Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Becks Th0ught He Was Bigger Than Me, Says Sir Alex

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Becks Th0ught He Was Bigger Than Me, Says Sir Alex

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Hodgson

SIR ALEX FERGUSON claims David Beckham had to leave Manchester United in 2003 because he believed he was "bigger than the manager".

Ferguson's relationship with Beckham deteriorated as the player's global stardom grew, reaching a nadir after an FA Cup tie against Arsenal in February 2003 when the former United manager struck Beckham with a flying boot as he raged at his team's 2-0 defeat.

At a press conference to unveil his new book entitled Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography, Ferguson claimed Beckham became distracted by his private life, suggested that "he fell in love with Victoria and that changed everything I think".

In his book Ferguson explained how Beckham's attitude to being a celebrity differed from other players, claiming that he "made it his mission to be known outside the game".

Although the Scot praised the midfielder for his exceptional work-rate, he said he noticed that this started to dip in his final season at United.

The crunch moment came in that match against Arsenal when Sylvain Wiltord made it 2-0 with a furious Ferguson blaming Beckham for the goal. The manager accused the former England captain of not tracking back -- "merely jogging" -- which allowed Wiltord to score and put the tie beyond United's reach.

Ferguson confronted the player over his mistake at full-time and, in his book, details what happened.

He wrote: "As usual with David at that time, he was dismissive of my criticism.

"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. 'Sit down,' I said. 'You've let your team down. You can argue as much as you like.'" The following day Ferguson watched the second goal on video with Beckham and again tried to get his point across to the player. …

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