Manchester United 1991-2003
Beckham first signed a YTS (youth training scheme) contract (this is similar to an apprenticeship) with Manchester United in 1991, and made his League debut in 1995, aged 19. The next year he came to wider public notice when playing against Wimbledon; having spotted the opposition goalkeeper, Neil Sullivan, had come forward off his line, he kicked a lob from the halfway line that went over the keeper into the net. As the controversial Eric Cantona was suspended for a large part of the 1995-96 season due to an assault on a spectator Beckham became the focus of the Manchester United marketing effort and helped the side to the Premiership and FA Cup trophies and to their dominance of domestic football. In the 1998-99 season, he was part of the United team that won the "treble" - Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a feat unprecedented in English football, which earned the club's manager, Alex Ferguson, a knighthood. Beginning with the 2001-02 season the relationship between Ferguson and Beckham began to deteriorate though the factors contributing to this had less to do with Beckham's performance on the pitch and more to do with the continual pressures of agents and sponsors and a continuous series of leaked stories apparently originating from Victoria Beckham. This conflict reached a peak during the 2002-3 season with 'The Battle of the Boot' when after losing a match to Arsenal an enraged Fergusson reportedly castigated team members in the dressing room and then kicked a football boot that struck... [continues]
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