Saturday, 17 March 2007

The Night I Slept Next To David Beckham

With West Ham all but relegated there is some solace in sleeping next to David Beckham, and some positives of playing in the Championship
By Russell Brand

David Beckham was in the next room to me at a Manchester hotel on Tuesday night. There were adjoining doors. I felt like I should do something, knowing he was in there either with Posh or alone sleeping, like in that Sam Taylor-Wood installation, all peaceful.

The twits I was with wanted to put a gushing note under his door, a scheme I vetoed on the grounds that it would compromise me if I ever met him. He'd always have that over me. If we met at a high-class banquet for Essex dignitaries my status would be undermined by the knowledge that I'd desperately thrust my grubby scribblings into his private quarters. It seemed uncouth - like trying to sneak my fingers up the leg of his shorts and stretching his golden balls taut.

Also, what would I put? "Good evening David, hope you enjoyed your appearance at Old Trafford on the occasion of Manchester United versus European XI. Shame you couldn't play. Nice speech! PS: Do you miss Lakeside?" or "I can envisage you Dave, in there, yards from me mincing in your pristine pants - would you like me to pay you a saucy visit? Hang your panties on the door handle if yes."

I don't think that there's anything you can write in a note to a stranger that you poke under a door that wouldn't unsettle them. I shouldn't be bothering myself with inconsequential exhibition matches in Manchester when West Ham's season lies strewn in daft tatters. Currently they await news of whether points will be deducted as a result of fielding ineligible players, Argentinians Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Alan Curbishley is sanguine about it, claiming we have no points to deduct, which is an interesting argument. In West Ham's current position they may as well deduct unicorn tears or Fabergé eggs. I myself have adapted a similarly Zen and detached stance and have prepared myself for another season of Championship football.

My methods of consolation include:

1 There are some good clubs that may be in the Championship next season if they don't get promoted or relegated. It'll be nice to go to Loftus Road for QPR and Elland Road for Leeds if they don't go down, and to receive visits from Birmingham and Sunderland if they don't go up.

2 It is more competitive, with league positions not confirmed often until the final game of the season.

3 I might actually get to see West Ham win a few games.

There was talk to the effect that if a verdict can't be reached on West Ham's points deduction before the season ends that the penalty will be carried over until the next time they're promoted - an irksome prospect but currently irrelevant. First they must be promoted and is Alan Curbishley the right man for that challenge? Hunter Davies wrote in these pages on Thursday of the characteristics required to be a great manager and in his view they need to be a bit barmy. He cited Roy Keane as an example of a good manager in waiting because of Sunderland's change in fortune this season and because of Roy's apparent air of psychopathic menace. I find it impossible to predict which players will be good coaches.

Who would have thought that dear Sir Trevor Brooking would be possessed of such venom when he took the reigns at the Boleyn for the close of the 2003 season? Seeing him pumping his fist and bellowing on the touchline unnerved me. We've always known him to be such a gent, to witness him all charged and furious was disconcerting; like when my geography teacher, the usually gentle Mr Eckley, would topple into red-faced rage and pepper his rants with spittle. I'd just stand silent in the angry saliva shower and monitor the little bit of escaping wee-wee as best I could.

Perhaps that's what I should have inappropriately issued to the slumbering Becks, a request that he eschew his LA Galaxy payday, and get back to his roots and claim his birthright as West Ham's chief. Who could know or dare to dream what uncharted depths of management skill lurk beneath his immaculately tanned facade? What cleft, disrupted dressing room could fail to be inspired by the spectacle of an incandescent Beckham yapping shrill damnations and commands whilst nimbly flicking boots into the craniums of dissenters? The solution to all West Ham's curses lay sleeping next to me in Manchester, whilst I did naught but glut myself like a chimp on cashew nuts and hotel porn.

Guardian column

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