Belfast Telegraph

Becks scores as a great dad

By Jane Graham

So David Beckham has actually done the unthinkable - in the sporting world anyway - and made a huge career decision on the basis of what best suits his family. Hallelujah David. And ya boo sucks to every football pundit, armchair and professional, who sneered at the very notion just weeks ago.

I've written about the insular, delusional cocoon of competitive male sport with despair many times. It's a world in which the idea of 'abandoning' a sporting event to see your baby being born is generally considered weak, foolish and often unpatriotic (see coverage of any England cricket player ducking out of the Ashes for such a trifle for best evidence of this.)

Sports journalists will endlessly discuss the likely moves of footballers in upcoming transfer windows without ever considering the possible influence of wives or childrens' feelings. In the weird windowless world of sport, such things are not countenanced, except by the occasional female journalist who, the boys will tell you with a roll of the eyes, just does not get it.

And yet now Britain's most beloved footballer, the national treasure and Olympic torch-bearer that is David Beckham, has made idiots of them all by turning down a lucrative and perhaps even World Cup place-snatching move to Paris St Germain in order to keep his LA-ensconced brood happily settled. ''The welfare of his family in Los Angeles, the wish not to change everything in his life, weighed heavily,'' PSG's sporting director Leonardo admitted this week. It's not hard to see what Posh sees in him.

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