THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

1 March ~ All red, white and blue-blooded English football fans last week must have been bloated with empathy at the latest dilemma faced by Fabio Capello’s perennial substitute field kicker, David Beckham. The lad and his ironically posh missus have got themselves an invite to the wedding of the century, only to discover that, what do you know, it clashes with the Major League Soccer season. Inconveniently, William Windsor’s marriage to Kate Middleton takes place on the same weekend that the Los Angeles Galaxy travel to Pizza Hut Park in Texas to take on FC Dallas. Now why did no one think about that earlier?

“It is a huge thing for our country to have a royal wedding,” said Beckham, continuing his lifelong quest to be the most-quoted individual in a future book entitled Things Your Grandma Said. “I am a big royal fan and have always loved the royal family.” Gawd bless him. Unfortunately, though, we will “have to wait and see” if he can go or not. Right now he’s “just concentrating on getting ready and having a good season”. If “good” sounds a little understated, it’s worth remembering that so far in MLS Beckham has played four seasons that at best would be described as unremarkable, so a “good” year would be a considerable upgrade.

The good news for the royally excited is that Becks will almost certainly be there. The wedding is on a Friday, but Dallas v LA doesn’t kick off until Sunday evening, so there’s more than enough time to be seen in London, offer his congratulations to the newly weds (“Victoria, the boys and myself would just like to wish you all the very best for the future”), then tear off his tux to reveal the pristine white of the Galaxy home shirt as he makes a dramatic cab ride to Heathrow.

Given that his team has so far been more than lenient in letting him bunk off to star for England’s bench, knacker himself for Milan, eat pie and mash with surly king ‘Arry Redknapp, and help England gloriously win hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup, they surely won’t care if he shows his brandsome face at a globally televised non-event. As someone at league HQ will almost certainly say: “It’s all good publicity for MLS.”

And they’d be right to let him go, because top players hobnobbing with the aristocracy makes perfect sense when you look at all the things they have in common. Neither the royals nor football players make any substantial contribution to the benefit of society, and yet both are hailed, revered and acclaimed on a regular basis as though they actually do. Both have hugely inflated opinions of their own importance, as well as scads more money than they need, but which they generally waste (although at least most football players pay tax). When they speak, they rarely say anything of depth, and give the impression that they belong to a world of self-entitlement entirely cut off from reality. In-breeding is fashionable in both circles. And finally, if Buckingham Palace was razed to the ground and the Premier League was abolished tomorrow, it’s arguable that for the vast majority of people life would continue much as before, possibly even for the better.

Unfortunately, Britain missed its historical opportunities to cut off the heads of the unjustifiably elite, so with regard to the aristocracy it looks like we’re stuck with these human parodies for good. Overthrowing the Premier League is just as improbable. Therefore young Britons will continue to grow up with dreams of marrying a prince, or becoming a vastly overpaid sportsman renowned for advancing a round ball into pertinent spaces.

Older people can have dreams too, though. Mine is of a series of nationally co-ordinated pitch invasions, after which fans seize control of the top flight clubs, impound the players’ incomes, and use the cash to support the game at all levels, while allowing the players to continue performing provided that they become fully useful members of the community. In the meantime, let David go to the wedding. It’s exactly where he belongs. Ian Plenderleith

Comments (14)
Comment by Coral 2011-03-01 11:12:47

"Let it go Lynn, you're never going to meet him." Alan Partridge to Lynn in reference to her contiually going on about Benjamen Netanyahu.

Comment by PRB 2011-03-01 15:06:41

I cant decide whether this article is more anti-Beckham or anti-The Royal Family?!! I like both, and believe both have a place in modern British society, but this was still an amusing read even if, as it turns out, the timing of the wedding and his match do not conflict.

Beckham has sold the Galaxy short during his time there and does owe them a good season in 2011 but as a TFC fan I hope it isn't too good!

Comment by Lincoln 2011-03-01 17:41:25

Depends what you thought Galaxy got Beckham for. If you think it is for footballing purposes then he has let them down. If however it was
to create interest in them and the league globally then it has worked perfectly with not only a highlights show here and increased shirt sales. But also the articles that moan how many articles are written about him.

The point against footballers in general I agree with. Beckham for me is of a lower form of bad man compared to those who steal ex partners or shoot work experience boys or beat people in high streets
or drink drive, or beat women in bars. His sin is precievably not playing enough football for a club that probably hasn't really got him to play football. I don't have anything against Beckham but don't like all the faff that goes along with him whether his doing or not. He is/was a quality footballer who can be viewed as inspirational for coming back from setbacks but also someone who achieved a lot mainly for having a famous wife and looking "fit"

Comment by jameswba 2011-03-01 20:18:23

The article is entertaining and I found myself nodding my head pretty much all the way through yet ultimately I think Lincoln is right. Galaxy presumably knew why they were bringing Beckham in and what they were likely to get with him. If they didn't count with all the celebrity trappings, well, surely the fault is partly their own. The warnings were clear from his time with both Man Utd and Real Madrid.


About Royalty and Premier League footballers in general, the article has it dead right.

Comment by sepps bladder 2011-03-01 23:12:07

I remember back in 1997 Raúl Díaz Arce wanted to miss an MLS match for his cousin's wedding in El Salvador. Bruce Arena showed great trust in his striker and let him go. They went on to win their second consecutive title that season. Might be good for Becks AND the Galaxy.

Comment by Gratius Falsius 2011-03-01 23:48:00

What on earth does Coral's comment relate to?

Did Netanyahu play for ManU or marry a princess?

Can someone please explicate.

Comment by Coral 2011-03-02 09:03:45

Gratius Falsius, have a look back at the last article having a two footed lunge at Beckham for not playing for LA Galaxy and have a note who wrote it.

So, "let it go Lynn (Ian), you're never going to meet him" It is a pop culture reference to an episode of Alan Partidge, perhaps a bit too niche.

Comment by canarly 2011-03-02 09:11:07

spot on ....if those "icons" disappeared right now i'd still be able to watch the mayhem that is Scottish junior football on saturday

Comment by imp 2011-03-02 11:48:58

Coral wrote: So, "let it go Lynn (Ian), you're never going to meet him" It is a pop culture reference to an episode of Alan Partidge [sic], perhaps a bit too niche.

And it would be knowingly hilarious but for the fact I already have.

Comment by Coral 2011-03-02 14:27:03

Cool, did you have a go at him then? Still hilarious to me because you seem a tad obsessed with the lad.

Comment by imp 2011-03-02 15:15:47

No, I threw myself at his hallowed feet and kissed them for as long as he'd let me.

As a British football writer based in the US and covering the game here, it's indeed true that I haven't written a lot about him. Well spotted.

Comment by Coral 2011-03-02 15:43:57

A wise choice, you will surely now enter football heaven.

Fair point, but perhaps another derogatory article moaning about the same thing may look a bit obsessive.

And did you mean have or haven't written a lot about him? Sorry I knew what you meant but decided to be pedantic.

Comment by imp 2011-03-02 17:14:26

Ha, yes, well spotted again - indeed it's 'have'.

I did start out covering Beckham's move to the US with an equal amount of fairness and measured scepticism (the latter more with regard to his concept than his actual play), but it's proven impossible not to see the mud beneath the inch of clear, shallow water.

With the MLS season just around the corner, I'll doubtless be addressing the topic again. I'll look forward to receiving your input once more. Though don't become too obsessive about my articles...

Comment by Coral 2011-03-02 17:51:32

A fair point on the article obsession but your other ones have been decent, especially this month's WSC.

However I'll be sure to give my input, especially if it is talking about how a player with a global appeal who was brought in to give global appeal has done wrong by not playing every game because he needs to maintain that global appeal.

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