Beckham and his billions

I have nothing much to say about the news that David Beckham, the celebrity’s celebrity, is to earn £500,000 per week in his move from Real Madrid to the American league side, Los Angeles Galaxy. By my reckoning, going on us average UK mugs who work a minimum of 78 hours/week, that amounts to £6410. Per hour. (£1.78 per second) It’s football; he’s Beckham; it happens. More interestingly is wondering what he might spend his millions on. He could buy four of these Aston Martin DB9s (Volante, naturally) each week and still have enough spare to buy a terrace (or probably two) in Bradford.

Beckham in Bradford…the mind boggles. What do you actually do with all that money? I can’t imagine him turning to Posh and asking “So. Fancy a DVD and some telly tonight?”. Instead of paying your bill at a restaurant, you’d pay everybody’s. Or buy the restaurant outright.

Can we expect Beckham Airlines in the future? Posh and Becks Train Travel: guaranteeing you a vacuous journey to faux-stardom.

Is too much cricket really never enough?

With all this media blather about over-worked cricket, I might as well put in my 0.02 cents.

Look, in one sense, it’s a bit rich for cricketers to complain that they are over-worked. Yes, Australia have played eleven Test matches and 18 ODI’s since October, but it is April, now. That is 70 odd days work in six months. Hardly the most onerous of work loads. And Australia have got a few extra days off in that lot by defeating opponents in Test matches in pretty short order. And they get paid literally millions. And they get the best groupies, as you might have noticed if you watch the Allan Border Medal night. So, you know, it’s not that hard a life being an international cricketer.

But on another level, it IS hard work. Adam Gilchrist is not only a fine keeper, passable stand-in captain, mighty batting hero and all round good guy, but he’s usually quite particular about his appearance. I’m not accusing him of being a metrosexual or a wannabe David Beckham, he’s just normally a neat and tidy guy. But in the First Test, he gave a fair impression that he was dressing like a flood victim. Overdue for a shave, too. Miss Zainub would NOT have approved.

Because it is what they are doing on those days off that really tells on the players. English domestic cricket is far more demanding because you are playing cricket day in, day out for months on end. However it takes far less of a toll on the players because they don’t have to travel nearly as much. For a player in a midlands county, away games are just a shire away. None of this intercontinental travel stuff. If you are playing for Derbyshire, half your away games are in driving distance. I’ve had daily commutes longer then the distance between Headingley and Old Trafford.

But for the international cricketer, it is a way bit tougher then that. The cricket is more intense, the pressure higher, the distances are further, and the time away from family is more crushing. Away from the field the temptations and distractions of fame slowly become a burden, the aches and pains dull the senses and it is a wonder that players stay as switched on as they do.

I’m not sure the current surfeit of international Test cricket is entirely good for the fans either. I think something is lost from the anticipation point of view, and that takes away something of the ‘specialness’ of the occasion. Test Cricket, like caviar, should not be indulged in every week of the year. It isn’t good for the players or the fans. When the players identify with Bob Segar, we know we have a problem

Cricket more competitive than Football?

Interesting dicussion on Sky News just now. Some bloke called Ellis, a “football sociologist” (what? Is? That?), was asked: “has cricket stolen his heart?”

“Well my heart maybe with Football, but no other part of me is: I’m fatigued by Football, it’s not competitive any longer. The beauty of cricket is it’s exactly that- intensely competitive. We’re seeing a genuine competition. I’d like to say it’ll be with us for a long time to come [Britain's 'new' love of the game], but I think we’ve seen it all before. Remember after we won the Rugby world cup? Jonny Wilkinson was going to be the new David Beckam – none of that happened. Once the Ashes is over we may forget about Cricket.”

And this is an important point. My Editor at Cricinfo interviewed Martin Corry a week ago, England’s Rugby Union Captain, who was coy about the effect winning the Ashes could have on Cricket in this country. Read the interview here.

The Sky bloke went on to ask, “Are Flintoff, Strauss, Trescothick and so on going to become characters that the public identify with, in same way Beckham, Owen and Gerrard have been?”

“Flintoff certainly has [become a character the public love], and he’s been very charismatic. The big market capture is women, who are now watching the game. Young people are now out there batting and bowling, aquanting themselves with the game.”

There was a bit of discussion on the Cricket v Football debate here, a week ago, and for more on this see my Football tag.