By Dominic Ponsford
A single footballer has been given the sort of treatment normally reserved for entire countries with news that the Daily Mirror has appointed a David Beckham correspondent.
Previously, the tabloids have had specialists on subjects like the National Lottery and Big Brother, but this may be the first time an individual has been given such an honour.
Stephen Moyes was told at the end of last week that he was being moved from the showbiz desk and on Saturday morning he flew out to the Spanish capital, Madrid.
Moyes, who is working with photographer Austin Horgrave, said: “I jumped at the chance – David Beckham seems to be making the front pages more than the back pages nowadays. He and Victoria are something people want to read about in the Mirror. I’m a massive football fan so it should be a great opportunity to see some good football – it’s a dream job really.”
Moyes’s first assignments were to cover Beckham signing his contract to play for Real Madrid, his medical and then his official welcome at the Bernabeu Stadium.
Moyes said: “The Spanish news-papers are calling his arrival here an ‘earthquake’. When Ronaldo came there were 200 journalists at his unveiling, but for Beckham the turnout was 550 journalists from 28 countries.”
Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: “His Spanish is non-existent, but this was deliberately done to encourage David to hang out with the only guy he understands.
“They can even learn the language together. Mr Moyes has only one brief – to live, sleep and breathe Beckham.”