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Is Beckham's omission brave or foolish?

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Phil McNulty | 13:54 UK time, Thursday, 28 June 2012

David Beckham's shock exclusion from Team GB's Olympic football squad is a decision that puts manager Stuart Pearce's credibility - not to mention popularity - on the line.

Beckham was widely expected to be included, but Pearce has shown he is not willing to pick England's iconic sporting figure out of sentiment or as a gesture of thanks for his role in bringing the Games to London.

Beckham's enduring popularity was emphasised at half-time during England's friendly with Belgium at Wembley last month when he appeared to receive a Uefa award for winning 100 caps and received an even warmer ovation than the great Sir Bobby Charlton.

The 37-year-old may now be playing his football in the less competitive environment of Major League Soccer with Los Angeles Galaxy, but it was confirmation he still retains huge affection and his absence from the Olympics will anger many.

David Beckham

David Beckham was part of a British delegation that flew with the Olympic flame to the UK from Greece. Photo: Getty 

There was widespread shock when news emerged that Pearce had not selected Beckham as one of Team GB’s three players aged over 23 in the final 18-man squad.

The men selected are Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy and Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

The selection of Richards, in particular, ahead of Beckham will be regarded as highly contentious given his recent refusal to be on stand-by for England’s Euro 2012 squad.

This was seen as being in sharp contrast to the attitude of Beckham, who has always been keen to place himself at his country's sporting service.

Pearce’s pick has already proved hugely divisive, despite a dignified statement issued by Beckham immediately after his exclusion had been confirmed.

Those criticising Pearce made the understandable point that he should not have given Beckham hope of inclusion by naming him in his provisional squad of 35 only to disappoint him with the final outcome. Many will feel he deserved better treatment than that – and it is an argument that carries weight.

Pearce, in counter-argument, could present his own strong evidence supporting a move that will create huge backdrop for debate up to, and probably throughout, the Games.

Beckham himself admitted he did not perform well when Pearce went to watch LA Galaxy, and Pearce felt his Team GB squad needed greater defensive strength in the shape of Richards, a player he knows well from his time as Manchester City manager, rather than plumping for an ageing midfielder.

Giggs, Bellamy and Richards also performed well in the Premier League last season, which will inevitably have counted in their favour.

So Pearce will surely argue he has made his choice based on form, merit and the need for a balanced Team GB squad that can make a serious challenge for the medals in London. Pragmatism ruled.

If football at the Olympics is to be taken seriously – and it must be said it is still to win that argument convincingly – then Pearce will insist he must pick the strongest squad he can and he obviously believes Beckham does not qualify.

Those in Beckham’s corner will say he could provide experience, leadership, inspiration and an understanding of the Olympic ideal as well as adding box-office value to a tournament that has struggled to capture the public imagination.

Pearce’s retort will be that he is picking a team to win gold, not sell tickets, even though Beckham's presence alone would have guaranteed more crowds through the gates.

The arguments will rage long and hard and if Team GB come up short he will expect harsh criticism for leaving Beckham behind.

Beckham’s words of support will not fully disguise the hurt and disappointment he will feel at missing out on this landmark moment in British sporting history, especially as he made it clear he relished the opportunity to play – and even captain – Team GB should he be afforded the opportunity.

Adding to Beckham's disappointment will be the denial of a last hurrah on such a stage as the London Olympics. He will have regarded this as the platform for a perfect conclusion to his career in this country - and many supporters will feel he merited this as reward for his outstanding contribution to British sport throughout a glittering career around the world.

Now he will play out the rest of his career away from the English spotlight in Los Angeles. While he will be as diplomatic and decent as ever about this turn of events, inside there will be sadness at missing out on those weeks when London will be at the centre of the sporting world.

Pearce will no doubt feel the full force of the anger from some sections of public opinion for wounding Beckham in such a way, but he will have known the exact consequences of his decision.

It is a brave move because the easy way would have been to pick Beckham and let him be the figurehead of Team GB. Time, and results, will tell if it is a foolhardy one.

And if there was a lack of interest in the Olympic football tournament, this controversial moment has ensured there will be a sharp focus of attention on Team GB as the man who looked certain to be their biggest drawing card watches from the sidelines.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Feel sorry for Beckham, he deserved to be there for his oustanding contribution to British sport, and I don't feel Pearce has afforded the man the respect he deserves. As a player, I can understand the decision, but I don't think for one second Beckham could not have served Team GB well.

  • Comment number 2.

    The arguments will rage long and hard and if Team GB come up short he will expect harsh criticism for leaving Beckham behind
    definitely...because when Beckham went to major football tournaments with England he did so well and we had such great results...oh wait.

  • Comment number 3.

    Stuart Pearce is doing this for the same reason he gave the captaincy to Parker ahead of Gerrad a few months back - to promote himself and make sure the news will be about him and his decisions and not about the good of the team.
    With Beckham in the team, we would have expected a large support from the English FOOTBALL fans, now the GB team can only expect some mild curiosity from casual SPORTS fans.

  • Comment number 4.

    Ill admit its a bit harsh on Beckham not to give him the chance to add a 6th international football tournament failure to the 5 he already carries.

  • Comment number 5.

    it sums up the mentality and brain-level of some in this country if they refuse to go or watch the Olympics now their celebrity hero wont feature. Whos most upset by Beckhams omission...Tabloid journalists and people who adore celebrity...the Olympic games are better off without them.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well if it's about a football decision is he really among the top 3 over age players available? No.

    If it's about taking Beckham because he 'deserves' it for his past contribution are we admitting that this tournament isn't important?

  • Comment number 7.

    Including Beckham would have turned the team into a media circus. The right decision completely.

  • Comment number 8.

    I've never really understood why there was an Olympic team when we've already got a Squad. In that case we ought to stick to a single competition. Another waste of time for another useless competition.
    For once I'd back Stuart Pearce, Beckham's too old now, could be a chance for the ones ommited from Hodgson's starting 11 to shine. I'm thinking of Richards, Cleverly, dare I say Wilshere, but I'd rather not.

  • Comment number 9.

    Olympic soccer is like a World Cup for under-23 teams (not really sure why they feel the need to even have the 3 over age player stipulation). It should be treated with the same level of seriousness as the World Cup in my view. It is still a world stage. By that measure, Beckham, great statesman for the game that he is, just does not fit. He cannot possibly be one of the top 3 over-23 players in Britain (excluding any England player in the Euro squad, of course).

    I hope Britain do well, and I hope Septic Bladder sticks to his assurances that a combined GB team at the Olympics does not cause problems at the FIFA level, particularly for Scotland, Wales and NI, who stand to suffer most.

  • Comment number 10.

    For footballing reasons then yes he shouldnt go, but the guy has done a lot for the olympics and has represented England well, i think its a bit of a kick in the teeth really to leave him out, especially as he wants to be there and countless others would rather still be on holiday!

  • Comment number 11.

    David Beckham should have been at the Euros not just the Olympics, but we were saddled with those waste of space so called footballers Rooney and Young

  • Comment number 12.

    5 = spot on

    3 = If they are only coming to watch him thay aren't football fans, they are Beckham fans.

    The outrage is aboout celebrity and sentimentality both of which are a slap in the face for the Athletes that have been training for years to appear at these games.
    Pearce has made his decision and we should get behind Team GB in all events.

  • Comment number 13.

    @8, why is Olympic football a useless competition? Surely it is an opportunity for younger players to compete against some of the world's best. There is no under-21 world cup, just Euros, so most young players don't get to routinely play against the youth of Brazil, etc. The only thing wrong with the competition is that over-23s are allowed to play. I don't see any reason that they should.

  • Comment number 14.

    The only issue people can have with Beckham missing out is if they believe he is one of the three best available players and hasn't been chosen. Stuart Pearce obviously doesn't think he is. No one should ever be selected just to return a favour or because of past glories (or lack of). This is meant to be a serious competition not an exhibition. Well done Stuart Pearce.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its neither brave nor foolish. Beckham is yesterday's man.

    It would have been insulting to other olympians to include him. He isn't one of our best 3 over 23's. So if we aren't sending our best, we aren't trying to win it. The olympics is a competitive event that some athletes gear their entire career around. To send in Beckham because he's famous and not because he's good enough would cheapen that.

    He's done us a great turn in the past and represented us wonderfully, I'm sure he'll get knighted when he retires and he'll deserve it. But his time is up.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am involved with television broadcasting for football (soccer) in the US, just got out of a board meeting and guess what, the British Olympic Committee may have just lost millions of dollars in TV revenue as now that Beckam is not playing we are in the process of dropping a bunch of if not all of the mens Olympic soccer games on US television, the only ones we may show are the womens USA team games......well done Pearce...what an Idiot..!

  • Comment number 17.

    Shocking. After all Beckham's put up with from the national team hierarchy over the years, and after all he's sunk into these olympics when he could have easily not bothered, like Richards did for the Euros, he gets this slap in the face from Pearce. I know Pearce has to take the competition seriously but most people want to see Beckham play one more time and it would have been a good way to say goodbye.

    It just seems like a bit of a joyless decision.

  • Comment number 18.

    Does anyone really, and I mean REALLY, care?

  • Comment number 19.

    Sympathy for've got to be kidding.For a publicity seeking,PR driven has been? Just go away and retire.....

  • Comment number 20.

    @16. I live in the US and feel sad that a country would gear its interest in the sport (and thus, TV coverage) entirely around someone in the twilight of his career. The US needs to embrace the game on its own merits, not because a superstar name is involved.

  • Comment number 21.

    There is a football competition taking place at the moment showcasing some of the most talented footballers on earth and this is a blog about a very mediocre player 15 years past his best not making an Olympic football team. Says it all about Beckham and what he stands for - celebrity and raising his own profile. And the media - people like you Phil - are responsible for keeping him in the news. I bet this will be the main story on the news tonight as well. Well done Staurt Pearce. The last good game he played was Greece 01.

  • Comment number 22.

    Fantastic and brave decision. It should be 100% about picking the strongest team. Beckham is a brilliant ambassador for the game, but I want to see an actual medal.

  • Comment number 23.

    Jealousy brings the worst out in some people

  • Comment number 24.

    Its not a big story really is it? A man in his late thirties playing in a league comparable to league 1 isnt one of the finest footballers we could choose to attempt a victory on home soil. Simples

  • Comment number 25.

    What utter, utter rubbish. How the hell could Stuart Pearce, with any conscience whatsoever, pick David Beckham as one of the 3 best over 23s in the 4 home nations? Going to the Olympics is a serious endeavour, not a thanks for good service. I'm English, and disgusted by the anglocentrism on display here. There is just no way he deserves to go, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just being sentimental - just look at the selection decisions in diving, Tae Kwon-Do, Triathlon, Fencing etc to realise that the Olympics is not a place for sentimental decisions, it si a place for hard-nosed, don't care-if-you're-popular medal-winning decisions. If you don't get it, then don't watch, don't come, and you won't be missed. Perhaps the FA should take a few lessons...

  • Comment number 26.

    He decided to go and play in America and earn millions knowing the standard of football would be way lower than cant have your cake and eat it too David....

  • Comment number 27.

    as much as Beckham being there would have been a nice touch for someone who gave his country some wonderful (and painful) memories, we shouldn't forget that Stuart Pearce can only pick 18 players, with only 3 of them being over the age of 23. I personally wouldn't have Giggs or Bellamy in there, as they can barely play once a week for their clubs, let alone a game every 3/4 days in a tournament for under 23 year olds. On picking Micah Richards, i think its the right thing to do, with the squad being so small, the fact he can play at centre back as well as Right back will be invaluable.

  • Comment number 28.

    Its absolutely the right decision, in light of circumstances - injury to Smalling, Phil Jones presumably being ruled out by being called up to Euros... Micah Richards can play fullback or centre-back. Even if the decisions were based on sentiment alone, Giggs and Bellamy actually have a much better case than Beckham anyway - both great players who have never had the chance to compete in a tournament. We could have quite a strong team with a midfield of Ramsey, Giggs, Bale, Cleverley...

  • Comment number 29.

    A couple of points people seem to be missing re this story. This isnt the English Football Team, it is the British Olympic Football Team. So any perceived slight by the English FA or service to the English National Team should count for nothing. Also is this a competition or is this a testamonial tour? If Stuart Pierce is serious about trying to win this tournament can anyone honestly say that Beckham is one of the best over 23 players available right now? I dont think he is even top 10. The Olympics is one of the top 2 sporting occasions in the world and should be treated as such

  • Comment number 30.

    This man gave up professional sport five years ago to become the corporate head of Brand Beckham. Why anyone would think of selecting him for a serious sporting competition is totally beyond me.

  • Comment number 31.

    beckham HAS BEEN a great servant to this country for all the effort he has put in OFF the field over the years, this does not warrant him a place in this squad, if it does then i am definatly backing Seb Coe to run at the Olympic's,
    After all he has been a great servant.

    Stuart Pearce is not woking for the LOCOG he is not there to drum up support, he is not a ticket tout. He is there to pick a strong squad.

    If anyone is trying to suggest that DB will bring more to the team (ON THE PITCH) than Richards, then maybe curling might be your thing (only two years to go)

  • Comment number 32.

    Pity for Beckham, but it's also a pity for any of the other players who won't make the cut, especialy those who are unlikely to get to play in another international tournament.
    Until we see the full and final squad it's hard to comment on whether Beckham should have been there instead of Giggs or Bellamy (Richards should be there, he's the best RB in the country of any age group - Pearce must have ben rubbing his hands in glee when he was somehow omitted from the Euro squad).
    But to suggest he's got a right to compete because he played a big ambassadorial role for me wrong-headed - each sport has to represented by the best available. It's an Olympic games, not a popularity contest.

  • Comment number 33.

    Olympic Football. is not a big thing - it is almost a public relations type game - after the euro's - world cup - who want's to watch a lower level of football - Therefore this was England's opportunity to build the game, to make it grow ... Beckham is a marketing machine....

    use it...

    cheers elo

  • Comment number 34.

    Beckham - over-rated, over-paid, over the hill and over there.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Olympic Games, for a national football team as troubled and in such a major need of change like England, should be a tournament for experimentation with players who:
    - if mature footballers, could be the spine of a new England side with younger players and a core of few with experience;
    - if young, could be the future of the national side.

    The inclusion of David Beckham in the Olympic team would be extremely productive but it would be productive for the brand Beckham and would prolong the products series that guy promotes, milking consumers worldwide.

    The question is: is the England football team a circus?

  • Comment number 36.

    Sad that Pearce sees it as fit to treat DB like this. I dont mean to belittle Team GB but its tin pot football. If it was that important why hasnt Rio and Lampard come out saying they want to play. Becks deserverd this as his Swan Song IMO and it shows just how we treat someone who has always been there for British sport.

    Bellamy hardly reflects the Olympic spirit and as for Richards... Not sure what it says about Pearce when you pick someone who refused to play for his country? Is Pearce having a dig at Hodgson as hes not in the coaching set up by doing this?

    I would have liked to see DB leading the side out along with Giggs it would have been worth watching. Take it or leave it now.

    Always had my doubts about Pearce, they have just been confirmed.

    I'm not a DB fan but credit where credits due. He's done more for Sport in this country than Stuart Pearce ever has, and for that (along with his obvious football talent) He deserved his day at the London Olympics

  • Comment number 37.

    Beckham is certainly good enough to play in this event but the decision by Pearce is neither brave nor foolish. It is though stupid and self-promoting.

    As for picking Micah Richards ahead of him? Micah Richards? The bloke has to be on a wum. Not that any of this matters of course, cus the one thing that is guaranteed is that the team will play rubbish football in keeping with Pearce himself. No doubt the bloke will prowl the technical box like some kind of neanderthal shouting for throw-ins and trying to intimidate the ball boys and girls. Please god let GB get knocked out as soon as possible to spare us all the embarrassment of being represented by this dinosaur.

  • Comment number 38.

    37 spiteful and self-promoting that should read

  • Comment number 39.

    Are you kidding me? The real shock would have been if he was included. This is an U23 tournament, I can understand the Welsh lads being included as they haven't been to an international tournament, but Beckham has had his chance (and failed?) on more than one occassion.

    Frankly my abiding memory of Beckham at international tournaments will be a petulent kick at Simone ('98) and jumping out of a tackle against Brazil ('02).

  • Comment number 40.

    I think it was a straight choice between Giggs & Becks for the last over 23 spot. So on one side you have one of the best players in the premier league for the last 20 years or a man who pursued an LA career.
    A player who neglected his country for many years due to injury (but played for Utd a few days later) or a man who gave it his all to play for his country despite the vile abuse given to him for a sending off.......Hmmmm tricky one!

  • Comment number 41.

    Pearse is not fit to manage with such a poor record at league level ,anyone can do well at under 21 level with the talent we have .Manage Team GB - not good enough .
    Beckham was a must -what is Pearse thinking.Disgusting

  • Comment number 42.

    What the hell does Stuart Pearce think he's doing? Trying to win the thing?
    Every other Olympic sport selects its partipants based on the strict criterior of merit. Beckham simply isn't one of the 3 best over-23 players in Great Britain available. If he was he would have been near to getting in England's Euros squad, which i don't think anyone would claim he was. This really isn't a big deal, he simply isn't good enough anymore.

  • Comment number 43.

    Are you having a laugh , why on earth would Beckham be chosen , he's not good enough to play in the Premier league !! apart from which he is virtually a USA citizen , he won't be returning home after LAG , would have to pay to much tax !!

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree completely with post 3's first sentence. This is Pearce's ego, showing he is boss. This is the man who picked Parker to captain England over Gerrard, just ridiculous. You'd pick Beckham, purely for his impact from the bench, in a tight nil-nil he has the ability to produce that cross, which Young and Walcott failed to against Italy. Simples!

  • Comment number 45.

    The olympic football competition is not a major event & whilst for those participating it will be treated as seriously as any olympic event it is diminished by the 3 over age players present.
    If you were to remove these then it's a serious competition again but at an age group, with them in it means you are picking 3 players who did not get into the Euros or are not as tired after a full season.
    Sentimentality is everything at that stage as the three must be figureheads and we have just picked three with very bad PR over one with the best going.
    If you want to treat it seriously then the 3 best overage players not at the Euros would be chosen, this is no where near who we have going!
    If it is not being treated seriously then let the guy who has done th emost work for the games have his moment of glory!
    Pearce you've made a rod for your own back you have to win gold now to prove you were right otherwise you will always be remembered as the hard-nosed fool who took this tournament too seriously & failed.
    I will miss seeing Beckham play & I should image the crowd will not be as behind the team as it could have been. I may buy a Beckham GB shirt just to make a point at the stadium now!

  • Comment number 46.

    This is not just a failing of football, but a failing of value. Beckham led the way in bringing the Olympics to London and should have been rewarded for this with a place in the GB "Olympic" team (plus he’s not a bad player!!), something very different from the usual football competitions. This represents a historic event for this country, and without its greatest sporting ambassador, this cannot be right. And even worse to include Craig Bellamy over him, somebody who consistently repels the Olympic ethic of sportsmanship and good competition. This would not happen in any other country, I feel gutted for him.

  • Comment number 47.

    Anyone on here over the age of 30 will tell you that stuart pearce isnt interested in self promotion and some of the other rubbish that has been said on here.... he has built in reputation on selflessly representing the 3 lions in whatever form.... people who are angry about the beckham omission should come up with something better in support of their arguments.

    Frankly, I dont think football should be in the olympics, it should be about the pure olympic sports that rarely get the chance to be in the limelight; this is their time to shine! I look forward to seeing some eastern european pole vaulter that i have never heard of, become a hero for a week by breaking the world record! etc....

    It shouldnt be about what David Beckham looks like in his team GB outfit and where his family are staying and what they are eating... which is what it would have become. They had to pick 3 on merit, and this is what they have gone for.... for me the choice would have been between giggs and beckham... i think he probs plumped for giggs because he plays in the EPL and to get another welsh guy in (which is a good thing to do). it is by no means a "shocking" decision... he can't be picked as a thank you, for petes sake, come on.... its the olympics!!

    Basically, its a bit of a non story (in my humble opinion, of course)

  • Comment number 48.

    sensationalist journos will love itthough

  • Comment number 49.

    @27 - From what i understand Bellamny was really passionate about playing and harrassed Pearce a lot to show commitment

  • Comment number 50.

    Beckham was wrong to ask for a place in the GB team, without that Pearce would never have included him in the 'short list'. Beckham needs to move on.

  • Comment number 51.

    Pearce has been kind to Beckham. It would have been cruel to see Beckham show once again on the world stage what a hyped-up non-entity of a player he really is at the elite level. Beckham proved he was all about hot air in not 1 but 5 consequetive major football tournaments...its a good thing hes been put of his misery before more witnessed what a sporting fraud this figure actaully is.

  • Comment number 52.

    correct post #42

  • Comment number 53.

    No Rio Ferdinand ?

  • Comment number 54.

    Neither brave nor foolish, just eminently sensible. Pearce should be looking to do well in this tournament and picking the best team available. Beckham is not good enough, debateable whether he ever was, vastly overrated one-trick pony who is so patriotic that he plies his trade in the USA and previously Spain. Very pleased that Giggsy has got the nod, very sensible to play someone who still plays regularly in top flight football and deserves the credit. Good luck to Pearce and the team, just a shame that the BBC like others have gone with sensationalist headline, and yet we are not even told the important news, i.e. the rest of the team.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm tempted to say thank God Mr all-about-me wont be there - but I fear this will only open the way for him to make even more 'ambassadorial' appearances all over the place.

  • Comment number 56.

    I would not take Richards or Beckham. However it must be galling to be left out for England's 4th or 5th choice right back. A position of weakness for that National team to boot.

    Not sure what Richards offers. At 18 he was put in the national team and despite not being able to pass 15 feet somehow talk of 20 Million led City to giving him an absurd, for their finances then, contract - absurd for almost all full backs at any time. Since then he's got a bit better but at City he's essentially John O'Shea without the experience.

    I suspect first team players like say Lampard are not available and Mancini said he could have Richards for as long as he liked and till whenever.

  • Comment number 57.

    I've always suspected it, but now I know. Phil McNulty is an idiot.

  • Comment number 58.

    Giggs, Bellamy and Richards. 3 men that reflect the olympic spirit... Loyalty, Attitude and Commitment... oh...

  • Comment number 59.

    As the USA seem furious about TV ratings, why don't they naturalize Beckham and have him play for the USA? Its not like he is exempt as already registered for GB. He's never played a cap for GB.

    Beckham only interests Americans so put him in the American squad.

  • Comment number 60.

    When did the Olympics become a serious/major football tournament? I bet most of those claiming it is couldn't name any of the previous winners without a quick internet search. Team GB obviously hasn't taken it seriously in the past as I believe this is the first time a GB team has ever been entered, and suspect it will also be the last time you will ever see one entered.

    And when you see all those empty seats that you will be paying for with extra taxes over the next couple of years, because the costs of hosting the olympics are so much higher than the revenues it generates (nice video about this on the bbc news site if you don't believe me), maybe you might regret not having all those beckham fans sitting in them...

  • Comment number 61.

    'David Beckham's shock exclusion from Team GB's Olympic football squad is a decision that puts manager Stuart Pearce's credibility - not to mention popularity - on the line.'...what shock? More making more something out of a non-story...

    'The arguments will rage long and hard and if Team GB come up short he will expect harsh criticism for leaving Beckham behind.'...why? Pearce is the manager, he's picked the TEAM he thinks will serve TEAM GB better than a self-serving PR machine.

    'Now he will play out the rest of his career away from the English spotlight in Los Angeles.'...He's never out of the spotlight

    Beckham's not playing...omg...I'm going to sell my tickets, or burn them in protest...because I know, Beckham (and the PR machine) are single-handedly bring Gold and Glory...Boo Stuart Pearce!! I'm off to sell the Euro Olympics worth watching...get over it people

  • Comment number 62.

    Should be there, should be captain. In all likelihood it wouldn't even be happening without him. Don't see why sentiment shouldn't carry him there, it's not a competition that matters hugely . And in any case, he's still a good enough player to be there.

  • Comment number 63.

    Beckham is a professional sportsman, he knows how selection works.

    I really struggle with the argument that giving him hope by selection him in the initial group only for him to be cut for the final squad is so disrespectful.

    It seems to me that he was included in the initial group on merit. Then, on merit, he failed to make the final squad because Pearce wanted balance - I fail to see where the heinous crime has been committed?

    He was selected on merit originally but didn't make the final cut, how many other potential Olympic athletes have experienced the same ordeal? Hundreds I would imagine.

    Pearce's 'argument' of picking a squad to win Gold shouldn't be an argument that has to be made, it should be the default position. No sentiment should be considered when selecting, the aim is to win so you pick the athletes you think give you the best opportunity of doing so.

  • Comment number 64.

    Beckham's presence would have further added to the fiasco which is the inclusion of football at the Olympics. He was only looking for inclusion to add value to brand Beckham, there must be more worthy candidates for inclusion if professional football is to be included. My only hope is that the media and in particular the BBC cover the football as an incidental to the Olympics.

  • Comment number 65.

    Neither... it is sensible. He was a great player and is a great ambassadore but he is 37yrs old and not playing top flight football. I know we love him and quite rightly so but he should not be in the team if we want our best team.

  • Comment number 66.

    The squad should be selected on merit, not on past glories or on the brilliant work that Beckham did during the bid and the work he continues to do as an ambassador for the UK. His time as an international footballer is done.

  • Comment number 67.

    And here's another 'Shock' I'm sure you'll build a blog around...'Shearer says England won't win World Cup in 2014' God is Shearer psychic? Has he become a footballing Nostradamus? Pray Shearer enlighten us...when will we win it..what do the tea leaves tell you?

  • Comment number 68.

    Shock exclusion? Don't make me larf, at last someone in a British footbal setup realises and grasps the nettle that Beckham is not good enough. Never has been. Couldn't even shoot straight, always bending them round the corner, and from a standing still position! Happy retirement Mr Beckham. We will enjoy olympic footie more without you. You will, too, I 'm sure.

  • Comment number 69.

    40 just out of interest, what do you make of Alan Hansen's international career and is that how you judge him as a player?

  • Comment number 70.

    The English are still debating whether to include David Bechkam in their team!! I thought that England looked hopeless against Italy the other day. I was wrong - they are helplessly hopeless..

  • Comment number 71.

    And it took only the second comment until someone blamed past tournaments on one man!

    Jeez the idiots this threads attract!

  • Comment number 72.

    39 interesting. mine would be that he was england's only truly world class player at that time. and that penalty v argentina would be right at the top of any proper england fan's lists of top moments following the side.

  • Comment number 73.

    Beckham has no business playing at the Olympics. The Olympics is about sporting excellence. It is the pinnacle of sport. You send your very best to the Olympic games. You don't send people way past their best as a 'thank you'. The whole situation is absurd and Pearce deserves to be commended for ignoring the idiotic press who have been pushing for his inclusion. The Olympics should be above the media circus that surrounds Beckham.

  • Comment number 74.

    I feel for David Beckham,the best passer of the ball in this country,something we sadly missed in europe,and Pierce has shown everyone that he has picked a player out of his old team Man City over him,Stewart Pierce is a loser always has been,his claim to fame is missing a penalty for England and failing sadly as a manager!!! Beckham would have been the perfect player to bring on for the last thirty minutes when things are not going so well,he still has a lot to offer!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm not aware of the composition of the team for the Olympics but there is no sillier thing to say than alleging that Micah Richards shouldn't be a part of the team.

    Micah Richards is a top quality full back who can be used in central defense if an emergency requirement occurs, he is speedy, strong, extremely good as a full-back turned winger, can cross, can score with either head or shots. In other words, talking against Micah Richards's involvement in England is strange even to me and I do support United. Micah Richards is an excellent defender full stop.

  • Comment number 76.

    There's been a huge overreaction about this in the media and via twitter. Some people have even suggested they're no longer interested in watching team GB at the Olympics, purely because Beckham isn't there - which I think is quite astonishing.

    I think what's behind the outrage is the prevelant but misguided image of Beckham as a romantic hero, a legendary figure who bestrode the footballing world and conquered everything in his path. This amazing footballer was destined for a glorious finale as GB's captain at the Olympic Games in London.

    The only problem with that view is that it's totally disconnected from reality. Beckham seems like a nice guy and was undoubtedly a really good footballer: you don't play for Manchester Utd and England without being one.

    But a 'legend' of the game? Generally, when Manchester Utd fans pick their best Utd XI's, Beckham doesn't get included. Why? Because he wasn't a 'great' player, just a very good one.

    Internationally, when you look back to major tournaments Beckham played in, he never lit up the world stage. In 1998, he got sent off; in 2002 he wasn't fully fit; in 2004 he had a bit of shocker, missing key penalties in two games; and in 2006, again he wasn't fully fit. There are mitigating circusmtances all through that, and Beckham was hardly the reason for England not progressing beyond the quarter finals. He was proud to play for his country - great!

    But Beckham wasn't the legendary player who bestrode the world stage and led us to glory! Most people cite Beckham's goal against Greece, a fine free-kick which rescued us out of an almighty hole - but that's about all they ever cite! Why? Because despite his 115 caps, Beckham was nothing more than a good England player who didn't quite reach the heights.

    So why the outrage right now? Why is it a disgrace that a 37 year-old footballer who plays in the U.S hasn't been included in team GB? Stuart Pearce has done nothing wrong in refusing to be dictated to by the hype, or pressured by disgruntled fans on twitter, or by Beckham himself. He's made the decision for football reasons and I think it's a good one. Beckham was a really good footballer, nothing more, nothing less, but his time has passed. His fitness or form is not guaratneed, and he's 37 years old. It's really time for football supporters to move on.

  • Comment number 77.

    I would have taken Beckham without question. Firstly, is he that far off Giggs in terms of fitness? Giggs' appearances for Man Utd are less frequent and for shorter periods of time now, but I'm sure Beckham could match him. Becks might not have the dexterity that Giggs has but im sure a a younger member of the GB team does, whereas Beckham's ability to put a ball on six'pence and/or find a runner has no competition.

    As for the UK taking Olympic football can we? when so many players aren't being made available by their clubs! Becks playing would have generated the interest lost by not having the real football stars of our generation there!

  • Comment number 78.

    It's all academic really.
    We wouldn't have won anything with him- and won't win anything without him.

    A non story about an aging football player who is way past his sell by date.

  • Comment number 79.

    #44: Well Ashley Young may not be able to hit crosses, but he can hit the cross bar! From a penalty, too. I couldn't do that.

    ... and Shearer's comments about England's world cup chances are the first sensible thing I have heard from an England footballer in years (well, since Bobby Charlton packed it in).

  • Comment number 80.

    Ongoing concussion effects from playing days can be serious; Pearce should have his treated.

  • Comment number 81.

    Oh please.

    Next you'll want Seb Coe back running the 800m or what?

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    So Becham misses out on his chance to say goodbye but lets face facts he is 37 and playing in a lower league he can't tackle he can't run very fast but he wouldn't need to he is still one of the few english players with the ability to give the ball to a player wearing the same colour shirt something that the England players at the euro's significantly failed to do so it's goodbye and fondly remembered David for someone who would walk to london to play for his country to be replaced by a player who will only play if he feels like it

  • Comment number 84.

    Seriously, is the main talking point about Olympic football the fact that The FA have refused to give the umpteenth favour to a player who has been semi-retired for five years and even in his prime never delivered for England on the big stage. It's a no-brainer, it's only 'brave' because of journalists who push for him to be included for obvious reasons that have nothing to do with football. If anything, the fact that once again Beckham has been the centre of a media circus despite not kicking a ball, kind of vindicates it further, I think it's the right idea that Pearce would prefer the headlines to be about the team and about the football rather than one celebrity.

    He has had his time, now it's over and we move on. It happens with every player, why is it so difficult for some people to accept that Beckham's time as a top class footballer is over? Just what is it about him that makes some people lose all rationality and perspective regarding his level as a sportsman? I have nothing against the lad but this circus is beyond ridiculous.

  • Comment number 85.

    Well, I for one hoped he would be included. I am neither a tabloid journalist, nor do I have any interest in celebrities. I hoped he would be there partly through sentiment, but also because I believe he'd be an asset both on and off the pitch.

    Richards is an exceptional player, who should be part of the England squad - but his refusal to be on standby disappointed me. Beckham has always put country first, and I admire that. It should be applauded.

  • Comment number 86.

    @69 - Hansen was never picked and when he was I think he fell out with Fergie. The 2 still don't like each other.

  • Comment number 87.

    ' Play away from home' Giggs will call in ill like he does for Wales, Bellamy's not fit Beckhams the only one playing at the minute so why has he not been selected ?. Come on Stuart at least put him on standby

  • Comment number 88.

    think Pearce is not up management and hopefully when this is over so will he be. he is a poor judge of character and player potential and always has been. can't understand how he has got this far in management. it is certainly not for his skill. this is not because he left Becks out although i think it is a poor decicion. why have him in the 35 at all just to humiliate him?

  • Comment number 89.

    At 17:51 28th jun 2012, Franky wrote:

    Oh please.

    Next you'll want Seb Coe back running the 800m or what?

    make it the 1500m too. He was good at it. Now he has matured he may even have a crack at the 5000m. The first man to attempt a triple at the middle distances..

  • Comment number 90.

    I'd like to see a blog on the weights of modern day players. I'd like a blog explaining why in 20 years of the premier league no one has been caught taking PEDs. I'd like a blog explaining why shorts dropped to the knees in the 1980s never to be short again. I'd like a blog explaining why players get booked for taking their tops off and revealing massive amounts of muscle. I'd like a blog explaining why so many ex-players get depression. But I suppose this is just as interesting.

  • Comment number 91.

    Why aren't those wanting Beckham included purely due to his off-field services not moaning about Seb Coe not being picked for the 1500m? Surely the argument must be the same, who cares if neither have been good enough for years tho right?

    Beckham hasn't been good enough for a number of years and shouldn't be picked just out of sentiment. If we aren't going to try and win, why bother participating at all?

  • Comment number 92.

    It's the Olympics. Who cares? Let the guy play. He's earned it.

  • Comment number 93.

    Obviously, Phil McNulty has bought into Brand Beckham™. Beckham™ knows how to sell to punters like yourself, and you've been sold...! Does that mean Steven Fletcher of Scotland shouldn't have been considered despite ruling himself out of the national squad under Craig Levein. Regardless, support Pearce, support Team GB...c'mon Team GB.

  • Comment number 94.

    72.At 17:49 28th Jun 2012, The Trawler
    then essentially you have no concept of the term "world class". Owen was one english player who actually looked the part going up against the major teams...Beckham was always hopelessly out his depth. Im glad you enjoyed that penalty and the submission to beckhams celebrity and cult that enabled him to take it over a real penalty expert...we sure payed for it come the next tournament.

  • Comment number 95.

    I loath the culture of celebrity and the hype over Beckham generally but I am not convinced that his exclusion is right. He could not last 90 minutes , but on the bench as a sub who knows. His loyalty is not in question whereas Michah Richards' attitude has been questionable shown by Euro 2012. You talk about media circus, how about Zara Phillips's inclusion then in the three eventing team? The paparazzi will be following her every move, trying to catch an ignominious moment no doubt, especially if the poor girl falls off.

  • Comment number 96.

    At 17:58 28th jun 2012, SW7104 wrote:

    It's the Olympics. Who cares? Let the guy play. He's earned it.

    Earned what. You earn a place in a team by sitting in commitees and lobbying? Is that what it has come to in the UK?
    Obviously Beckham fans care. They are gutted..

  • Comment number 97.

    I think it is a really poor decision but I respect Stuart Pearce for making what is clearly a football decision. There was a recent NBA documentary which focussed on the formation of the Dream Team for Barcelona 1992 Olympics. Included on that team were Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, players at the end of their career and past their best but huge names which played a massive part in generating excitement around the games, and ultimately promoting the NBA on a global scale. They could still handle themselves on the court but undoubtedly were included largely for sentimental reasons, and frankly, commercial reasons. The GB football team is largely a novelty concept, and the buzz created by having Giggs, Beckham, Bellamy, etc playing on a British team would have been huge, been a great story, and been a real focus of excitement for the games. The notion that Pearce is purely to select the best squad available to win the tournament is a non-starter as that has clearly already been somewhat compromised by the need to select players from each of the home nations; there is a clear necessity to select Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh players that possibly may not have made it were it based strictly on merit. I am not saying the non-English players aren't good players, or don't deserve to be there, I am just pointing out that there has been a clear guideline to include them, and I think that is right. I think given the huge amount of work that Beckham has done in bringing the games to London, in efforts to bring the World Cup to England, etc, and that he wouldn't exactly have been dead weight, then Pearce should have been encouraged to include him.

  • Comment number 98.

    So Beckham wont be playing for Team 'England' in the London this what they class as a 'First World Problem'? And is there really anybody outside the media circus who really cares?

  • Comment number 99.

    Please remove my comment

  • Comment number 100.

    My comment will now talk about how Beckham ruined English football single handedly...... Please keep comment


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