Why David Beckham didn’t play for Arsenal – and other media one-piece Jigsaws

The jigsaw. by Charles Veritie

The child, may be four, five or six, boy or girl, it’s not important. The child is on the floor of the living room and in its hands are two pieces of a jigsaw of animals. On the floor in front of the child is the rest of the puzzle.

You enter the room and the child holds up for you two pieces of the jigsaw in its hands and says: “Look I’ve done a jigsaw.”

You smile – laugh and agree with the child and leave it believing what you know is not true.

You bend down and say to the child some thing like this: “What about the other pieces”, and you hold one of them up in front of the child.

Maybe the child knocks that piece out of your hand?

Maybe the child takes it and tries to add it to the two pieces it has. You can see that this third piece doesn’t go with the two pieces it has but the child is happy because it now has three pieces linked.

Maybe your action is enough to make the child try to fit more pieces to the picture puzzle. Some children of that age will not understand that you need to put all the pieces together in the right place to make the picture. Some will understand. The problem is how to help the children who don’t understand this fact.

If you have read this far, then I expect you are wondering what I am raving about. What has a child’s understanding of a jigsaw got to do with football and in particular Arsenal?

On Tuesday evening (21st. Aug) I read in the BBC web page that David Beckham to be given an award. Not just any award but FIFA’s top honour. I thought ‘If only he had played for Arsenal?’

David Beckham was born in Leytonstone. Leytonstone is in East London. There was a bus that went from Finsbury Park to the narrow streets of Leytonstone. David Beckham could easily have got this bus in Leytonstone and when he got off be just two minutes walk from Arsenal Stadium, ‘Home of football’ But he didn’t.

The Beeb article informs me that David Beckham is 43. I thought what if he was 13 and made it known that he had decided to play for manure, how would today’s media report on that.

It is not difficult to imagine the headline of any one of the ‘Daily Scoop’s’ that almost hourly confront us with one piece of the jigsaw and bombard us with the claim that this is all we need to know, to understand what is happening.

The headline of one daily might be different to that of another but the one piece of the jigsaw they will claim as the ‘whole picture’ will be the same.

‘London wonder kid turns his back on Arsenal.’

‘Arsenal fail to attract wonder kid.’

In other words no matter how much they try, Arsenal just can’t cut it.

How many times did the daily scoops tell us this, in the last transfer window? 20 or 30 times. Does anyone bother to count the one piece jigsaws the Daily Scoops constantly bash Arsenal with?

Those who can remember the last time the spud hole won the league, may also remember the Cup Final of 1958. The match was Bolton Wanderers v Man Utd. The nation wanted Man Utd to win. So strong was the flavour for Man Utd, that a then famous person and President of Bolton F C. let it be known publicly that he wanted Man Utd to win and not his own club Bolton.’

The heart of a worker in Leytonstone went out to Man Utd. He was a touch different to the thousands of others like him for he was to have a son who showed a great talent for football. There was ever only going to be one club his son he would play for.

Only those who lived through (albeit via the media) the air crash disaster that befell Man Utd in February 1958 know how that changed Man Utd’s position as a North West England football club to the ‘Nation’s Football Club’. The records show just one piece of the jigsaw picture. To understand what happened at that time or what is happening now we need to know all the jigsaw pieces. Something, that today’s media rarely ever supplies its readers, viewers or hearers with.

Man Utd lost that game but with their manager Matt Busby back at the helm they went on to become the first English club to win the Champion’s League.

Manager, Matt Busby told an anecdote against himself concerning George Best.

He told how before a certain game he told George not to take on the full back, because he would flatten George. So what did George do? George took him on and was flattened by him. ‘ I raged at my assistant I told him not to do that’. Said Busby.

Then George took the full back on again and again Busby raged his anger at George. The third time it happened Busby was livid until that is he saw George leave the full back standing like a bean stalk and scored a great goal from an incredible angle. Busby said to his assistant, ‘When will I learn to mind my own business?’

If the manager who sees the players at training doesn’t understand what is happening on the pitch, then what chance have we got of understanding why we see what we see?

1979. It was wonderful to be watching the cup final that year. The sun shined over Arsenal. There we were cruising it against Man Utd. 2-0 and what’s more manure couldn’t get a look in. It was a doddle! Terry Neil our manager had brought home the F A Cup. Terry was our hero.

With just a few minute to go, Terry sent on the one sub allowed in those days, that was Walford, in place of Price. I didn’t question the change that is, until about 3 minutes later when the score had gone from 2-0 to 2-2 and the manure fans were singing victory.

I shouted my fury and at the useless Neil, who fixed what didn’t need fixing. The stupid man! And other such phrases.

Sweating my anger at Terry I watched.

Brady in the middle, the ball out to Rixy, down the wing across, and the Sun landed back our faces.

Terry was interviewed and asked why he brought on the substitute. He explained that the law was, the only way the sub would get a winner’s medal was if he played. So I waited till the game was nearly over and then sent Walford on so he would get his chance of a winner’s medal.

Terry’s knowledge and decision was based on all the pieces of the jigsaw and he was right.

My knowledge was based on one piece of the jigsaw and I was wrong.

The award David Beckham is to receive is the Uefa President’s Award and is for his contribution to football and promoting the sport in “every corner of the planet”. There is more.

Whenever David Beckham was abused by the one piece jigsaw media of England, he never responded in kind and, proved by his actions and behaviour but not his mouth that they were wrong.

I congratulate him on rightly winning this award.

Charles Veritie.


  1. Phil says:

    Right that’s it-I’m off to go and buy a jigsaw puzzle

  2. gotanidea says:

    Great article as always, Mr Veritie

    But I’m glad Beckham did not play for Arsenal, because he is overrated to me. He is a man of statistics, but most of his assists were made from set-pieces and long crosses

    I prefer a winger that can be a big threat for the opponents throughout a match, by taking on the defenders, scoring goals and creating perfect low crosses. Players like Messi, Giuly, Overmars, Salah, Mane, Robben, Ribery, Hazard, Willian, Mbappe, Bale, etc

  3. John Ibrahim says:

    hes a player who does nothing for 89mins and wait for a magic moment….and happens at random games

    good at set pieces due to his hardwork in practicing

  4. barryglik says:

    The anger directed toward him
    came from the intense envy
    of those who resented his
    good looks his playing for Man U
    his fame wealth and marriage to the beautiful Victoria.
    I remember the 1979 final well and also the painful losses in ’78 and ’80.
    The 70’s and 80’s were almost 2 decades of mediocrity for
    this club which the under 35’s can not possible imagine.
    The torture only ended with the arrival of the doughty Scott George Graham.

  5. Sue says:

    Why on earth are we talking about that idiot Beckham???? ?

    1. Phil says:

      And @BarryGlik call Victoria beautiful?I think he’s had too much caffeine this morning.

      1. stubill says:

        Sue and Phil, I agree with both of you.

        I couldn’t finish the rambling rubbish, but I suggest the writer goes out and buys a life, never mind a jigsaw.

      2. Sue says:

        ?? maybe he needs stronger glasses!!

        1. barryglik says:

          David Beckham does
          not wear glasses.

          1. Phil says:

            Well perhaps you need them if you think Victoria is beautiful.

          2. Sue says:

            I meant you Barry ?

  6. jon fox says:

    Sorry Charles, but I THOUGHT THIS POOR ARTICLE WAS JUST A LOT OF NONSENSICAL VERBIAGE WITH NO TRUE CONNECTION TO OUR JUST ARSENAL SITE WHATEVER. If was all “what if” without any relevance to Arsenal at all. Why post this ?

    1. snowden says:

      Hi Jon
      As far as I know there is no such puzzle as a one piece puzzle.

      so whats He oner about.

      I read it twice and concluded the head line is wrong.
      What he is saying is that one piece of a jig saw is not the complete picture of the jig saw. You need to have all the pieces. He says as much in the bit about the 5 min cup final when we all thought Terry Neil was stupid to make a sub when we were winning not knowing it was to give Steve his medal. But if you read the headline then you think its stupid. I know I did.

  7. georgie b says:

    I found pictures of Victoria Beckham at the royal wedding. Surely she is older,as w all are. But she is beautiful.

    1. georgie b says:

      And another thing, Catherine-Zeta Jones is 48. I guess people think she’s not beautiful either.

      1. Phil says:

        Mate I’ve seen more meat in a vegetarian chicken curry than on that sour faced old scrag.Have a look at Liz Hurley who’s in her fifties and you will see a real bit of crumpet

        1. georgie b says:

          Phil, thanks for making me laugh. I guess I like older women.
          Elizabeth Hurley, good lord you are so right. Enough of this and back to football.

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