He's as hard working off the pitch as he is on it – that’s Brand Beckham for you

The newly retired David Beckham wants to be remembered for his footballing triumphs, his 19 trophies and 115 England caps. No, really.


So farewell David Beckham, Nineties icon turned tattooed pants model who announced his retirement from football on Thursday. An opportunity for sports lovers to remember that goal from the halfway line, and for most of his fans to remind themselves that the Beautiful Game isn’t the latest Beckham fragrance. In announcing he was hanging up his boots (presumably the pink Adidas ones “inspired by his daughter” that he wrote about on H&M’s Twitter feed while promoting his new “Bodywear” line), Beckham declared: “I just want people to see me as a hard-working player.”

Reeeally? Beckham’s lament that he is hurt that his non-footballing activities have overshadowed his 19 trophies and 115 England caps seems misguided. This is, after all, a man who has spent two decades cultivating off-field celebrity. And one who has generated such wealth and status that he has redefined footballing fame despite his limitations as a player.

As a Liverpool fan, I am biased against anyone sullied by association with Old Trafford. So let me quote Alex Ferguson. “Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent,” Fergie said back in 1999, when Goldenballs was more player than clothes horse, “but because he practises with a relentless application.”

Becks carved out an impressive playing career thanks to graft, ambition and the absence of alternatives for the England midfield. Why be less proud of doing the same in other arenas? His next job is presumably not going to be as a FTSE 100 CEO, yet Beckham has honed his business instincts to build a global mega-brand of which captains of industry could be envious. And he does good with his fame. Lord Coe thinks so on behalf of those who enjoyed London 2012, and I’m sure Unicef and the other causes that benefit from Becks-generated column inches would agree. Instead of pretending that Brand Beckham is a regrettable accident, he should claim the credit for that hard work, too.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own