After the BBC crowned David Beckham with its Lifetime Achievement award on Sunday night, before an audience that had been instructed to rejoice, the well of comedy has surely run dry.
Beckham, who swapped his footballer's togs for the robes of showbiz many moons ago, did not disappoint. He praised his parents for the sacrifices they had made on his behalf and his wife, that rather odd lady who never smiles, as his 'inspiration'.
Lifetime Achievement: David Beckham, here with his family, was presented a special gong at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards
In return he was showered with words that are usually reserved for true greats. Steven Gerrard went so far as to call him a 'legend'.
At his best, Beckham was a very good player, with some fairly obvious weaknesses. He was also a good pro, admired by his peers. These are not negligible qualities, and his career, which effectively ended when he went to America, is worth two cheers.
Nevertheless an award for lifetime achievement invites people to consider a career in more detail and, in Beckham's case, the details are not always flattering.
At international level, despite playing 115 times for his country, he fell a long way short of greatness. Indeed his visits to three World Cups, when the best players usually light up the stage, brought ignominy. At his first tournament, in 1998, he was sent off for a petulant foul. He failed to impress in the next two.
Real deal? Beckham was somewhat flawed as a player and rarely produced his best on the main stage
Over the years English football has produced a few great players: Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton. One level down there were some outstanding ones, who also won the respect of the world. John Haynes, Alan Ball and Martin Peters spring to mind.
Beckham belongs in neither category. He was a good player in a very fine team at Manchester United, but his efforts as an occasional member of the Real Madrid side were ordinary. He helped them win a league title. So what? Steve McManaman won two Champions League titles with Real.
Legend: The achievements of Franz Beckenbauer put those of Beckham in the shade
Present on Sunday was a truly great footballer, Franz Beckenbauer. Captain of German teams that won the World Cup and European Championships, leader of the Bayern Munich side who won three successive European Cups, three times European Footballer of the Year, and manager of West Germany's World Cup winners in 1990. He also single-handedly won the campaign that enabled Germany to stage the World Cup, superbly, four years ago.
Germany produces men like Beckenbauer. In comparison, David Beckham is a little boy.
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