Psycho’s act of lunacy omitting David Beckham

| June 29, 2012

Sports Contributor – Delroy Alexander

As the best football tournament in the world concludes at Euro 2012, would it be heresy to suggest that Spain is boring. I know, the beautiful passing and intricate movement and strategic triangles that make the world champions who they are, has thoroughly worn me out. I for one wanted to see Portugal sweep them aside.

Perhaps, it’s not that Spain are boring, more that their opponents are filled with fear and lack adventure.

It’s that lack of adventure that strikes me as I cast a wary eye towards the next big football tournament, the London 2012 Olympic Games. Amid the disappointment of Portugal’s departure, I am truly shocked to see that David Beckham won’t be performing in the most adventurous sports tournament of all.

What has the game come to when its most popular player is not selected to play in his home country’s biggest sporting event in a century. Great Britain’s participation in the football tournament was a triumph that promised to enlighten the 2012 Games.

As an East Londoner, who made the journey from obscurity to football immortality, through hard work and perseverance. He more than most has understood what these Games mean to the area.

David Beckham with the torch during the ceremony to mark the arrival of the Olympic flame, at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall. LOCOG

Without Beckham, the Games will surely miss something special. Beckham, more than any other athlete deserved to be in the Olympic squad. His larger than life support for the tournament helped bring it to the UK and it is unfathomable that we won’t get a chance to see football’s most popular entertainer perform on the biggest stage available in sport.

Sport at this level is after all a wonderful mix of spectator enjoyment and athletic competition. The best events marry those two elements. Beckham’s strong, positive global image has helped football spread to areas that we could hardly imagine just a few years ago. Beckham as a McDonald’s poster boy in the US. Beckham modeling in men’s magazines. Beckham as a Hollywood star on par with Tom Cruise. Beckham as an icon in places where surviving on a few pence a day is a miracle.

It’s not just his diverse appeal and genuinely refreshing willingness to cross social barriers and articulate socially inclusive messages that made him a must, but his talent and passion for the game. Beckham, as much as any professional sports star out there, embodies the Olympic dream and it is a travesty that he is unlikely to be part of the on field action.

Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce has once again shown he is hopelessly out of his depth and has unfortunately lived up to the “Psycho” nickname he so ably sported as an uncompromisingly tough player. His ridiculous omission of Beckham is indeed mad.

Stuart Pearce. Photo courtesy

Just like his unexplainable decision to appoint Scott Parker as England Captain ahead of Steven Gerrard in his one game in charge of the Three Lions, Psycho has lost the plot.

The romance of the Olympics is driven by young hopeful’s desire to perform at the top level. The desire to be remembered beyond your performances. In the minds of youth around the world as a champion par excellence.

To omit Beckham is to completely misunderstand the Olympic ideal and in fact the nature and rules of the football tournament.

The Olympic football tournament was dominated for many years by Eastern Europeans. When in 1952, the great Hungarian team, including such players as Ferenc Pukas, won the tournament, it stayed in the Eastern Bloc until 1980.

By 1984 LA Games professional players were allowed in and the rules were again changed for Barcelona in 1992 as the Olympics moved into the modern era.

The football tournament is basically an under 23 competition until the finals, when three “over age” players can be added. To improve the marketability, quality and allow for the addition of star names, each football qualifying nation can include three “mature” players. The very purpose of the additions was to enhance the attractiveness of the tournament.

Beckham has apparently been overlooked in favour of three top quality players. It is no slight on them but he should have been in the GB squad. The great Wales and Manchester United star Ryan Giggs has rightly been selected, joined by Wales former captain and Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy and Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

Ryan Giggs. Photo courtesy

Yet, even Giggs should not have been selected before Beckham, who’s claim on the spot should have been undeniable. To include Bellamy and Richards at the expense of Beckham is to eschew the entire purpose of the additional selections and turn your back on the greater Olympic ideal. To suggest that such lunacy is acceptable in the name of winning is, ugly and unseemly to put it politely.

Would Psycho not have picked an aging Pele or Maradona well past their prime. Would he really have preferred a young talented right back in favour of stars that could illuminate the world stage. Stars that we as paying customers and spectators deserve to see.

Football coaches often learn the hard way. That sport is a wonderful blend of entertainment and reality. Forget the need to entertain the watching public and that your job is in peril.

Pyscho should never have been placed in the position of leadership he now finds himself and will undoubtedly produce an insipid, lack lustre unadventurous brand of Olympic football. At least one thing is assured, Pyscho’s lack of respect for Beckham will define his professional career. He will never recover from his silly, misguided lack of commonsense that has ruined Great Britain’s football tournament before it has even started.

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Category: London Olympics, Sports

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