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Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 10:51 GMT
Should Beckham put family before football?

Football superstar David Beckham appears to have found himself at the centre of a tug of war between club and family.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson dramatically dropped Beckham from the Premiership game with Leeds after he failed to turn up to a training session. He said he was looking after baby Brooklyn, who was unwell.

The row has led to speculation that Beckham may leave Manchester United.

Is Ferguson being too tough? Or should football always come first? HAVE YOUR SAY

I think that Beckham is the best player in the world after Revaldo but Manchester United should also be looking forward to the future of the club and let him make his choice. Also without Beckham there is no fun in game.
Zahid, Pakistan

We already know that David wears Posh's underwear. It appears that she wears the trousers in their house and he does as he is told!
Tony, Australia

Sir Ferguson should understand that David was just but showing his love to his son and I think he should include him in games to come. That's the only way we can win the league
Prince Madondo, Zimbabwe

Yes, the Manager's position cannot be compromised by the player's actions. Alex Ferguson is correct.
Andy Sloan, Australia
Reading all the comments makes me realise how sexist the UK is compared to Australia. A large proportion of you are automatically assuming Posh should stay at home instead of the Dad.
Teresa, Australia

Surely the case is not that simple. Beckham is on the wrong and the manager is doing his job to put him on the right track. Think of it as an office. If an employee is not to show up for any reason at home, he will call and advise his office of no-show and reason. Beckham is too proud for that and wanted to show that he can get away with anything. Alex decided not so. Good for Alex - I am all for it.
Anil, Hong Kong

I don't see what the problem is with "Sir" Alex Ferguson. If I was in Becks place, I would have done the same thing just like many others. It is simply ridiculous for the coach to act this way. What if Ferguson's children were very ill? Would he still go to coach the team or would he look after his children. I would think the latter.
Andrew Mallik, USA

He could achieve great victories in football, have his name go in the Hall of Fame, win numerous accolades. But they will be hollow triumphs for him if he has no family.
Jeff, USA
I commend Beckham on putting his family before his career. He could achieve great victories in football, have his name go in the Hall of Fame, win numerous accolades. But they will be hollow triumphs for him if he has no family. Many of the world's stars may be huge successes in their areas - sport, music, acting, business, entertainment, but have terrible family lives. As people, they are a sorry lot. President George Bush was once asked what he was most proud of in his life; he said "my children still come home."
Jeff, USA

I think that Beckham should put his family first because through everything that goes on his family will always be there for him!
Jemma Willians, North Wales, UK

My heart bleeds for the poor chap, I wonder how he'd manage in the real world! Petulant child!
David Stubbings, UK

There are always rules to follow in any employment situation. If I am sick or have a family emergency, I am required to call my employer to pass that information along. I can't just 'not show up.' It's grounds for suspension for irresponsibility. I think David Beckham might just consider what his responsibility is to the club.
Roy, USA

'Victorian dad' Ferguson should realise that this is the 21st century
David, England.
'Victorian dad' Ferguson should realise that this is the 21st century and not create such a fuss over a 'Man Utd man' looking after his son. This is the 21st century with people having children before they are married, women going to work to support their families, instant communication via mobile phones, 'New' man replacing brats and have you seen the price of childminders these days...hmm he has a point!
David, England.

What are the media trying to do to Beckham? I think its an absolute disgrace. Every move the poor man makes is scrutinised. It seems to me as though the press won't be happy until they either break up his marriage or drive him to a nervous breakdown. If the press want to destroy one of the finest footballers this country has produced for years they are going the right way about it. Please just leave him alone!
Steve Reichelt, UK

How would the media have reacted if they found out that neither parent was on hand to care for their sick son. It is up for the Beckham's to prioritise their lives and provided that Man Utd are kept in the loop and that David is not abusing his position then it should be perfectly acceptable for him to take the time off. If I have read the reports correctly David has only missed 3 training sessions in his Man Utd career. Fergie - chill out.
Duncan, UK

The fact that Man Utd can't sort this out without the help of the world's press shows the absurd level to which football hype has risen (or maybe sunk) in Britain.
Steve Matthews, Wales, now USA

I'm sure Becks' wages would cover the cost of a babysitter!
Dylan Garton, UK
Are we supposed to believe that David Beckham doesn't have "spin doctors" who decide what excuse he uses when he misses training? This is the 21st century, and David Beckham and his family are entertainers. Be entertained, but don't take it too seriously.
Jeff Ward, United Kingdom

What sort of society have we become if an obviously doting father like David Beckham has to explain himself to the media for a matter that will be dealt with by the club. Yes, footballers are celebrities, but being well known shouldn't lose someone a right to privacy. He provides an entertainment in a sporting arena, for which he is (well) paid. He is not paid to have his every move scrutinised by a media whose own morality is probably more suspect.
Martin McEvoy, Northern Ireland

The amazing thing about this story to me is that they named their baby Brooklyn. I spent most of my life in Brooklyn, New York, and I've never heard of a baby being named Brooklyn.
Len Feder, USA

Is Posh the new Yoko?! A very talented footballer married to a not very talented woman who appears to call all the shots. She should leave David's career alone and stop making comments about his career - he never talks about hers. You can't ask for privacy when you have three spreads in lifestyle magazines for obscene money, and then go on TV complaining about intrusion. David has a great future ahead of him with a great club and proven manager who believes that Man. U are bigger than its players. Ferguson is right - Adams is wrong and David is stuck in the middle: confused.
Peter, England

Happy Family Life Makes Better Employees . . .
Bibi Mungai, Canada
Happy Family Life Makes Better Employees . . . It is a national disgrace for an employee to be reprimanded for taking time off to be with his sick baby son. It is Ferguson who should be disciplined for turning a private family matter concerning basic childcare into a national farce. Ferguson would be much better employed by becoming involved in formulating a family-friendly policy for all team members. He should be reminded that most progressive employers, and companies, in the world are recognising that employees with a happy, healthy family life are more productive and generally less stressed. Every level of society, including companies, governments, municipalities and private organizations should be contributing their part towards helping all families so that employment policies are flexible enough to promote a healthy, happy family life for all citizens for a better, safer tomorrow.
Bibi Mungai, Canada

There was no excuse for David Beckham to miss a training session without informing his manager. Of course he has a family and he must provide for them, but he must remember that it is the same job that he does and needs to keep that allows him to live as well as he does. A simple explanation to his boss would have sufficed and I am sure that Alex Ferguson is not so as unfeeling as to let a preoccupied father show up for training. Just like everyone that lives in the real world, he should have called in to say that he had a family emergency - no one can challenge that.
Aderike Shonekan, Cardiff, Wales

His wife should be at home looking after the baby and doing the housework while he goes out to work
Barry Gottlieb, UK

Why does the media, (including the BBC), feel the need to build up our football superstars, and then knock them down? Leave the guy alone, and let him concentrate on what is most important, be that football or family. We don't want the media to turn Becks into another Gazza. We want Beckham to lead England into a decade of success.
Stephen Green, UK

Let's put this thing into perspective...Sick baby, no mum, no nanny...Dad stays at home.
Stephen Collins, Canada
Let's put this thing into perspective: for the issue at hand -Family is bigger than Manchester United. Sick baby, no mum, no nanny...Dad stays at home. Nothing new or wrong with that, assuming those were the facts.
Stephen Collins, Canada

I had a question. Where did his wife go? Of course he did right as a responsible dad. I think Ferguson's decision is little bit tough for Manchester's future and himself rather than Beckham.
Mahesh, USA

Beckham just married the wrong woman. Victoria is ruining Beckham's career. She should be attending to the sick child and not the fashion show. What has Victoria done to advance Beckham's career? Nothing but unnecessary publicity. There's no excuse to skip training without the manager's consent.
Able Wang, Singapore

Personally I think it is time David Beckham was brought down a peg or two. He thinks that because of who he is and who he is married to he can get away with anything. After all if he was booted out, he wouldn't be short of cash would he? And he could always present some tacky TV show. I do agree however with the comment that he is probably henpecked, but that is no excuse
Jacqui, England

Family should win every time for both parents. If you are employed then you also have to play by the rules, talk to the boss or pay the consequences. You only earn 50,000 a week if you play the game.
Terry, England

I don't recall any condemnation of David for leaving the child with Victoria while he went to Brazil with his job
Kirsty, UK
I am no fan of the Beckhams and their very public lives, but do not feel that David should be criticised for putting his child before his job, providing he ensured that his manager and colleagues were notified. Nor do I see why there should be criticism of Victoria for not being there: the child has two parents and either one of them is an appropriate carer. I don't recall any condemnation of David for leaving the child with Victoria while he went to Brazil with his job, after all.
Kirsty, UK

I think David is a bit hen pecked. Posh Spice is in charge and tends to dictate Beckham's future. Nevertheless, he is a brilliant footballer and the loser will be Man Utd!
Adrian Bell, Singapore

Beckham missed one training session therefore he misses one game. End of story.
Chris Cooper, UK
I think family should always come first. It is obvious that Beckham adores his son and I can't think of many fathers who wouldn't risk a reprimand from their boss to look after their sick child. Alex Ferguson obviously has a strict policy and he must adhere to it. Beckham missed one training session therefore he misses one game. End of story.

I feel that the media are too hard on Beckham and the criticisms and comments do not always concern football. He is an outstanding footballer who unfortunately attracts much publicity for his private life also. Perhaps it is time to separate the two and let him do his job.
Kim, UK

Football is a great game; but that is all it is, a game! If Beckham had put football ahead of his sick child he would have shown himself unfit to be a father. Let us hope Beckham finds a club that recognises his enormous talents in addition to respecting him as a human being.
Arthur Caversham, England

If any other person had put his young baby before his job this would be a non-story
Andy Alexander, UK
If any other person had put his young baby before his job this would be a non-story. But it's David Beckham, every tabloid's favourite news story, so it's all over the papers. How anyone can expect a young father to put his job before his unwell baby, I don't know, and when you strip away the multi-million pound gloss, that's what happened here. Or it is if you believe what you read in the papers...
Andy Alexander, UK

Alex Ferguson was correct to drop Beckham, as no player is bigger than a club. I don't understand why Beckham couldn't have contacted the club to explain his predicament and try to be excused from training. He obviously feels he's above having to explain himself. It would be like any ordinary person not bothering to go to work and not ringing in to explain your absence. It's funny that Brooklyn's illness didn't stop Victoria attending London Fashion Week!
T Frawley, Ireland

Beckham is a very lucky boy who has been given the opportunity to earn untold wealth through no particular ability other than to be able to cross a football and he should remember that. Where were his thoughts for his child whilst in Brazil for two weeks or constantly away from home with football commitments, you cannot use a child for your own publicity when it suits which this couple seem to do.
Colin Bird, England

How many other employers would force an employee to make such a decison?
Nikki Sims, UK
Firstly, I cannot believe that such a question should need to be asked. Secondly, I find it completely unfair of Ferguson to force Beckham to make a choice between his family and his career. How many other employers would force an employee to make such a decison? Surely Beckham has his priorities set right and if by looking after his sick baby son he is left off the team, then someone should tell Ferguson to check his priorities. Beckham is in the fortunate position to be able to give up working if he so chooses, but his priority of family first should not even come into question.
Nikki Sims, UK

The family should ALWAYS go before anything we do in life....
M. K., Citizen of the world.

Alex was right to drop him from the side for that match, but family always comes first no matter who you are. Would this incident have arisen if it was anyone other than Becks? Leave the lad alone.
Stewart Phillips, UK

I'm afraid that his lifestyle depends entirely on his loyalty to his club (or any other club he feels compelled to move to). Where was the child's mother at this time? Unless there was no one at home and the child could clearly not be left then Beckham should honour his commitments and stop playing the prima donna
Gordon Hollis, Canada

Family is a very important part of life. Clearly, his son is very important to him. If that means Beckham (or anyone else) has to miss training (or a morning of work), then so be it. You only get one chance of family life, so enjoy it you must, otherwise you will live to regret it. I'm surprised Ferguson didn't show some compassion for extenuating circumstances, but it doesn't surprise me he didn't.
Matthew, England

It is time for his wife to start supporting his career not ruin it as she is so cleverly doing
K Williams, England
It is time for his wife to start supporting his career not ruin it as she is so cleverly doing. After all he has got at least another ten years top football. Her career is just about over, she should be the one to stay and look after the baby not him, there has been many a time my children have been poorly and my husband has had to go to work so why should he be any different.
K Williams, England

Beckham should take a two year sabbatical. The child is suffering as both his parents, focus too much on their careers, leaving very little time for the child. Beckham has proved he can play; however, a good long sabbatical would be the best thing for Man United and for his son.
Helene, UK

Alex Ferguson was right to drop Beckham, as it would not be good for team spirit if he picked a player who missed training, whatever the reason.
Seb, UK

It is not for us to judge where Mr. Beckham puts his priorities. However, considering the amount of money he is paid he must accept any consequences for anything less than 100% commitment. Personally speaking, family will win hands down against career every time, even if it entails sacrificing your career.
Andy Labrow, UK

It's his baby, his career, his choice and his business. Not ours.
M. Reed Austin, UK

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See also:
21 Feb 00 |  Football
Beckham cools off with England

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