The House of Beckham: why Tom Bower’s book won’t topple the Golden Balls empire

Tom Bower’s new book – “House of Beckham: Money, Sex and Power” – is brimming with scandal. But will the unauthorised biography really pierce the “golden armour and dismantle the Beckham machine”, asked Katie Rosseinsky in The Independent. Given their “staggeringly slick” PR machine, it is a big ask. 

The book comes off the back of a recent Netflix documentary, “Beckham”, that offered a “stage-managed insight” into David and Victoria’s relationship that was filled with “endearing off-duty snippets”, said Rosseinsky. These included the iconic clip of Victoria describing her “working-class” background before David pops his head round the door to reveal she used to be driven to school in a Rolls-Royce. 

Following his series of “bombshell” books about the royals – the latest is titled “Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors” – Bower has shifted his gaze to “Britain’s other royal family”. But while it “strains to be explosive”, it ends up falling short, “like delving into a Wikipedia recap that re-treads old territory”.

Tabloid fodder 

Perhaps the biggest issue with Bower’s book, said Zoe Williams in The Guardian, is that many of his most juicy “revelations” are already tabloid fodder. “ChatGPT could have done the whole thing faster, with the prompts: David Beckham – erection – sun lounger.”

“Nothing here feels new,” said Hannah Betts in The Telegraph. Stories from the papers are “regurgitated”: David is “stingy” and “squeaky-voiced”; Victoria is a “tuneless, furious-faced WAG” whose clothing brand is a “much-puffed vanity project”. 

There are, however, “moments of magic” peppered sporadically throughout. Bower claims Victoria behaves so “capriciously” during her 2007 NBC documentary “Coming to America” that her exasperated team are said to have “chorused”: “So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”

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A ‘devil’s bargain’

Bower portrays their relationship as a “devil’s bargain”, said Betts, rather than the “happy-families image” that their PR machine trades off – yet “the narrative is oddly flat”.

His “overarching argument”, said Rosseinsky in The Independent, is that the marriage has, at times, been “little more than a mutually beneficial business arrangement” – something that “hardly feels like a novel thesis”. 

And yet, said Hilary Rose in The Times, Bower can’t deny that, after more than two decades together, the Beckhams are “still standing”. They might not have lived “happily ever after” but on 4 July, just like they do every year, the couple will post “loving tributes” to each other as they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. 

Despite the alleged affairs and the all-night arguing, said Williams in The Guardian, “they must, on some level, really like each other”.

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