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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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