David Beckham opens up on Fergie boot kicking incident
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.