Two mysteries have been bugging me. The first concerns David Beckham. Did you see him in the Only Fools and Horses sketch for Sport Relief? Of course you didn’t. You have much better things to do. He was excellent: he did the part of David Beckham so well and looked handsome, well dressed and fit, compared to poor old Del Boy and Rodney, who looked grey and worn, struggling to get their words out and their expressions straight. It was to do with Del Boy selling dodgy David Beckham underpants with Rodney doing the modelling and . . . Come on, you did see it, I know you lot.
The mystery was David Beckham’s voice. Not only did he speak clearly, with quite a received-English pronunciation, but deeply. His voice has gone down an octave. For years, his teammates and the whole world mocked his silly, high-pitched voice, suggesting he was a bit simple, making endless jokes about his stupidity.
In the dressing room after a victory, David Beckham hears Roy Keane asking for a cortisone injection. “Oh, that’s not fair, boss! I want a new
car as well.”
David Beckham is celebrating. “Fifty-seven days!” he shouts.
Posh asks him why he is celebrating. “I’ve done this jigsaw in only 57 days. It says three to five years on the box!”
Today we all know how smart, hard-working, successful and nice he is, despite being lumbered with that silly voice. Has he, like Thatcher, acquired a voice coach who has trained him to sound so much more impressive and authoritative?
The other big mystery of the week is José Mourinho – what is his game? Two minutes before the end of Chelsea stuffing Arsenal 6-0, he was seen to leave the bench and go down the tunnel. Heh up, we all thought, he doesn’t want to shake Wenger’s hand, the cheeky sod – no, nasty sod. He recently described Wenger as a “specialist in failure” and once referred to him as a voyeur, so we all know how horrible he’s been to him over the years. But he was the home manager and custom requires a certain magnanimity in victory, so he might have waited to shake Wenger’s hand.
Afterwards, he was asked why he had left early. He paused, his lips slightly curling into a smile, his eyes amused but calculating. It was his wife, he explained. He was going to ring her to tell her the score. You what? “She is waiting for me to call. She is always in doubt because she doesn’t know the result.”
Do you believe that? Nem me. He met his wife, Matilde, when they were teenagers and married her in 1989, before he became a manager. They have two children. She either has a radio or TV on and is aware of the score or doesn’t care and waits for him to tell her when he gets home. Pretending that he rings her after every game makes him look ever so uxorious, with the right family values. He was rubbing it into Wenger, showing how easy victory was.
I was so delighted by Mourinho’s return to these shores. He is just so smart and entertaining. He speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish, Catalan and Italian and is adept at language games, getting under the skin of his enemies. He has always had a nasty streak, smearing a referee some years ago who then got death threats and retired prematurely. While at Real Madrid, he seemingly attempted to gouge the eye of a Barça coach – saying afterwards that he hadn’t recognised who it was.
He is a master of posing. When he was at Porto, he used to sit on the end of the bench during vital Euro Championship games – looking the other way, knowing the cameras would catch him. That was so cool. Chelsea is currently at the top of the Prem but he still says they won’t win it. It’s a calculated response, like all of his performances.
Recently Tim Sherwood, Spurs’ novice manager, told us how honest and sincere he was, how he’d never pretend: “There are too many actors in this game.” At the time, I wondered who he meant. Step forward, Becks and José . . .