We all know that politics only exists for commentators to make tiresome football metaphors. And now the two worlds have met.
David Beckham has scored for the Remain side, voicing his support for Britain staying in the EU. In a statement, he warned, “For our children and their children, we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”
The Spice spouse and former footballer praised the “great European cities and their passionate fans”, which have welcomed him and his family over the years. His freedom of movement has taken him to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris.
I’m passionate about my country and whatever the result of Thursday’s referendum, we will always be Great. Each side has the right to their opinion and that should always be respected whatever the outcome of the European Referendum. I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince. Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona. I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world. Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people. We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone. For these reasons I am voting to Remain
How football affects the vote – particularly with England through to the Euro 2016 knockout stages – is of great importance to those campaigning ahead of this week’s referendum.
Just the evening before Beckham’s intervention, David Cameron claimed on Twitter that all 20 Premier League clubs are “Stronger In”:
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 20, 2016
This came off the back of the news that the Premier League’s chair Richard Scudamore would find leaving the EU “incongruous” considering his organisation’s commitment to “openness”.
The Prime Minister has come under fire for his interpretation of Scudamore’s comments, however, as the chair was not speaking on behalf of all clubs.
Either way, it’s evident that both sides think the will of football fans could make a difference. Upon hearing Beckham’s stance, the Brexiter Michael Gove insisted: “Sol Campbell is for Leave, as indeed is John Barnes. As a QPR fan I know what it’s like to support the underdog.”
Personally, your mole cannot wait for a time when it can safely say: “They think it’s all over…it is now.”