Football: Beckham still a public relations dream

David Beckham meeting contestants at the AIA Vitality Healthy Cookout Showdown at Clifford Square to promote healthy eating for his sponsor. The former England captain had noodles, rice and chicken for lunch yesterday.
David Beckham meeting contestants at the AIA Vitality Healthy Cookout Showdown at Clifford Square to promote healthy eating for his sponsor. The former England captain had noodles, rice and chicken for lunch yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

He may have retired as a footballer four years ago, but David Beckham is still one of the biggest draws in sport.

That was evident in the deluge of England, Manchester United and Real Madrid shirts thrust in his direction in the hope of an autograph from the Englishman, who showed up before a crowd of 200 at Clifford Square yesterday afternoon for an event with his sponsor AIA.

Dubbed the AIA Healthy Living Tour, the public-relations extravaganza sees Team Beckham - numbering 30 in assorted minders who manage everything from his sponsorships, travel plans and security - embark on a mad dash around Asia.

Beckham arrived at 6.30am yesterday from Seoul. Three days before, the 42-year-old was in Hong Kong. And, after a night's stay at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) - a resort he is an ambassador for - he will jet off to Malaysia this morning for the final leg of his road show for the insurance company.

No questions were allowed from the 30-odd media pack. And the man with 115 England caps, six English Premier League titles and one Champions League medal did not even talk about football.

The fashion icon did share how clean living and eating made him into a player of worldwide repute.

 

An oft-repeated message from Beckham is how he sets an example for his three sons and daughter by having a balanced diet. Salad is a staple although he allows his children the occasional hamburger, chocolate and bag of potato chips.

He said: "I have four children who have seen their daddy work out and be fit for 20 years, I need to continue that to stay healthy, to stay fit, to give them a good example."

Ever the savvy marketing dream, he sportingly tried to sign as many autographs for his fans as he could yesterday, and even gave a quick nod to the local cuisine.

"I love chilli crab and it's something that since I've been to this part of the world, it's something that I will always try to get one when I'm here," he said.

While he would only say that he had noodles, rice and chicken for lunch, a post on his Instagram account revealed that he probably dined at Michelin-starred Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. But it is unclear which of the three outlets he was at.

In the evening, he posted a snap from the infinity pool atop MBS. And what else could one find out from one of the most recognisable faces in the world, during his whirlwind tour? He let on that he loves spices - cilantro, thyme and jalapeno. And his favourite, Posh.



ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Beckham mania

His playing days may be over, but football idol David Beckham still draws the crowds everywhere he goes. The former England captain and Manchester United superstar was kept busy taking wefies and signing autographs yesterday at Clifford Square, where he was a guest at insurer AIA's Vitality Healthy Cookout contest, in which participants vied to create healthier versions of local dishes such as nasi lemak. The 42-year-old shared his healthy eating habits and sportingly made time for as many of his fans as he could during his hour-long appearance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2017, with the headline 'Becks still a public relations dream'. Print Edition | Subscribe