DAVID BECKHAM'S home debut for Spurs -- should it happen over the next month -- will be given extra poignancy because he scattered the ashes of his late grandfather Joseph on the pitch little more than a year ago in a completely private family ceremony at White Hart Lane organised by the club.
After the death of Joseph West in December 2009, aged 83, Tottenham offered the Beckham family the chance to use the stadium for the service away from the glare of the media spotlight. Having been a season-ticket holder at Tottenham for most of his life, the family decided that the stadium would be a fitting resting place for Joseph.
When Beckham returned from promoting England's doomed 2018 World Cup bid in Cape Town that month, a private ceremony attended only by close family was held so that the ashes of Joseph could be scattered on the pitch at White Hart Lane.
The operation to get the Beckham family in and out of the stadium quietly took some organisation on the part of the club, who shut it down for the few hours. Keeping the ceremony secret depended on the goodwill of many of the club's staff, to whom Beckham spoke afterwards in order to thank them.
There was no publicity around the ceremony, as the Beckhams wished. But Beckham himself did take a tour of the stadium, at which he attended games with Joseph as a child.
As a rule, Spurs do not permit the scattering of cremated ashes on the pitch, a policy that is followed by most Premier League clubs because of potential reaction with pesticides and also because playing surfaces are so regularly relaid. However, exceptions can be made at the club's discretion. It is understood that the Beckham family approached the club through an intermediary.
Yesterday, as Beckham underwent medical assessments at Spurs' training ground, his camp were keen to point out that there had been no discussion with Spurs around the time of the ceremony for his grandfather that he might potentially play for the club one day.
That possibility still hangs in the balance. With Beckham pictured for the first time in a club tracksuit yesterday, talks are ongoing between Spurs, the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer to see whether the English club could strike a deal to let him play over the next month.
Beckham will train with the Spurs first-team squad for the first time today. Harry Redknapp would still like to register him as a player for the period up to February 10 agreed by the MLS that he can stay with the club.
It seems there is no chance of him being fit to make a dramatic return to the Premier League against his former club Manchester United on Sunday, but he could potentially be registered by then.
The Beckham-Tottenham loan saga has been subject to more than one change of heart by Redknapp, who eventually resolved to give Beckham a try.
The priority for the club remains a striker to replace Ireland captain Robbie Keane, who looks certain to depart this month, and they are still weighing up a bid for the Uruguayan Luis Suarez from Ajax.
Ideally, the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would like Suarez who, at 23 and available for a relatively low initial payment, fits the model of emerging talent Spurs prefer to sign. But Redknapp is still not convinced of the player's ability to cut it in the Premier League and is delaying a final decision on him. (© Independent News Service)