Virgin brand ambassadors, Mo Farah, left, and Usain Bolt are expected to front the company’s Commonwealth Games ad campaign.
Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images Virgin Media has signed up as a top-tier sponsorship partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the expectation that brand ambassadors and Olympic champions Mo Farah and Usain Bolt will front a major advertising campaign next year to support the deal.
The deal, which will see the cable company join top-paying sponsors such as Emirates airline, marks Virgin Media’s first foray into sports sponsorship.
Virgin Media said its Commonwealth Games sponsorship deal will include being the presenting partner of athletics, which would make the use of Bolt and Farah an obvious choice in ad campaigns next year, although the company refused to be drawn on its specific marketing plans.
“With our home nation heroes and international superstars, we’re getting behind Glasgow and can’t wait to build on an amazing track record of success.,” said Jeff Dodds, chief marketing officer at Virgin Media.
The company, which has a long association with the Virgin music festival, has struck the high-profile deal as the advertising battle with rival pay-TV providers to win over customers heats up.
Earlier this week, TalkTalk struck a 20m three-year deal to continue sponsoring Simon Cowell’s X Factor to drive its fledgling TV service, while BT is spending tens of millions to market the BT Vision service and leverage its 738m Premier League TV rights deal through its BT Sport channels.
Bolt, the Jamaican Olympic sprint gold medal-winner, has been something of a regular in the company’s TV ads since signing as a brand ambassador in January 2012.
Farah followed suit in August last year, on the heels of his Double gold medal haul at the London 2012 Games.
“I love competing on home turf and I hope to run in Glasgow in 2014,” said Farah.
“The Scottish crowd are always very passionate about athletics.
Having Virgin Media’s continued support, both personally, and as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games, is a big boost to athletics.” Bolt said: “Virgin Media is a great company and I’m delighted they have decided to continue their support of athletics by becoming a Commonwealth Games partner”.
Coverage of the Commonwealth Games, which more than 1 million are expected to attend, is being aired by the BBC.
Virgin Media cannot run ad campaigns on the corporation’s airtime, however it has pledged to promote the event in its marketing communications and in return has been guaranteed “a strong Games-time brand presence” by the organisers.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of Glasgow 2014, said: “We look forward to collaborating with Virgin Media, its customers and staff in developing some exciting engagement and activation opportunities over the coming months, which will really bring the partnership to life.” To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email email@example.com or phone 020 3353 3857.
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Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair has had to have a rib removed and won’t be able to train for at least three months.
The 24-year-old missed the end of the season with a blood-clot on his shoulder, and doctors have decided to remove his top rib as it was pushing on a vein, causing the clot.
The former Chelsea and Swansea player is now on blood-thinning drug warfarin, which means he is unable to play any contact football as the drug can cause excessive bleeding to an individual if cut.
Rib removed: Scott Sinclair has had to have a rib removed to ease his blood clotting story Still together: Helen Flanagan recently denied that her and boyfriend Sinclair had split up City’s medical team will reassess his situation in August with Sinclair only allowed back to full training if his blood clotting is back to normal levels, revealed the Daily Mirror.
Those close to Sinclair are confident the player, who has been missing since being taken ill in training on May 3, will make a full recovery.
Sinclair may have suffered from Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), which may mean that Sinclair could have been born with an extra rib, although the affliction can also be caused by repetitive-strain injuries from sports.
But it has come as a further blow to Sinclair after he made only two league starts for City and didn’t get on the score sheet following his 6million move last summer.
Missing out: Sinclair won’t be able to train for at least three months as he is on blood-thinning drug warfarin Loan deal? Aston Villa and Everton may make a move for the player who made just two league starts last season Sinclair enjoyed an excellent debut season in the Premier League, scoring eight goals as Swansea City stayed in the top division.
The previous year he scored 27 goals for the Swans as he fired them to promotion from the Championship.
His form over the two seasons even earned him a call up to the London 2012 Olympics, where he played in all four games, scoring the second goal in the match against the UAE.
Earning his move: Sinclair was snapped up by City after two excellent seasons with Swansea City British star: Sinclair scores for Great Britain at London 2012 Former manager Roberto Mancini was known to have been willing to listen to offers for the player, but now he has gone, Sinclair may yet find that City’s next manager, likely to be Manuel Pellegrini, will have bigger plans for him.
Sinclair may find himself loaned out, with Aston Villa and Everton the two clubs leading the charge before he went down with this injury.
Sinclair’s team-mates Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta have both sung the praises of Pellegrini, although Nasri’s may well have partly been a jibe at his former boss with the pair enjoying a rocky relationship.
‘I think that (Pellegrini) is a great manager,’ said Nasri.
‘He proved himself at Villarreal and Real Madrid as well even if he didn t win the title but he finished with 96 points.
And with Malaga as well.’ ‘All his teams play attractive football.
And I think that is what people want to see.’ ‘You pay (for your) ticket to go to football to see something great and he is the kind of manager who can do it so we will see what can happen in the summer.’ Singing his praises: Sinclair’s City team-mates Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta have both come out in support of incoming boss Manuel Pellegrini, who is expected to be confirmed at the Etihad soon Zabaleta was a youngster at Argentinian side San Lorenzo when Pellegrini was the first team manager there, although they didn’t have any interaction.
‘His way to play football is great,’ said the defender.
‘Somebody told me he is a great manager so we will wait to see what happens.
Hopefully if he comes to City he can just carry on with his football.
‘He likes to play attractive football.
What I saw with Malaga, whenever they played they played to win.
Singing his praises: Both Nasri and Zabaleta have come out in support of the likely manager, Manuel Pellegrini ‘This is something important for a top team.
Wherever you go to play, you play to win.’ City are currently on a post-season tour of the USA, along with Chelsea, whom they play tonight at 1.30am in St Louis’ Busch Stadium.
Sinclair has not travelled on the tour.
Jessica Ennis is expected to compete in the hurdles, javelin and long jump at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre.
Photograph: David Davies/PA Jessica Ennis, the Olympic heptathlon champion, will open her 2013 season by competing in the UK Women’s Athletic League Premier Division meet next month at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre.
The appearance will mark her first outdoor competition since her victory at the London 2012 Games and she is expected to compete in three events hurdles, javelin and long jump for her club Trafford AC.
She said: “I am looking forward to getting back into competition.
Last year had some wonderful highs for obvious reasons but you cannot stand still for long in any sport let alone one like athletics.
I have been training hard with a view to this summer’s events, and the world championships in Moscow in August is the major goal.” Her coach Tony Minichiello confirmed Ennis has a Diamond League meeting in Oslo on her schedule, where she will again compete in two or three individual events.
Her first heptathlon competition will be in Tallinn in Estonia at the end of June.
Minichiello said: “Edinburgh is a good opportunity for Jessica to blow the cobwebs away and get into competition again.
We’re planning for her to do three events that day.
“The world championships is the main target for the season so everything before then is looking towards peaking for Moscow.”
Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford joins young children taking part in a Startrack athletics taster session at the Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club.
Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian Sir Keith Mills, the deputy chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, has unveiled the results of a three-year research project that he says proves billions could be saved by the Treasury if more money was invested in grassroots sport projects.
The Air Miles founder said that the “groundbreaking” research gave a clear sense of the financial return from the sector for the first time and should form the basis of a concerted push for more investment from government and corporate backers.
The Guardian revealed earlier this year that sport and leisure investment was being disproportionately cut by local authorities as their budgets came under extreme pressure, while corporate backers are re-evaluating their investment in sport following the Games.
Along with Lord Coe, Mills was the architect of London’s bid to host the Olympics and its promise to “inspire a generation” to play more sport.
But he admitted that cash-strapped local “doorstep sport” projects, from inner city boxing gyms to initiatives to deliver fitness programmes in local parks, were rarely able to prove their effectiveness because they were concentrating on delivery.
The research, conducted by a company called Substance, used government statistics to determine that 4,174 per young person per year could be saved by using sport as an “intervention” to tackle social problems.
Using the records of 650,000 participants in previous projects, the company’s research showed sport projects had the greatest impact on alcohol and drugs misuse, reducing the risk by 19%.
The likelihood of young people taking part in crime and anti-social behaviour was reduced by 15% and there was a 14% improvement in their health and well-being, said Dr Tim Crabbe, the chairman of Substance.
Mills launched Sported as an umbrella organisation five years ago, promising to invest more than 2m of his own money and that of other investors in supporting thousands of local grassroots sport clubs that make a difference to social outcomes.
“We wanted to be able to say to funders that if they invest money in the projects we oversee, you’ll get a return on your investment.
We want to say the same thing to government departments, national and local.
And other charities, such as Comic Relief,” said Mills.
“Unless this sector has a very strong financial argument that says society will get a return, then the rate at which it is losing funding will accelerate,” he said of the rationale behind the research.
The government has insisted it remains committed to delivering a sports legacy from the London Olympics, but critics have claimed that confusion over its school sport policy and the cuts to local authority budgets will negate any benefit from the 1bn to be invested over five years through Sport England.
“What we wanted from this research was evidence that sport for development had an impact on social issues which would, in turn, enable us to create a robust case for investment in this sector,” said Mills.
“Sport for development work has been in the shadows for too long, it lacks funding and support and yet it’s providing a crucial service in some of the country’s most challenged communities.” He hopes to persuade other corporate backers to join Deutsche Bank in investing in projects and sports clubs supported by Sported.
Traditionally, corporate programmes had tended to invest in the arts and charity rather than sport.
“As a businessman, I was determined to make sure we got a return on investment,” said Mills, who is also a Tottenham Hotspur director.
“When we looked at how much evidence there was, there were lots of project reports and anecdotal evidence, but there was no single piece of evidence that could tell me as an investor how my money was being used.” The research has also given rise to a piece of software that will allow individual projects to evaluate the impact of their work.
“There are shaming statistics in this country about Neets Not in Education, Employment or Training, said Sir Richard Lambert, a senior independent adviser to Deutsche Bank.
“We have a higher correlation between economic deprivation and poor schooling than any other rich country and a major skills mismatch, with lots more students going to university but lots leaving school without any skills at all.
“That’s a threat not only to our economy but social cohesion more generally.
This will give a legitimacy and a strength to this whole approach to finance.”
Olympic champion Jessica Ennis married her long-term partner at a church in Derbyshire’s Peak District today.
Bystanders in the picturesque village of Hathersage broke into spontaneous applause outside the Church of St Michael and All Angels as Ennis arrived to marry fiancee Andy Hill.
Around 100 guests are thought to have attended the hour-long wedding service before heading off to a reception at an undisclosed location.
Hitched: Olympic Gold medalist Jessica Ennis posed for the waiting media after she married Andy Hill Given away: Ennis arrives with her parents, Alison and Vinny before she marries her fiancee Sealed with a kiss: Ennis kisses new husband Andy, and (left) showing off her flowing wedding dress Ennis coach targets top job Toni Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis to world and Olympic glory, admits he would love to throw my hat into the ring when successors for departing UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson are considered.
But he admits his honesty and frankness may well count against him.
I think there are people in charge who wouldn t have me there, he says.
Minichiello was made redundant by UKA after Ennis’s Olympic triumph.
His accreditation for the Olympic village was cancelled the morning after Super Saturday , a fate conveyed to Minichiello by text message.
Eriksson’s predecessor, Charles Van Commenee, coached Denise Lewis to Olympic heptathlon gold prior to becoming head coach, and Minichiello believes experience of athletes at championships should be a prerequisite for the job.
Mick Collins Wearing a V-necked, sleeveless ivory silk gown with a ruffled tulle skirt and a full-length veil, the bride carried a small posy of cream and pale pink roses.
Mr Hill, a construction site manager, wore a dark grey morning suit, accessorised with a pink tie and handkerchief.
Following the service, the newlyweds both smiled broadly as they posed for photographers outside the church, parts of which date back to the 14th century.
Ennis wowed the crowds at the London 2012 Olympics last year by winning gold in the women’s heptathlon.
‘(it) was the best day of my life because you never try dresses on like that, do you? It’s very special.’ The couple have been together for eight years, after they both met whilst at King Ecbert School in Dore, Sheffield.
Andy went down on one knee on Christmas Eve in 2010 and Jessica has been planning the wedding ever since.
Incredible: Ennis celebrates winning the women’s heptathlon in last year’s London 2012 Olympics
David Beckham has gained worldwide fame and is tipped to become even more marketable Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet David Beckham is an almost unique sportsman whose huge earnings should continue or even increase in retirement, marketing experts believe.
The former England captain has announced will retire at the end of the season after a career which has seen him play for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris St Germain.
As well his as numerous playing achievements, the 38-year-old has also been phenomenally successful off the field throughout his career in terms of commercial activity.
And that is something that is likely to carry on for many years to come as marketers look to associate themselves with his brand.
Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, said: “His appeal now will shift into different roles.
“He is on a totally different planet to other players in terms of commercial value and long-term ambassadorial roles.
” M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment chief Steve Martin Quotes of the week “He’ll have more time on his hands and more time for commercial partners and the brands he can work or be associated with.
“He has also got so many commercial sponsors that will carry on whether he is playing or not.
“He is on a totally different planet to other players in terms of commercial value and long-term ambassadorial roles.
Enduring appeal “He has got so many long-term deals that don’t depend on him playing – Sainsbury’s, adidas, Breitling – there are so many and, to be honest, the playing part of his career has been much less of the focus in the last 12-15 months anyway, even though he has maintained the public image.
“His appeal is so enduring and that won’t change.
“From a brand perspective he is unique.
He has an appeal that will go on for the next 15-20 years.
“He could, conservatively, earn 15-20million a year.
There are so many dimensions to him – family man, football, health and fitness, fashion, style – that is why his appeal is so broad and his sponsorship partners are so broad.
That will not suddenly go away.
“The playing side will die away but he is unique in that it won’t make much difference.” Beckham has made mistakes in his career, most notably the sending-off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup which briefly appeared to make him a national hate figure.
But he turned that around, not only with his performances on the field but with his well-managed activities off it.
Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, said: “I think he has been very well managed.
He has made all the right moves.
“He is a very talented person and he is very media savvy.
It doesn’t just happen.
“If you think back to his early days, he made a few mistakes, as all 20-year-olds do, and when he got sent off he was Mr Unpopular for a while.
“But over the years he has just got better and better and he knows exactly how to handle the media.
That is so important, because a lot of people don’t.
“He’s able to fulfil his duties and not make the slip-ups so many people do along the way.” Sky ambassador As well as his many commercial endorsements, Beckham’s image can add credibility and glamour to many entities.
He was heavily associated with the London 2012 Olympics and recently signed up to become an ambassador for a Sky Sports grassroots participation project.
Currie said: “He’s unbelievably marketable and I think he’ll become even more marketable.
“He’s got even more time to fulfil those roles and he’s such a popular figure that you can only see him going on to further greater things.” Sports marketing director Nigel Currie Quotes of the week “Brands will look to associate themselves with him and use him in a clever way to boost their image and everything else.
“You can now see him moving into even greater spheres and doing more brand activity than in the past.
“As his football has become less significant in recent years his profile has continued to rise – endorsements, ambassadorial roles.
“He’s got even more time to fulfil those roles and he’s such a popular figure that you can only see him going on to further greater things.”
West Ham United enjoyed a day on the water at a team-building day at Dorney Lake, but a few of the players saw a bit more of lake than they perhaps anticipated.
Olympic rower mark Hunter helped to organise the team day out for Big Sam’s squad, the East End rower, who won a silver medal at London 2012 on Dorney Lake to add to the gold he won in Beijing, is a massive West Ham fan.
But certain members of the squad, including club captain Kevin Nolan and midfielder mark Noble, got little nudges from their team-mates and ended up in the pond.
Head first: West Ham club captain Kevin Nolan gets pushed into Dorney Lake on a team building day for the Hammers In the drink: Mark Noble is pushed into the water Contrast: Andy Carroll (left) looks like a natural in his scull whereas Nolan looks a tad more nervous Under the expert tutelage of Hunter, who won his silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls, the Hammers were led through a quick training session before lining up for team races.
Hunter was invited to a training session by Sam Allardyce at the start of the season, in recognition of his Olympic victory, and returned the favour here.
After a brief introduction on a rowing machine on Terra Firma, the players entered the delicately balanced single sculls.
Expert: Mark Hunter (right), who has won two Olympic rowing medals and is a big West Ham fan, gave expert tuition to the West Ham players Winning squad: Nolan, Noble, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Matt Taylor, James Collins and Andy Carroll won both races the teams had Quick session: The players and staff had some quick tutoring on rowing machines before heading onto the water Tranquility on the water didn’t last long however, with assistant manager Neil McDonald the first into the lake, much to the delight of those watching on.
Noble was the next to go head first, though he was pushed in by as yet unnamed team-mates.
They then moved on to team rowing, battling it out over 250metres in three teams of six.
Looking good…or not: Assistant manager Neil McDonald was the first Hammer to find himself in the water Streets ahead: The six man team race well into the lead Watching on: James Collins takes to the water in a single scull Advice: Mark Hunter gives Mark Noble a few words of encouragement A team of Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Andy Carroll and James Collins dominated the two races that the teams held.
But Nolan, who was later pushed in, told West Ham TV that he was not thinking of giving up his day job any time soon to chase the Olympic dream.
‘It’s too hard for me, I must admit,’ he said.
‘It was an enjoyable day and I was delighted to be on the winning side, but it was really tough! It was great for the lads.
It brought us all together and gave us a good laugh.
‘Especially being in that one man boat, there were a few shaky moments.
It looks easier than it is.
I’m glad that I didn’t go in, apart from being pushed in later on.
We were all delighted that Macca was the first one in and then a few other lads followed.’ Looking good: hammers defender James Tomkins puffs out his cheeks Pointing it out: Collins has a chat with Andy Carroll and Matt Taylor Stroke: Noble gets into a rhythm
David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers…
now only Ryan Giggs remains from the Class of ’92
Paul Scholes led the tributes to David Beckham last night after his former Manchester United and England team-mate announced that he is calling time on a glittering 20-year playing career.
Beckham, Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers were members of the Class of ’92 who helped Sir Alex Ferguson deliver unprecedented success to United.
Class of 92: Beckham (fourth left) with coach Eric Harrison and (from left) Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Terry Cooke Out on a high: Beckham landed the Ligue 1 title during his short stay in the French capital Going strong: Ryan Giggs celebrates his 13th Premier League triumph Scholes, who is also retiring at the end of this season, said: ‘It’s a sad day but hopefully David is happy with what he’s done.
‘From the start you knew the quality he had, and the professionalism.
His range of passing and his free-kicks were brilliant and that was no accident – he was out there practising all day long.
He was a top, top player and it has been great to play with him.
‘That’s all our year finished now.
I think there’s only Ryan Giggs, who was a year older than us, left still going as strong as ever.’ Eric Harrison was the youth-team coach at United who oversaw Beckham’s development after first seeing him at the age of 12.
‘There’s nobody in the world, when they see a boy at 12, who can say he’s going to go to such great heights as David,’ said Harrison.
‘But I saw a very talented player – one absolutely in love with football.
His control, his passing, his awareness, his shooting, free-kick taking, were just extraordinary for a boy so young.
‘The hard work was the catalyst.
He never had a lot of pace but in terms of stamina, running and work-rate, he was probably one of the best I’ve worked with.
It was a bit of a shock when he left because his father was a long-standing Manchester United supporter and David was in love with the club.’ American dream: David Beckham was a huge success at LA Galaxy Highlight: Beckham said he was honoured to captain England Ian Bryson was playing for Preston North End when Beckham had a five-game loan spell at Deepdale during the 1994-95 season before his rise to stardom.
‘His first training session on the astroturf at Preston College wasn’t great and we wondered what United had sent us,’ said Bryson yesterday.
‘But he proved us all wrong very quickly.
He came down to Leyton Orient when we won promotion the following season and joined in the celebrations.
He was an established player at United by then but he came into the dressing room and shook everybody’s hand.
He never forgot Preston and we never forgot him.’ Moyes recalls ‘frail’ loan star Becks David Moyes has revealed he spotted David Beckham’s talent before he made his name at Manchester United.
United’s next manager was at Preston when a 19-year-old Beckham arrived on loan for some first-team experience.
When he came to Preston on loan from United in 1995 I was player/assistant manager there to Gary Peters, said Moyes.
David was frail but he was confident.
He had ability and we saw that in his first game.
He came on as a substitute against Doncaster and scored direct from a great, inswinging corner.
‘The manager put him on all free-kicks and corners.
Next week, he scored a free-kick against Fulham.
He was only with us a short while but when he went back he more or less went straight into United’s team.
We didn t get promoted that season but David and his father turned up at the game the next year when we did get promotion.
‘I ve always found him humble and a very kind man.
He was a terrific player and he went on to become a great player.
He’s had a huge impact on the game.
Steve McClaren was Ferguson’s assistant when Beckham won the Treble with United in 1999, and worked with the midfielder when manager of England.
He said: ‘My lasting memory is of David Beckham being the last off after training, and practising those free-kicks that won England, Manchester United, Real Madrid, wherever he’s been, many games.
‘He was a winner and that was infectious.
He developed and matured and adapted his game, as you have to do playing 20 years at the top level.’ Beckham’s coach at LA Galaxy, Bruce Arena, admitted Beckham had to be talked out of turning his back on the American dream.
‘David was frustrated because the LA Galaxy experienced very little success,’ admitted Arena.
‘He is such a great competitor and was questioning his move.
We were able to get it turned around, largely attributed to David’s presence.
He did wonderful things for our club, and he’s a person we can’t replace on the field or off it.’ British Olympic Association chair Lord Coe also had praise for a man with whom he worked before last summer’s Games.
‘It is impossible to think about the success of London 2012 and not reflect upon the extraordinary commitment made by David Beckham,’ said Coe.
‘At every stage of the journey David was a constant source of support and inspiration.
‘He is proud of his north-east London roots and understood the role the Games could play in transforming the lives of young people.
His impact across football – and all of sport – will be felt for generations to come.’ VIDEO: Highlights from Beckham’s loan spell at Preston
From a hate figure pilloried for his sending-off in a crucial World Cup tie to a star who long ago transcended his sport, David Beckham’s globe-trotting odyssey has made him one of the most recognisable, over-analysed and well-paid celebrity figures of the age.
But as he announced his retirement from playing on Thursday, days after adding the French championship to a collection of medals that includes six Premier League trophies, plus titles in the US and Spain, the 38-year-old said he had realised all the ambitions he nurtured as a schoolboy playing on Hackney Marshes.
“If you’d told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy,” he said.
“I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.” Sources close to the player said he was concentrating on the final two matches of the French season before evaluating the avalanche of offers that were bound to come his way.
In an interview on Sky with his former team-mate Gary Neville, he said that he wanted to go out at the top.
It is 17 years since he burst into the national consciousness as a precocious talent in the “Fergie’s Fledglings” era, scoring from the halfway line against Wimbledon in a Premier League match.
Shortly afterwards, he started going out with the Spice Girls singer Victoria Adams and a match made in tabloid heaven was born.
Long term, he is expected to take up an option to buy a stake in an American Major League Soccer franchise that was awarded as part of the deal that took him to Los Angeles in 2007.
When he left for the US at the age of 31, few thought he would be back to play at the top level in Europe yet he returned for two spells on loan with Milan and a swansong in the French capital with Paris St Germain.
Ever mindful of his image, he donated his PSG wages to a children’s charity.
David Bernstein, Football Association chairman, said he hoped Beckham would consider becoming England’s equivalent of Michel Platini or Franz Beckenbauer, iconic players who went on to play key roles in global sports administration.
Off the pitch, Beckham in league with his pop star-turned-fashion designer wife, Victoria (who nicknamed him “Golden Balls”) and his adviser Simon Fuller became the perfect canvas on which successive brands and organisations were able to project their wares.
His stardust and international appeal were also put to good use elsewhere.
Lord Coe has paid tribute to his role as part of the team that secured the Olympics for his hometown of London in 2005 and in 2010 he was part of the ill-fated bid to secure the 2018 World Cup, alongside the Duke of Cambridge and the prime minister, David Cameron.
The England manager, Roy Hodgson, and Bernstein immediately hinted that Beckham would be offered a role in running the game.
“You could not have anyone with a stronger sort of image and position,” said Bernstein.
“If it’s something he wants to do then you’d think there is every opportunity for him to become that sort of lead, football figure that this country badly needs.
As an ambassador for English football and for the FA, you couldn’t think of anybody better.” Beckham, who holds the England appearance record as an outfield player with 115 caps, has consistently battled back into contention for the national side under successive managers who had earlier written him off.
From his very first tournament at France 98, when he scored a free kick against Colombia and was then sent off as England bowed out on penalties to Argentina, his international career has hit the highs and plumbed the depths but always shown a remarkable resilience.
His most replayed moment in an England shirt remains his act of will to pull his team round from a losing position and score a last-minute free kick against Greece at Old Trafford to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.
But like others of the so-called “golden generation”, he never went beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament.
“ne of my proudest achievements is captaining my country,” he said.
“I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country.
I’m honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch.” Beckham even dominated those tournaments for which he wasn’t picked.
In South Africa in 2010 he sat in the dugout next to Fabio Capello as a coach and after Stuart Pearce overlooked him for the Team GB squad at London 2012, he was immediately installed as an Olympic ambassador and cheerleader.
Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, pointedly thanked by the player on Thursday, was responsible for creating “Brand Beckham” and a string of global marketing deals.
The 38-year-old already has so many ambassadorial roles that a contract with Ferrero Rocher might be next.
In recent months alone, in what may have been a clue to his retirement plans, he has taken on positions with Sky Sports and to promote football in China.
“Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love.
However, I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead,” he said.
“I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.” Beckham now lives in London with his wife and their four children boys Brookyln, Romeo, Cruz and daughter Harper Seven.
“I wouldn’t have achieved what I have done today without my family.
I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realise my dreams,” he said.
“I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period.” With Manchester United between 1992 and 2003, Beckham won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.
A week ago he was describing Sir Alex Ferguson as a “father figure” albeit a father who once left him nursing a cut above his eye after kicking a football boot across the home dressing room after the Manchester United manager created international headlines by announcing his retirement.
Now Ferguson’s most famous protege, who perhaps best represents what football has become in the celebrity age yet never lost his appetite for the game, has repeated the trick.
From Adidas to Armani, Sainsbury’s to Pepsi and H&M to Police sunglasses, Beckham’s brand has helped earn him a fortune of 165m, according to the latest Sunday Times rich list.
After persuading him to leave the football agency SFX to join his wife at XIX Entertainment, the Spice Girls svengali Simon Fuller rationalised his endorsements into a smaller number of global deals that made him one of the most famous men on the planet.
But it wasn’t just multinational brands who queued up for Beckham’s stardust from his 30m transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2003 to his $250m deal to move to Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, his employers were buying a marketing phenomenon as well as a player with a rare ability to strike a dead ball.
Adidas, the sportswear multinational, recently estimated that he had sold 10m shirts during his 20-year career.
With income from his boot endorsements added, he has sold merchandise worth more than 1bn.
Even in the twilight of his career, Forbes estimated that in 2012, even in the twilight of his career, Beckham earned 5.9m for playing football and more than 24m from commercial deals.