Having scored a sublime goal against Wales recently, England captain David Beckham, cracked a rib in a crunching tackle. Knowing that the injury would prevent him from taking part in the next World Cup qualifier and mindful of the fact that he was already carrying a yellow card from a previous game, he decided to act in his team’s interest and launched himself into an unnecessary, lunging foul on Ben Thatcher. The logical consequence was another booking.
Beckham limped off shortly afterwards, content in the knowledge that he would be able to return with a clean slate. So far so good. Perhaps not behaviour embracing the sporting ethic but a footballing reality.
There the story should have ended. But Beckham is not content with his stardom, his millions and his women, he had to let the world know just how clever he is. “I’m sure people think I haven’t got the brains to be that clever”, he said. “I have got the brains. I could feel the injury so I fouled Thatcher. It was deliberate”. Oh, well done David! Einstein would turn in his grave and your namesake, David Coleman, green with envy. Of course, all hell broke loose. FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, himself no stranger to foot-in-mouth disease, immediately accused the Real Madrid star of bringing the game into disrepute and demanded that he be relieved of his captaincy, Sven Goran Eriksson squirmed as only he can and the FA has written asking for an explanation.
Sir Geoff Hurst also piled in saying: “It is really poor and I am very disappointed. Alf (Ramsey) might have said ‘That’s it. Thanks very much. We won’t be seeing you again’.”
A storm in a teacup, you might think but then the teacup is overflowing. It is time to clean up the game that serves as a role model to the majority of the world’s children. Beckham should let his feet do the talking while keeping every other part of his anatomy firmly shut.