Pearce got it right, and backing Beckham makes you a loser too!
09:00 GMT, 30 June 2012
'OMG! This is, like, so unfair. Stuart dumped David even though he has the 'Lympic torch and was told he could, like, go backstage and meet JLS and Camilla and ev'ryfing.
'And we know Stuart's only giving David evils 'cos Gary is best mates with David, and Stuart went round saying he was a real slag and got back at Gary by leaving David out of his gang even though he done nuffin.
Out: David Beckham did not make Stuart Pearce's Olympic squad
That's what happened. It's true! I swear on Duncan from Blue's life!'
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week's episode of the Goldenballs soap opera, a never-ending saga of mind-numbing celebrity tedium, where sport is reduced to Vicky Pollard soundbites, a paparazzi circus and the only 'reality' ever on view is of the Big Brother variety.
David Beckham's perfectly justifiable omission from the Team GB Olympic football team was followed by a storm of outraged squeals and squawks as iPhone warriors voiced their protest on Twitter that the decision was a load of Hollyoaks. Ronan Keating didn't like it, which was devastating news for us all.
John Prescott was unhappy.
A chubby comic (no not Prescott, someone else) said it was 'disrespectful'. And Danny Cipriani accused Pearce of 'trying to make a name for himself'.
Yes, that Danny Cipriani: the rugby player who collected the last of his seven England caps four years ago and has been busy trying to flush his career down the toilet ever since.
Dejected: Beckham plies his trade for MLS side LA Galaxy
But here he was criticising Pearce, capped 78 times for England, a former Manchester City manager, England caretaker boss, the current England Under 21 manager and coach of Team GB for 'trying to make a name for himself'.
Various Heat magazine readers at the local hairdressing salon added to the din, with most complaints focusing on whether they might be denied their quota of advertisements picturing Becks in his underpants.
Inevitably, Robbie Savage stepped into the world of vacuous celebrity hype, to announce on the television news that he was 'appalled' by what has happened to Beckham.
Appalled Now I'm appalled by the culture of fraud in the banking world. I'm appalled by the brutal suppression of the people in Syria.
But when it comes to Beckham not making a football squad, let's just say I think we'll all get over it.
Spectator: Beckham will have to watch Team GB from the stands
What was genuinely irritating was reading people who actually know something about football giving credence to the idea that Pearce had omitted Beckham due to a grudge against Gary Neville, England's recently recruited assistant manager.
The 'logic', such as it was, claimed Neville and Beckham are old friends. Neville was recently installed as Roy Hodgson's assistant in the England camp, thereby edging caretaker boss Pearce out the door.
So Pearce's 'revenge' was to remove Beckham from the Olympics.
In: Beckham's former team-mate Ryan Giggs was chosen instead
I have to stop here for a moment. As a direct consequence of writing that previous paragraph, a few hundred of my brain cells have decided to commit suicide and the fingers of my left hand have stopped working.
That's how stupid the theory is.
Of course, this didn't stop people who have done little else but slag Beckham off for years pulling a handbrake turn and denouncing Pearce for being out of step with 'the national mood', as if that were ever the measure for any team selection.
Others mocked the idea Pearce left Beckham out for 'football reasons'.
But while there are many motives why Beckham could warrant inclusion in the Olympic squad, unfortunately none of them have anything to do with football.
He sells tickets, he sells shirts, he looks nice on TV, your granny knows his name, he carried the torch, he was in Singapore when the bid was won, he kicked a ball off a double-decker bus during the closing ceremony at the Beijing Games, his sponsors are involved, he has a nice smile.
And that's it. If we are to accept football as an Olympic sport (and it really shouldn't be) then we should treat it as more than some glorified testimonial.
We should aim to win a gold medal, especially as it is on home soil. Beckham did not 'deserve' a place in Team GB.
It was not his right to appear at London 2012 just because he helped push the Games bid.
Obviously, I feel some sympathy for him. There is barely a soul in the media world that didn't think he would be wheeled into the 2012 hoopla.
He obviously wanted to take part, too. No doubt he had a new haircut planned; an Olympic tattoo, once they found a space for it.
And, yes, he was once a fabulous player and has dutifully popped up at various 2012 functions over the last few years. But an Olympic place is not a gift-wrapped thank-you gift. It is not a reward for being involved.
You too: Craig Bellamy (left) also got the nod above Beckham
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I'm astonished there are sensible people out there who still actually believe it should be. Shaking hands and holding up a flaming torch is all well and good.
Being part of the team that won the Games in Singapore seven years (yes count 'em, seven) ago was noble at the time.
But if Beckham warrants a place for his ambassadorial contributions, then let's stick Princess Anne in goal and put Tessa Jowell at centre half and have done with it.
We can hand Lord Coe a place in the 800m, ask Denise Lewis to pull the spikes back on for the heptathlon and push Sir Steve Redgrave towards a boat and send him downstream for one last time.
Sport is a meritocracy. The players are not selected on sentiment or on popularity.
The Olympics is not some bogus charity gig like Soccer Aid . I t' s a competition. Pearce did not 'snub' Beckham, either. That is more tosh.
He flew to California, watched Beckham play on three occasions, decided he could be in contention for a place and named him in his extended squad.
But when it came down to selecting his three 'over-age' players as the rules dictate, once he chose Micah Richards at the back and Craig Bellamy up front, it left a straight call between Ryan Giggs and Beckham in midfield.
There can only be one winner here. Giggs is playing at Manchester United in the most competitive league in the world; he has had a fine season and remains at the top of his trade.
Beckham has been playing over in the United States for the past five years at a level that is comparable with being at Derby or Huddersfield.
Moreover, Giggs has never played at a World Cup finals or European Championship. He deserves this stage – not on sentiment, but through sporting justice.
Involved: Beckham (right) has been involved in the organisation of the Games, pictured in 2010 with Sebastian Coe
Pearce took flak for picking Richards, but he is a title-winner and a player he has known through the England Under 21s and at City.
Pearce set aside Richards's disagreements with Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson for the same 'football reasons' people choose to ignore when it suits them.
So Beckham misses out on merit. Sport is not a public relations exercise. The best should compete.
As I have said on this page previously, it should not be a contest where the level of celebrity is any measure. But people are blinded by fame and dazzled by the flashbulbs.
Just look at one of the 2012 Olympic promotional films. In it, they had Beckham sitting at a table completing a newspaper crossword.
If you didn't do a double take when you saw that, then I'm afraid you really have been suckered by hype.
Best to be third
After Cristiano Ronaldo stood like a spare part during the semi-final shootout against Spain, the debate was about whether a team's best penalty-taker should go first or last.
The answer is neither. They should always take the third kick.
This is the point where the balance of any sudden death contest usually tips.
It is also the first moment any team can be eliminated from a contest. Now all someone has to do is convince the egotistical Ronaldo that third really is best.
Spare part: Cristiano Ronaldo did not take a penalty when Portugal were knocked out by Spain
Ta for that, Yak
Backhanded compliment of the week: striker Yakubu joins Chinese club Guangzhou from Blackburn Rovers and announces: 'I thank Blackburn Rovers, the fans and fellow players for making my one season there seem like a decade.'
Steady on. For the fans, it's more like a life sentence.
Saudi shame over women
If you want to get really angry about something at the Olympics, try this: Saudi Arabia will compete at the London Games next month without a single female athlete in the team.
They have never sent one. Brunei and Qatar will dispatch women team members for the first time at London 2012, but the Saudis still stand alone.
No show: Dalma Malhas was set to be the only female Saudi representative at the Olympics but will no longer compete
Encouraging female athletes would fly in the face of Wahhabi Islamic teaching that forbids women from driving or appearing in public without a chaperone.
A story was put out that Dalma Malhas, a 20-year-old equestrian, would be the Saudis' first female Olympian, but now she is 'ineligible' after her horse was somehow injured.
If a nation's population were 50 per cent black and banned from competing at the Games, the country would be treated as a pariah.
So why is it any different for women and Saudi Arabia