Fabio Capello’s decision to cut David Beckham adrift was an ITV exclusive. Well, bully for us!
Getting ‘a good story’ is so much a part of the psyche of journalism that we sometimes lose sight of the content. At 35, Beckham was never realistically going to make a contribution to the European Championship qualifying bid, but ITV’s Gabriel Clarke was the first reporter with the gumption to put the question.
Now, it’s a bigger story than the players who are going to make a contribution.
There is understandable surprise that Capello didn’t broach the subject with Beckham privately. Gabriel’s interview was conducted on Monday, and he fully expected the news to be ‘out’ before it was broadcast in the run-up to the Hungary game. But it seems that nobody at the FA thought to warn the Beckham camp that Capello had taken the decision.
In the era of 24-hour ‘rolling’ news, these tales quickly develop into issues, then controversies, then affairs or ‘gates’. Beckhamgate will probably now lead to demands for apologies and resignations and public executions. Thankfully, Beckham himself has enough dignity not to turn it into a war – and enough media savvy to realise he is being retired with the moral high ground, and probably a farewell match at Wembley.
The ongoing concerns for the FA are the continuing repercussions of their manager’s broken English. So little of any significance comes out of Capello’s interviews that the media are feasting on the few comprehensible morsels. Steven Gerrard and Joe Hart spoke superbly in the wake of Wednesday’s win, but their boss is becoming a liability.
Maybe Beckham should be retained as an official spokesman.