With the news of David Beckham’s retirement, here’s my new poem, “Beckham”; I’m recording it for the BBC World Service, to be broadcast on the morning of Saturday 18 May.
He went from a football man
To a global brand;
From Manchester United,
To, maybe, a knighthood;
To get there, he did two things; first he ran, and he ran, and he ran;
And secondly, he made a weapon of his right foot.
If you were a target on which its red dot was placed
Then not until you’d marched back seventy yards
Were you safe.
Madrid, LA, Paris, Milan: his career sounded like a catwalk;
He had charm and the national armband,
Was one of the few men that women might cat-call.
His style was
James Bond meets sarong.
As if they were blond curtains,
He brushed aside his harsh critics;
You could trust him to bring home cups
Or free-kicks in last minutes.