Golden image of Brand Beckham

Britain's real sporting winners were on the tracks and waterways of Beijing, but the gold medal for best-kept sports image last week went to multiple winner Brand Beckham.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

In a phenomenal week, old Goldenballs towered effortlessly over the golden Olympians. Never mind that he and his England team mates endured their customary struggle in the foothills with a scrappy home draw. Brand Beckham bent it off the field as only it can.

First the golden one was enlisted by the Government to spearhead its campaign against knife crime.

Beckham’s delivery as he stood alongside the Home Secretary was impeccable. His grief and empathy were obvious as he told of an unnamed childhood friend struck down and paralysed by a knifeman. It might have seemed too tragically good to be true. Yet, in a brilliantly co-ordinated media relations operation, Beckham’s stricken school pal was identified, interviewed and pictured with our hero across tabloid acres the following day. The whole exercise hit home with errant teenagers and reinforced the messages of trust and integrity inherent in Brand Beckham.

The next day it was on to Wembley for a cameo role in a fairly dismal England friendly. Still, Beckham produced a goal and competed heroically, despite now plying his sporting trade for a team, LA Galaxy, that would struggle in the third tier of English soccer.

Then Beckham went to Beijing for the Olympic closing ceremony and handover to London 2012. With the brilliant mix of modesty and star appeal that is his ‘regular guy’ hallmark, Beckham was prevailed upon to take his place centre stage. It is remarkable that, for the purposes of 2012, Brand Beckham manages to trade so relentlessly on his London roots. A lifelong passion for Manchester United and his long Mancunian exile are not even factors in his role as Father of the 2012 Games. Sojourns to Madrid and LA simply reinforce his ‘citizen of the world’ and global icon status.

It is a compelling show at which all should marvel. Those responsible for keeping it on a sometimes rocky road have performed beyond Olympic gold standards


Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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