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Alex Ferguson

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Sir Alex Ferguson Sir Alex Ferguson
Personal information
Full name Alexander Chapman Ferguson
Date of birth 31 December 1941 (1941-12-31) (age 68)
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Manchester United (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
1957–1960 Queen's Park 31 (15)
1960–1964 St. Johnstone 37 (19)
1964–1967 Dunfermline Athletic 89 (66)
1967–1969 Rangers 41 (25)
1969–1973 Falkirk 95 (36)
1973–1974 Ayr United 24 (9)
Total 317 (170)
Teams managed
1974 East Stirlingshire
1974–1978 St. Mirren
1978–1986 Aberdeen
1985–1986 Scotland
1986– Manchester United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Sir Alexander Chapman "Alex" Ferguson, Kt, CBE, popularly known as Sir Alex or Fergie (born 31 December 1941 in Govan, Glasgow) is a Scottish football manager and former player, currently managing Manchester United, where he has been in charge since 1986.

Ferguson previously managed East Stirlingshire and St. Mirren, before a highly successful period as manager of Aberdeen. Briefly manager of the Scotland national team – in a temporary capacity owing to the death of Jock Stein – he was appointed manager of Manchester United in November 1986.

With 23 years as manager of Manchester United, he is the second-longest serving manager in their history after Sir Matt Busby, while his tenure is the longest of all the current League managers. During this time, Ferguson has won many awards and holds many records including winning Manager of the Year most times in British football history. In 2008, he became the third British manager to win the European Cup on more than one occasion.

He was an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame for his services to the English game, was knighted in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II and currently holds the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen for his services to the city, having managed the city's football club to a host of major trophies in the early to mid 1980s.

Early life
Ferguson at Old Trafford

Born to Alexander Beaton Ferguson, a plater's helper in the shipbuilding industry, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Hardie,[1] Alex Ferguson was born at his grandmother's home on Shieldhall Road, Govan, on 31 December 1941, but grew up in a tenement at 667 Govan Road (which has since been demolished) where he lived with his parents as well as his younger brother Martin.

He attended Broomloan Road Primary School and later Govan High School, and supported Rangers.[citation needed]
Playing career

Ferguson's playing career began as an amateur with Queen's Park, where he made his debut as a striker aged 16. He described his first match as a "nightmare"[2] but scored Queen's Park's goal in a 2–1 defeat against Stranraer. As Queen's Park were an amateur team he also worked in the Clyde shipyards as an apprentice tool-worker, where he became an active trade union shop steward. Perhaps his most notable game for Queen's Park was the 7–1 defeat away to Queen of the South on Boxing Day 1959 when ex-England international Ivor Broadis scored four of the Queen of the South goals. Ferguson was the solitary Queen's Park goalscorer.[3]

Despite scoring 20 goals in his 31 games for Queen's Park, he could not command a regular place in the side and moved to St. Johnstone in 1960. Although he continued to score regularly at St. Johnstone, he was still unable to command a regular place and regularly requested transfers. Ferguson was out of favour at the club and he even considered emigrating to Canada,[4] however St. Johnstone's failure to sign a forward led the manager to select Ferguson for a match against Rangers, in which he scored a hat trick in a surprise victory. Dunfermline signed him the following summer (1964), and Ferguson became a full-time professional footballer.

The following season (1964–65), Dunfermline were strong challengers for the Scottish League and reached the Scottish Cup Final, but Ferguson was dropped for the final after a poor performance in a league game against St. Johnstone. Dunfermline lost the final 3–2 to Celtic, then failed to win the League by one point. The 1965–66 season saw Ferguson notch up 45 goals in 51 games for Dunfermline. Along with Joe McBride of Celtic, he was the top goalscorer in the Scottish League with 31 goals.[5]

He then joined Rangers for £65,000, then a record fee for a transfer between two Scottish clubs. He was blamed for a goal that they conceded in the 1969 Scottish Cup Final,[6] in a match in which he was designated to mark Celtic captain, Billy McNeill, and was subsequently forced to play for the club's junior side instead of for the first team.[7] According to his brother, Ferguson was so upset by the experience that he threw his losers' medal away.[8] There have been claims that he suffered discrimination at Rangers after his marriage to his wife Cathie, who was a Catholic[9] but Ferguson himself makes it clear in his autobiography[10] that Rangers knew of his wife's religion when he joined the club and that he left the club very reluctantly, due to the fall-out from his alleged cup final mistake.

The following October, Nottingham Forest wanted to sign Ferguson,[11] but his wife was not keen on moving to England at that time so he went to Falkirk instead. He was promoted to player-coach there, but when John Prentice became manager he removed Ferguson's coaching responsibilities. Ferguson responded by requesting a transfer and moved to Ayr United, where he finished his playing career in 1974.
Early managerial career
East Stirlingshire

In June 1974, Ferguson was appointed manager of East Stirlingshire, at the comparatively young age of 32. It was a part-time job that paid £40 per week, and the club did not have a single goalkeeper at the time.[12] He immediately gained a reputation as a disciplinarian, with club forward Bobby McCulley later saying he had "never been afraid of anyone before but Ferguson was a frightening bastard from the start."[13] His players admired his tactical decisions, however, and the club's results improved considerably.

The following October, Ferguson was invited to manage St. Mirren. While they were below East Stirlingshire in the league, they were a bigger club and although Ferguson felt a degree of loyalty towards East Stirlingshire, he decided to join St. Mirren after taking advice from Jock Stein.[14]
St. Mirren

Ferguson was manager of St. Mirren from 1974 until 1978, producing a remarkable transformation of a team in the lower half of the old Second Division watched by crowds of just over 1,000, to First Division champions in 1977, discovering talent like Billy Stark, Tony Fitzpatrick, Lex Richardson, Frank McGarvey, Bobby Reid and Peter Weir while playing superb attacking football.[15] The average age of the league winning team was 19 and the captain, Fitzpatrick, was 20.[16]

St. Mirren have been the only club ever to sack Ferguson. He claimed wrongful dismissal against the club at an industrial tribunal but lost and was given no leave to appeal. According to a Billy Adams Sunday Herald article on 30 May 1999, the official version is that Ferguson was sacked for various breaches of contract including unauthorised payments to players.[15] He was counter-accused of intimidating behaviour towards his office secretary because he wanted players to get some expenses tax free. He didn't speak to her for six weeks, confiscated her keys and communicated only through a 17-year-old assistant. The tribunal concluded that Ferguson was "particularly petty" and "immature" .[17] It was claimed during the tribunal by St. Mirren chairman, Willie Todd, that Ferguson had "no managerial ability".

On 31 May 2008, The Guardian published an interview with Todd (by now aged 87), who had sacked Ferguson all those years earlier. He explained that the fundamental reason for the dismissal was a breach of contract relating to Ferguson having agreed to join Aberdeen. Ferguson told journalist Jim Rodger of the Daily Mirror that he had asked at least one member of the squad to go to Aberdeen with him. He also told the St. Mirren staff he was leaving. Todd expressed regret over what happened but blamed Aberdeen for not approaching his club to discuss compensation.[18]
Managing Aberdeen
Early disappointment

Ferguson joined Aberdeen as manager in June 1978, replacing Billy McNeill who had only lasted a season before he was offered the chance to manage Celtic. Although Aberdeen were one of Scotland's major clubs, they had not won the league since 1955. The team had been playing well, however, and had not lost a league match since the previous December, having finished second in the league the previous season.[19] Ferguson had now been a manager for four years, but was still not much older than some of the players and had trouble winning the respect of some of the older ones such as Joe Harper.[20] The season did not go especially well, with Aberdeen reaching the semi-final of the Scottish F.A. Cup and the final of the league cup, but losing both matches and finishing fourth in the league.

In December 1979, they lost the league cup final again, this time to Dundee United after a replay. Ferguson took the blame for the defeat, saying he should have made changes to the team for the replay.[21]
Silverware at last

Aberdeen had started the season poorly but their form improved dramatically in the new year and they won the Scottish league that season with a 5–0 win on the final day. It was the first time in fifteen years that the league had not been won by either Rangers or Celtic. Ferguson now felt that he had the respect of his players, later saying "That was the achievement which united us. I finally had the players believing in me".[22]

He was still a strict disciplinarian, though, and his players nicknamed him Furious Fergie. He fined one of his players, John Hewitt, for overtaking him on a public road,[23] and kicked a tea urn at the players at half time after a poor first half.[24] He was dissatisfied with the atmosphere at Aberdeen matches, and deliberately created a 'siege mentality' by accusing the Scottish media of being biased towards the Glasgow clubs, in order to motivate the team.[25] The team continued their success with a Scottish Cup win in 1982. Ferguson was offered the managers' job at Wolves but turned it down as he felt that Wolves were in trouble[26] and "[his] ambitions at Aberdeen were not even half fulfilled".[27]
European success

Ferguson led Aberdeen to even greater success the following season (1982–83). They had qualified for the European Cup Winners' Cup as a result of winning the Scottish Cup the previous season, and impressively knocked out Bayern Munich, who had beaten Tottenham Hotspur 4–1 in the previous round. According to Willie Miller, this gave them the confidence to believe that they could go on to win the competition,[28] which they did, with a 2–1 victory over Real Madrid in the final on 11 May 1983. Aberdeen became only the third Scottish team to win a European trophy and Ferguson now felt that "he'd done something worthwhile with his life".[29] Aberdeen had also performed well in the league that season, and retained the Scottish Cup with a 1–0 victory over Rangers, but Ferguson was not happy with his team's play in that match and upset the players by describing them as a "disgraceful performance" in a televised interview after the match[30]—a statement that he later retracted.

After a sub-standard start to the 1983–84 season, Aberdeen's form improved and the team won the Scottish league and retained the Scottish Cup. Ferguson was awarded the OBE in the 1984 honours list,[31] and was offered the managers' jobs at Rangers, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur during the season. Aberdeen retained their league title in the 1984–85 season, but had a disappointing season in 1985–86, finishing fourth in the league, although they did win both domestic cups. Ferguson had been appointed to the club's board of directors early in 1986, but that April he told Dick Donald, their chairman, that he intended to leave that summer.

Ferguson had been part of coaching staff for the Scottish national side during qualifying for the 1986 World Cup, but manager Jock Stein had collapsed and died on 10 September 1985 - at the end of the game in which Scotland qualified from their group for a play-off against Australia. Ferguson promptly agreed to take charge of the Scottish national side against the Australians and subsequently at the World Cup. To allow him to fulfil his international duties he appointed Archie Knox as his co-manager at Aberdeen.

Around this time, Tottenham Hotspur offered Ferguson the chance to take over from Peter Shreeves as manager, but he rejected this offer and the job went to Luton Town's David Pleat instead. There was also an offer for Ferguson to replace Don Howe as Arsenal manager, but he rejected this offer as well, and fellow Scot George Graham took the post instead.[32]

That summer, there had been speculation that he would take over from Ron Atkinson at Manchester United, who had slumped to fourth in the English top flight after a 10-match winning start had made title glory seem inevitable. Although Ferguson remained at the club over the summer, he did eventually join Manchester United when Atkinson was sacked in November 1986.
Managing Manchester United
Appointment and first years

Ferguson was appointed manager at Old Trafford on 6 November 1986. He was initially worried that many of the players, such as Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath and Bryan Robson were drinking too much and was "depressed" by their level of fitness, but he managed to increase the players' discipline and United climbed up the table to finish the season in 11th place. Their only away win in the league that season was a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield - which was also Liverpool's only home defeat of the season, which helped end their defence of the league title. Ferguson endured a personal tragedy three weeks after his appointment, when his mother Elizabeth died of lung cancer aged 64.

Ferguson appointed Archie Knox, his assistant at Aberdeen, as his assistant at Manchester United.

In the 1987-88 season, Ferguson made several major signings, including Steve Bruce, Viv Anderson, Brian McClair and Jim Leighton. The new players made a great contribution to a United team who finished in second place, nine points behind Liverpool. United were expected to do well when Mark Hughes returned to the club two years after leaving for Barcelona, but the 1988–89 season was a disappointment for them, finishing eleventh in the league and losing 1–0 at home to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Sixth Round. During the season, United played in friendly matches against the Bermudan national team and Somerset County Cricket Club as part of the Bermudan team's tour of England. In the match against Somerset, both Ferguson himself and his assistant, Archie Knox, took to the field, with Knox even getting on the scoresheet. The match remains Ferguson's only appearance for the Manchester United first team.

For the 1989-90 season, Ferguson further boosted his squad by paying large sums of money for midfielders Neil Webb and Paul Ince, as well as defender Gary Pallister (a national record £2.3million signing from Middlesbrough). The season began well with a 4-1 win over defending champions Arsenal on the opening day, but United's league form quickly turned sour. In September, United suffered a humiliating 5–1 away defeat against fierce rivals Manchester City. Following this and an early season run of six defeats and two draws in eight games, a banner declaring "Three years of excuses and it's still crap. Ta ra Fergie." was displayed at Old Trafford, and many journalists and supporters called for Ferguson to be sacked.[33] Ferguson later described December 1989 as "the darkest period [he had] ever suffered in the game."[34]

Following a run of seven games without a win, Manchester United were drawn away to Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup. Forest were performing well in the League that season,[35] and it was expected that United would lose the match and Ferguson would consequently be sacked, but United won the game 1–0 thanks to a Mark Robins goal and eventually reached the final. This cup win is often cited as the match that saved Ferguson's Old Trafford career.[35][36][37] United went on to win the FA Cup, beating Crystal Palace 1–0 in the final replay after a 3–3 draw in the first match, giving Ferguson his first major trophy as Manchester United manager. United's defensive frailties in the first match were unilaterally blamed on goalkeeper Jim Leighton, forcing Ferguson to drop his former Aberdeen player and bring in Les Sealey.
Cantona and first League title

Although United's league form improved greatly in 1990–91, they were still inconsistent and finished sixth. Even after the FA Cup Final victory in the previous season, some still had doubts about Ferguson's ability to succeed where all the other managers since Busby had failed — to win the league title.[37] They were runners-up in the League Cup, losing 1–0 to Sheffield Wednesday. They also reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, beating that season's Spanish champions Barcelona 2–1. After the match, Ferguson vowed that United would win the league the following season.[38]

During the 1991 close season, Ferguson's assistant Archie Knox departed to Glasgow Rangers to become assistant to Walter Smith, and Ferguson promoted youth team coach Brian Kidd to the role of assistant manager in Knox's place.

The 1991–92 season did not live up to Ferguson's expectations and, in Ferguson's words, "many in the media felt that [his] mistakes had contributed to the misery".[39] United won the League Cup and Super Cup for the first time, but lost out on the league title to rivals Leeds United after leading the table for much of the season. Ferguson felt that his failure to secure the signing of Mick Harford from Luton Town had cost United the league, and that he needed "an extra dimension" to the team if they were to win the league the following season.[40]

During the 1992 close season, Ferguson went on the hunt for a new striker. He first attempted to sign Alan Shearer from Southampton, but lost out to Blackburn Rovers. In the end, he paid £1 million for 23-year-old Cambridge United striker Dion Dublin - his only major signing of the summer.

After a slow start to the 1992-93 season (they were 10th of 22 at the beginning of November) it looked as though United would miss out on the league title (now the Premier League) yet again. However, after the purchase of French striker Eric Cantona from Leeds United for £1.2 million, the future of Manchester United, and Ferguson's position as manager, began to look bright. Cantona formed a strong partnership with Mark Hughes and fired the club to the top of the table, ending United's 26-year wait for a League Championship, and also making them the first ever Premier League Champions. United had finished champions with a 10-point margin over runners-up Aston Villa, whose 1-0 defeat at Oldham on 2 May 1993 had given United the title. Alex Ferguson was voted Manager of the Year by the League Managers' Association.
Two Doubles
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1993–94 brought more success. Ferguson added Nottingham Forest's 22-year-old midfielder Roy Keane to the ranks for a British record fee of £3.75million as a long term replacement for Bryan Robson, who was nearing the end of his career.

United led the 1993–94 Premier League table virtually from start to finish. Cantona was top scorer with 25 goals in all competitions despite being sent off twice in the space of five days in March 1994. United also reached the League Cup final but lost 3–1 to Aston Villa, managed by Ferguson's predecessor, Ron Atkinson. In the FA Cup final, Manchester United achieved an impressive 4–0 scoreline against Chelsea, winning Ferguson his second League and Cup Double, following his Scottish Premier Division and Scottish Cup titles with Aberdeen in 1984-85. Ferguson made only one close-season signing, paying Blackburn Rovers £1.2million for David May.

1994–95 was a harder season for Ferguson. Cantona assaulted a Crystal Palace supporter in a game at Selhurst Park, and it seemed likely he would leave English football. An eight month ban saw Cantona miss the final four months of the season. He also received a 14-day prison sentence for the offence but the sentence was quashed on appeal and replaced by a 120-hour community service order. On the brighter side, United paid a British record fee of £7million for Newcastle's prolific striker Andy Cole, with young winger Keith Gillespie heading to the north-east in exchange.

However, the championship slipped out of Manchester United's grasp as they drew 1–1 with West Ham United on the final day of the season, when a win would have given them the league. United also lost the FA Cup final in a 1–0 defeat to Everton.

Ferguson was heavily criticised in the summer of 1995 when three of United's star players were allowed to leave and replacements were not bought. First Paul Ince moved to Internazionale of Italy for £7.5 million, long serving striker Mark Hughes was suddenly sold to Chelsea in a £1.5 million deal, and Andrei Kanchelskis was sold to Everton. It was widely known that Ferguson felt that United had a number of young players who were ready to play in the first team. The youngsters, who would be known as "Fergie's Fledglings", included Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, who would all go on to be important members of the team.

When United lost the first league match of the 1995-96 season 3–1 to Aston Villa, the media swooped upon Ferguson with undisguised glee. They wrote United off because Alex Ferguson's squad contained so many young and inexperienced players. Match of the Day pundit, Alan Hansen infamously proclaimed that "you can't win anything with kids". However, the young players performed well and United won their next five matches. Cantona's return from suspension was a boost, but they found themselves fourteen points behind Newcastle. However a series of good results in early 1996 saw the gap close, and from early March onwards United led the table. Rivals Newcastle, 12 points clear at the top of the table in January, failed to capitalise on earlier victories. Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan's famous outburst on live television ("I'd love it if we beat them! Love it!") is generally regarded as the moment that Ferguson gained the upper hand against his opponent. United's Premier League title success was confirmed on the final day of the season. They played Liverpool in that year's FA Cup final, winning 1–0 with a late goal by Cantona.

1996–97 saw Alex Ferguson guide Manchester United to their fourth Premier League title in five seasons. In late October, they suffered three league defeats in a row and conceded 13 goals in the process. They also lost their 40 year unbeaten home record in Europe to unfancied Turkish side Fenerbahçe. But they still reached the Champions League semi final, where they lost to Borussia Dortmund of Germany. At the end of the season, Cantona surprisingly retired from football.
The treble
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Ferguson made two new signings to bolster United's challenge for the 1997–98 season, 31-year-old England striker Teddy Sheringham and defender Henning Berg. However the season ended trophyless as Arsenal won the Premier League under French manager Arsène Wenger, who started a long-lasting rivalry with Ferguson. The summer of 1998 saw striker Dwight Yorke, Dutch defender Jaap Stam and the Swedish winger Jesper Blomqvist join Manchester United.

In December 1998, Ferguson's assistant Brian Kidd accepted an offer to manage Blackburn Rovers and he recruited Steve McClaren from Derby County as his successor. Ironically, Kidd's side were relegated in the penultimate game on the league season when United held them to a 0-0 draw.

1998–99 saw the club winning an unprecedented treble of the Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League. The season was characterised by highly dramatic matches. In the Champions League semi-final second leg, United conceded two early goals away to Juventus; however, inspired by Roy Keane, who would later miss the final through suspension, United came back to beat Juventus 3–2 and reach their first European Cup final since 1968. In the FA Cup semi-final, United faced close rivals Arsenal and appeared to be heading for defeat when Keane was sent off and Arsenal were awarded a last-minute penalty. Peter Schmeichel saved the penalty, and in extra time Ryan Giggs ran the length of the pitch to score perhaps the most memorable goal of his career to win the match. They then defeated Newcastle United 2–0 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley thanks to goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes. The European triumph was the most incredible of all. With 90 minutes on the clock they were 1–0 down to Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp in Barcelona following a Mario Basler free kick, but in 3 minutes of injury time allowed by referee Pierluigi Collina, Teddy Sheringham, a substitute, equalised and extra time looked certain. But with just seconds left on the clock, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, also a late substitution, scored the winning goal and history was made.

On 12 June 1999, Alex Ferguson received a knighthood in recognition of his services to the game.[41]
Title hat-trick

Manchester United ended the 1999–2000 season as champions with just three Premier League defeats, and a cushion of 18 points. The massive gap between United and the rest of the Premier League caused some to wonder if the club's financial dominance was developing into a problem for the English game.

In April 2000, it was announced that Manchester United had agreed to sign Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven for a British record fee of £18million. But the move was put on hold when van Nistelrooy failed a medical, and he then returned to his homeland in a bid to regain fitness, only to suffer a serious knee injury which ruled him out for almost a year.

28-year-old French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was signed from Monaco for £7.8million—making him the most expensive goalkeeper to be signed by a British club, and United won the title again. During the 2001 close season Ruud van Nistelrooy joined, and soon after Manchester United again broke the British transfer record—this time paying Lazio £28.1million for Argentine attacking midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón, although he failed to live up to the high expectations his transfer fee suggested and he was sold to Chelsea for £15million only two years later.
Rebuilding and transition
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Two games into the 2001–02 season, Dutch central defender Jaap Stam was sold to Lazio in a £16million deal. The reason for Stam's departure was believed to have been claims in his autobiography Head to Head that he had been illegally spoken to about a move to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson, before his previous club PSV Eindhoven had been informed.[citation needed] Ferguson replaced Stam with Internazionale's 36-year-old central defender Laurent Blanc.

Before the season began, Ferguson also lost his assistant Steve McClaren, who took over as manager of Middlesbrough, and gave the role to long-serving coach Jim Ryan until a more permanent successor could be found.

On 8 December 2001, Manchester United were ninth in the Premier League — 11 points behind leaders Liverpool who had a game in hand. Then came a dramatic turn around in form: between mid-December and late January, eight successive wins saw Manchester United climb to the top of the Premier League and put their title challenge back on track. Despite this, United finished third in the League as rival Arsène Wenger clinched the title for Arsenal at Old Trafford with a 1–0 win in the penultimate game of the season.

United were also unsuccessful in Europe, losing the Champions League semi-final on away goals to Bayer Leverkusen.

The 2001–02 season was to have been Ferguson's last as Manchester United manager, and the looming date of his retirement was cited[who?] as a reason for the team's loss of form. Ferguson himself admitted that the decision to pre-announce his retirement had resulted in a negative effect on the players and on his ability to impose discipline. But in February 2002 he agreed to stay in charge for at least another three years.

The close season saw Manchester United break the British transfer record yet again when they paid Leeds United £30million for 24-year-old central defender Rio Ferdinand.

That summer, Ferguson brought in Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz as his assistant.

Manchester United won their eighth Premier League title yet just over two months before the end of the season they were eight points behind leaders Arsenal. But an improvement in form for United, and a decline for Arsenal, saw the Premier League trophy gradually slip out of the Londoners' grasp and push it back in the direction of Old Trafford. Ferguson described the 2002-03 title triumph as his most satisfying ever, due to the nature of a remarkable comeback. Not for the first time, Ferguson had proven to be a master of managerial mind-games, successfully rattling the composure of Arsenal and their otherwise unflappable manager Arsène Wenger.

Ferguson guided Manchester United to their eleventh FA Cup at the end of the 2003–04 season, but it was a disappointing season which had seen them finish third in the Premier League and suffer Champions League elimination at the hands of eventual winners FC Porto. Rio Ferdinand missed the final four months of the season, as he served the beginning of an eight-month ban for missing a drugs test. New signings like Eric Djemba-Djemba and José Kléberson were disappointing, but there was at least one productive signing 18-year-old Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

At the beginning of the 2004–05 season, Wayne Rooney and Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze joined United while Cristiano Ronaldo continued where he had left off the previous season by putting in more match-winning performances. But the lack of a striker after van Nistelrooy spent most of the season injured saw the club finish third for the third time in four seasons. In the FA Cup they lost on penalties to Arsenal.

Ferguson's preparations for the season were disrupted by a high-profile dispute with major shareholder John Magnier, over the ownership of the racehorse Rock of Gibraltar. When Magnier and business partner J. P. McManus agreed to sell their shares to American business tycoon Malcolm Glazer, it cleared the way for Glazer to acquire full control of the club. This sparked violent protests from United fans, and disrupted Ferguson's plans to strengthen the team in the transfer market. In spite of this, United looked to solve their goalkeeping and midfield problems. For this, they signed the Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar from Fulham and Korean star Park Ji-Sung from PSV.

The season was one of transition. On 18 November, Roy Keane officially left the club, his contract ended by mutual consent. United failed to qualify for the knock-out phase of the UEFA Champions' League. In the January transfer window Serbian defender Nemanja Vidić and French full-back Patrice Evra were signed, and the side finished in second place in the league, behind runaway leaders Chelsea. Winning the League Cup was a consolation prize for lack of success elsewhere. Ruud van Nistelrooy's future at Old Trafford seemed to be in doubt after not starting in the Carling Cup final, and he departed at the end of the season.
Second European trophy
Ferguson with former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz

Michael Carrick was signed as a replacement for Roy Keane for £14 million, although the figure may eventually rise in the future to £18.6 million depending on appearances and results. United started the season well, and for the first time ever won their first four Premier League games. They set the early pace in the Premier League and never relinquished top spot from the tenth match of the 38–game season. The January 2006 signings had a huge impact on United's performances; Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidić came in to form a solid back line along with already existing players Rio Ferdinand and skipper Gary Neville. The signing of Michael Carrick, which was questioned and criticised by a large portion of the media, brought stability and further creativity in the United midfield, forming an effective partnership with Paul Scholes. Park Ji-Sung and Ryan Giggs both underlined their value to the first team squad by adding significant pace and incisiveness in attack with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ferguson celebrated the 20th anniversary of his appointment as manager of Manchester United on 6 November 2006. Tributes also came from Ferguson's players, both past and present,[42] as well as his old foe, Arsène Wenger,[43] his old captain, Roy Keane, and current players. The party was spoiled the following day when United endured a single-goal defeat at the hands of Southend in the fourth round of the Carling Cup. However, on 1 December it was announced that Manchester United had signed 35 year old Henrik Larsson on loan,[44] a player that Alex Ferguson had admired for many years, and attempted to capture previously. On 23 December 2006, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the club's 2000th goal under the helm of Ferguson in a match against Aston Villa.[45]

Manchester United subsequently won their ninth Premier League title but were denied a double by Chelsea's Didier Drogba scoring a late goal in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Had United won this game, then they would have been the first English club to win the double four times. In the Champions League, the club reached the semi-finals, recording a 7–1 home win over Roma in the quarter-final second leg, but lost at the San Siro to Milan 3–0 in the second leg of the semi-final after being 3–2 up from the first leg.

For the 2007–08 season, Ferguson made notable signings to reinforce United's first team. Long-term target Owen Hargreaves joined from Bayern Munich, bringing an end to a year of negotiations. Ferguson further bolstered the midfield with the additions of young Portuguese winger Nani and Brazilian playmaker Anderson. The last summer signing was of West Ham United and Argentina striker Carlos Tévez after a complex and protracted transfer saga.

United had their worst start to a season under Ferguson, drawing their first two league games before suffering a 1–0 defeat to crosstown rivals Manchester City. However, United recovered and began a tight race with Arsenal for the title. After a good run of form, Ferguson claimed that throughout his time at Manchester United, this was the best squad he had managed to assemble thus far.[46]

On 16 February 2008, United beat Arsenal 4–0 in an FA Cup Fifth Round match at Old Trafford, but were knocked out by eventual winners Portsmouth in the Sixth Round on 8 March, losing 1–0 at home. United having had a penalty claim turned down, Ferguson alleged after the game that Keith Hackett, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, was "not doing his job properly". Ferguson was subsequently charged by the FA with improper conduct, which he decided to contest. This was the second charge Ferguson faced in the season, following his complaints against the referee after United lost 1–0 at Bolton Wanderers – a charge he decided not to contest.

On 11 May 2008, Ferguson led Manchester United to a tenth Premier League title, exactly 25 years to the day after he led Aberdeen to European glory against Real Madrid in the European Cup Winners' Cup. Nearest rivals Chelsea – level on points going into the final round of matches, but with an inferior goal difference – could only draw 1–1 at home to Bolton, finishing two points adrift of the champions.
Ferguson in 2009.

On 21 May 2008, Ferguson won his second European Cup with Manchester United as they beat Chelsea 6–5 on penalties in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, following a 1–1 draw after extra time in the first ever all-English UEFA Champions League Final. A penalty miss from Cristiano Ronaldo meant that John Terry's spot-kick would have given the trophy to Chelsea if successfully converted, but Terry blew his chance of glory and in the end it was Edwin van der Sar's blocking of a Nicolas Anelka penalty which gave the trophy to Manchester United for the second time under Ferguson and for the third time overall.

After winning the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League Ferguson had stated that his intention to leave Manchester United within the next three years.[47] Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill moved quickly to calm the speculation about Alex Ferguson's pending retirement.

Although the team had a slow start to the 2008–09 season, United won the Premier League with a game to spare, making Ferguson the first manager in the history of English football to win the Premier League three times consecutively, on two separate occasions. Ferguson has now won 11 league titles at Manchester United, and the 2008–09 season title success puts them level with Liverpool as league champions on a record 18 occasions in total. They contested the 2009 Champions League final against FC Barcelona on 27 May 2009 and lost 2–0.

After the presentation ceremony, Ferguson conceded that he would stay on at United for as long as his health permitted him and that he would be glad to win it once more. This would make United's total league wins one more than rivals Liverpool, becoming the outright leader in total wins.[48]

On 11 October 1999, a special testimonial match was played in honour of Alex Ferguson's contribution to the team. Manchester United played against a World XI, consisting of various profiled players from around the world.

Ferguson has been involved in numerous controversial incidents during his United career.
Gordon Strachan

In his 1999 autobiography "My Life in Football" Ferguson stated of Strachan "I decided this man could not be trusted an inch - I would not want to expose my back to him in a hurry".[49] Strachan reaction to the attack was one of being "surprised and disappointed"[49] but did not sue for libel.
David Beckham & Draw Fixing

In 2003, Ferguson was involved in a dressing room argument with United player David Beckham.[50], resulting in an injury to Beckham, alleged to have been caused by Ferguson kicking a football boot in frustration which hit the player in the face. On April 5, 2003, Ferguson claimed that The Champions League draw was fixed.[51] in favour of Spanish and Italians teams, resulting in a fine on 1 May of 10,000 Swiss francs (£4,600).
Rock of Gibraltar

In 2003, Ferguson launched legal action against the then major United shareholder John Magnier over stud rights for race horse Rock of Gibraltar[52]. Magnier counter-sued Ferguson [53] filing a "motion to comply" requiring Ferguson to substantiate his claim for half of Rock of Gibraltar's stud fees. The legal issues were further compounded by the request for "99 Questions" to be answered over Fergusons transfer dealings, including those of Jaap Stam, Juan Veron, Tim Howard, David Bellion, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kleberson.[54]. The case was eventually settled out of Court.

Ferguson refused to give interviews to the BBC after a documentary called "Father and Son" was shown on UK television in 2004. According to an article in The Independent newspaper, the documentary had "portrayed his agent son, Jason, as somebody who exploited his father's influence and position to his own ends in the transfer market." The same newspaper article made it clear that "Ferguson Jnr" was never found guilty of any wrong-doing, and it quoted Ferguson Senior as follows: "They [the BBC] did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense. It all made-up stuff and 'brown paper bags' and all that kind of carry-on. It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that."[55]. Any interviews on BBC programmes such as Match of the Day were subsequently done by his assistant (currently Mike Phelan). However, under new Premiership rules intended for the 2010-11 season, Ferguson will apparently be required to end his BBC boycott.[56]
Mind games and relationships with other Managers
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Ferguson is well known for using what the press have called "mind games" with fellow Premiership Managers. This approach normally involves making a derogatory comment at a pre-match press conference about the opposition Manager or their team. This has led to several spats in the past with Managers such as Kevin Keegan, Arsène Wenger, Rafael Benitez and this season with Mark Hughes.

Ferguson has received numerous punishments for abusing and publicly criticising match officials when he has perceived them to be at fault:

20 October 2003 - Two match touchline ban and fined £10,000 after using abusive and/or insulting words towards Fourth Official Jeff Winter.[57]

14 December 2007 - Two match touchline ban and fined £5,000 after using abusive and/or insulting words towards Mark Clattenburg. [58]

18 November 2008 - Two match touchline ban and fined £10,000 after confronting Mike Dean after a game[59]

12 November 2009 - Four match touchline ban (two suspended) and fined £20,000 for comments made about the fitness of Alan Wiley.[60]

It has also been suggested that Ferguson's intimidation of referees results in Fergie Time, that is, unusually generous injury time being added in matches where Manchester United are behind. The phrase is at least as old as 2004, [61] and a statistical analysis by the The Times suggests that this comment might be valid, though the article points out other footballing criteria may explain the correlation between extra added time and United being behind.[62]
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One recurring theme of Ferguson's management of Manchester United has been his view that no player is bigger than the club. He has consistently taken a "my way or the highway" approach in his dealings with players and the pressure of this management tactic has often been the cause of many notable players' departures. Over the years players such as Gordon Strachan, Paul McGrath, Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham and more recently, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gabriel Heinze have left the club after varying degrees of conflict with Ferguson. It is also suggested that one of the most inspirational players in the club's history, Roy Keane was a victim of Ferguson's wrath following damning criticism of his team mates on the club's in-house television channel, MUTV. This disciplinary line that he takes with such highly paid, high-profile players has been mentioned as a reason for the ongoing success of Manchester United.[citation needed]
Personal life

Ferguson lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, with his wife, Cathy Ferguson, Lady Ferguson (née Holding). They married in 1966 and have three sons: Mark (born 1968) and twins (born 1972) Darren, currently manager of Preston North End, and Jason, who runs an events management company.

In 1998 Ferguson was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to the Labour Party.[63]

St. Johnstone

* Scottish First Division (1): 1962–63


* Scottish First Division (1): 1969–70

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Ferguson was made an Inaugural Inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as a manager. In 2003, Ferguson became an inaugural recipient of the FA Coaching Diploma, awarded to all coaches who had at least 10 years' experience of being a manager or head coach.

He is the Vice-President of the National Football Museum, based in Preston, and a member of the Executive Committee of the League Managers Association, and the only manager to win the top league honours and the Double north and south of the England-Scotland border (winning the Premier League with Manchester United, and the Scottish Premier Division with Aberdeen).[citation needed]

St. Mirren

* Scottish First Division (1): 1976-77


* Scottish Premier Division (3): 1979–80, 1983–84, 1984–85
* Scottish Cup (4): 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86
* Scottish League Cup (1): 1985–86
* UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1982–83
* UEFA Super Cup (1): 1983

Manchester United

* Premier League (11): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
* FA Cup (5): 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
* League Cup (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10
* FA Charity/Community Shield (8): 1990*, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008 (* shared)
* UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
* UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1990–91
* UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991
* Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999
* FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008


* Football Writers' Association Tribute Award: 1996
* Mussabini Medal: 1999
* UEFA Champions League Manager of the Year: 1998–99
* BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 1999
* BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award: 1999
* IFFHS Club Coach of the Year: 1999
* LMA Manager of the Decade: 1990s
* Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year: 2000
* BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award: 2001
* English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
* Onze d'Or Coach of the Year (2): 1999, 2007
* Professional Footballers' Association Merit Award: 2007
* UEFA Team of the Year (2): 2007, 2008
* Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992/3 - 2001/2)
o Manager of the Decade
o Most Coaching Appearances (392 games)
* Premier League Manager of the Year (9): 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
* Premier League Manager of the Month (24): August 1993, October 1994, February 1996, March 1996, February 1997, October 1997, January 1999, April 1999, August 1999, March 2000, April 2000, February 2001, April 2003, December 2003, February 2005, March 2006, August 2006, October 2006, February 2007, January 2008, March 2008, January 2009, April 2009, September 2009
* LMA Manager of the Year (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
* World Soccer Magazine World Manager of the Year (4): 1993, 1999, 2007, 2008

Orders and special awards

* Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): 1983
* Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): 1995
* Knight Bachelor: 1999

As a player
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1957–58 Queen's Park Second Division
1957–60 Total 31 15
1960–61 St. Johnstone First Division
1962–63 Second Division
1963–64 First Division
1960–64 Total 37 19
1964–65 Dunfermline Athletic First Division
1964–67 Total 89 66
1967–68 Rangers First Division
1967–69 Total 41 25 6 10 4 9 6 0 57 44
1969–70 Falkirk First Division
1969–73 Total 95 36
1973–74 Ayr United First Division 24 9
1973–74 Total 24 9
Total Scotland 317 170
Career Total 317 170
As a manager

As of 2 May 2010.

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA Win %
East Stirlingshire Scotland 1 June 1974 20 October 1974 &0000000000000017.00000017 &0000000000000010.00000010 &0000000000000004.0000004 &0000000000000003.0000003 &0000000000000022.00000022 &0000000000000015.00000015 &0000000000000058.82000058.82
St. Mirren Scotland 21 October 1974 31 May 1978 &0000000000000151.000000151 &0000000000000063.00000063 &0000000000000049.00000049 &0000000000000039.00000039 &0000000000000300.000000300 &0000000000000252.000000252 &0000000000000041.72000041.72
Aberdeen Scotland 1 August 1978 5 November 1986 &0000000000000455.000000455 &0000000000000269.000000269 &0000000000000106.000000106 &0000000000000080.00000080 &0000000000000914.000000914 &0000000000000374.000000374 &0000000000000059.12000059.12
Scotland Scotland 10 September 1985 13 June 1986 &0000000000000010.00000010 &0000000000000003.0000003 &0000000000000004.0000004 &0000000000000003.0000003 &0000000000000008.0000008 &0000000000000005.0000005 &0000000000000030.00000030.00
Manchester United England 6 November 1986 Present &0000000000001331.0000001,331 &0000000000000784.000000784 &0000000000000308.000000308 &0000000000000239.000000239 &0000000000002417.0000002,417 &0000000000001189.0000001,189 &0000000000000058.90000058.90
Total &0000000000001964.0000001,964 &0000000000001129.0000001,129 &0000000000000471.000000471 &0000000000000364.000000364 &0000000000003661.0000003,661 &0000000000001835.0000001,835 &0000000000000057.48000057.48


David Beckham
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David Beckham David-Beckham3.jpg
Personal information
Full name David Robert Joseph Beckham
Date of birth 2 May 1975 (1975-05-02) (age 35)
Place of birth Leytonstone, London, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Milan
(on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy)
Number 32[2]
Youth career
Brimsdown Rovers
1987–1991 Tottenham Hotspur
1991–1993 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
1993–2003 Manchester United 265 (62)
1995 → Preston North End (loan) 5 (2)
2003–2007 Real Madrid 116 (13)
2007– Los Angeles Galaxy 41 (7)
2009 → Milan (loan) 18 (2)
2010– → Milan (loan) 11 (0)
National team‡
1992–1993 England U-18 3 (0)
1994–1996 England U-21 9 (0)
1996– England 115 (17)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 March 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 3 November 2009

David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE[3] (born 2 May 1975)[4] is an English footballer who currently plays in midfield for Milan in Serie A,[5] on loan from Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy.[6] He is also an established member of the England national team.

Twice runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year[7] and in 2004 the world's highest-paid footballer,[8] Beckham was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches.[7] He was Google's most searched of all sports topics in both 2003 and 2004.[9] With such global recognition he has become an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon.[10][11] Beckham was captain of England from 15 November 2000[12] until the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals,[13] during which he played 58 times. Since then he has continued to represent his country and earned his much-publicised hundredth cap for England against France on 26 March 2008.[14] He is currently England's most-capped outfield player with 115 appearances.[15]

Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17.[7] During his time there, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999.[7] He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons,[16] clinching the La Liga championship in his final season with the club.[17]

In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy.[18] Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy became effective on 1 July 2007 and gave him the highest player salary in MLS history.[19] His playing contract with Galaxy in 2007, 2008 and 2009 was worth $6.5m per year.[20][21][22] He debuted for the team on 21 July 2007 in a friendly versus Chelsea at The Home Depot Center,[23] and on 15 August, he had his first start with the team, scoring his first goal in the 2007 SuperLiga semi-final.[24] His first league start then came on 18 August in front of a record crowd at Giants Stadium.[25]

Beckham is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (née Adams).[26] The couple have three sons and currently reside in Beverly Hills, California.

Club career
Childhood and early career

Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, London, England.[27] He is the son of David Edward Alan "Ted" Beckham (b. Edmonton, London, July–September 1948), a kitchen fitter, and wife (m. London Borough of Hackney, 1969)[28] Sandra Georgina West (b. 1949),[29] a hairdresser. He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School. In a 2007 interview, Beckham said that, "At school whenever the teachers asked, 'What do you want to do when you're older?' I'd say, 'I want to be a footballer.' And they'd say, 'No, what do you really want to do, for a job?' But that was the only thing I ever wanted to do."[30] Beckham has described his maternal grandfather as Jewish,[31] and has referred to himself as "half Jewish"[32] and spoken of the influence the religion has had on him. In his book Both Feet on the Ground, he stated that growing up he always attended church with his parents and his two sisters, Joanne and Lynne. His parents were fanatical Manchester United supporters who would frequently travel to Old Trafford from London to attend the team's home matches. David inherited his parents' love of Manchester United, and his main sporting passion was football. He attended one of Bobby Charlton's football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona, as part of a talent competition. He played for a local youth team called the Ridgeway Rovers – coached by his father, Stuart Underwood and Steve Kirby. Beckham was a Manchester United mascot for a match against West Ham United in 1986. Young Beckham had trials with his local club Leyton Orient, Norwich City and attended Tottenham Hotspur's school of excellence. Tottenham Hotspur was the first club he played for. During a two-year period in which Beckham played for Brimsdown Rovers' youth team, he was named Under-15 Player of the Year in 1990.[33] He also attended Bradenton Preparatory Academy, but signed schoolboy forms at Manchester United on his fourteenth birthday, and subsequently signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 July 1991.
Manchester United

Beckham was part of a group of young players at the club who guided the club to win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992, with Beckham scoring in the second leg[34] of the final against Crystal Palace. He made his first appearance for United's first-team that year, as a substitute in a League Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion, and signed his first professional contract shortly afterwards. United reached the final of the Youth Cup again the following year, with Beckham playing in their defeat by Leeds United, and he won another medal in 1994 when the club's reserve team won their league, although he didn't play in any first team games that season.

On 7 December 1994, Beckham made his UEFA Champions League debut, scoring a goal in a 4–0 victory at home to Galatasaray in the final game of the group stage. However, this victory was of little use as they finished third out of four in their group behind FC Barcelona on goal difference.

He then went to Preston North End on loan for part of the 1994–95 season to get some first team experience. He impressed, scoring two goals in five appearances, notably scoring directly from a corner kick.[35] Beckham returned to Manchester and finally made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on 2 April 1995, in a goal-less draw against Leeds United.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a great deal of confidence in the club's young players. Beckham was part of a group of young talents Ferguson brought in to United in the 1990s ("Fergie's Fledglings"), which included Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville. When experienced players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, and Andrei Kanchelskis left the club after the end of the 1994–95 season, his decision to let youth team players replace them instead of buying star players from other clubs (United had been linked with moves for players including Darren Anderton, Marc Overmars, and Roberto Baggio, but no major signings were made that summer), drew a great deal of criticism. The criticism increased when United started the season with a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa,[36] with Beckham scoring United's only goal of the game; however, United won their next five matches and the young players performed well.

Beckham swiftly established himself as United's right-sided midfielder (rather than a right-winger in the style of his predecessor Andrei Kanchelskis) and helped them to win the Premier League title and FA Cup double that season, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Chelsea and also provided the corner that Eric Cantona scored from in the FA Cup Final. Beckham's first title medal had, for a while, looked like it wouldn't be coming that season, as United were still 10 points adrift of leaders Newcastle United at the turn of the new year, but Beckham and his team-mates had overhauled the Tynesiders at the top of the league by mid March and they remained top until the end of the season.

Despite playing regularly (and to a consistently high standard) for Manchester United, Beckham did not break into the England squad before Euro 96.[37]

At the beginning of the 1996–97 season David Beckham was given the number 10 shirt that had most recently been worn by Mark Hughes. On 17 August 1996 (the first day of the Premier League season), Beckham became something of a household name when he scored a spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United leading 2–0, Beckham noticed that Wimbledon's goalkeeper Neil Sullivan was standing a long way out of his goal, and hit a shot from the halfway line that floated over the goalkeeper and into the net.[38] When Beckham scored his famous goal, he did so in shoes custom-made for Charlie Miller ("Charlie" embroidered on boots), which had been given to Beckham by mistake.[39] In a UK poll conducted by Channel 4 in 2002, the British public voted the goal #18 in the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.[40] During the 1996–97 season, he became an automatic first-choice player at United helping them to retain the Premier League championship, and being voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.[41]

On 18 May 1997, Eric Cantona retired as a player and left the coveted number 7 shirt free, and with Teddy Sheringham arriving from Tottenham Hotspur as Cantona's successor, Beckham left his number 10 shirt for Sheringham and picked up the number 7 jersey. Some fans had felt the number 7 shirt should be retired after Cantona had himself retired, but the shirt number remains in use to this day (most recently by another England star Michael Owen).

United started the 1997–98 season well but erratic performances in the second half of the season saw United finish second behind Arsenal.[42]

In the 1998–99 season, he was part of the United team that won The Treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a unique feat in English football. There had been speculation that the criticism that he had received after being sent off in the World Cup would lead to him leaving England, but he decided to stay at Manchester United.

To ensure they would win the Premier League title, United needed to win their final league match of the season, at home to Tottenham Hotspur (with reports suggesting that the opposition would allow themselves to be easily beaten to prevent their deadly local rivals Arsenal from retaining the title), but Tottenham took an early lead in the match. Beckham scored the equaliser and United went on to win the match and the league.

Beckham played centre-midfield in United's FA Cup final win over Newcastle United and for the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, since United's first string centre-midfielders were suspended for the match. United were losing the match 1–0 at the end of normal time, but won the trophy by scoring two goals in injury time. Both of the goals came from corners taken by Beckham. Those crucial assists, coupled with great performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner up to Rivaldo for 1999's European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Beckham in a match against Bristol Rovers

Despite Beckham's achievements in the 1998–99 season, he was still unpopular among some opposition fans and journalists, and he was criticised after being sent off for a deliberate foul in Manchester United's World Club Championship match against Necaxa. It was suggested in the press that his wife was a bad influence on him, and that it might be in United's interests to sell him,[43] but his manager publicly backed him and he stayed at the club. During the 1999–2000 season, there was a talk of a transfer to Juventus in Italy, but this never happened.

By the early 2000s, the relationship between Ferguson and Beckham had begun to deteriorate, possibly as a result of Beckham's fame and commitments away from football. In 2000, Beckham was given permission to miss training to look after his son Brooklyn, who had gastroenteritis, but Ferguson was furious when Victoria Beckham was photographed at a London Fashion Week event on the same night, claiming that Beckham would have been able to train if Victoria had looked after Brooklyn that day. He responded by fining Beckham the maximum amount that was permitted (two weeks' wages – then £50,000) and dropping him for a crucial match against United's rivals Leeds United. He later criticised Beckham for this in his autobiography, claiming he had not been "fair to his teammates"[44] Beckham had a good season for his club, though, and helped United to win the Premier League by a record margin.

"He was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time, he was a fantastic young lad. Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing – from that moment, his life was never going to be the same. He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part."' – Alex Ferguson speaking about Beckham's marriage in 2007.[45]

Beckham helped United retain the Premier League title in 1999–2000 by an 18-point margin – after being pushed by Arsenal and Leeds United for much of the season, United won their final 11 league games of the season, with Beckham scoring five goals during this fantastic run of form. He managed six league goals that season, and scored eight goals in all competitions.

He was a key player in United's third successive league title in 2000–01 – only the fourth time that any club had achieved three league titles in a row. He scored nine goals that season, all in the Premier League.

On 10 April 2002, Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruña, breaking the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. There was speculation in the British media that the injury might have been caused deliberately, as the player who had injured Beckham was Argentine Aldo Duscher, and England and Argentina were due to meet in that year's World Cup.[46] The injury prevented Beckham from playing for United for the rest of the season and they missed out on the Premier League title to Arsenal (also being knocked out of the European Cup by Bayer Leverkusen on away goals in the semi-finals), but he signed a three-year contract in May, following months of negotiations with the club, mostly concerning extra payments for his image rights. The income from his new contract, and his many endorsement deals, made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.[47]

2001–02 was arguably Beckham's best season as a United player, though. He scored 11 goals in 28 league games, and a total of 16 goals in 42 games in all competitions, the best tally of his career.

Following an injury early in the 2002–03 season, Beckham was unable to regain his place on the Manchester United team, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær having replaced him on the right side of midfield. His relationship with his manager deteriorated further on 15 February 2003 when, in the changing room following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, a furious Alex Ferguson threw[48][49][50][51][52] [53][54] or kicked a boot that struck Beckham over the eye, causing a cut that required stitches. The incident led to a great deal of transfer speculation involving Beckham, with bookmakers offering odds on whether he or Ferguson would be first to leave the club.[55] Although the team had started the season badly, their results improved greatly from December onwards and they won the league, with Beckham managing a total of 11 goals in 52 games in all competitions.

He was still a first-choice player for England, however, and he was awarded an OBE for services to football on 13 June 2003.[56]

Beckham had made 265 Premier league appearances for United and scored 61 goals. He also made 81 Champions league appearances, scoring 15 goals. Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FA Youth Cup in the space of 12 years. By this stage, he was their joint second longest serving player behind Ryan Giggs (having joined them at the same time as Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes).
Real Madrid
Beckham (top) and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Manchester United had been keen to sell Beckham to FC Barcelona[57] but instead he signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid, with the transfer fee being about €35 million (£25m).[58] The transfer was completed on 1 July 2003 and made him the third Englishman to play for the club after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman. Although Beckham had worn the number seven shirt for Manchester United and England, he was unable to wear it at Madrid as it was currently assigned to club captain Raúl. He decided to wear number 23 instead, citing his admiration of basketball player Michael Jordan, who also wore the number 23 shirt, as the reason behind his decision.[59]

Real Madrid finished the season in fourth place, and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage. But, Beckham immediately became a favourite with the Real Madrid supporters, scoring five times in his first 16 matches (including scoring less than three minutes into his La Liga debut), but the team, whose club president expected them to win either the Spanish league or the Champions League each season, did not match expectations.

In July 2004, while Beckham was in pre-season training in Spain, an intruder scaled a wall at the Beckhams' home while carrying a can of petrol. Victoria and their children were in the house at the time, but security guards apprehended the man before he reached the house.[60] Beckham made more headlines on 9 October 2004 when he admitted intentionally fouling Ben Thatcher in an England match against Wales in order to get himself booked. Beckham was due to receive a one-match suspension for his next caution, and had picked up an injury, which he knew would keep him out of England's next match, so he deliberately fouled Thatcher in order to serve his suspension in a match that he would have had to miss anyway. The Football Association asked Beckham for an explanation of his actions and he admitted that he had "made a mistake" and apologised.[61] He was sent off shortly afterwards, this time in a league match for Real Madrid against Valencia CF. Having received a yellow card, he was judged to have sarcastically applauded the referee and was given a second yellow card, causing an automatic dismissal, although the suspension was cancelled on appeal two days later. He was sent off for the third time that season on 3 December 2005 in a league match against Getafe CF. In that season, Beckham led La Liga in number of assists.
Warming up with Real Madrid

During the season, Beckham established football academies in Los Angeles and East London and he was named a judge for the 2006 British Book Awards.[62] Real Madrid finished second to Barcelona in the 2005–06 La Liga, albeit with a large 12-point gap, and reached the last sixteen only in the Champions League after losing to Arsenal.

In 2007, Real Madrid won their first Spanish La Liga title in three years because of their superior head-to-head record against Barcelona, giving Beckham his first title since he joined Real Madrid.

Initially out of favour with manager Fabio Capello, Beckham started only a few games at the beginning of the season, as the speedier José Antonio Reyes was normally preferred on the right wing. In the first nine matches Beckham started, Real lost seven.

On 10 January 2007, after prolonged contract negotiations, Real Madrid's sporting director Predrag Mijatović announced that Beckham would not remain at Real Madrid after the end of the season. However, he later claimed that he was mistranslated and that he actually said that Beckham's contract had not yet been renewed. [63]

On 11 January 2007, Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play for Los Angeles Galaxy beginning 1 July 2007. On 13 January 2007, Fabio Capello said that Beckham had played his last game for Real Madrid, although he would continue to train with the team.[64] Capello backtracked on that statement and Beckham rejoined the team for their match against Real Sociedad on 10 February 2007 – he scored and Real Madrid won.[65] In his final UEFA Champions League appearance, Real Madrid were knocked out of the competition (by the away goals rule) on 7 March 2007. Beckham had made a total of 103 appearances in the Champions League, the third highest number of any player at the time.
Beckham's last season in Real Madrid

On 17 June 2007, the last day of the La Liga season, Beckham started in his final match for the club, a 3–1 win over RCD Mallorca, which saw them clinch the title from Barcelona. Although he limped off the field, he was replaced by José Antonio Reyes who scored two goals and the team won the season's La Liga title, their first since Beckham had signed with them. Although both finished level on points, Madrid took the title because of their superior head-to-head record, capping a remarkable six-month turnaround for Beckham.

At the end of the season, Real Madrid announced that they would try to untie David Beckham's transfer to LA Galaxy with him playing with improved form, but were unsuccessful, mainly due to LA Galaxy's refusal to listen.[66]

A month after the conclusion of Beckham's Real career, Forbes magazine reported that he had been the party primarily responsible for the team's huge increase in merchandise sales, a total reported to top US$600 million during Beckham's four years at the club.[67]
Los Angeles Galaxy

It was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that David Beckham would be leaving Real Madrid to join Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. The following day, Beckham's official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.[68]

I'm coming there not to be a superstar. I'm coming there to be part of the team, to work hard and to hopefully win things. With me, it's about football. I'm coming there to make a difference. I'm coming there to play football ... I'm not saying me coming over to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America. That would be difficult to achieve. Baseball, basketball, American football, they've been around. But I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could make a difference.[69]
Beckham on going to America
Beckham (centre) scores his first goal for LA Galaxy

Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy took effect on 11 July, and on 13 July, was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player at The Home Depot Center. Beckham chose to wear number 23. It was announced that Galaxy jersey sales had already reached a record figure of over 250,000 prior to this formal introduction.[70]

On 21 July, Beckham made his Galaxy debut after coming on in the 78th minute in a 1–0 loss to Chelsea during the World Series of Soccer.[71] Two weeks later, Beckham made his league debut as a substitute on 9 August versus DC United.[72] Beckham returned to the pitch the following week, again facing DC United, in the SuperLiga semi-final on 15 August. During this game he had many firsts with the Galaxy; his first start, first yellow card and first game as team captain.[73] He also scored his first goal for the team, from a free kick, and also made his first assist, for Landon Donovan in the second half. These goals gave the team a 2–0 victory, and a place in the North American SuperLiga final versus Pachuca on 29 August.

During the SuperLiga final against Pachuca, Beckham injured his right knee, with an MRI scan revealing that he had sprained his medial collateral ligament and would be out for six weeks. He returned to play in the final home match of the season. The Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention on 21 October, in the final MLS match of the season, a 1–0 loss to the Chicago Fire. Beckham played as a substitute in the match, bringing his season totals to eight matches played (5 league); one goal scored (0 league); and three assists (2 league).
David Beckham was the Los Angeles Galaxy captain

Beckham trained with Arsenal from 4 January 2008 for three weeks, until he returned to the Galaxy for pre-season training.[74] Beckham scored his first league goal with the Galaxy on 3 April against the San Jose Earthquakes in the 9th minute.[75] On 24 May 2008, the Galaxy defeated the Kansas City Wizards 3–1, giving the Galaxy their first winning record in two years and moving the club into first place in the Western Conference. In the match Beckham scored an empty-net goal from 70 yards out. The goal marked the second time in Beckham's career that he had scored from his own half, the other being a 1996 goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park.[76] Overall, however, the Galaxy had a disappointing year, failing to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.

After his return from Milan, many LA fans showed dislike and anger towards him as he missed the first half of the season and several held up signs saying "Go home fraud", and "Part time player".[77] However, the Galaxy had a much more successful season than in previous years, rising from third to first in the Western Conference during Beckham's time with them. He remained a key part of the squad which saw Galaxy win the 2009 Western Conference final after a 2–0 overtime victory over the Houston Dynamo.[78] In the final on 22 November 2009, the Galaxy lost to Real Salt Lake by 5–4 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw. Beckham also scored in the shootout.[79]
Loan to Milan
Beckham playing for Milan

In 2008, Beckham's success in the England national team under Fabio Capello led to speculation that he might return to Europe in order to retain match fitness for the World Cup qualifying matches in 2009. On 30 October 2008, Milan announced that Beckham was to join them on loan from 7 January 2009.[80] Despite this and other speculation, Beckham made it clear that the move in no way signalled his intent to leave MLS and announced his intent to return to the Galaxy in time for the start of the 2009 season in March.[81] Many at Milan both within and outside of the club expressed serious reservations about the transfer, with it considered by some players no more than a marketing move.[82] At Milan, he chose the number 32 shirt previously worn by Christian Vieri, as both the number 7 and 23 shirts were already used by other players. After his physical, Beckham was told by a club doctor that he believed he can continue playing football for another five years, when he will be 38.[83]

Beckham made his Serie A debut for Milan against Roma on 11 January 2009 and played 89 minutes of the 2–2 draw.[84] He scored his first goal in Serie A for Milan in a 4–1 victory over Bologna on 25 January, his third appearance for the club.[85] Though Beckham was expected to return to L.A. in March, after impressing at the Italian club, scoring two goals in his first four matches and assisting on several more, rumours began to swirl that Beckham would stay in Milan, with the Italian club reportedly offering to pay a multi-million dollar fee for the English legend. The rumours were confirmed on 4 February, when Beckham stated that he was seeking a permanent transfer to Milan, in a bid to sustain his England career through the 2010 World Cup. However, Milan failed to match Galaxy's valuation of Beckham, in the US$10–15 million range.[86]

However, negotiations continued during a month of speculation.[87] On 2 March, the Los Angeles Times reported that Beckham's loan had been extended through mid-July.[88] This was later confirmed by Beckham, revealing what was described as a unique "timeshare" deal, in which Beckham would play with L.A. from mid-July till the end of the 2009 MLS season.[89]
Second spell at Milan

In November 2009, it was confirmed that Beckham would return to Milan for a second loan period beginning in January 2010.[90] On 6 January 2010, Beckham made a winning return in a Milan shirt, playing 75 minutes of a 5–2 victory over Genoa.[91] On 16 February 2010, Beckham played against Manchester United for the first time since he left the club in 2003. He played 76 minutes of the match at the San Siro – which ended 3-2 to Manchester United – before being substituted by Clarence Seedorf.[92]

Beckham then returned to Old Trafford for the second leg of the tie on 10 March 2010; he did not start the match, but was substituted on after 64 minutes to a positive reception from the Manchester United fans. The match was the first time Beckham had played against Manchester United at Old Trafford and saw him create several scoring opportunities via crosses and corner kicks, but Manchester United dominated Milan and beat them 4-0, winning the tie 7-2.[93] In Milan's next game, against ChievoVerona, Beckham suffered a probable torn left Achilles tendon.[94] Now he will miss the World Cup as well as the MLS season due to the injury which is likely to take him out of action for the next six to eight months. Doctor Sakari Orava performed surgery on Beckham's tendon in Turku, Finland, on 15 March 2010.[95] After the operation, Orava affirmed that "everything went well so far".[96]
International career
Beckham as England captain

Beckham made his first appearance for the England national football team on 1 September 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.[97]

Beckham had played in all of England's qualifying matches for the 1998 World Cup and was part of the England squad at the World Cup finals in France,[98] but the team's manager Glenn Hoddle publicly accused him of not concentrating on the tournament,[99] and he did not start in either of England's first two matches. He was picked for their third match against Colombia and scored from a long-range free kick in a 2–0 victory, which was his first goal for England.

In the second round (last 16) of that competition, he received a red card in England's match against Argentina.[100] Beckham, after having been fouled by Diego Simeone, kicked Simeone whilst lying on the floor, striking him on the calf muscle. Simeone later admitted to trying to get Beckham sent off by over-reacting to the kick and then, along with other members of his team, urging the referee to send Beckham off.[101] The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Many supporters and journalists blamed him for England's elimination and he became the target of criticism and abuse, including the hanging of an effigy outside a London pub, and the Daily Mirror printing a dartboard with a picture of him centred on the bullseye. Beckham also received death threats after the World Cup.[102]

The abuse that Beckham was receiving from English supporters peaked during England's 3–2 defeat by Portugal in Euro 2000, a match where Beckham set up two goals, when a group of England supporters taunted him throughout the match.[103] Beckham responded by raising his middle finger and, while the gesture attracted some criticism, many of the newspapers that had previously encouraged his vilification asked their readers to stop abusing him.[104]

On 15 November 2000, following Kevin Keegan's resignation as England manager in October, Beckham was promoted to team captain by the caretaker manager Peter Taylor, and then kept the role under new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. He helped England to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals, with their performances including an impressive 5–1 victory over Germany in Munich. The final step in Beckham's conversion from villain to hero happened in England's 2–2 draw against Greece on 6 October 2001. England needed to win or draw the match in order to qualify outright for the World Cup, but were losing 2–1 with little time remaining. When Teddy Sheringham was fouled eight yards (7 metres) outside the Greek penalty area, England were awarded a free-kick and Beckham ensured England's qualification with a curling strike of the kind that had become his trademark. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001. He once again finished runner-up, to Luís Figo of Portugal, for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Beckham was partially fit by the time of the 2002 World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden. Beckham scored the winning goal of the match against Argentina with a penalty, causing Argentina to fail to qualify for the knockout stage. England were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Brazil. The following month, at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Beckham escorted Kirsty Howard as she presented the Jubilee Baton to the Queen.

Beckham played in all of England's matches at Euro 2004, but the tournament was a disappointment for him. He had a penalty saved in England's 2–1 defeat to France and missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter-final against Portugal. England lost the shootout and went out of the competition.

Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in January 2005 and was involved in promoting London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.[105] In October 2005, Beckham's sending off against Austria made him the first ever England captain to be sent off and the first (and only) player to be sent off twice while playing for England. He captained England for the 50th time in a friendly international against Argentina the following month.

In England's opening game at the 2006 World Cup, against Paraguay on 10 June 2006, Beckham's free kick led to an own-goal by Carlos Gamarra as England won 1–0. In England's next match, played against Trinidad and Tobago on 15 June 2006, Beckham's cross in the 83rd minute led to a Peter Crouch goal, which put England into the lead 1–0. Beckham gave another assist to Steven Gerrard. In the end they won 2–0. He was named Man of the Match by tournament sponsor Budweiser for this game.

During England's second round match against Ecuador, Beckham scored from a free kick in the 59th minute, becoming the first ever English player to score in three separate World Cups,[106] and giving England a 1–0 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. He was sick before the game and vomited several times as a result of dehydration and illness after he scored the winning goal.

In the quarter-final against Portugal, Beckham was substituted following an injury shortly after half time and the England team went on to lose the match on penalties (3–1), the score having been 0–0 after extra time. After his substitution, Beckham was visibly shaken and emotional for not being able to play, being in tears at one point.

A day after England were knocked out of the World Cup, an emotional Beckham made a statement in a news conference saying that he had stepped down as England captain,[107] saying, "It has been an honour and privilege to captain my country but, having been captain for 58 of my 95[108] games, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren." (Beckham had actually won 94 caps up to that point.) He was succeeded by Chelsea captain John Terry.[109]

Having stepped down as captain after the World Cup, Beckham was dropped completely from the England national team selected by new coach Steve McClaren on 11 August 2006. McClaren claimed that he was "looking to go in a different direction" with the team, and that Beckham "wasn't included within that." McClaren said Beckham could be recalled in future. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kieran Richardson, and the World Cup alternative to Beckham, Aaron Lennon, were all included, although McClaren eventually opted to employ Steven Gerrard in that role.
Beckham takes the free kick against Brazil from which John Terry scored

On 26 May 2007, McClaren announced that Beckham would be recalled to the England squad for the first time since stepping down as their captain. Beckham started against Brazil in England's first match at the new Wembley Stadium and put in a positive performance. In the second half, he set up England's goal converted by captain John Terry. It looked as though England would claim victory over Brazil, but newcomer Diego equalised in the dying seconds. In England's next match, a Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia, Beckham sent two trademark assists for Michael Owen and Peter Crouch, helping England to prevail 3–0.

Beckham had assisted in three of England's four total goals in those two games,[110] and he stated his desire to continue to play for England after his move to Major League Soccer.

On 22 August 2007, Beckham played in a friendly for England against Germany, becoming the first ever to play for England while with a non-European club team.[111] On 21 November 2007, Beckham earned his 99th cap against Croatia, setting up a goal for Peter Crouch to tie the game at 2–2. Following the 2–3 loss, England failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 Finals. Despite this, Beckham said that he has no plans to retire from international football and wanted to continue playing for the national team.[112] After being passed over by new England coach and Beckham's former manager at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello, for a friendly against Switzerland which would have given him his hundredth cap; Beckham admitted that he was not in shape at the time, as he had not played a competitive match in three months.[113]

On 20 March 2008, Beckham was recalled to the England squad by Capello for the friendly against France in Paris on 26 March. Beckham became only the fifth Englishman to win 100 caps. Capello had hinted on 25 March 2008 that Beckham had a long term future in his side ahead of crucial qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.[114] On 11 May 2008, Capello included an in-form Beckham in his 31 man England squad to face the United States at Wembley Stadium on 28 May before the away fixture with Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June. Beckham was honoured before the match by receiving an honorary gold cap representing his 100th cap from Bobby Charlton, and was given a standing ovation from the crowd. He played well and assisted John Terry on the match-winning goal. When substituted at half-time for David Bentley, the pro-Beckham crowd booed the decision.[115] In a surprise move, Capello handed Beckham the captaincy for England's friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June 2008. The match was the first time since the 2006 World Cup that Beckham had skippered England and marked a dramatic turnaround for Beckham. In two years, he had gone from being dropped completely from the England squad to being reinstated (though temporarily) as England captain.[116]

During the 2010 World Cup Qualifier against Belarus in which England won 3–1 in Minsk, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap making him England's 3rd highest capped player in history, over-taking Bobby Charlton in the process. On 11 February 2009, Beckham drew level with Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an English outfield player, coming on as a substitute for Stewart Downing in a friendly match against Spain.[117] On 28 March 2009, Beckham surpassed Moore to hold the record outright when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Slovakia, providing the assist for a goal from Wayne Rooney in the process.[118]
International goals

As of 28 October 2009
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Reports
1. 26 June 1998 Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens Colombia 2–0 2–0 1998 World Cup [2]
2. 24 March 2001 Anfield, Liverpool Finland 2–1 2–1 World Cup 2002 qualification [3]
3. 25 May 2001 Pride Park, Derby Mexico 3–0 4–0 Friendly match [4]
4. 6 June 2001 Olympic Stadium, Athens Greece 2–0 2–0 World Cup 2002 qualification [5]
5. 6 October 2001 Old Trafford, Manchester Greece 2–2 2–2 World Cup 2002 qualification [6]
6. 10 November 2001 Old Trafford, Manchester Sweden 1–0 1–1 Friendly match [7]
7. 7 June 2002 Sapporo Dome, Sapporo Argentina 1–0 1–0 2002 World Cup [8]
8. 12 October 2002 Tehelné pole, Bratislava Slovakia 1–1 2–1 Euro 2004 qualification [9]
9. 16 October 2002 St Mary's Stadium, Southampton Macedonia 1–1 2–2 Euro 2004 qualification [10]
10. 29 March 2003 Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz Liechtenstein 2–0 2–0 Euro 2004 qualification [11]
11. 2 April 2003 Stadium of Light, Sunderland Turkey 2–0 2–0 Euro 2004 qualification [12]
12. 20 August 2003 Portman Road, Ipswich Croatia 1–0 3–1 Friendly match [13]
13. 6 September 2003 Gradski, Skopje Macedonia 2–1 2–1 Euro 2004 qualification [14]
14. 18 August 2004 St James' Park, Newcastle Ukraine 1–0 3–0 Friendly match [15]
15. 9 October 2004 Old Trafford, Manchester Wales 2– 0 2–0 World Cup 2006 qualification [16]
16. 30 March 2005 St James' Park, Newcastle Azerbaijan 2– 0 2–0 World Cup 2006 qualification [17]
17. 25 June 2006 Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart Ecuador 1–0 1–0 World Cup 2006 [18]

Former manager Alex Ferguson said that he "practised with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn't care about."[119] He maintained his training routine at Real Madrid and even when his relationship with management was strained in early 2007, Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón and manager Fabio Capello praised Beckham for maintaining his professionalism and commitment to the club.[120][121]

Beckham was the first England player ever to collect two red cards and the first England captain to be sent off.[122] Beckham's most notorious red card was during the 1998 FIFA World Cup after Argentina's Diego Simeone had fouled him, Beckham lashed out with his leg and the Argentine fell.

He amassed 41 yellow cards and four red cards for Real Madrid.[123]
Manchester United

* Premier League: 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2002–03
* FA Cup: 1996, 1999
* UEFA Champions League: 1998–99
* Intercontinental Cup: 1999
* Community Shield: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
* FA Youth Cup: 1992

Real Madrid

* La Liga: 2006–07
* Supercopa de España: 2003

Los Angeles Galaxy

* Western Conference: 2009


* PFA Young Player of the Year: 1996/97
* Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 1996/97
* UEFA Club Player of the Year: 1999
* FIFA World Player of the Year: 1999 Runner-up
* Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992/3 – 2001/2)
o Overall Team of the Decade
o Goal of the Decade (17 August 1996)
* BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 2001
* FIFA World Player of the Year: 2001 Runner-up
* FIFA 100[124]
* ESPY Award – Best Male Soccer Player: 2004[125]
* ESPY Award – Best MLS Player: 2008[125]
* English Football Hall of Fame: 2008

Orders and special awards

* Officer in the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II: 2003
* United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador (2005–present)
* "Britain's Greatest Ambassador" – 100 Greatest Britons awards[126]
* The Celebrity 100, number 15 – Forbes, 2007[127]
* Number 1 on the list of the 40 most influential men under the age of 40 in the UK[128] – Arena, 2007
* Time 100: 2008[129]

Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other[130] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1992–93 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1993–94 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Preston North End (loan) 1994–95 5 2 0 0 0 0 – 0 0 5 2
Manchester United 1994–95 4 0 2 0 3 0 1 1 0 0 10 1
1995–96 33 7 3 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 40 8
1996–97 36 8 2 1 0 0 10 2 1 1 49 12
1997–98 37 9 4 2 0 0 8 0 1 0 50 11
1998–99 34 6 7 1 1 0 12 2 1 0 55 9
1999–2000 31 6 – 0 0 12 2 5 0 48 8
2000–01 31 9 2 0 0 0 12 0 1 0 46 9
2001–02 28 11 1 0 0 0 13 5 1 0 43 16
2002–03 31 6 3 1 5 1 13 3 0 0 52 11
Total 265 62 24 6 12 1 83 15 10 1 399 87
Real Madrid 2003–04 32 3 4 2 – 7 1 0 0 43 6
2004–05 30 4 0 0 – 8 0 0 0 38 4
2005–06 31 3 3 1 – 7 1 0 0 41 5
2006–07 23 3 2 1 – 6 0 0 0 31 4
Total 116 13 9 4 – 28 2 0 0 153 19
Los Angeles Galaxy 2007 5 0 0 0 – – 2 1 7 1
2008 25 5 0 0 – – 0 0 25 5
Milan (loan) 2008–09 18 2 0 0 – 0 0 2 0 20 2
Los Angeles Galaxy 2009 11 2 0 0 – – 4 0 15 2
Total 41 7 0 0 – – 6 1 47 8
Milan (loan) 2009–10 11 0 0 0 – 2 0 0 0 13 0
Total 29 2 0 0 – 2 0 2 0 33 2
Career total 456 86 33 10 12 1 113 17 15 2 632 116
David Beckham Academy

In 2005, Beckham founded the David Beckham Academy football school, operating from two sites: in London and in Los Angeles, California. Further sites are planned at Cabo São Roque in Natal, Brazil, and in Asia.

It was announced in late 2009 that Beckham's Academy in London was "likely to close by the end of the year", with a mobile academy, travelling around the UK, taking its place.[131]
Personal life
David and Victoria Beckham at the 2007 British Grand Prix at Silverstone

In 1997, Beckham started dating Victoria Adams, after she attended a Manchester United match. She was famously known as "Posh Spice" of the pop music group Spice Girls, one of the world's top pop groups at the time, and his team was also enjoying a great run of success. Therefore, their relationship instantly attracted a great deal of media attention. The couple were dubbed "Posh and Becks" by the media. He proposed to Victoria on 24 January 1998 in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England.

He married Adams at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland, on 4 July 1999, and her name changed to Victoria Beckham. The wedding attracted tremendous media coverage. Beckham's teammate Gary Neville was the best man, and the couple's son Brooklyn, then four months old, was the ring bearer. The media were kept away from the ceremony, as the Beckhams had an exclusive deal with OK! Magazine, but newspapers were still able to obtain photographs showing them sitting on golden thrones.[132] 437 staff were employed for the wedding reception, which was estimated to have cost £500,000.[133]

In 1999, the Beckhams purchased their most famous home in Hertfordshire, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace, estimated to be worth £7.5 million. David and Victoria have three sons together: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham (born 4 March 1999 in London), Romeo James Beckham (born 1 September 2002 in London, England), and Cruz David Beckham (born 20 February 2005 in Madrid, Spain [the word "cruz" is Spanish for "cross"]). Both Brooklyn and Romeo's godfather is Elton John and their godmother is Elizabeth Hurley.[134] They have stated that they would like to have more children, especially a daughter.[135]

In April 2007, the family purchased their new Italian villa in Beverly Hills, to coincide with Beckham's transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy in July. The mansion, priced at $22 million, is near the homes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and talk-show host Jay Leno, in an exclusive gated community in the hills overlooking the city.

In January 2010, Beckham revealed that he had started taking a pasta course at a local cooking school in Milan to fulfill a longtime desire of his.[136]
Affair claims

In April 2004, the British tabloid News of the World carried claims by Beckham's former personal assistant Rebecca Loos that he and Loos had an extramarital affair.[137][138] A week later, the Malaysian-born Australian model Sarah Marbeck claimed that she had slept with Beckham on two occasions. Beckham dismissed both accusations as "ludicrous".[139] There has never been any proof of any of the allegations of Beckham's claimed infidelity.[140] In an interview with W Magazine, Victoria Beckham told a reporter, "I'm not going to lie: it was a really tough time. It was hard for our entire families. But I realised a lot of people have a price." [141]
Legal Issues

In December 2008, Beckham and his bodyguard were sued by paparazzi photographer Emicles da Mata, who claimed that he was assaulted by them when attempting to take a picture of Beckham in Beverly Hills. Da Mata is seeking unspecified damages for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[142]
Fame beyond football
File:David Beckham 11 Nov 2007 Autographs.jpg
David Beckham signs autographs for fans after the first annual COPA Minnesota benefit game between the LA Galaxy and the Minnesota Thunder

Beckham's fame extends beyond the pitch; in much of the world his name is "as instantly recognisable as that of multinational companies like Coca-Cola and IBM."[143] Beckham's relationship and marriage to Victoria, who has been famous in her own right as part of the musical group Spice Girls, contributed to David's celebrity beyond football.

Beckham became known as a fashion plate, and together with Victoria, the couple became lucrative spokespeople sought after by clothing designers, health and fitness specialists, fashion magazines, perfume and cosmetics manufacturers, hair stylists, exercise promoters, and spa and recreation companies. One recent example is a new line of aftershave and fragrances called David Beckham Instinct.[144]

In 2002 Beckham was hailed as the ultimate "metrosexual" by the man who invented the term[145][146] and has been described as such by scores of other articles since.

In 2007, the Beckhams were reportedly paid $13.7 million to launch his fragrance line in the US. In the world of fashion, David has already appeared on the covers of countless magazines. In 2007, U.S. covers have included the men's magazine Details, and with his wife for the August 2007 issue of W.[147]

According to Google, "David Beckham" was searched for more than any other sports topic on their site in 2003 and 2004.[148]

Upon their arrival in Los Angeles on 12 July 2007, the night before Beckham's formal introduction, Los Angeles International Airport was packed with paparazzi and news reporters.[149] On the next night, Victoria appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk about the their move to LA, and presented Leno with a number 23 Galaxy jersey with his own name on the back. Victoria also talked about her NBC TV show "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America"[150]

On 22 July, a huge private welcoming party was held for the couple at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. A-list celebrities attending included Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Oprah Winfrey.[151]

Beckham's many endorsement deals make him one of the most recognisable athletes throughout the world. On 31 December 2008, it was announced that Pepsi Co. was ending its endorsement deal with the player after a 10-year collaboration.[152]

On December 2009, search engine Ask Jeeves named Beckham as the third most online searched person in the last decade. The findings are based on online activity by British users of the search engine.[153]
Charitable work

Beckham has supported UNICEF since his days at Manchester United and in January 2005, the English national team captain became a Goodwill Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development program. More recently Beckham has pledged his support for the current Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign.

On 17 January 2007, Rebecca Johnstone, a 19-year-old cancer patient from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, received a surprise phone call from Beckham. After the conversation, he sent her a Real Madrid jersey with his signature on it. Rebecca died on 29 January 2007.[154]

Beckham is a spokesman for Malaria No More, a New York City-based non-profit launched in 2006. Malaria No More's mission is to end deaths caused by malaria in Africa. Beckham appears in a 2007 public service announcement advertising the need for inexpensive bed nets. The TV spot currently airs in the U.S. on Fox Networks, including Fox Soccer Channel, and can also be seen on YouTube.[155]

Since joining Major League Soccer, Beckham has been a very public advocate in the U.S. for related charities such as "MLS W.O.R.K.S." On 17 August 2007, he conducted a youth clinic in Harlem, along with other current and former MLS players. This was in advance of his first New York City area match the following day against the New York Red Bulls. That team's Jozy Altidore and Juan Pablo Ángel were also with Beckham, teaching skills to disadvantaged youth to benefit FC Harlem Lions.[156]
Appearances in films
Bend It Like Beckham

Beckham never personally appeared in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, except in archive footage. He and his wife wanted to make cameo appearances, but scheduling proved difficult, so the director used lookalikes instead.[157]
The Goal! Trilogy

Beckham makes a cameo appearance with Zinedine Zidane and Raúl, in the 2005 film Goal!: The Dream Begins. Lookalike Andy Harmer, who played him in Bend It Like Beckham, also appears here in one party scene as Beckham.[158] Beckham himself appears in the sequel Goal! 2: Living the Dream...[159] in a larger role, when the film's lead character gets transferred to Real Madrid. This time the story centres around the Real Madrid team, and besides Beckham, other real life Real Madrid players also appear on and off the pitch, alongside the fictional characters. Beckham appeared in Goal! 3: Taking on the World, which was released straight to DVD on 15 June 2009.[160]

Despite moving to Los Angeles, California, Beckham has expressed no personal interest in pursuit of acting roles, saying he is too "stiff".[161]

Beckham has captained England 59 times,[162] one of the most in England's history.

With his free kick goal against Ecuador in the second round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Beckham gained membership into two of football's exclusive clubs: he became the only English player — and the 21st player regardless of nationality — to score in three world cups; Real Madrid teammate Raúl also achieved this feat a few days earlier.[163] It also made him only the fifth player in World Cup history to score twice from a direct free kick; the other four were Pelé, Roberto Rivelino, Teófilo Cubillas, and Bernard Genghini (Beckham had previously scored this way against Colombia in the first round of the 1998 FIFA World Cup). All three goals were against South American teams (Colombia, Argentina, and Ecuador) and from set pieces (the two aforementioned free kicks and a penalty against Argentina).

Beckham has many tattoos on his body, one of which is the name of his wife Victoria, written in Hindi, because Beckham thought it would be "tacky" to have it in English. Another tattoo, written in Hebrew, reads אני לדודי ודודי לי הרעה בשושנים, translated into: "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, that shepherds among the lilies." This is from the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible, and a popular Jewish paean to fidelity. Beckham has also been ridiculed in the press for looking like a "Hells Angels biker" and a "football yob" due to his ever-expanding number of tattoos, their design, and their location.[164] He often wears long sleeved shirts when playing football to cover his tattoos from those who may feel uncomfortable about them due to their beliefs.[165]

A chronology of Beckham's tattoos[166] includes:

* April 1999 – Son Brooklyn's name on his back
* April 1999 – "Guardian Angel" on his back
* 2000 – "Victoria" (in Hindi) design on his left arm
* April 2002 – Roman numeral VII (7) on his right forearm
* May 2003 – Latin phrase "Perfectio In Spiritu", translated into "Spiritual Perfection", on his right arm
* May 2003 – Latin phrase "Ut Amem Et Foveam", translated into "So That I Love And Cherish", on his left arm
* 2003 – Son Romeo's name on his back
* 2003 – Classical art design on his right shoulder
* 2004 – Winged cross on the back of his neck
* 2004 – Angel with motto "In the Face of Adversity" on right arm
* March 2005 – Son Cruz's name on his back
* June 2006 – Second angel and clouds added to right arm and shoulder
* January 2008 – Portrait of Victoria on left forearm
* February 2008 – "Forever by your side" on left forearm
* 9 March 2008 in 4th floor, No 8, Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong[167] – The Chinese proverb "Shēng sǐ yǒu mìng fù guì zaì tiān" (生死有命 富貴在天) translated into "Death and life are fated. Riches and honour are governed by heaven" down his left torso, running from his nipple to his groin
* July 2009 – "ring o' roses" on his left arm for 10th wedding anniversary
* January 2010 – "Man of Sorrows" on the right-hand side of the footballer's torso[168]

Beckham has attributed the many tattoos to his obsessive-compulsive disorder and claims to be addicted to the pain of the needle.[

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