I didn’t think anything would prompt me to write about the Olympics. I am making a brief exception
I just wanted to remark upon the absence of David Beckham for the team GB football squad.
David Beckham should be in the squad.
Not because he has done so much to ensure London won the Olympic bid, though that is reason enough. The argument that Seb Coe should therefore be allowed to race in the 1500 metres is a shallow one.
Seb hasn’t raced professionally for decades. David Beckham is still playing football.
It is also a nonsense to call the American league an equivalent of pub football. There are some good players plying their trade in the USA, including players who perform the rest of the year in the Premier League.
This team GB Olympic football squad is a contrived one. This is not a team that will continue. It has been specially created for the London Olympics. So why not contrive a place for a man who will sell tickets? Great Britain will not win the football gold medal. No chance. Not with the likes of Brazil and Spain competing. So the presence of Beckham is not going to make a difference to the chances of glory.
David Beckham still has a sweet right foot. He can still cross the ball better than many a player in this GB squad or, come to that, the England national team. I’d rather have David Beckham crossing the ball than James Milner.
And Beckham can still take a more deadly free kick than anyone who will be playing for team GB at the Olympics.
Have him in the squad. Sure, he won’t play 90 minutes, but he would be a good impact player. Coming on as a substitute. Or taking penalties if it comes to that.
Three over aged players can be picked for this squad. Micah Richards is one. Craig Bellamy is another and Beckham’s former Man Utd colleague, Ryan Giggs is the other.
The last two are Welsh. And yet the Welsh Football Association wanted nothing to do with the team GB football idea. They didn’t want to be part of anything GB at the Olympics. So why pick Giggs and Bellamy?
The sad truth is that this decision has everything to do with the co-manager of the team Stuart Pearce sticking two fingers up at the Football Association. He has been removed from the England coaching team and been replaced by David Beckham’s best friend, Gary Neville.
Pearce had been manager of the England under 21 team and, briefly, caretaker manager of the full squad prior to the appointment of Roy Hodgson.
Pearce, who won few friends when employed in either role, is miffed at being sidelined in this way. He is also one of those former players who got fed up with so called “brand Beckham” when David was a permanent fixture in the full England squad.
True, there was a time – the Sven Goran Eriksson years – when Beckham was not playing well enough to be in the England team. Eriksson protected him too much. Blame Sven, not David for that. The FA wanted Beckham to play for England for as long as possible. He sells shirts. He sells tickets. He sells everything.
He should be competing at the Olympics for that reason alone. Surely is that not part of what this massive waste of money is all about? Should not every effort be made to claw back every pound possible from an event that Londoners will still be paying for long after I or David Beckham are playing football in heaven?
David Beckham would have put bums on seats. He passionately wanted to play for team GB at the Olympics. It was his last great ambition. I think he should be there for the football ability he still has.
But Becks should have been allowed to call himself an Olympian for all manner of reasons.
Not least all he has done to promote English football, the country of England as a whole and these Olympics.
We often bemoan not having good sporting role models. We often cry out for an ambassador for English football. Well we have one. And this is how we treat him.
Short sighted would be the politest words i could use about this very wrong decision.