Netflix’s ‘Beckham’: A story of how hate drove a person to footballing excellence

David Beckham is surprisingly excellent. And I’m not referring to his football.

I was surprised. The docuseries ‘Beckham’ has been out on Netflix for nearly a week, and unlike other football enthusiasts around the world, I couldn’t be bothered to watch it, until recently.

To be plain honest, the thing that drove me to watch the docuseries was none other than Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham). But there I was, thoroughly captivated and glued to the television for four – yes, four – solid hours watching the former Manchester United and England captain’s life story.

The beginning was dull and rather expected. A footballing boy prodigy, with a face that would have him better suited with the guys at boyband Take That, falls in love with a particular Spice Girl that I (still) fancy, at the very moment when his footballing career was reaching its climax.

But then – when it came to the part that David Beckham was loathed and abominated by the English public for being sent off in the 1998 World Cup for kicking the Argentinian Diego Simeone, causing England to crash out, and being subsequently pushed under the bus by the manager Glenn Hoddle – the docuseries started to become interesting.

The inherent message, which was repeatedly decorated, was that every time David Beckham faced a wobble or a setback, or every time he was under attack, every time the whole world agreed that he was distracted or conceited, he fought back in the only way he knew how – getting even better and scoring more goals.

In a world where narratives of mental health seem to dominate reason, it was quite fascinating to see how hate drives a person to excel further.

As the docuseries moved along, we were then ‘partially’ furnished of Beckham’s widely reported affair with the couple’s former PA, Rebecca Loos. She was just referred to as “multiple tabloid stories” that shook their marriage.

Neither Beckham nor Victoria actually said whether or not an affair actually took place, and Loos’ name was never mentioned.

This makes the storytelling feel more powerful. The unspoken detail simply alluded us to make out how crushing the episode was to the both of them.

For the regular football fan, who couldn’t give two hoots about what’s written in the tabloids, you would be amazed at just how many big footballing names this docuseries featured. You have everyone, from Sir Alex Ferguson talking about kicking a boot in Beckham’s face, Simeone on his encounters with Beckham at the 1998 World Cup and Champions League, to interviews with the ‘real’ Galacticos – Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and Roberto Carlos.

The only thing that had me mind-boggled was the absence of any mention of Steve McManaman when it came to the part where Beckham was trying to fit in at Real Madrid.

There were footage of them training together, but the storytelling suggested that Beckham was the only Englishman at Madrid at the time.

The upshot of all this is that I felt, for the first time, that Beckham actually deserves a place with the Galacticos. That he’s not just a pretty face, that he is an extremely good footballer. Phenomenally good.

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.

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