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Beckham bonanza

Published: Saturday 28 December 2002, 11.56CET looks back at the Beckham-mania which swept the world in 2002. features

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Published: Saturday 28 December 2002, 11.56CET

Beckham bonanza looks back at the Beckham-mania which swept the world in 2002.

Getting into the seasonal spirit, looks on the bright side of life with two weeks of festive fun.

By Jim Wirth

He may just be a quiet lad from Leytonstone who loves his wife and kids, but Manchester United FC soccer hunk David Beckham has been captivated the world's press this year.

Broken foot
A genius on the pitch, and a style guru off it, a broken foot almost robbed Beckham of a place in England's team for the FIFA World Cup finals - and nearly broke the hearts of millions of supporters in the Far East.

Broken hearts
'Bei-ke-han-mu', who became a star as soon as Premiership games began being broadcast in China in the 1990s, has enormous support among Chinese ladies. "I heard Beckham does more housework than his wife," Ling Ling, a young woman from Shanghai wrote on a website message board. "Can his wife take good care of him when he is injured?"

Nice hair
Well, obviously she could, for Beckham did his bit at the World Cup, capturing the imagination of the world with some good performances and a terrific haircut which became the talk of the world. Beckham's mohican launched an army of imitators.

Bad news
One of them was newsreader Peter Vlahov, who was dismissed by his bosses after he decided to take the Beckham look to the television screens of Croatia. "I was told that my new mohican-style haircut was indecent and totally inappropriate," said Vlahov. "I thought by having a trendy hairstyle like Beckham it would make the news programme more popular with younger audiences."

Ronaldo entranced
The Beckham obsession was not just limited to supporters, and Brazil's Ronaldo made his own contribution to the myth after he exchanged shirts with the midfield player following Brazil's 2-1 win against England in the quarter-finals.

Sweet smelling
"When you swap shirts after the match you expect it to smell bad, because of the sweat but Beckham's smelled really nice," he said, before revealing that the Brazilian dressing room was alive with Beckham talk. "Right after the game ended everyone was saying that Beckham is really handsome," he said.

Ladylike ways
Of course, the dandyish United star did not impress everyone, and FC Bayern München chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was unimpressed with Beckham's contributions to fashion. "He is turning from a footballer into a lady, especially with his painted fingernails," he said.

Stylish Völler
However, Rummenigge's commitment to German national coach Rudi Völler's shaggy perm lessened the impact of his fashion advice. "It is important that people like Rudi's hair, and they do," Rummenigge insisted. "In contrast to many others at least he does have a look."

Good year
As the year ended, Beckham celebrated the birth of his second child, Romeo, avoided a kidnap plot and looked on in amazement while his wife entered into a protracted legal row with Peterborough United FC as to who was the real Posh.

Posh row
Peterborough, who have been known as 'The Posh' since 1934, reacted furiously to the news that the former Spice Girl is attempting to block their registration of their nickname. Club chairman Geoff Davey saying he was amazed that "someone as big as Victoria Beckham would want to raise this particular challenge". 

What next?
How much further can this madness go? Find out next year, but we'll leave you with the story of 38-year-old Bulgarian Marin Zdravkov who managed to officially change his name to Manchester United this year. Mr United, as many readers will be surprised to learn, lives with his mother and has a cat called David Beckham.

Last updated: 10/12/17 7.44CET