Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Sir Alex Ferguson: 'David Beckham thought he was bigger than me', says former Manchester United manager

File photo dated 04/11/2011 of Manchester United's David Beckham (right). Ferguson says Beckham's football was affected by his celebrity lifestyle
File photo dated 04/11/2011 of Manchester United's David Beckham (right). Ferguson says Beckham's football was affected by his celebrity lifestyle
File photo dated 08/04/2013 of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. Ferguson describes losing the title to City in 2012 as the worst day of his life. Ferguson criticises then manager Roberto Mancini in the book over his failure to sell former United striker Carlos Tevez when he reportedly refused to come off the bench against Bayern Munich
File photo dated 08/06/1996 of Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan (left) gets to grips with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as they meet at Wembley. Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he turned down the England manager's job on two separate occasions during his Manchester United reign. The Scot states in his autobiography, which is released on Thursday, that he was asked to become England boss in succession to Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan
File photo dated 01/09/2004 of Manchester United's new signing Wayne Rooney (right) and manager Sir Alex Ferguson pose with his shirt. Ferguson does not go in to too much detail about Rooney's supposed transfer request last summer - only that the striker was annoyed at not playing often
File photo dated 19/02/2003 of A plaster visible over the left eyebrow of Manchester United mid-fielder David Beckham. After an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in 2003, Beckham's eyebrow was cut after a row in the dressing room between Ferguson and his star midfielder. 'David swore. I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye,' Ferguson says
File photo dated 13/09/2008 of Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez (right) and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson shake hands after the final whistle. Ferguson says Rafael Benitez was a 'control freak' and branded the Spaniard's famous 'facts' press conference 'silly'
File photo dated 22/07/2002 of Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand stands with club manager Alex Ferguson. Ferguson criticises the anti-doping testers who turned up to take a urine sample from Rio Ferdinand in September 2003
File photo dated 27/04/2001 Manchester United's record signing Ruud Van Nistelrooy with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Manchester. Van Nistelrooy was one of the best goal scorer's of Ferguson's reign, but the Scot claims the striker asked to leave just three days before the FA Cup final of 2005
File photo dated 29/04/2009 of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (right). Ferguson claims his once-fiery relationship with the Arsenal manager mellowed by the end of his time in management
File photo dated 12/05/2013 of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney before the trophy presentation. Ferguson does not go in to too much detail about Rooney's supposed transfer request last summer - only that the striker was annoyed at not playing often
File photo dated 18/05/2005 of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and captain Roy Keane. Keane and Ferguson's relationship soured in 2005 when the United captain became angry at Ferguson over conditions at the club's pre-season training camp
Sir Alex Ferguson with his Autobiography during the photocall at the Institute of Directors, London. Sir Alex Ferguson today revealed in his autobiography he was offered the England manager's job on two occasions while at Manchester United - after Glenn Hoddle was sacked and after Kevin Keegan resigned - but 'it wasn't a bed of nails I was ever tempted to lie on'

Sir Alex Ferguson is damning in his verdict of David Beckham, accusing the former England captain of giving up the chance of a being a top-level footballer and, in his last few years at Manchester United, openly disobeying his manager.

Over an 11-page chapter in Ferguson’s autobiography dedicated to Beckham, Ferguson accuses his former player of thinking “he was bigger than Sir Alex Ferguson”. He writes: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s Alex Ferguson or Pete the Plumber. The name of the manager is irrelevant. The authority is what counts ... that was the death knell for him.”

 

Later, in his press conference, when asked about the influences that changed Beckham, Ferguson said: “The big problem for me ... he fell in love with Victoria and that changed everything."

 

In the book, Ferguson recalls one episode when he turned up at the club’s Carrington training ground to encounter a large group of photographers outside. When he asks his staff what they are there for he is told that there is a rumour that Beckham has a new haircut. Following that, he said Beckham refused to remove a hat he was wearing at a team dinner, despite his manager insisting on it.

 

The following day as the players went out to warm-up for a game away to Leicester City, Ferguson said that he discovered Beckham was preparing to go out with the beanie hat still on his head. He insisted that Beckham removed it – the player had shaved his head – and said that the player “went berserk”.

 

Ferguson writes: “The plan was that he would keep the beanie hat on and take it off just before kick-off. At that time I was starting to despair of him. I could see him being swallowed up by the media or publicity agents.”

 

What might be most difficult for Beckham to accept will be Ferguson’s overall assessment that he “lost the chance to become an absolute top-dog player.” He writes: “after the change [in Beckham] he never attained the level where you would say: that is an absolute top player.”

 

Later he adds, “His  [Beckham’s] eye was off the ball. A shame because he could still have been at Manchester United when I left. He would have been one of the greatest Man United legends.”

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