The Oxford and Cambridge Unions have been involved in a battle to secure David Beckham as a speaker this term, according to the Daily Mirror. Beckham has never spoken at either Union before and both institutions are anticipating large numbers if he speaks.
A source for the newspaper has said that, “David may not seem the most likely candidate but the unions are squabbling with each other to get him. His career is unique and they think he would be an inspiration to students. Neither wants to back down so the other can snap him up.”
Beckham has played for L. A. Galaxy since leaving Real Madrid in 2007 and is currently in talks with Paris St Germain over a possible move to France, almost a decade after he left Manchester United.
The Oxford Union President for Hilary 2012, Lauren Pringle, told Cherwell that the Union has records of correspondence with Mr Beckham’s agent which go back over a year. “We invite him just about every term to come and speak at the Union. Because celebrities are so busy it works best if we stay in agents’ consciousness by re-issuing invites every term just so that they are aware of us should the opportunity arise.”
Pringle stated that the news of Cambridge’s rival attempt to poach Mr Beckham have come as a surprise to the Union.
“We were not even aware that the Cambridge Union were also trying to invite Mr. Beckham, though we can understand why they would be thrilled by a visit from him – Mr. Beckham is a world class sportsman and an inspirational figure.”
However, the Oxford Union committee has said that, had they known that they were in competition with Cambridge, “we would have tried for a joint approach, as we have found that this is often very successful”.
Pringle explained that this clash might result in failure for either Union. “Working in conjunction with the Cambridge Union is more fruitful than ‘doing battle’ with them: not only would it look unprofessional for us to be at loggerheads but also might put Mr. Beckham off attending either institution, which would be a great shame.
‘At the end of the day we are both like-minded institutions and if a speaker enjoys an address they give at either Union it can only make it more likely that they will attend the other institution as well.” It is unconfirmed whether Beckham will speak at either of the Unions this term.