England locker room invader: What I said to Beckham, players

England's dressing room invader branded the players a "disgrace" after their 0-0 draw with Algeria.
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England's dressing room invader branded the players a "disgrace" after their 0-0 draw with Algeria.

Pavlos Joseph’s shock appearance in the dressing room led news bulletins in the hours after the desperate 0-0 draw with Algeria, widely condemned as England’s most shameful performance in years.

“The crazy thing is I only went looking for the toilet,” Manchester United fan Pavlos, 32, from South-East London, told the Sunday Mirror.

“I walked round the outside of the stadium to meet my two cousins and their dad who were at the opposite end of the ground. We’d arranged to meet at a certain lamp-post on the stadium concourse. When they still hadn’t arrived after half an hour, I started needing the toilet.

“I found a security guard, who sent me off back along a walkway underneath the stand out onto the pitch in the direction of the tunnel and explained that there were toilets near there.

“This was 45 minutes after the game had finished. There were a few photographers packing up their stuff, there were six or so groundsmen working on the grass and a dozen police doing a practice march, but no-one else around.

“I walked across the grass and up the players’ tunnel. Eventually, I took a right, down a corridor and before I knew it I found myself in the dressing room. There was no door.

“The next thing I knew, there was David Beckham standing in front of me. He was stood up wearing his grey England three-piece suit, wandering around with his hands in his pockets and looking at the floor. I froze and looked round the room. I couldn’t believe where I was.

“I saw Joe Cole walk naked out of the shower a few feet away from me. He glanced at me and then did a massive double-take. Then David looked at me. His face seemed to drop. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion.

"The room was dead silent. The players were sitting on benches with towels round their waists just looking at me. They looked like they were in shock. No-one was moving. It was surreal. Suddenly David spoke. He took a step towards me and said, ‘Whoa, who are you?’

“At first I didn’t know what to say. I glanced around at everyone again and then looked back at him. I said, ‘I’m Pavlos and I actually need the toilet.’

“For a moment, no-one said a word. Then I thought, ‘What the heck. I’m in the England dressing room. Why not say something?’. I looked David straight in the eye. I said, ‘David, we’ve spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?’”

He was met with stunned silence.

Then Pavlos, whose Greek Cypriot mother and father Leo and run a fish and chip shop in Crystal Palace where he was born, fixed the other players in his gaze and said: "That was woeful and not good enough."

“The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. David’s face changed as if he was going to say something back to me.

“Then, just as quickly, the look turned to confusion and his mouth closed. Straight away, a FIFA official in a suit was alongside me.

“He told me I had to leave and led me out the way I’d come in. I didn’t say another word to the players and I didn’t get an answer from Becks.”

 

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