David Beck­ham opens up on Fergie boot kick­ing in­ci­dent

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

David Beck­ham has opened up about the in­fa­mous boot-kick­ing in­ci­dent in 2003, jok­ing that it was the mo­ment he re­al­ized how great a player Sir Alex Fer­gu­son was.

Beck­ham was left re­quir­ing stitch­ing above his left eye af­ter Fer­gu­son in­ad­ver­tently struck him with a stray boot in the Manch­ester United dress­ing room fol­low­ing the Red Devils’ FA Cup fifth round exit to Ar­se­nal.

Fer­gu­son was known for giv­ing play­ers his no­to­ri­ous hairdryer treat­ment dur­ing team talks if he was un­happy with United’s level of per­for­mance.

But af­ter the 2-0 home loss to Ar­se­nal, Beck­ham re­vealed the leg­endary United boss took his anger out in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent way by tar­get­ing a pile of clothes on the Old Traf­ford chang­ing room floor.

‘We had a couple of wob­bles in the 13 years,’ Beck­ham told Rachel Ri­ley at the Grass­root Soc­cer Gala on Satur­day.

‘On Cham­pi­ons League nights the boss would al­ways come out onto the pitch he would be tak­ing penal­ties and free-kicks and telling all of the play­ers how great he was when he played.

‘The time when I re­ally got to find out how great he was the game against Ar­se­nal (on Fe­bru­ary 16 2003).

‘I’d made a couple of mis­takes dur­ing the game and he came into the chang­ing room and we had a couple of words.

‘He started to walk over to me and he kicked a pile of clothes on the floor. Out came this boot and it hit me and then I re­al­ized how ac­cu­rate he ac­tu­ally was!’

Beck­ham was hauled off with seven min­utes re­main­ing as United were dumped out by an Ar­se­nal team who were with­out Thierry Henry and Den­nis Bergkamp.

Edu gave the Gun­ners the lead with a 25- yard free-kick which de­flected in off Beck­ham be­fore Sylvain Wil­tord scored early in the sec­ond half.

Beck­ham was sold to Real Madrid less than five months later while Fer­gu­son would re­main United man­ager un­til his re­tire­ment at the end of the 2012-13 sea­son.

Fer­gu­son re­called the in­ci­dent in his own 2013 au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, re­veal­ing he lost his tem­per and kicked the boot when Beck­ham swore. ‘In his fi­nal sea­son with us, we were aware that David’s work rate was drop­ping and we had heard ru­mors of a flir­ta­tion be­tween Real Madrid and David’s camp,

‘The main is­sue was that his ap­pli­ca­tion level had dropped from its tra­di­tion­ally strato­spheric level.

“He was around 12 feet from me. Be­tween us on the floor lay a row of boots. David swore. I moved to­wards him, and as I ap­proached I kicked a boot.

‘It hit him right above the eye. Of course he rose to have a go at me and the play­ers stopped him.’

Fer­gu­son’s play­ing ca­reer was spent en­tirely in Scot­land where he fea­tured as a striker for the likes of Rangers, Dun­fermline and Falkirk be­fore his re­tire­ment in 1974.

Beck­ham was in Shang­hai on Mon­day to pro­mote the re-re­leased Preda­tor Pre­ci­sion boots. The former Eng­land cap­tain wore the orig­i­nals dur­ing his play­ing days.

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