David Beckham was first approached by Manchester United scouts when he was just eleven years old, and had always been a United fan. He put his name on the map after scoring this goal. Eleven years after his first game for United, six Premiership titles, two FA Cups and one European Cup to his name, he left the club for Real Madrid. He’d had a great career so far, and it seemed he could only go on to achieve greater things with the Spanish club, who were the reigning La Liga champions at the time.
Sadly for Beckham, things haven’t gone entirely to plan. Since moving to Spain, he doesn’t have a single winners medal to his name. His captaincy for England ended on a sour note, after he was taken off the pitch through injury, during the game when England were knocked out of the World Cup. McClaren took over as manager, and ruled Beckham out of his future plans, axing him from the squad, despite several injuries to other midfield players, including Lennon, who is tipped to replace him, as well as Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves.
In the past four games for Real, Beckham has only been picked to play for 128 minutes out of a possible 360. It has been rumoured today that Beckham is weighing up his options, with a move to the MLS in the States being the most likely route.
Beckham’s departure from Manchester United has been long blamed on Alex Ferguson, who reportedly “pushed” David out of the club. What people tend to forget when using this handy excuse, is that Beckham had spent the past eighteen months renegotiating his contract, trying to get every penny out of a club he was said to have loved his whole life. Beckham lifted the Premiership trophy on his last game for Manchester United on May 11th, claiming he wasn’t going anywhere and that he loved Manchester United. By June 17th a deal had officially been agreed with Real Madrid.
In the three trophyless seasons Beckham has had with Real, it has probably produced a lot of time for reflection. They say “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” and this certainly seems to be the case for Becks. He said today, ‘At Manchester United, I was there for 15 years and every day, every match, we were united, win or lose. Every 15 days we went out together to dinner with all the players including times when Ferguson and all the coaches came. In the three years I’ve been here we have done that four times.”
If Beckham had his time again, would he do things differently? Instead of sulking, would he have stepped up to the plate and worked hard to get his place in the team? Instead of getting carried away with his ad campaigns, would he have focussed on playing well for the club he’d always loved? Probably, and we’d probably all still love him. Although United fans will always have a special place for Beckham, it’s hard, for me at least, to ever fully accept him after leaving us. I think of all the kids who have the passion for football and the love for United that Beckham had who will never get the opportunity, and then think about how he blew it. Still, it’s good to know he’s thinking of us too, and better to know that the best years of his life were spent playing football for our club. How different things could have been though…