Yesterday , May 16 , 2013 , at the age of 38 , and in the wake of the retirements of Sir Alex Ferguson , Paul Scholes ,and Phillip Neville , David Beckham , erstwhile England Captain finally brought the curtain down upon a glittering Professional Career .
Becks , a Leytonstone , East London Boy , though was hugely influenced by both his Father – a Manchester United Fan , and his Maternal Grandfather -a Tottenham Season Ticket Holder. The Boy himself though holding a fondness for Spurs , was taking to the game just fine , and as his young profile began to rise , his heart was eventually swayed by a Sir Bobby Charlton Soccer Camp , the feeling became increasingly mutual . It was to be The Red Devils . He signed Youth Forms and eventually Professional Terms were agreed in 1993 .
He was blessed in that as a Southerner he was admitted into an Academy structure overseen by Ex-Evertonian , Eric Harrison , and an eventual youth side containing both Nevilles , Scholes , Butt , but also Keith Gillespie and Robbie Savage . It was an exceptional couple or three year age group . Indeed in his final year as a Youth Player the side lifted the F.A. Youth Trophy , David Beckham scoring in the second leg of a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace . He also made his First Team debut that season , as a substitute in a League Cup fixture versus Brighton & Hove Albion .
Like many Manchester United youngsters under Sir Alex Ferguson , Backs was sent out on loan , in his case , to Preston North End during 1994-95 season . It did him the world of good . Experiencing football outside the confines of the Old Trafford Goldfish Bowl was the makings of him as he returned to Manchester and finally made his Premier League debut against Leeds United in April 1995 . United lost the League to Blackburn and the F.A. Cup Final to Joe Royle’s Everton . This left United trophy-less and begat a series of changes as SAF was wont to do .
Out went Ince , Hughes , Kanchelskis – foundation stones of Ferguson’s Recovery Squad , and were replaced by Fergie’s Fledglings , as both Neville’s , Butt , Scholes and Becks himself all graduated to regular First Team Action . Once established , they all became regulars themselves , indeed lifting the Club to even higher standards of excellence as regards performance and ultimate achievement .
With the rise to prominence – some say dominance , of Fergie’s Fledglings came the flip side . Media intrusion . Bacxkham being The Poster Boy of the side received most attention . This situation did not please his Manager and was exacerbated to breaking point with his dating a Spice Girl . Of course , the side went on to achieve The Double , various Titles and it was David Beckham’s Laser-Dead Ball Kicks will allowed both Sheringham and Solksjaer to rescue the 1999 Champions League Final from the very jaws of German Victory . As a result he came a most laudable second to Rivaldo in the European , and FIFA World Player Of The Year Awards .
Nevertheless , his now Marriage to Victoria was becoming more than An Issue with the Manager . Moreover , after his sending off at France 98 against Argentina , Becks was subject to perhaps the most vile example ever of Player Harassment around the Football Grounds of England . We at Everton weren’t so bad actually . Others were much worse . The straw that broke the Camel’s back came in 2000 when , after having been given permission to miss training in order to look after his sick child , Victoria Beckham’s was then photographed at a London Fashion Week function . Ferguson ultimately claimed that his #7 would have been able to train if the child’s Mother had looked after him . He fined the England the maximum – 2 weeks wages , dropped him from an important game against rivals Leeds United and even noted the incident in his own Autobiography .
Despite playing well – had had helped United achieve their third League Title in a row in 2000-01 , only the fourth team ever to manage this feat . In early 2002 against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League , David Beckham broke his metatarsal . As England Captain , it had obvious relevance as regards the Media and the upcoming Summer’s World Cup in Japan and South Korea . This factor , allied to the ubiquitous Brand Beckham became ever more wearing to Man’ United’s Glaswegian Gaffer . In February 2003 , in the dressing room , Post-Game following an F.A. Cup defeat to Arsenal , both Parties had their say in a blazing row . Indeed , a Football Boot was kicked , thrown – this aspect remains disputed . What cannot be was the resultant Stitches over Beckham’s eye . Despite Manchester United continuing success , his personal life had now made his relationship with the now Sir Alex Ferguson untenable . Prior to departing his Spiritual Home , David Beckham was awarded a Member Of The British Empire .
Just to make things ever smoother going forward , Manchester Unied announced in May 2003 that they had reached an agreement as regards fee for David Beckham with Barcelona . In the event , he was indeed to depart Salford but not to Catalonia . In fact , its fiercest rivals Real De Madrid . In making the £23m move , and joining the band of Galacticos – Stars , being assembled , Beckham became the third Englishman , after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman to where the famous Blanco strip . He would also link up with former Fergie #2 , Carlos Quieros . He chose to wear the number 23 shirt – Raul , Real Club Captain already had #7 , as a homage to Micheal Jordan , Chicago Bulla Basketball Star whom also wore that number . Despite some raising eyebrows as to the fee – arguing Beckham was merely another Bauble on the Madrid Christmas Tree of Galactico’s ; on a Tour of South East Asia , Beckham was such a success that it was widely believed that much of the £23m was recouped within weeks of his arrival via Shirts , Marketing and Sponsorship deals .
That Summer’s World Cup in Germany was , to most observers , the nadir of the WAG Culture influence in and around the England Squad . With basically as many Reporters present for the Wives and Girlfriends as the players themselves , when – as happened , the side does not deliver on-field , such a scenario can easily be portrayed as a lack of focus . The F.A. took this on-board and in announcing Steve McLaren as successor to Sven Goran Eriksson are likely to have made his point clear . It therefore came as no surprise when McLaren stated his desire to move in , ” A New Direction ” , as he stated that John Terry would be his England Captain .
On the park , although the Madridista took to him , Real werea classic case of , Too Many Chiefs , Not Enough Indians . They were thereabouts but never quite there . In his third Season , Madrid , having gone through Managers and Presidents since his arrival , appointed Fabio Capello as Coach . Initially discarding the Englishman , but later being won over by his work ethic and continuous endeavour . Beckham regained his place for the final six months of the Campaign as Real went on to re-claim the Title from Barcelona . It would be – along with the Super-Cup , Spain’s Charity Shield , his only honours during his Iberian adventure . In May 2007 David Beckham announced a deal to sign a 5 year deal with Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS .
It was of course , The Death Knell for his full time Career at the very top level – despite two seperate successful loan spells with A.C. Milan . To a large extent this was a Career move in his early 30′s which may be more relevant to him in his 40′s – 60′s . On the park , The Galaxy were no great shakes . Basically , a two man team . Beckham and Landon Donovan , and they didn’t get on . However , despite the side not qualifying for the end of season Play Offs in his initial years , Beckham was relentless in his enthusiasm for the MLS as a concept . Galaxy did manage to reach the MLS Play Off Final – as Western Conference Champions , going down to Salt Lake 4-5 on Penalties . .
Following Donovan’s loan at Everton in early 2010 – and thus his daily contact with close Beckham Pal , Phillip Neville , the Beckham-Donovan Axis was on a much better footing . In 2011 Los Angeles Galaxy won only their 3rd ever MLS Cup – the equivalent of the League Title . It would be Beckham’s third such Title in each of the Countries he had played in . Furthermore , they retained the Championship the following season as Beckham , at 36 , brought down the curtain on his American sojourn but not his Career as a whole as he announced a deal to join Paris St. Germain on a 5 month deal with a view to an extension . He struggled with fitness but made a reasonable quota of appearances – even if as substitute at his age . In making his debut he became the Parisians’ 400th Player . Beckham played in both ties against Barcelona s PSG were eliminated from the Champions League though was also part of the side that clinched the Ligue 1 Title , thus establishing an even better record of Titles in 4 separate Countries . An achievement in itself by whatever criterion you choose .
On May 16 , 2013 , at the age of 38 , David Beckham announced his retirement from Professional Football . He has , quite literally , the Football World at his feet . He has a contractual agreement whereupon he can purchase an MLS Side – except a NY Franchise , for , I understand most reasonable terms . So , that may the direction he takes . Alternatively , his outstanding Ambassadorship Role in both the successful Olympic Bid and moreover , the ultimately ill-fated English World Cup 2018 bid , may see him move into the arena of Global Football Politics , with some viewing him as a potential Platini or Blatter figure . Then there are his personal projects . The Soccer Schools and various endeavours which he has always stated are where his heart really lies .
Whichever road he opts for , David Beckham has done nothing other than represent himself , his employer at the time and his Country to a most exemplary level . He is rightly held in Global Esteem and his relationship with Children – whatever their Nationality is instantly visible and as powerful as an earethquake as regards Marketing possibilities .
One final word for SAF in his role s Kingmaker . He has now filled the Old Trafford Hot Seat , The England #2 Seat , The England U-21 #2 , and possibly now future UEFA Kingpin ???
Whatever happens , I wouldn’t imagine we’ve seen the last of David Beckham .
Written In Britain .
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