Whether it’s football or politics, it usually makes sense to stick with what you know and where you belong, writes Mark Borkowski
Speculation that David Beckham plans to embark on a megabucks movie career when the time comes to hang up his golden boots was fuelled recently by the appearance of Tom Cruise at his side to watch Real Madrid beat Getafe 2-0.
Assuming “Jerry Maguire” wasn’t using his famed negotiating skills to recruit David and Victoria into the Church of Scientology (as several commentators suggested, due to TC’s considerable investment in L Ron Hubbard’s Spanish HQ) the offer of a cameo role in the next Mission Impossible blockbuster might prove highly tempting for the England captain.
This sounds like speak of spin if ever I heard it – precisely the type of story you learn not to believe because it’s so patently made up.
The temptation to cross disciplines may prove almost impossible to ignore, but the path from football pitch to film set is littered with disasters. Some have got further than others, particularly Vinny Jones, but just the title “Escape to Victory” should say it all.
Escape to Victory was a football-meets-the Nazis non-epic movie from 1981, starring “a galaxy of stars of soccer and screen” in which the actors – including Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone – all forgot how to act, and the footballers – Pele, Bobby Moore, Mike Summerbee and John Wark – ran about in that desultory way all sport looks on the big screen – un-live and thoroughly unconvincing.
Despite John Huston’s presence as director, it really was a woof-woof-grrr of a movie and a great advertisement for sports stars retiring gracefully.
Ian Botham and Eric Cantona have also tried acting, but when you’ve been so massive playing yourself, I reckon the hunger to perfect the craft is almost certainly going to be absent.
But football and the movie industry both thrive on hype off the field and off the set, and it’s essential to be on one’s guard. A parallel was clearly seen this week when the anonymous millions from the real, internal, continental US saw off the upstart patrician Wasp from New England in favour of the devil they knew.
It didn’t matter how much spin the intellectuals of the coastal cities – New York, Boston, LA, San Francisco, hell, even Seattle – wove for each other’s consumption regarding Bush’s faults and the glory of Kerry, Real America spotted the flaws and ignored it.
They followed their true paths, and if that meant being a redneck who doesn’t know Iraq from Iran or a Cuban cab driver on welfare, then so be it. George Bush understood: if you want to retain respect, and ultimately the value of your “brand”, stick to what you know and where you belong. And that goes for footballers too.