02 May 1975
08 Jul 1991
23 Sep 1992 v Brighton (A) FA Cup
2 July 2003
Arguably world football’s biggest name, David Beckham is a global phenomenon but a part of him will be forever Red.
A decade spent marauding up United’s right wing contributed to the most successful period in the club’s history, and his 57-yard strike against Wimbledon has become one of the most replayed goals of all time. He followed in the footsteps of his boyhood idol Bryan Robson by becoming captain of England, and has also become the only England player to score in three different World Cup finals.The story began in July 1991 when a lifelong United fan moved north from Leytonstone to sign apprentice forms for the Reds. He formed part of the Class of ‘92 that won the FA Youth Cup along with Butt, Scholes and the Nevilles but had to wait for his league debut - at home to Leeds United on 2 April 1995. The departure of Andrei Kanchelskis freed up a place of the right of midfield, and Beckham made it his own. Bagging the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea proved he was a man for the big occasion, and the season ended with United winning a second Double. Beckham began the 1996/97 campaign with THAT goal from the halfway line at Selhurst Park and a month later began his England journey with a debut against Moldova. That season brought another Premiership medal, but in 1998 Arsenal took the title back as Beckham headed for the World Cup in France. A bad year was about to get a whole lot worse. After being left out of the starting line-up for England’s first two matches, he then scored a stunning free-kick against Colombia and was hailed a national hero. It wasn’t to last. Facing Argentina in the second round, he was sent off for a foul on Diego Simeone and ten-man England were knocked out. Mocked by the press and vilified by fans across the country, he was welcomed back into the arms of the United family. Beckham responded by scoring a trademark free-kick against Leicester City in the first League game of the 1998/99 season, and went on to enjoy a campaign that would have been beyond his - or any other Red’s - wildest dreams... the Treble.
The following season brought his fourth Premiership winner''s medal and Beckham was voted second best player in Europe and the World - Rivaldo of Barcelona and Brazil pipping him to both awards. 2000/01 was another Premiership-winning season and having been handed the England captaincy he almost single-handedly booked his country’s place in the 2002 World Cup finals with an incredible matchwinning performance against Greece at Old Trafford.
Ever the trend-setter, Beckham introduced the world to the word metatarsal when he broke his foot in a Champions League match against Deportivo la Coruna but recovered in time to score a redemptive penalty against Argentina in the World Cup.The 2002/03 season proved to be his final at Old Trafford. His relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson was at a crossroads, and became even more strained following an FA Cup defeat at
home to Arsenal. Back in the dressing room a stray boot, kicked in frustration by the manager, accidentally struck Beckham on the forehead. Beckham was later dropped for a crucial Champions League tie at home to Real Madrid and coming off the bench to score two goals wasn’t enough to see United through. After months of speculation, Beckham made the switch to Real Madrid but not before picking up his fifth Premiership medal and signing off in style with a final free kick goal in his last game against Everton.