Rowling saw three of her Harry Potter titles listed, amusingly Theo Walcott chose it as his adult’s book, and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was favoured by Owen Hargreaves and Stuart Holden.
In a clever, yet somewhat grandiose, move, Theo Walcott and Mark Schwarzer found some common ground: they both grasped the opportunity for some self-promotion. Whilst Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was the chosen bedtime reading for Theo Walcott, he recommended his own book, TJ and the Hat-trick, for the, marginally, younger audience. Similarly, Mark Schwarzer tipped Megs and the Vootball Kids in the direction of the kids, co-written by Schwarzer and Neil Montagnana-Wallace, and chose Destined to Live penned by Ruth Greuner for the adults.
Joey Barton, often credited - and I don’t know if it is in genuine irony or not – as an avid reader of Philosophy, due to his insightful Tweets that he pulls out in adverse moments, didn’t choose a predictable Wittgenstein, Plato or Nietzsche book as his favourite adult material, instead plumping for Dracula, authored by Bram Stoker. However, never fear, our favourite well-read Scouse still holds the Animal Farm author close to his heart, tweeting “hopefully [the F.A.] stop trying to be an Orwellian organisation and get to grips with the change that’s happening in the world around them,” in response to what the Q.P.R. midfielder described as his, “weekly warning letter from FA headquarters, this time regarding tweeting about predicting the weekends Manchester double.”
The F.A. issued a reply to Barton’s tweets: “He can treat our correspondence as he wishes. We’re not going to give any legs to his thoughts. He’s entitled to have an opinion,” making it perfectly clear the F.A. remains an organisation swathed in double standards and contradictions, in stating Joey Barton is entitled to his opinion, despite writing a letter to him over him having an opinion.
Let’s not allow it to distract from the real issue though: children reading books with their heroes; and I’m not talking about Josh McEachran reading Diego Maradona’s autobiography.
“I’m very proud of the time that I’ve spent with the Galaxy and it might continue.” These words, tentatively chosen and teasing in delivery, weren’t an admission that David Beckham has indeed had his head in the clouds for the past 5 years, it was the Peckham-born star saying, “I could stay, but I’d rather move and just in case no one wants me, I’ll make sure I don’t offend.” It turns out he chose to stay.
Yet, having flirted so dangerously with Paris St. Germain without getting in bed with the rich temptress, with PSG’s president stating they were, “a little disappointed,” being told by Warnock that he, “can’t see where Beckham is going to get into [QPR’s] team,” and, until today, stalling on contract negotiations at L.A Galaxy, the former England captain’s future was as uncertain as he is over the meaning of volatile: “Well, I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side,” he replied when quizzed on his volatility.
One thing that is certain is that Beckham is one of roughly 250-300 players formally asked by the F.A if they are willing to play for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games. However, his usefulness in the GB squad, likely to contain Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and S. Fletcher, will be determined by his footballing activity between now and then. Initial stalling between the MLS club and David Beckham may’ve arisen, undoubtedly further hindered by David flaunting his services at every major European club, due to the clash between the MLS season and the Olympic Games; however, it has emerged that the MLS Cup champions are willing to grant Beckham special dispensation for his Olympic dream, if it means tying him down to a further stint at the Los Angeles club. Indeed, this made David sign the dotted line; probably being shown where to sign I imagine.
Central to his decision to remain in America was his family; speaking in October, he stated, “I love it here and there is a real chance I will stay, especially if my family are happy.” Three months later and David Beckham has decided not to uproot his family that has grown and settled during his spell stateside. However, the MLS isn’t the only possible provider of future football for David Beckham, despite the fact that he is to remain in America for the foreseeable future.
In cricket, every year since 2008, India plays host to some of the greatest cricketers on the planet in the Indian Premier League. The Twenty20 tournament is contested by 10 franchises, similar to the concept David Beckham is growing familiar with and one he may grow even closer to if he chooses to purchase his own MLS franchise upon retirement. The franchises build their teams through player drafts and auctions prior to the competition and for 94 games of an ever-changing formatted tournament, the best – or at least the most famous – cricketers go head-to-head for the Indian Premier League. Now, it looks as if India is going to offer a similar prestigious league for its footballing counterparts.
Following the same starting steps as cricket, the first seven “icon” players for the eight-week, six-team league have been snapped up. One of the first icon players in the IPL’s opening season was Rahul Dravid, nicknamed “the wall” due to the style of play he adopts in which he plays the shot along the floor back to the bowler - $1m was the price paid to have this player in a T20 team. The “icon” players for India’s first franchised football league are: Robert Pires, Fabio Cannavaro, Fernando Morientes, Robbie Fowler, Hernan Crespo, Maniche and Jay-Jay Okocha.
The former Arsenal midfielder has indicated how the league will take a similar financial approach to the IPL, which sees the players paid a one-off fee at the beginning of the tournament, rather than a wage: “”If my club president likes me it could be 790,000 euros,” said Pires, “It’s a lot of money. I’m not going to complain about that, am I?”
The tournament, which embarks on its maiden season February 25th, looks set to make a similar start to the competition that preceded the IPL – the ICL. The ICL started by contracting a number of high-profile players towards the end of their careers, such as Brian Lara and Inzamam, to take part in a tournament with alike concepts. However, a year later, the much better funded IPL was created, which was able to attract better players by offering higher fees. Judging by the allotment of “icons” for the first football IPL, the project may take a similar path.
The company behind the idea, Celebrity Management Group, have specified that “every team will have $2.5m to spend in the first year.” With the average Premier League footballer earning £96,862.50 per month before bonuses and the unlikelihood that the IPL would ever be able to source such players due to club commitments and contracts anyway, it seems that the league’s main priority will be fundamentally improving the standards of Indian football, “[each team] will have a maximum of four foreigners and a compulsory six under-21 Indian players in their squad,” but attracting the necessary interest in such a project by headlining it with these “icon” players.
With little on offer when it comes to a high standard of football in India and a massive market eager to see a good quality of football in their country – 10 Barclay’s Premier League games are shown in India per game week – there is scope for the idea to really blossom; if managed correctly.
One player that would really signal a statement of intent for the project and a player that has already proven to be one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world is David Beckham. Although his involvement will not come around for the inaugural season, providing it goes well, Beckham could realistically be the jewel of the crown in a future edition of the novel, yet potentially lucrative (the cricket IPL is the second highest paying league in the world), venture.
Beckham has stated that he will, “know when to finish, but that’s not yet,” and with top European clubs obviously still willing to have him in their team, a couple of years may still be left in the former Galactico and Manchester United golden boy yet. He has stated his intention to remain in the MLS when his playing career is over, “I have the right to own an MLS franchise, which I will action immediately after I have stopped playing,” and with his family keeping him in America meanwhile, what better way of advertising his own venture, when he eventually takes up the option, and keeping his family happy too, than an eight-week lucrative stint in an Indian franchised league?
For David Beckham, this is surely the perfect final destination: a league that will appreciate the promotion his presence will bring, much like it did for the MLS; a league that offers franchises an 8-week 6-team competition, the perfect start for Beckham’s future personally owned franchise; and a league that, at essentially a cost of $2.5m to enter (in the form of the wage cap) offers Beckham a relatively cheap source of advertisement to a country that is one of the globe’s highest viewers of football, for the franchise that he will own.
Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/
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