David “top red” Beckham has again been perpetuating the lie that his move away from Manchester United was completely out of his control. Whilst we’ll never know all what happened behind the scenes, Beckham gave a good indication at the time to what the situation was, with his lacklustre performances, interviews with the press and blinding performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
“I always said that if I’d had my choice, I would never have left Manchester United because that was where I always wanted to start my career and finish it,” Beckham said this weekend. “Then I had to look at it in a different way. I’d been there over 10 years and been really successful and had amazing times and made so many great friends. Every time I’ve played at Old Trafford, whether for United, Real Madrid or England, the fans have been the best I’ve ever had. Everyone knows that’s what got me through what happened against Argentina, with my friends, my family and the manager. I will never forget that. In my eyes they are the best in the world, without a doubt.”
Funny, because that’s not the way I remember it and it’s not what he was saying in the press at the time.
David Beckham’s contract negotiations began in 2001 but he was not happy with what he was being offered in image rights. “The negotiations have been going well,” he said in February 2002. “It’s not the salary that’s a problem, that was sorted out in September. It’s just the image rights that needed a little perking.”
Clearly we weren’t prepared to ‘perk’ his image rights as much as Real Madrid, leading him to leave the club he apparently wanted to stay with forever. Right?
“I’ve never said that I’d never move away from Manchester, and I’ve never said that I’d end my career there,” Beckham said less than a month before leaving us for Real Madrid. Was it down to Fergie? “Despite what people say about me and Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s been a father figure to me. I’ve been at Man United for 14 years now and without him I wouldn’t be the player or the person that I am today. He had the confidence when I was 18 years old to put me in the first team along with a number of other young players. Of course you have your ups and downs with any boss in any job, but with me and him it gets highlighted just a little bit more.”
I don’t doubt that if Beckham had his time again he would stay at United forever. Whilst I’m sure he enjoyed playing for Real Madrid and at the time his ego needed to be flattered in the way only the Spanish giants could offer, of course now, with his maturity and experience and hindsight, he would have put pen to paper on the contract that was offered to him two years before he left. But when he made the decision to leave, he didn’t have hindsight, and I really wish he would stop making out that he was forced to leave Old Trafford, because that simply was not the case.
You can’t rewrite history, Becks, no matter how much you may wish you could!