PIERS MORGAN: Beckham's green and gold stunt was a load of tosh

16 March 2010 01:52
Touching, wasn't it? Watching that loyal, diehard United hero DavidBeckham getting the roaring welcome so thoroughly deserved ofManchester's prodigal son brought tears to the uncynical eye.

But not, I'm afraid, to the cynical like mine.

Beckham keeps telling us United is, and always has been, the onlyclub for him. And the inhabitants of Old Trafford seem to happily goalong with this tosh.

When the reality is that he walked out on United at the peak of hispowers for the riches of Real Madrid, then walked out on Madrid for theeven greater riches of Hollywood, and now cheats on LA Galaxy wheneverhe can with AC Milan, purely to keep himself in the World Cup frame,where England glory could bring the greatest riches of all.

Compared with genuinely loyal United heroes like Giggs, Scholes andNeville, Beckham's been a treacherous, money-grabbing, club-hopping,fame-hungry, egotistical little weasel who likes nothing better thanmaking everything all about HIM.

Self-publicist: Beckham dons the green and gold at Old Trafford, causing Piers to choke on his caviar

And nothing personified this more than when he swooped to pick upthe green-and-gold anti-Glazer protest scarf and wrapped it round histattooed neck. The crowd roared. There he was, the most loyal man infootball, their Becksy, showing the world he was united with Unitedfans in their fury at foreign ownership.

Because the very last thing David Beckham would ever want toassociate himself with is rich, fatcat Americans exploiting soccer forpure commercial gain. Which is why he currently resides in Los Angeles,choosing to play pub football over proper football because rich,fat-cat Americans line his Armani pockets with millions of dollars toexploit soccer for pure commercial gain.

Of course, as David explained afterwards, he wasn't actuallysupporting the protest, nor trying to interfere in the running ofManchester United.

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What a load of old Goldenballs. Let's face some harsh facts here,Becksy old son. You're not the best footballer in the world. In fact,given you can't actually get into the AC Milan starting line-up, you're not even the 11th-best player in a shockingly mediocre side.

But you ARE the greatest self-publicist the game has seen and youknew exactly what you were doing when you swooped on that glintingsymbol of disloyalty to the Glazers. For weeks, you'll have beenmonitoring the mounting furore and planning exactly the image you wouldcommunicate to the world. It's what you do best.

And you seized the moment in typically self-adulatory Beckham style.Waiting until the pitch was empty, standing like Emperor Nero, alone inthe amphitheatre, milking the applause in the eager way a farmer milksa particularly well-uddered Friesian cow, then dramatically pausing topick up the scarf. Thus quite deliberately pushing the much moredeserving Wayne Rooney off the headlines (I was only surprised hedidn't leap on Rooney's back when he scored, to share the photographiccredit a crafty move that has served Beckham well over the years).

It was the most perfectly choreographed stunt since Sacha Baron Cohen parascended, as his Austrian fashion reporter character Bruno, on to Eminem's lap during last year's MTV awards. And just as fake.

The Glazers are big boys and I don't have much truck with the way they've allowed United to build up such potentially ruinous debt. But the hypocrisy of David 'United 'til I die' Beckham definitely moved me.

To extreme nausea.

 Red Knights step up Manchester United takeover bid after David Beckham dons green and gold protest scarfBeckham pins colours to mast by backing fans' green and gold protest

 KP arrogant? That's not how Athers sees itAnother thing that made me puke recently was the glee with which people queued up to stick the knife into Kevin Pietersen during his recent lapse in form.

You'd think he'd murdered half the Royal Family, the way some critics were banging on.

Pietersen, they cried, is the most arrogant, selfish, rude, obnoxious South African cricketing 'celebrity' ever to disgrace the England shirt. And his supposedly 'dodgy' technique's finally been found out, hastening his inevitable and much-deserved departure from the Test match scene.

Imperious: Pietersen

Oh really? Well on Friday, KP was right back to his magnificent, imperious, swashbuckling, best. And I particularly liked him getting out on 99. Thus giving those same critics a tiny little stick to still beat him with.

As for his personality, I'm a friend of his, so not an impartial observer. Let me turn instead to former England captain Michael Atherton, who was voted Sports Journalist of the Year last week, and is widely considered now to be the most astute commentator on the game.

He revealed this week how he'd watched Pietersen practising in the nets with some locals in Bangladesh. (KP is the most ferocious trainer in the England team, just ask any of the other players). Atherton wrote: 'At the end, he shakes their hands, signs autographs and poses for photos. Pietersen has been the subject of many unflattering portraits in England, but I have always found him to be unfailingly polite and respectful and well-mannered.'

So there we have it. A good guy, with a fabulous, world-class talent, who is prouder of playing for England than half the 'pure' English players will ever be. I've said it before and I'll say it again: isn't it time the cynics backed Kevin Pietersen, one of this country's great sportsmen, rather than revel in sneering at him?


Arsenal's stunning 5-0 dismantling of Porto was like watching a video entitled: 'WHY SCEPTICAL ARSENAL FANS SHOULD NEVER QUESTION WENGER'S JUDGMENT AGAIN.'

Two months ago, I'd have told you like many disgruntled Gooners that Emmanuel Eboue was utterly useless, Nicklas Bendtner couldn't hit the proverbial barn door and Abou Diaby and Alex Song were a pathetically weak imitation of Vieira and Petit. Now Eboue's playing out of his skin, Bendtner is scoring more than John Terry and Diaby and Song have developed into a top-class midfield powerhouse.

Add to the mix Sol Campbell, who I thought would be a disaster but who has turned out to be an inspired signing, and I realise it's just as well Wenger manages Arsenal and not over-hysterical, knee-jerk supporters like me.

Top Gunners: Nicklas Bendtner (left) congratulates Samir Nasri on his stunning midweek strike

With Fabregas, Gallas and Van Persie due back soon, even greater glory could lie ahead for this fast maturing team of hungry young Turks. Something that seemed unthinkable after we were thrashed by Chelsea and United.

I bumped into Nick 'Fever Pitch' Hornby at the Oscars and cut to the quick: 'Reckon we'll win the Premier League?'

'Yes,' he replied.

With the run-in we've got, I think he just might be right. But either way, I already bow to Wenger's patience, wisdom and sheer genius.


Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie has finally quit, moaning away as usual about being a poor, downtrodden, victimised scapegoat. This is the same Peter Storrie who has presided over the total financial ruin and possible extinction of a great British football club and got paid £1.2 million in 2008 alone to do so. Spare me the tears, you useless little man.

 Have your sayIs it not 'inglourious' that you should allow this spelling error, particularly as it is in a headline? Even more so as you are an ex-Editor. It's no wonder the younger generation have spelling problems.


Piers says: 'Oh Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm. It was DELIBERATE, you durbrained goon. Haven't you (and all the other imbeciles who wrote in to correct my supposed error) seen the movie Inglourious Basterds?'

If Gordon Brown, Simon Cowell and Kevin Pietersen were lined up, bending over, with their trousers round their ankles, whose **** would you wipe first?


Piers says: 'Tricky one, Michael, I agree. Probably Cowell's, he is the only one who pays my wages.'

Re your debate on the most dominant ever sportsman, may I suggest the mighty Australian billiards legend, Walter Lindrum? He had to give his fellow professionals several thousand points' start to give them any chance to win and even then he would still beat them.


Piers says: 'Good shout there, Ian. Lindrum was the Bradman of billiards, definitely.'

PIERS, my six-year-old son is named after you. In fact, in one very scary moment just before his birth, my wife gave me her two favourite names for our boy Morgan and Piers. Can you imagine!


Piers says: 'I can, David, yes.'

Tell Piers what you think: piers.morgan@mailonsunday.co.uk


Source: Daily_Mail