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What Happened When Sir Alex Ferguson Kicked A Boot At David Beckham

What Happened When Sir Alex Ferguson Kicked A Boot At David Beckham

Just months before Beckham was sold to Real Madrid, legendary United boss Sir Alex kicked a football boot at the winger's head.

Ryan Sidle

Ryan Sidle

It's 18 years ago since Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a football boot across the changing room and landed it right above David Beckham's eye, the legendary Manchester United boss explained what happened.

United faced fierce rivals Arsenal in an FA Cup fifth round tie on February 15th 2003. Ryan Giggs missed an open goal early in the game, somehow shooting over the bar, before the Gunners won 2-0.

The game turned on Giggs' miss, with Edu opening the scoring just minutes later, but it was Beckham who came in for heavy criticism.

After the game Becks, who would leave Old Trafford the following summer, would end up sporting a plaster over stitches above his left eye.

The incident that left 'Goldenballs' injured happened in the dressing room immediately after the match and, in his autobiography, via the Independent, Fergie explained how the freak incident occurred.

"In his final season with us, we were aware that David's work rate was dropping and we had heard rumours of a flirtation between Real Madrid and David's camp," Fergie wrote.

"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. 'Sit down,' I said. 'You've let your team down. You can argue as much as you like.'"

With the injury extremely visible injury happening to the world's most recognisable player in the world, at that time, it unsurprisingly meant that talk of a bust up was huge in the media.

"The next day the story was in the press," Fergie added, "In public an Alice band highlighted the damage inflicted by the boot. It was in those days that I told the board David had to go.

"My message would have been familiar to board members who knew me. The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go. I used to say, 'The moment the manager loses his authority, you don't have a club. The players will be running it, and then you're in trouble.'"

Beckham pictured after the incident. Image: PA Images
Beckham pictured after the incident. Image: PA Images

There would be further tension throughout the season, with Becks being dropped to the bench on several occasions, including for the Champions League match against Real Madrid where Ronaldo was given a standing ovation.

In the summer the England international was signed by Real for €37 million, as the latest Galactico to join Los Blancos.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Premier League, England, FA Cup, Arsenal, Real Madrid, La Liga