How Posh Spice exploded at the ultimate insult about her list: Read the ... trends now

How Posh Spice exploded at the ultimate insult about her list: Read the ... trends now
How Posh Spice exploded at the ultimate insult about her wedding list: Read the ... trends now

How Posh Spice exploded at the ultimate insult about her wedding list: Read the ... trends now

I was on the phone, listening carefully to my daughters. ‘OK, so dark hair is Posh, curly hair is Scary, blonde is Baby, then ginger is... Ginger and that leaves Sporty. Yes, thank you, girls.’

I whispered goodbye, hung up the call and was ushered into a meeting room. In it were five young women surrounded by more suits than I had ever seen before in a record company meeting.

‘Girls, this is Mr Edwards,’ said Paul Conroy, head of Virgin Music UK. ‘He’s worked with some of our most established acts, like Janet Jackson and David Bowie, and we’d like to employ him on your behalf. Is there anything you want to ask him?’

It was 1997 and these five girls were arguably the biggest music story in the world. I had the sense, as I had only a few times in my career, that what happened in the next few minutes was going to change my life. A lengthy silence followed. I braced myself for a bombardment of technical questions about the media, just like Mick Jagger had unleashed before he had hired me.

‘Yes,’ said the sleek brunette I had recently learned was known as Posh (though in that moment Scary would have worked equally well). ‘We have one question.’

I leaned forward in anticipation. Posh spoke again. ‘What kind of shoes are you wearing?’ she asked. There was a sharp intake of breath around the room. I genuinely had no idea. So, I checked and said: ‘Hush Puppies?’

The girls looked at each other and one of them responded: ‘We can work with that. Let’s hire him.’ It was a perfect introduction to the Spice Girls and their comic strip humour.

In the late-1990s, the five Spice Girls (L-R) Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm were arguably the biggest global music act

In the late-1990s, the five Spice Girls (L-R) Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm were arguably the biggest global music act

They’d obviously made the decision before I got there, but wanted to add a touch of drama. And, boy, was there a lot of drama.

My time with the Spice Girls began like a rocket taking off.

I went from not knowing which one was which to knowing everything about their lives. I discovered that Victoria was very funny — I immediately christened her Witty Spice. Geri was a genuine believer in Girl Power. I’d spend a long time talking to Mel C about football. Mel B would always ask about my daughters. And Emma Bunton was the most eternally good humoured person I’d ever met.

In 1998, I joined them for their world tour, including the American leg where they would fill stadiums with 70,000 people a night. It was Beatles-level stuff.

Incredibly, despite the constant public attention, the group remained down to earth. One time, Victoria and I wanted to have a meeting somewhere discreet, so we went to the first-floor cafe of the local Heal’s furniture store — you had to walk through the carpet section to get there.

The shoppers never bothered us because obviously it couldn’t be Posh Spice — it must be someone who looks like her.

This was very much my style, too, although my habit of turning up for meetings with a Tesco carrier bag eventually got on the girls’ nerves to such a degree that they bought me an expensive Gucci briefcase.

Alan remembers how Mel B would always ask about his daughters, Geri was a genuine believer in Girl Power, Victoria was very funny, Emma was the most good-humoured person he had met and that Mel C would always talk about football

Alan remembers how Mel B would always ask about his daughters, Geri was a genuine believer in Girl Power, Victoria was very funny, Emma was the most good-humoured person he had met and that Mel C would always talk about football

Most of our interactions were very casual, whether it was having a takeaway with them, or Mel B turning up unannounced in the office and turning it into a playpen for her daughter.

My role felt like being a father figure at times. I certainly felt protective of the young women at the centre of this media storm.

They looked out for me, too. When one of my daughters, Ruby, was reluctant to go to school for some very understandable reasons, Victoria insisted on calling her. At this time, getting a call from Posh Spice was akin to being phoned by the Pope.

When my mother died I’m not sure that anybody looked at the card attached to the huge bouquet of flowers that was sitting in the church that day. But if they had, they might have been surprised to see the names Victoria, Emma, Melanie B, Geri and Melanie C written there.

I had met David Beckham through Victoria and soon took on his PR, too — although our relationship had begun with a crisis.

It was the 1998 World Cup and he had been sent off during England vs Argentina for flicking out a foot at Diego Simeone. It was an extraordinarily unfair decision — I’m not sure he even touched Simeone — but the backlash was full-on. He was vilified in a way that nobody in sport really has been since. It went way too far.

The day after the match, I flew out to New York for the Spice Girls’ gig at Madison Square Garden. As I approached the venue, I saw someone who seemed completely out of context: David Beckham. He had come out to be with Victoria and get away from it all. As ‘soccer’ wasn’t as popular in the U.S. he had relative anonymity out there.

He explained to me that he had forgotten his pass and asked me very nicely if I could get him a ticket to the concert, which I found endearing because if anyone could get a ticket, it was David Beckham. It was quickly obvious that the man was in pieces about what had happened, utterly devastated.

That week we were travelling up the east coast in a tour bus and, for David, that bus was a protective bubble — he was with the girls and just one of the group.

There were no journalists around, no people on the street yelling at him. And from the U.S. newspapers, you wouldn’t even have known that there was a World Cup taking place.

You couldn’t easily get hold of British papers out there — it was in the days before digital editions — but I knew what was on the front pages back home because my staff faxed them to me.

I took it upon myself to help manage the situation. I realised David was in too sensitive a place for me to show him everything. In any case, nobody can cope with a huge deluge of bad news.

Instead, I desperately looked through the UK papers for glimmers of hope. I’d find even just a column or a paragraph that was favourable and gather up all those little nuggets, so that when I showed David the bad stuff, I was also able to present something sympathetic. It wasn’t manipulative. It was more a case of looking after a client’s wellbeing and judging how much bad news a person can take in one go. I was also constantly reminding journalists that there was a human being underneath this story.

PR guru Alan Edwards recalls that he was hired by the Spice Girls after Posh asked him: 'What kind of shoes are you wearing?'

PR guru Alan Edwards recalls that he was hired by the Spice Girls after Posh asked him: 'What kind of shoes are you wearing?'

Eventually, writing something positive became the more interesting angle for the Press and things calmed down. The incident with Simeone didn’t dent David’s image in the long term. In fact, his brand was just getting started.

In those days, footballers were largely just blokes who kicked a ball around on Saturday afternoons. They didn’t grace the pages of fashion magazines like GQ or have opinions on global issues.

David, however, was determined to change that. My job was to build Beckham’s brand outside football — an ambition that burned deep within him.

One of the first non-sport pieces we did was when I took a journalist to the Malmaison Hotel in Manchester to interview David in December 1998.

Afterwards, David invited me back to his house for dinner. He was living in what footballers used to call ‘digs’ in a terrace in Salford. It was a modest affair.

The first drama was we couldn’t get the lights on until I found a coin for the meter, followed by a kerfuffle while he looked for a can opener for the baked beans, which it transpired was the only food he had in the house.

At last we settled down and I asked him what he wanted from his PR adviser. Usually, the first question young stars would ask me was, ‘Can you get me a Ferrari?’ or ‘Could you get me into this nightclub?’

I realised straight away that David had a different agenda. He told me that he felt very strongly about developing women’s football; he hated racism and homophobia and wanted to fight against it; he thought soccer in the U.S. was underdeveloped and wanted to be part of taking it forward — and all that was just for starters. He clearly had a vision that went way beyond kicking a football.

David also had strong views on the development of his own image, suggesting we do an Elvis-esque, 50s-style shoot for a forthcoming broadsheet interview, with him sporting a quiff. His attention to detail was extraordinary. David and Victoria were obviously very much in love and when they decided to get married, it was such a happy time and no surprise to anyone like me who was around them so much.

I remember The Sun was convinced that there was a Beckham wedding list at a

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