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David Beckham – A Forgotten Scapegoat

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Now regarded as a national treasure, do you lot remember how harshly we treated the David Beckham for a while?

With the 1998 World Cup on the horizon, good ‘ole DBeck was aged 23 and was locked in a fierce battle to lock down the right wing position against Darren Anderton, but with a sublime free-kick against Colombia in the group stages he was given the opportunity to start against Argentina.

I bet Beckham wishes he didn’t now. David was fouled by now-Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, then instead of getting straight up, Beckham lashed out with the definition of petulance and kicked Simeone’s calf and thus he fell like a proverbial sack of spuds and got goldenballs sent off. Since then, Simeone has admitted he overreacted to the kick, which would probably have resulted in a yellow (maybe?) if the Argentine hadn’t of hit the deck.

With England then losing the game via penalties, which is a surprise because that’s NEVER happened before, the English media needed a scapegoat, so what’s better than a young and upcoming Manchester United player who didn’t deserve the backlash from a poor team performance on a whole and had it all placed upon his head.

With a headline from The Mirror reading “Ten heroic lions, one stupid boy” it was just the beginning of probably one of the most undeserved smear campaign of a player in recent history. You could also get a David Beckham dartboard in papers so the English public could conform to usual stereotypes, normally stirred by the press and you could take it down your local boozer on a Saturday before their usual acts of hooliganism and throw arrows at a paper version of David Beckham’s face.


Thankfully, it stemmed the next three to four years being a major step-up in Beckham’s game, with a brilliant couple of seasons at United between 1999-2001 and then the game against Greece, in which he was a man possessed and salvaged England’s reputation single handedly.

People also report that journalists applauded him as he walked through the mix zone after the game, only a short while after they started a hate campaign where effigies of David Beckham were burned outside various football grounds around England. I can safely say on behalf of all football fans, I’m glad it didn’t adversely affect him when it wouldn’t be that surprising if it did hinder him.