Everything you want to know about Becks
Beckham 9.20pm, ABC
IT was the ultimate locker- room spat. Hot- tempered Alex Ferguson, head honcho of Manchester United, stormed into the MU changing room, stumbling across a stray football boot that he kicked in the direction of his star player, David Beckham, who was sitting on a bench, gutted that his team had just gone down 2- 0 to arch rival Arsenal. Ferguson blamed the loss, in part, on Beckham’s jet- set distractions, his marriage to Posh Spice and the constant furnace of tabloid attention. No player — metrosexual pin- up or not — should be bigger than the club, he believed.
Beckham was left bleeding from a cut above his right eye that required stitches. The bond between mentor and mentored was never to be the same again. As so often happens in these relationships, the star student had become too big for his britches. A few months later, Beckham shifted to Spain to play for Real Madrid.
The flying football boot between Ferguson and Beckham — between old- school, no- frills footballer turned manager and global sports celebrity — was richly symbolic. As we see in tonight’s show, Beckham is a supernova surrounded by a force- field of personal assistants, advisers and hangers- on who help him to manage a money- spinning bonanza of media appearances, product endorsements and dazzling red- carpet moments. This documentary, which offers some rare footage of Beckham’s childhood and youth, shows how, even as a 13- year- old, his fancy footwork attracted the attention of Premier League scouts.
The media could not have drummed up a more fascinating phenomenon. How could you invent a man who, straight- faced, describes meeting his future partner in the following way: ‘‘ My wife picked me out of a soccer sticker book; I chose her off the telly . . . it felt straight away like we’d always been meant to be together.’’ How to account for a sports hero who paints his fingernails, poses for gay magazines and changes his hair style and designer clothes more often than he scores penalties; and who, despite being lionised as a metrosexual idol, is voted the manliest sports star on the planet? Who, despite being as cunning as a fox, has a knack of appearing sweet and self- effacing? Who, in the twilight of his career, has become an international one- man brand?
Not that Becks is a complete sports or marketing original, however. In some respects he is merely following in the footsteps of sporting greats such as Fred Perry and Jean- Rene Lacoste, who transferred their names into global clothing brands 50 years ago. But if the Becks phenomenon proves anything, it’s don’t mess with a metrosexual.
International brand: Metrosexual footballer David Beckham