Put David Beckham out of his misery – give the man a knighthood


lIt’s starting to get ridiculous. What else does David Beckham have to do to get a knighthood? The decorated ex-footballer was spotted over the weekend, flat-capped and head down, waiting in line to see the Queen’s coffin. Reports suggest Beckham was offered the chance to use a dedicated access queue but declined (perhaps wary of some) This morningstyle recoil), opting instead to wait 13 hours with the rest of the hoi polloi. Naturally, the crowd flocked to sing his praises; the old epithet “national treasure” has been thrown around with abandon.

At this point the British people are all too familiar with Beckham’s acts of service, both great and small. Many of these took place on the football field. After being vilified to the point of flaming effigies for his petulant red card at the 1998 World Cup, Beckham stormed back into the nation’s favor with a sensational, cracking free-kick against Greece in the 2002 qualifiers. long captain of his country. More recently, the football icon has been a patron of the sport at home and abroad. He campaigned for World Cups and the 2012 Olympics. Transferred the Olympic torch along the Thames. Meetings with the Prime Minister in Downing Street to tackle global food poverty. He even flew out during the war in Afghanistan to go with the troops, a one-man morale machine. Other than draping himself into the union flag, getting the Queen’s face tattooed on his sternum, and perhaps re-colonizing a small part of the Asian continent, old Becks couldn’t have done much more to endear himself to British hegemony. . So what’s the hold up? Why does he languish in the shame of just an OBE?

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Well, there are a few possible reasons. It has been reported that Beckham was ineligible for the honor for years after he was red flagged by the HMRC for his alleged involvement in a tax avoidance scheme. Reports also claim that he has now been cleared up on the matter, making knighthood a very real possibility in the near future. But could there be more to it than this?

Numerous footballing figures have been appointed knights of the realm before – 16, to be exact (and one lady), made up of managers, players, executives. Beckham certainly had more football talent than many of the names on the list. His rise to fame was fueled by his very real and undeniable skill with a ball. There were, of course, the goals – including That target, the yardstick (or rather, the 60 yardstick) against which all other long-range points are measured — but also his refined all-round play; the trophies he won; his more or less unparalleled skill with a dead ball.

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Beckham was a top athlete, but he was unlucky enough to be part of a no-hoper England squad, a ‘golden generation’ that turned out to be pyrite. Unlike Gareth Southgate’s ascendant men’s team, all smiles and camaraderie, Beckham was part of a lineup plagued by resentment and interpositional vendettas. He never came close to winning anything big with England – if he had you could be sure he would have been knighted many years ago.

He may also have been somewhat hampered by his career abroad as a player. After a spat with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003, which saw the now-knighted Scot furiously shot at him, Beckham moved from Manchester to Madrid. He remained at the Bernabeu until he left for LA Galaxy in 2007, a big step for the North American league at the time. Since then, Beckham seems to keep one foot on either side of the Atlantic; he currently co-owns the Inter Miami and Salford City football clubs. You can’t help but wonder if he would have been better off with the British establishment if he had kept his career in the Premier League. (It should be noted that his champion of football abroad has also expanded to a controversial recent endorsement of the morally questionable World Cup in Qatar.)

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The reason for his continued stupidity may be more superficial. For much of his life in the public eye, Beckham’s personality seemed to be at odds with conventional notions of blue-blooded respectability. He advertised hair cream, had a pop star wife, and was covered in tattoos; for a nation still distorted by centuries of classism, he never seemed to fit the traditional model of a dignitary. He has endured a number of other PR issues, including allegations of extramarital affairs, which the Beckhams have always vehemently denied, and a string of car violations banning him from driving for six months in 2019. However, Beckham’s image has changed a lot. over the past two decades – it’s hard to reconcile the mohican-haired showboater of 2001 with the fit, quiet figure in line for the queen lying in the state.

Beckham wore his mohican haircut to an international friendly against Mexico in 2001

(Getty Images)

A few years ago, Beckham is said to have grumbled in a leaked email about his lack of knighthood (“It’s a shame,” he said, although his team has disputed the context and truth of the messages). And it’s easy to see why – even if his rise to “Sir David” is essentially inevitable at this point. With support for the monarchy in the UK slowly but inevitably waning, one can only imagine the kind of wildcard knights they may soon resort to in an effort to stay relevant. Arise, Sir Danny Dyer. Congratulations, Dame Scarlett Moffatt. Say hello to KSI, OBE.

Beckham won’t be such a wildcard, though. He is a man who made his bones, did the graft and pressed the right buttons. The honors system comes down to politics, and politics can be played; Beckham is a man who has always known what it takes to win. Now blow the whistle.


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