Manchester United legend David Beckham has revealed that he didn’t want to leave and was pushed out of the club, partly as a result of his gradual fallout with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Beckham was part of United’s all-conquering class of ’92 that went on to achieve incredible things at Old Trafford.
He grew in name and stature not only on the pitch but also out of it. By the time the midfielder was leaving United for Real Madrid in 2003, he was a global superstar.
In an interview on the Stick to Football Podcast, Beckham opened up on how his relationship with Ferguson soured before his eventual exit.
The Englishman said, “I didn’t know I was poking him. I suppose I knew that it wasn’t something that the manager wouldn’t agree with, but as long as I’m turning up for training on time, and playing at the weekend to the standards, then it wouldn’t be a problem.”
“That’s what changed over the years – Cristiano [Ronaldo] came to the club, was doing what he was doing on and off the pitch, and the gaffer had softened at that point to a certain level. When I was doing it, it was a different time. The era I was playing, people weren’t driving Bentleys into training – the first time I drove mine into training, I saw the gaffer looking out the window – I parked it around the corner!”
He explained that he was not a difficult character to deal with despite his fame. Beckham noted that he regarded Ferguson as a father figure. He tried his best to adhere to the Scot’s requests and wishes and whenever he couldn’t, it was not from a place of arrogance or spite.
The treble-winner pinpointed the exact moment his problems with Fergie started. “At that point where the manager was telling me to do things and I wasn’t doing them, I suppose it goes back to when we talked about getting an agent and he told me to go with someone, he wanted me to go with someone and I didn’t – I went with someone he didn’t agree with. That was a tough moment for us.”
He added that he felt like he was making the right decisions for his career and he was always careful not to harm the club in any shape or form.
Beckham added that Ferguson was also opposed to his marriage to a Spice Girl (Victoria Beckham), as the legendary United boss felt such a union would bring excessive unwanted attention to the Red Devils.
The 48-year-old told the Stick to Football Podcast that he had no desire to complete a move to Real Madrid. The decision was taken out of his hands.
“I didn’t want to leave Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson made his mind up. Over the years the manager had always made the right decision in his eyes for the team, and the club.”
“That happened to me in the end, I didn’t want to leave Manchester United at the time – we’d just won the league again, but all of a sudden I get a phone call to be told that Manchester United had agreed a deal, and that was the end of it. Even trying to speak to the manager after that, he didn’t want to talk to me.”
“It wasn’t out of spite, he was on holiday, he didn’t want to be contacted, he’d made his decision and that was the end of it. It had happened notoriously over the years at Manchester United with Mark Hughes, Andre Kanchelskis, Paul Ince, and all these great players getting let go at a time where we felt they were in their prime, but the manager makes the decision and that’s all that matters.”
Beckham divulged that his love for United started from childhood and that’s why it hurt to leave the Theatre of Dreams.
Surprisingly, he mentioned that in hindsight, his switch to Spain with Los Blancos proved to be the right decision for all parties concerned – United continued to be a winning machine while he got to play for many amazing clubs in Europe.