Posted: 6/29/2012


     Well, could you believe it, what a suprise, unexpected...... NO not THAT result in Warsaw, but the news that Stuart Pearce had left out David Beckham from the GB football squad for next month's Olympic Games. 

     I must be one of the few people who have actually seem GB play in an Olympic Football Tournament. Way back in 1960 I ventured overseas for the very first time, while a teenager, and bought a tour package for 28 pounds which included round trip rail from London Victoria to Rome Termini, via a cross channel ferry Dover-Calais and via Paris,Basle, Milan and Florence. It included accommodation for 7 nights with three meals daily.

     Athletics in Stadio Olympico, (where I watched West Germany beat Argentina 30 years later in the 1990 World Cup Final), hockey, boxing, including all ten finals at Palazzeto dello Sport - (Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali), winning the gold in the light heavyweight division was the highlight), and some football at Stadio Flumini where Great Britain tied Italy 2-2. They never qualified again, and played their last preliminary matches in 1971, a 5-0, loss away to Bulgaria and a second leg 1-0 win at Wembley to the same team.

     Unlike the World Cup or Euros with a squad size of 23, only 18 are allowed on the two week Olympic tournament, which will require six matches to reach and play in the final at Wembley Stadium. At 37 and not too speedy or defensively minded, Pearce has chosen Manchester City's Micah Richards, along with the aging Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy as his three over age players over Becks.

     Many are furious, as Beckham has been an enthusiastic London Olympics promoter and actually accompanied the flame from Greece. While most of the other events have sold out, there are still over 1.2 million football tickets still unsold for the men's and womens tournaments. Matches, some include double headers, will be played at Wembley, Cardiff, Coventry, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.

     From what I have heard only 200 tickets have been sold for USA women's opener against France at Hampden Park,on 25th July, and 3,000 the for men's opener at the same venue. I think I might choose Thursday 26th July for a double header at Old Trafford: UAE v Uruguay at 17.00 and Great Britain v Senegal at 19.45. Prices are not too high and kids get in for their age price. e.g. 8 year olds for 8 pounds.

    By the way isn't Golden Balls getting paid a lot of money to be playing for the LA Galaxy at the same time in his day job?