NOW the dust has settled and the hysteria over the injury to David Beckham has subsided, as Joan Rivers would say – can we talk?
I will nail my colours to the mast straight away and say that I am no big fan of Beckham.
The starting point is simply he played for the other team in Manchester, but I will not miss an iota of sleep over the fact that he will not be available to Fabio Capello in South Africa this summer.
His Achilles tendon injury may deny him a fourth World Cup, but it affords the England manager the chance to make one meaningful squad selection instead of having Beckham on board for the ride for no known reason (Rooney is an entirely different thing).
I will readily accept that Becks is a better than average player, he has been consistently good at what he does and there have been times when he has been England’s saviour as he earned over 100 caps – but would I cross the street to watch him play? Definitely not!
Players I have done more than cross the street to watch, even attending games at grounds as diverse as Leeds United’s Elland Road (somewhere you have to have good reason to go) and Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold, have been real talents (or mavericks as they seem to have become known).
In the first instance I shelled out to watch Duncan McKenzie (no England caps) play for Everton, and I will give the Gelderd End their due they treated their former player to a hero’s welcome.
In the second instance I decided that however far we were into Frank Worthington’s career he was still a far better entertainment option on a spring evening in 1989 than what was on the telly.
In both instances I was not disappointed as Messrs McKenzie and Worthington (eight caps) produced the goods as all good showmen should.
Others I will place in the same category are Tony Currie (another I braved Elland Road for – and 17 caps) and a lower-league bright spark Steve Massey (never on England’s radar), who I last saw playing for Northampton Town at Colchester’s Layer Road on a Friday night.
I have seen Beckham ‘live’ so I know what the gig is about, but in the long run I know which players will remain dearer in my heart over the years to come.
IT IS hard to know what to make of the revelation that Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis will mark the 25th anniversary of their epic 1985 final with a one-frame rematch at this year’s upcoming World Snooker Championship.
When Taylor, replete with the finest pair of spectacles ever seen in any sporting arena, beat Davis 18-17 on the final black in the 1985 final – an extraordinary encounter which kept 18.5m fans glued to their televisions until after midnight – they had produced an unrepeatable sporting epic.
The pair will once again go head to head at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in April, but it is the ‘unrepeatable’ aspect that just makes me wonder why they are bothering.
It will be hard to turn a one-frame contest into any kind of epic, and will they be duty bound to try and finish this re-run with a decisive black?
There are times when attempting to revisit historic sporting moments really is futile – they would have been better off packaging up the footage of the original game on a special commemorative DVD.
Why do I feel confident that I might not be the only one to have had that idea?