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Sport Opinion.

Byline: Matthew Wilkes

THE honours system - outdated elitist thing that it is - rewards people for many things, but this must be the first time someone's been honoured for services to the tabloid newspaper industry.

Yes, David Beckham is now David Beckham OBE.

The man who's more famous for changing his hairstyle, spelling his tattoos wrongly and being married to a ex-girlband 'singer' than he is for kicking a ball has finally joined the list of people who've normally achieved something with their lives in order to be nominated for an honour, let alone win one.

Let's face it, it's Becks' constant exposure in the tabloids ('MAN HAS HAIRCUT' is news?) is the only real reason he got the gong in the first place.

It sure as hell isn't for the odd free kick he bangs over for Man Utd or England.

Mind you, it could be due reward for getting that red card against Argentina in France 98, which did so much for sales of newspapers.

What makes Becks' award more painful is that five members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad had to wait until 2000 for any sort of honour from Buck House. The superbly-talented Jimmy Greaves got nothing.

Who's in charge of this system? Is Her Maj a Man Utd fan? You can hear the flunky at the Palace now: 'Beckham, ma'am. Football chappie. Wears dresses.'

'Blimey,' says Liz, 'he sounds more deserving that that lady who's dedicated her life to charity.'

Or is it a case of some bureaucrat in Westminster trying to curry favour with Man Utd fans before Beckham pops off to Barcelona?

If you're going to honour somone, don't give it to someone whose contribution to dumbing-down Britain is greater than his on-the-pitch achievements.

One downer for him is that it's three more letters Beckham will have to learn.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 15, 2003
Words:306
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