This David Beckham character has the world in his palm.
After successful stints at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Beckham decided to pursue a new challenge in America (the North one). As part of Beckham’s unique deal with MLS, he was given the option to purchase an MLS club if he stays with the LA Galaxy for the remainder of his contract. That’s a good deal for Team Beckham. And now, long-time Daily Mail football writer Martin Samuel wants to give Beckham English football.
I think we may be approaching the “David, I want you to have my wife” territory, which is fine, as long as everyone knows that that’s where we’re heading.
According to Samuel, “the moment [David Beckham] finishes playing, he should be given his own office at the Football Association and whatever title he wants.”
Samuel continues, “In Beckham, English football may have a genuine ambassador and a figurehead with the support and profile to effect change.”
One can only be fascinated by how Beckham, a man once perceived as being only good for a cross and nice drool, is now a figure prominently courted around the world for his substance. It seems that almost everyone needs Beckham involved in anything soccer-related that requires transformation or evolution. When it comes to Beckham, the answer is usually an emphatic yes. It turns out that the only people who can say no to Beckham are Sir Alex Ferguson and members of the FIFA Executive Committee.
Beckham was never the greatest soccer player in the world, which suggests that he doesn’t occupy his position purely because of his technical ability. For if footballing excellence was all that was required to acquire Beckham standing, countless players would have been offered what Beckham is repeatedly offered.
Beckham holds his position because his brand and perceived integrity are so powerful that seemingly well-educated, reasonable people want to give him things, a reality made even more fascinating by the fact that Beckham’s offerings are all on the table before he’s even considered the prospect of retiring.
Whatever this man has done, he has hit the sweet spot. Whether parties are interested in Beckham for his mind, his brand, or a combination of both, the fact remains that people will remain wanting to give David Beckham things of increasing importance for the foreseeable future. First it was endorsement deals, then his own brand, then an MLS franchise, and next English football. The man is only 35 years old. I think Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter can see where all this is heading.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Back to Martin Samuel’s piece. Samuel certainly doesn’t have the power to appoint Beckham as the next head of the English FA. But this career football journalist is so emphatic about Beckham’s ability to transform football that he’s willing to write an article making his position well-known. The article wasn’t about Paul Scholes, Gary Lineker, David Dein, or any of the hundreds of other possible candidates. It was about David Beckham. Why? Samuel suggests that “he has one advantage over all alternative contenders: the love of the common people.”
And there you have it. Beckham’s off the field success originates with his physical ability. But it is the evolution of his brand – from his technical skills, to his commercial success, and into the substantive arena – and the connection that his brand has made with the people over the years that gives him the standing to get what would be impossible for so many others.
What Beckham may have inadvertently learned over time is that technical expertise has it’s place, but when it comes to issues of transformation and evolution, popularity and brand may prove to be just as powerful a tool in bringing change, or at least in getting hired to bring change.