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David Beckham

David Beckham
Norwich Career: Trial (1987)
Current Club: Inter Miami (Co-owner) / Salford City (Co-owner)
Date of Birth: 02/05/1975 (Leytonstone) 
Nationality: English


Imagine if you will the closing stages of the 1994/95 campaign. John Deehan's managerial future at Carrow Road looks shaky. Injuries to Bryan Gunn and the departures of Mark Robins and Efan Ekoku leave the Canaries in a precarious position at the bottom end of the Premiership. On April 1st, the Canaries travel to Highbury and field a young midfielder whose only first team appearances so far had been in league cup matches. The young debutant scores a stunning freekick to give Norwich the lead, and adds another audacious lob over David Seaman to put Norwich 2-0 up. Although Arsenal pull back into the game, Jamie Cureton's late winner gives Norwich all 3 points. The midfielder retains his place for the trips to Leicester and Newcastle, which result in a 1-1 draw and 3-1 defeat, with him assisting in both Norwich goals. At home to Nottingham Forest, the confidence of this young man spreads throughout the team and they secure victory. A draw at White Hart Lane and against Liverpool at Carrow Road secure their Premiership status. Norwich aren't relegated but the financial side of the club looks fragile. The sale of this young player to Manchester United for 5million means that no vast waves of players are released unnecessarily and the Canaries become mid table regulars in the Premiership occasionally reaching Wembley in the League Cup. Robert Chase, John Deehan and Gary Megson are hailed as heroes across Norfolk for their combination of young talent and experienced Premiership players. Martin O'Neill remains at Wycombe and Leicester drop into Division Two under Mike Walker's stewardship. At the end of the millennium, John Deehan's programme notes state that he is looking forward to taking on the England manager's position and working again with David Beckham who saved the Canaries from relegation in 1995.

Maybe a rather fantastic What If scenario but the truth is that it could have happened. When reading Kit Carson's Academy review for 12th February 2000 on the Official Peterborough United website, Kit talked about trying to contact David Beckham who had spent a week with Kit at Norwich City while he was 11 years old (1987) along with a number of schoolboys from Essex. Beckham stood out then, both on and off the ball. Indeed he had won a Bobby Charlton Soccer Skills Award that was presented to him at Old Trafford and had appeared on BBC TV. Beckham's current scout Tony Stephens had also assisted Kit at Carrow Road with presentations. It is too harsh on the Canaries to say that Beckham is another player to slip through their fingers as a player of his talent was attracting all the big clubs from day one. Kit supposedly said 'I would like you to join Norwich City immediately'. David went red and he said, 'I'm really sorry, but I have already signed at Manchester United'." Kit replied "If you ever get a rejection from Manchester United, there is always a place at Norwich City for you."

Beckham was born in Leytonstone, East London in May 1975. David represented Essex Schoolboys and in addition to his brief spell at Norwich, he had trials with Leyton Orient and attended Tottenham Hotspurs' school of excellence before signing for Manchester United as a trainee on 8 July 1991. A member of Manchester United' s successful youth side, alongside the likes of the brothers Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, they won the FA Youth Cup in 1992 with David scoring in the final against Crystal Palace and came second the following year. On October 1st 1992, he made his first team debut in a Rumbelows Cup tie at Brighton and Hove Albion, coming on as a late substitute. His league debut for United was two and a half years later and was against Leeds on 2nd April 1995. In the intermediate period, he had joined Preston North End on loan and made 5 appearances for them, scoring twice.

David established himself in the United first team during the 1995/96 double winning season, filling the void left by Andrei Kanchelskis' transfer to Everton. During this season, he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup semi final against Chelsea and in September 1996, he was called into the England squad and given his debut against Moldova. This added to his existing youth and 9 Under 21 caps. The 1996/97 season saw him establish himself fully in the Man Utd and England squads and he scored some spectacular goals including the lob over Neil Sullivan from the halfway line in the opening day clash with Wimbledon. He won the PFA Young Player of the Year award and came second in the main competition.

David became the nation's most reviled player when he was sent off for a petulant kick at Diego Simeone in the World Cup second round clash with Argentina. Even though he had scored the match winner in the tie with Colombia, his sending-off was seen as the sole reason for England's exit from the World Cup. Effigies of him were burnt and hung across the country. Maybe he should have stayed at Carrow Road.

He returned to form the following season in which he also became a father to Brooklyn and married Brooklyn's mother Victoria Adams aka Posh Spice. This came at the end of a season in which United won the treble of Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup. However he is still considered by many to be rather reckless and his crude challenge against Nexaca's Jose Milian in the World Club Championship earned him another high profile red card.

David has been linked with a move to Arsenal as Posh Spice would prefer him to play closer to their home in Hertfordshire. When Beckham missed training due to baby Brooklyn being unwell, it was reported that Alex Ferguson finally lost his patience with Beckham's show business lifestyle. According to an "exclusive" in the Sunday People on 6th March 2000, Ferguson agreed with the Man Utd board that Beckham would be made available for transfer although not to an English rival. AC Milan were reported as being most likely to sign Beckham, apparently for a British record fee of 25million. This rumour was later denied by Manchester United. After providing virtually the only impressive display in England's Euro 2000 campaign, David's value shot up. Sport First claimed an exclusive on 25th June 2000 that Barcelona had made a 45million approach for Becks, possibly as a successor to Luis Figo who was rumoured to be joining Lazio. The following day's media suggested that competition for David's signature might come from Real Madrid who were willing to match this offer. On 14th July 2000, the British media reported that Silvio Berlusconi, president of AC Milan, wants to tempt the Beckhams to Milan. He hopes that David will be persuaded to join AC Milan by his wife Victoria who would be offered her own television shows on Berlusconi's various television companies. The expected fee for Beckham's signature would be 40million. This suggestion was dismissed by United chairman Martin Edwards along with the supposed 30million offer from Inter Milan for Paul Scholes. Berlusconi said "I like David Beckham a lot. I am Milan's biggest supporter and my promise to other supporters is that there will be an important arrival this summer, one of the world's top five players. Milan will do everything to buy a big name, a player that will make the difference. Beckham is one but there are other strong players on the market as well... Beckham is a great player. When crossing, he is the best in the world." Other players on Milan's list include the likes of Luis Figo, Rivaldo and Fransecso Totti but Beckham is regarded as the player who could be most easily prised away from his club."

David's international rehabilitation was completed in November 2000 when he captained England for the friendly defeat against Italy on 15th November. David was one of the most experienced players in caretaker manager Peter Taylor's Under 30 England squad. Although captaining England would be a highlight for David, his poor performances especially in Europe would concern him and manager Alex Ferguson even though they did not deny United a third consecutive title. His poor form did not put off AC Milan who were said to be preparing a 70million bid for Beckham and his England teammate Michael Owen. The deal would include a TV show for Posh Spice. David was also linked on 17th April 2001 with a swap move for Barcelona's Rivaldo whom Alex Ferguson rates highly.

A horrific tackle by Deportivo La Coruna's Pedro Duscher in their European Champions League Quarter Final clash on 10th April 2002 broke Beck's foot making him doubtful for England's World Cup campaign. The foot is expected to take 8 weeks to heal which would take him past England's first round group matches. He was however included in the England World Cup squad with every expectation of recovery being in place by the time of the first match against Sweden. His will to win and physical fitness carried David through to a starting position in the 1-1 draw with Sweden on 2nd June. He then captained England to a historic 1-0 win over Argentina on 7th June.

In February 2003, it appeared that Becks' love affair with United might come to an end. Following their 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup, manager Alex Ferguson went on a rampage in the dressing room, kicked a football boot that hit Beckham above the left eye causing a cut. Beckham was said to be livid as was his wife Posh. This alerted European giants Inter Milan and Barcelona to enquire about his availability. In mid March 2003, rumours circulated suggesting that Real Madrid would make a £30million swoop for Beckham to replace Luis Figo. These rumours continued through April and into May with suggestions that a formal bid of £25million plus Cameroon midfielder Geremi (then on loan at Middlesborough and rated at £10m) had been accepted by Old Trafford. By the end of May, it was suggested that Barcelona might be a more likely destination with candidates for Barca's presidency claiming that they would bring Beckham to the Nou Camp. However Roma coach Fabio Capello has urged his president Franco Sensi to bring Beckham to Italy.

In June 2003, Man United chief executive Peter Kenyon admitted his club had been in discussion with Barcelona concerning Beckham's future. With this in the public domain, Italian giants AC Milan expressed their interest possibly preceding one of the world's biggest transfer struggle that football has ever seen. In the end, Becks was transferred to Real Madrid for the sum of £25million on June 17th 2003 with the move completed on July 1st following the end of the Spanish season.

Whilst Becks has settled well into the Real line-up, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly made the England captain his number one target. It's also reported that Beckham won't be renewing the lease on his mansion in Spain and that he would not be enrolling son Brooklyn into a private school there. The midfielder's wife Victoria is said to prefer to remain in England. Beckham hit the headlines in April 2004 when it was alleged that he had affairs with two women. Plenty of other websites will cover these allegations and I refuse to be drawn into such tawdry speculation and possible character assassination. This site is supposedly about football !

However the speculation may have affected Beckahm whose Real Madrid side failed to win the Spanish title. Becks then had a very mediocre Euro 2004 tournament, being almost invisible during many games and then missing a key penalty in the quarter-final against Portugal (He also missed a penalty against France during normal play)

In March 2006, based on comments made by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who was admiring Beckham's skills, it seem to suggest that David and family might return to England for a spell in North London.

On May 9th 2006, David, as expected, was named by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Although England did not perform well, they qualified from their group as winners, and faced Ecuador in the second round. Beckham scored the only goal of the game with a stunning second-half free-kick. In the quarter-final with Portugal, Beckham was substituted due to injury before the England side lost on penalities. Following that game, David quit as England captain. On 7th July 2006, it was reported in the Daily Mail that Beckham and his wife had met with Newcastle chairman Freddie Sheppard to discuss a transfer to St James' Park.

In August 2006, David was dropped from Steve McLaren's first squad as England manager.

Beckham's appearance for Real Madrid in the 4-1 Champions League victory over Steaua Bucharest on 17th October 2006 was his hundredth appearance in the Champions League, making him only the third player to reach that total - the others being teammates Raul and Roberto Carlos. Beckham was linked by the Sunday Mirror with a move to Tottenham on 12th October 2006 although The People claimed he was returning to Old Trafford. On 7th December 2006, it was reported by The Sun that Inter Milan were willing to offer Beckham complete control of his image rights in order to lure him to Italy. The following week saw Bolton manager Sam Allardyce allegedly saying that he hoped to lure Beckham to Bolton (The Daily Star).

On 31st December 2006, the News of the World suggested that 15 clubs were hoping to sign Beckham if his contract at Real Madrid was not renewed. These were Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle, the aforementioned Bolton, Athletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, Blackburn, Tottenham, West Ham, Aston Villa, Seville, AC Milan and American sides LA Galaxy and New York Red Bull. However The People suggested that another club, Liverpool, are set to make a bid for Beckham on the back of the proposed takeover of the Anfield club by Dubai International Capital. On 10th January 2007, Beckham announced that he would not be signing a new contract with Real Madrid and the following day, he announced that he had signed a five year £128m contract to join Major League Soccer (MLS) side LA Galaxy. Galaxy are managed by former Ipswich defender Frank Yallop and their most recognised stars are Landon Donovan and former Coventry forward Cobi Jones

Under-pressure Steve McLaren restored Beckham to the England squad in May 2007 for the friendly against Brazil and the UEFA2008 qualifier against Estonia. McClaren told BBC Sport: "Everyone knows David's attributes and he's a big-game player who can help us win in Estonia... Obviously his form has been excellent at Real Madrid and he can help us win in Estonia. Beyond that we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Beckham provided the cross from which John Terry scored England's goal in the 1-1 draw with Brazil on 1st June.

In David's final game for Real, he helped them to a 3-1 win over Mallorca which gave the Madrid side the La Liga title - and David's first major Spanish trophy. He made his debut for the galaxy as a substitute in the July 2007 friendly against Chelsea.

Beckham won his 108th international cap in the February 2008 friendly with Spain, tying him with Bobby Moore as England's most capped international player

On 2nd October 2008, the Daily Mirror reported that Beckham has been offered a shock return to the Premier League, with Sunderland manager Roy Keane wanting to offer him a six-month loan deal. On 22nd October 2008, it was announced that AC Milan intended to sign Beckham on loan in January 2009 whilst the MLS is in its winter break. Beckham's success in the England national team as a squad player under Fabio Capello had led to speculation that he may return to Europe in order to retain match fitness for the Spring World Cup qualifying matches. He made his Serie A debut for Milan against AS Roma on 11th January 2009. He played 89 minutes in a 2-2 draw.

Beckham had a second loan spell at AC Milan from January 2010 and indeed played for AC against Manchester United in a Champions League match. He tore his Achilles tendon in a match against Chievo in March 2010 and missed the World Cup, returning to action with the LA Galaxy in September 2010

During December 2010 / January 2011, discussion was had of Beckham joining a Premiership team on loan from January to March. Beckham was linked with Spurs and trained with them in early January.

In September 2011, he was linked with loan moves to Tottenham, QPR and Paris St Germain.

Becks was surpisingly omitted from the Team GB football squad for the London 2012 Olympics. He did however play a key role in the opening ceremony.

Beckham ended his time with the LA Galaxy on 2nd December 2012 by winning the MLS Cup for the second time.

After training with Arsenal, 37 yeart old Beckham joined French giants Paris St Germain on a five month deal on On 31st January 2013, but announced that he would donate his salary to charity. "I don't know if this will be my last contract People have been speculating about that for a number of years, but I continue to play and sign contracts. I will see how I feel but I want to play as long as possible. My passion is football. It always has been. When I play football it is not about the biggest contract." said Beckham

Beckham retired from playing at the end of the 2012/13 season. He made 10 appearances for Paris St Germain.

In October 2013, he was linked with purchasing an MLS franchise in Miami. Beckham is thought to be able to buy the US franchise for a discounted $25m (£15.6m) from MLS. The 38-year-old's option to purchase a franchise is believed to be part of the financial package he negotiated when he joined LA Galaxy in 2007 as a player. Beckham said he was "excited" by the prospect of Miami when he visited Florida in June. He said "Why America? Because when I joined the Galaxy I always said I'm committed to the MLS and I'm committed to growing the sport in that country. I do think there will be a stage when football will explode and will become one of the sports that will challenge basketball, baseball, American football. I think it's a fun place to play the game. I enjoyed my six years there. Miami is definitely one of the cities I'm excited about and a place they need football." The club were named Inter Miami and made their MLS debut on 1st March 2020 in a 1-0 away defeat to Los Angeles FC.

In January 2019 it was announced that Beckham was set to join his Class of '92 teammates as part owner of English non-league club Salford City

Beckham made a record 115 outfield appearances for England

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