When is comes to style management and glitzy marketing there is no sportsman on the planet who can Bend it Like Beckham. And this afternoon in London Becksmania went interactive with a ground-breaking book launch.
The latest promotional masterplan by Team Beckham was the promise to bend time so the former England, Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan superstar could simultaneously sign copies for ticketed fans in London, New York, São Paulo, and Hyderabad, India.
As his former mentor Sir Alex Ferguson, a 71 year-old dinosaur in the new world of social media, acknowledged when he paid tribute to Becks in his own autobiography last week, the kid from East London is a “global icon.”
Fitting then that David Beckham could respond this afternoon to a worldwide audience with his own spectacular book launch streamed live on Facebook. An event that in his own words was designed to engage fans around the world “reinventing the traditional format of the book signing” through the use of “groundbreaking technology”.
Hosted by Facebook at a Digital Studio in London the star of the show talked openly about his career to TV personality Jake Humphrey, who guided him through the event and managed a global Q and A session with fans all promised digital signed copies of his book.
Resisting the opportunity to respond negatively to some of the comments made by Ferguson in his book, Beckham talked affectionately about Sir Alex and recalled the way he helped him become one of the world’s most famous sporting heroes.
Remembering the early days when his Class of 92 – including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers Gary and Phil – won the Youth Cup for Manchester United, Beckham spoke warmly about Ferguson with a series of tributes.
:- “We all looked at him like he was a father figure – and I needed that at the time.”
:- “He’s a man who gave me the chance to play for a club that I always wanted to play for.
“- “I’m not going to sit here and be negative about a man who gave me the chance to play for my boyhood heroes”
:- “He believed in me.”
Pressed by Humphrey to say something controversial. the closest Becks came to criticising Fergie came when he jokingly said:
“Funny thing was I’m involved in the MLS and bringing my own franchise into the league and he was one of the first numbers I was going to ring to ask to be manager. But I’m not sure now he will accept.”
The reality is that Beckham has too much class, respect and dignity to put down the manager who set him on the road to stardom and helped him through the most difficult moment of his career when he was vilified for getting sent off in the 1998 World Cup during England’s infamous quarter-final defeat by Argentina.
Ferguson was one of the first people to speak to Beckham after his red card for his ill-fated flick at Diego Simeone. “He told me to come back to Manchester and promised ‘You’ll be fine son’.” It was the fatherly support Beckham needed at the time. Fifteen years later it would be an understatement to say this footballing icon has done better than fine.
Beckham is the ultimate sporting role model and it was no less than I expected of him when he later repeated that he will not enter a war of words with Ferguson. Making it crystal clear to the negative forces in the media who thrive on confrontation, Becks assured the BBC’s Dan Walker: “I’ve got so much respect for Sir Alex Ferguson. I wish him good luck with his book. My book is totally different. Anything he has written in his book will never affect how I feel about him as a manager.”
There’s only one David Beckham. How can you not love the guy!
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– 16 May 2013