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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 20:31 GMT 21:31 UK
Beckham's tattoo sparks debate
Daily Mirror response to Beckham tattoo
Close up: The Daily Mirror indicates its disapproval
Footballer David Beckham's latest tattoo has attracted fierce criticism from the UK's newspapers.

The Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express say the religious symbol - a talisman that is supposed to guard over his children - is inappropriate.

The four-by-six-inch winged cross across the back of his neck is David Beckham's ninth piece of body artwork.

This latest addition was performed by his favourite tattooist Louis Malloy in Manchester, the Mirror reported.

The Sun's fashion editor, Erica Davies, said: "You've gone from fab to yob."

The Express says the Real Madrid player's new tattoo makes him look like a Hell's Angel biker gang member, but added that his wife, Victoria, had approved of the design.

If I had Beckham's money I would have had the Mona Lisa on my back, and definitely not this thing
Dave Turner
The footballer's other tattoos include the names of his two sons, Brooklyn and Romeo, one of his wife Victoria's name in Hindi, and the number seven - his number at Manchester United - in Roman numerals.

He also has a guardian angel across his back and a Michelangelo angel on his right arm, reportedly to symbolise a "protective cradle" for his family.

'Public event'

Dave Turner, a professional tattooist for 42 years, who runs the Picture Machine Tattoo Studio in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne said a Beckham tattoo was always good news for tattooists everywhere.

"When Beckham gets one done, many others come along asking for the same thing," he said.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion in e-mails received by News Online:

He really is just a normal bloke who is trying too hard to be a fashion icon. It all comes from having to much money and not enough class. The papers are right.....he looks like a thug, but once he grows his hair long again it won't show.
Peter, Kent

I am so glad we are concentrating on the real issues that affect people's lives...
Guy Patching, Uppingham, UK

Tattoo on the neck? Surely that is a no no. I cannot believe it, what next? A Tyson-like face 'tat'? What a lunatic.
Crana, Newcastle

What a complete plonker.
Peter Brooks, Geneva, Switzerland

It makes me sick that people take an interest in things like this when people are being killed in Baghdad, soldiers being shot at, and children being bombed.
Lewis, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear

Beckham's new tattoo looks really naff. I've got nothing against tattoos in general, but this one looks really crude - like it was done by an amateur who'd never used a needle before. I reckon that Becks should demand his money back!
Jonno, Leeds

What's really pitiful about this is that a guy getting some ink stained onto his neck makes front page news in several newspapers, shunting war in the Middle East and union strife further down the list of priorities.

Beckham's life and the media's fascination with it has always been faintly absurd, but laughable "events" like this demonstrate how our sense of proportion has faded. Can you hear that faint murmuring noise? That's the sound of people across the world laughing at us...
Matt Vaughan, Oxford, England

This guy is a great role-model, and that's a rare thing amongst today's celebrities
Daniel Nix, Derby
Tabloids get over it! Becks is not encouraging hooligans or hooliganisms. He works hard to promote the good image of English football. The tabloids just love any excuse to slam Becks and England in general.
Ed, London, England

Sorry, but he looks like anyone with lots of tattoos does - like a yob. A pretty silly move for someone who tries to act as a fashion trend-setter.
Scott, Aberdeen, UK

This is a truly awful tattoo. It looks very 1970s and is just too big, too wide for that part of his neck. It looks 'blocky' and badly done.
Karen, Letchworth

Absolutely no-one else's business. Unless there's some stipulation in his contract against body art (and one hopes there would not be), one wonders why the tabloids can't find something better to do with their time. Like fake some photos or something, perhaps...
Lisa, Cambridge, UK

Beckham has the names of his wife and two sons, and various symbols of his love for his family tattooed on his body. Some yob! This guy is a great role-model, and that's a rare thing amongst today's celebrities.
Daniel Nix, Derby, Derbyshire

Why be a superb professional sportsman setting role model standards when you can be an ink pot!
Andrew Johnson, Portugal

There is nothing wrong with wanting to demonstrate his love for his family. As long as he does his job on the field, nobody should be offended.
Jo Chakraborty, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

It looks like Brooklyn was let loose with his box of paints
Andy C, Lancaster
I think it is very sad that people can try and judge somebody on how they look. But its all too common. I'm a punk and people judge me on how I look all the time. As for saying somebody looks like a "hooligan" is ridiculous. People should be free to be who they are and others should not judge appearances.
Ryan, London, UK

The tattoo looks horrible but let's keep things in perspective. It's ink on skin, not a personality transplant.
Andrew Smith, Inverness, Scotland

It's disgusting. he is supposed to be a role model for the kids of this generation - this is only going to encourage kids to get tattoos that they will probably regret having in later life.
Astrofaes, Bath, UK

While playing for the England football team he is an ambassador of this country. If he is displaying tattoos that degrade that image, or in this case could offend other people's religious views then that's when people should question how appropriate the tattoo is.
Adam Skelton, Northants

Yeah, whatever. He is a footballer not the prime minister.
Gavin, Edinburgh

It looks like Brooklyn was let loose with his box of paints. Very poor quality artwork indeed.
Andy C, Lancaster, UK

You British fascinate me! I thought we, across the Atlantic, were the ones who were obsessed about movie and sports stars. I see we are not alone. If you want to talk about shocking pierces and tattoos on a sports star - you need to see Dennis Rodman. He'll kick Beckman's butt any day when it comes to excessive ugly tattoos. America leads everytime! Mark, USA
Mark, California, USA

You ask if his tattoo matters - the real question is "Does David Beckham matter?
Sandy Needham, New York
Media: Stick to reporting on the sport. Beckham: Concentrate on your playing. Tattoos are not going to help you put the ball in the net.
Scott Bellman, Berlin, Germany

Well at least he won't have to look at it!
Russell, London UK

I'm an unashamed tattoo enthusiast & tattooist, and bought copies of the Sun and Mirror today purely to see what this design is, as some people might now ask for something similar.

I'd not looked at either paper for many years. What struck me most about the whole thing, apart from the terrible photograph used to illustrate the story, was how provincial, misinformed and infantile the views expressed on tattooing were. If you think that a footballer's choice of tattoo is relevant to anyone outside him and his family, you're a pompous busybody. And if you rely on the offhand ill-formed opinion of tabloid hacks for anything other than derisory laughter, you're an idiot.
Dai Cann, Manchester, England

Just stop buying cheap, tatty irrelevant newspapers and look towards making the world better - yes we can all do it if we try just a tiny little bit. Make your stand, and oh sorry BBC - good news coverage and web site but bin deadenders - what a pile of complete and utter rubbish.
Paul, Derbyshire

You ask if his tattoo matters - the real question is "Does David Beckham matter?"
Sandy Needham, New York, NY USA

Beckham's troubles continue
12 Apr 04  |  Europe

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