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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Media sympathy for Beckham's gesture
Victoria Beckham
Beckham's wife Victoria before the match in Eindhoven
If the press reflect public opinion, David Beckham's "one fingered salute" to the England fans who abused him has united the nation.

Most papers came out in support of Beckham, whose gesture of defiance came as yobs taunted him after England's 3-2 loss to Portugal.

Top-selling daily The Sun used its back page to demand "Lay off Becks", saying: "Now is the time for every football fan in the country to get behind David Beckham."

The Mirror's front page carried the "vile insults" which provoked Beckham, who had turned in an excellent performance against the Portuguese.

Majority

It's editorial called on the majority of England supporters at Euro 2000 to "Shame [the] vile cretins who hurt Becks".


The Sun
The Sun: backing Beckham
It said: "Our message to every England fan following the team is this: Root out these morons.

"If you hear them shout this stuff, report them to the authorities. Or better still, drown out their bigotry with pro-Beckham chants."

"Nation united behind Becks" claimed The Daily Star which enlisted TV celebrities to back Beckham and labelled the spectators who abused him as "sub-human filth".

National liability

But former Labour Party deputy leader Roy Hattersley, writing in The Daily Mail, accused Beckham of becoming "a national liability".

"The problem with Beckham is that he wants all the benefits of wealth and fame without any of its responsibilities," said Hattersley.


Daily Mail
Daily Mail: critical
James Lawton, in The Independent, suggested Beckham take a leaf out England team-mate Alan Shearer's book.

Abused by fans on his return to Blackburn Rovers with Newcastle, the England striker scored the goals that knocked his old club out of the FA Cup.

"He was smart enough to say it with his boots rather than his finger," said Lawton. "It is a lesson young Beckham needs to learn."

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14 Jun 00 | England
FA acts on Beckham abuse
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