PR guru Max Clifford annoyed many people during his career and many of them deserved it
PR guru Max Clifford annoyed many people during his career and many of them deserved it.Reuters

It is difficult to imagine a 21st century downfall which could be the cause of more Schadenfreude than that of Max Clifford: the publicity guru turned convicted sex offender.

You can almost hear the cry "spin your way out of that one, Max". But this is impossible to do. Clifford's convictions at Southwark Crown Court speak for themselves: guilty on eight counts of indecent assault on four females – including one child.

The list of people who hate the guts of the publicist turned convicted sex offender goes way beyond the victims of his assaults. Clifford's list of enemies must be nearly as long as his own old-school list of Fleet Street contacts.

But it is worth remembering many of those who have been gleefully cheering Clifford's demise were hardly victims, themselves. They simply got burned trying to play the same game at which he was expert: the publicity game.

For years, Clifford's clients wrote him monthly cheques of £10,000 to represent them. He helped clients attract publicity or he repelled it for them. As he told the Observer: "The biggest part of my game is not promotion, it's protection." Justifying telling lies elsewhere, he said: "The only mantra I work to is that your duty is to your client."

Here is a list of people who are probably enjoying a hefty slice of Schadenfreude, while shedding precisely no tears at Clifford's demise. A few of them – such as corrupt politician Jeffrey Archer, have cause to hate him for exposing their underhand villainy.

But it is questionable how much thought Clifford ever gave to the wider public interest during his long and lucrative career, which has now collapsed in shame: A real tabloid tale.

David Beckham

David Beckham
David Beckham

Another prominent figure in the England football team at the time, Goldenballs got burnt by the same Press which he himself exploits so relentlessly for commercial gain. Clifford represented Rebecca Loos when she went public with claims of an affair with Sarong-wearing Beckham in 2004. He denied it and continued being the nation's pin-up boy, while she ended up on reality TV pleasuring a pig. Ask for a refund, Rebecca.

Sven Goran Eriksson

Sven Goran Eriksson
Sven Goran Eriksson

Clifford managed Faria Alam when she exposed her fun and games with the then-England boss in 2004. Alam was working as a secretary at the Football Asociation at the time and her revelations painted the formerly dull-looking Eriksson in a whole new light. Clifford ensured she got the best deal for the story and Eriksson's image was sexed up: Maybe he should have paid Clifford too.

Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey ArcherReuters

As well as being a stupendously successful pulp novelist, Archer was a corrupt Tory politician whom Clifford had a hand in exposing as a perjuring liar. Clifford harbours a visceral hatred of the Conservative party, so managing a client who revealed Archer had lied in court can hardly have seemed like work at all. One-time City Hall hopeful Archer – who once told a reporter "You just wait until I'm Mayor of London!" was convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced for four years.

David Mellor

David Mellor
David MellorGetty

Another Tory politician upon whose head Clifford helped tip a huge proverbial pile of manure by way of his expertise. Mellor is today most famous for that photo of his head superimposed on to a Chelsea kit. This memorable image derives from a claim made by his lover Antonia de Sancha – whom Clifford helped to get her story out there. The publicist claimed he was motivated by the public interest in this exposé. He thought Mellor was being hypocritical by endorsing PM John Major's hapless 'Back to Basics' drive, while doing the dirty on his family with Antonia.

Mandy Allwood

Mandy Allwood
Mandy AllwoodReuters

Allwood hired Clifford to handle her story of being pregnant with eight babies in 1996. But they fell out because she felt he was getting carried away with trying to cash in. Allwood recalled: "Max was ringing us saying that different newspapers were offering us things. And I never wanted to go with the News of the World." Allwood is different from others on this list for being neither a public figure nor having anything to hide. She later sued Clifford and won more than £12,000. He countersued and won just under £5,000.

After this week's jury verdict, it is hard to see how king of publicity Clifford can mount a comeback worthy of the best tabloid story.