‘Psycho’ Pearce scores PR own goal by dropping Beckham from Olympic squad

In his days as a Nottingham Forest and England full back Stuart Pearce (left) was a frightening prospect for any winger, deserving his nickname ‘Psycho.’

Now Pearce’s fabled tackling foot has made devastating contact with the ego of former England captain (and Olympic ambassador) David Beckham.

After naming Beckham, seeing out his playing days at the age of 37 with Los Angeles Galaxy, as part of his 35-strong provisional Great Britain squad for the forthcoming London Olympics (the first time GB has fielded such a team) Pearce has dropped Beckham from his final selection in favour of full back Michah Richards, citing injuries to his two first-choice full backs.

This has come as a considerable shock not only to Beckham but also the British Olympics Association, the Football Association and London Games boss (Lord) Sebastian Coe. The ever-popular Becks would have been a huge draw for the football, one of the few sports that has struggled to sell tickets.

It’s not even that Beckham is the only oldie in the squad, his former Manchester United team mate Ryan Giggs (also 37) is included, although Giggs is still playing at a higher level than Beckham, in the UK Premiership. 33-year old Craig Bellamy (another Welshman) is also to be included rather surprisingly. Bellamy is not known for his diplomatic ways on or off the pitch.

So what’s Pearce up to? Well he’s just being a blinkered old football hand. And he has previous. When put in charge of the full England team (he’s the Under 21 coach) before the appointment of Roy Hodgson he made Tottenham’s Scott Parker, a willing midfield worker bee with just a handful of caps, captain. This was ahead of the captain Hodgson eventually appointed, Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, a world class midfielder as he has just demonstrated at Euro 2012. Gerrard would have been quite entitled to throw a mega-strop over such treatment.

As indeed would Beckham, although he won’t. He has said he’s “very disappointed,” which is Beckham-speak for outraged, astonished and about to kick the cat.

Couldn’t someone have had a word in Psycho’s shell-like before he made his selection?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.