David Beckham is not only a celebrated midfielder in England but his name is also a prestigious advertising brand. Starting out his career as a Manchester United youth player, Beckham drastically rose to fame becoming England’s national team captain before playing for other giant clubs across the world. As a celebrity, he has been worshipped, vilified, ridiculed and even lauded, but the handsome soccer boy has remained focused in his career for over three decades.
David Robert Joseph Beckham is an English former footballer who was born in the Leytonstone area of London, England. His mother Sandra Georgina married David Edward Alan Beckham in 1969 at the London Borough of Hackney. Sandra worked as a hairdresser while Edward was a kitchen fitter. David was born as the only son in a family of three children; an older sister Lynne Georgina and younger sister Joanne Louise. Beckham’s maternal grandfather was a Jew and this influenced the footballer’s family to remain Christians and they would attend church service every week. As a young boy, little Beck would accompany his grandfather to weddings and wear Jewish skullcaps. Beckham however states that he has had more contact with Judaism compared to any other religion.
The former star attended Chase Lane Primary School and later headed to Chingford County High School where he was an active member of the soccer team in both schools. Funnily enough, whenever his teachers asked him whom he wanted to be growing up, he always stated a footballer. Since, soccer is all that mattered in his life the result was poor performance in his academics. At the end of it all, he gave up school altogether and dropped out at the age of 16 years.
He also regularly played football for a local youth team called Ridgeway Rovers where his father, together with Stuart Underwood and Steve Kirby, coached the young boys. By the time Beck was eight years, he was comfortably scoring tens of goals in every season.
Beckham credits his father for ensuring that his talent in soccer did not go to waste. The young boy did a lot of soccer practice aided by his father particularly on passing and crossing the ball. Both of them would play until late at night especially when Beckham had not mastered a particular skill.
Beckham’s parents and sisters were soccer lovers and die-hard fans of the legendary Manchester United. His grandfather was also a soccer fan but supported Tottenham Hotspur. The family of five occasionally travelled from their home in London to Old Trafford to watch the team’s home matches. Beckham would also visit Wembley stadium and enjoy watching professional games by various football clubs.
At the age of 11, Beckham attended one of Bobby Charlton’s football schools in Manchester. It is here that he took part in a talent competition and won a golden chance to be part of a training session with FC Barcelona. Soon, his talent caught the attention of Manchester United team officials who encouraged him to try out for the club’s youth league. Unfortunately, the club initially denied him a chance for being too young. However, young Beckham was not ready to give up on his dream of playing for an established football club.
In 1986, Beckham’s dream came true after he was chosen as a Manchester United mascot during a match against West Ham United. He then did his trials in various clubs including the local Leyton Orient and Norwich City before proceeding to Tottenham Hotspur School of excellence. He played for Tottenhum Hotspur Club and then Brimsdown Rovers youth team for two years where in 1990 he was named the Under 15s player of the year.
Beckham’s breakthrough in his dream as a footballer came on July 8, 1991, after Manchester United signed him as a trainee for the Youth Training Scheme. So, at the age of 16, he left home and moved to Manchester to be part of the youth team. Other talented players in the team included Ryan Giggs, Phil Nevile and his brother Gary, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt. They won Manchester the FA Youth Cup in May 1992. That same year, the young star also made his entry into the senior team before signing a professional contract with Manchester United in January 1993.
Beckham however needed more exposure and hardwork to be recruited into the club’s main team. The young boy was therefore loaned to Preston North End in March 1995 for a few weeks where he played five matches and managed to score 2 goals directly from a corner kick.
On his return to Manchester United, the then manager Alex Ferguson felt that Beckham was toughened enough and therefore ready for the premier league. The young Beck made his debut premier league in April 1995 in a match against Leeds where both teams ended in a goal-less draw. Although Beckham went on to play four more times in the league that season, the team did not make it to the FA Cup finals.
Given his ability to execute free kicks and score goals in previous matches, Beckham played the mid field position in the following seasons. His reputation and good performance caught the soccer fans’ attention and this was the same case with England’s National Team Manager who named him as part of the national team. Beckham’s first appearance in the national team was in September 1996 in a match against Moldova where they won the game 3-0.
David Beckham was doing quite well and in 1996 and 1997, he was part of the team that saw Manchester United win the premier League championship. Unfortunately, they lost the title the following year. Even then, Beck was voted the second best player of the year and he also signed a five year contract with Manchester United worth $12.5 million.
Beckham’s popularity was now spreading across Europe thanks to his exceptional performance. In fact, for the eight years he had been in Manchester United, he scored in a total of 262 games and won 6 premier league medals.
The stardom was further accelerated in 1998 after he appeared in the world cup matches held in France. In the match against Columbia, Beckham scored one goal for Manchester United which contributed to a win. Sadly, the celebration was short lived as the young star was expelled from the game after kicking an opponent in the match against Argentina. His actions did not go down too well with his fans as well as the media who sharply criticized his unprofessionalism.
Despite being vilified for over two years, Beckham soon turned a hero to his critics. In 2000, the pretty soccer boy was named the captain of the England National team. He also took part in the World cup finals in South Korea and Japan where he scored the winning penalty against Argentina. However, England was later eliminated by Portugal after Beck missed a vital penalty in the shootout.
Beckham played his last match for the national team in 2006 world Cup in Germany. Unfortunately, England was knocked out after losing against Portugal. David Beckham could however call himself successful after he managed to play 117 games and score 17 goals in his tenure as a player for the national team.
In 2003, Ferguson and Beckham had intense misunderstandings and their relationship was headed for the worst. On one occasion, the United team lost an FA Cup to Arsenal and Fergusson kicked a boot that found its way into Beckham’s eye causing an injury that required stitches. It was rumored that the manager was not pleased with Beck’s celebrity lifestyle as he felt that it contributed to his poor performance. Beckham had however made a decision that the year 2003 would mark the end of his 12 year old service with Manchester United. Beck was nonetheless proud of the achievements he made while playing for the club. This included 265 premier league matches and 61 goals, 81 champion league appearances and 15 goals. He had also won six premier league titles and 2 FA cups. Beckham had also won a European Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and one FA Youth Cup.
After a tug of war between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, Beckham finally settled for the latter signing a €35 million on a four-year contract. He immediately became a member of ‘Galacticos’ which consisted of the best bunch players for Real Madrid. He teamed up with some of the legendary players such as Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos to form a strong team. However, the team did not perform exceptionally as expected. Beckham served Real Madrid for four years and scored a total of 13 goals for them.
In 2007, Beckham made his America fascination come true. He moved to the US and signed a $250 million five year contract with LA Galaxy. Upon the hiring of Beckham, LA Galaxy managed to sell over 5,000 season tickets within 48 hours of the contract signage.
Beckham’s career in the US was however rocky, as he suffered multiple injuries, sprains and knee ligament in the first season. He also missed out on a chance to play in the 2010 world cup as a result of an Achilles tendon injury. Beck played for the team for five years with some time spent on loan at AC Milan. By the end of 2013, Beck had scored a total of 18 goals for LA Galaxy in 98 games.
Beckham later announced his retirement from professional football in 2013.
Given his pretty looks and great taste of fashion, Beckham has in many occasions been approached my different brands to appear in their commercial ads. He has appeared on various magazine covers including health and fitness, cosmetics, hair stylists and clothing designers. He also has several brands under his name and this includes the aftershave and fragrance line called David Beckham Instinct. Beck has further extended his commercial appearance by starting an underwear line for the H&M Company where statues of him have been installed across New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as a marketing strategy.
As an established footballer, Beckham has sometimes been a hero and other times a villain. Being the first England player to ever receive two red cards and the first captain to be expelled for an entire game, the talented soccer player received major criticism from fans and the media across the world. However, Beck always had a way of recovering his heroic acts by scoring surprise goals against giant teams.
Beckham’s fame goes beyond soccer. He has been a committed philanthropist ever since he started earning from his talent. He has supported UNICEF for the longest time and in 2005, he was appointed the organization’s ambassador to focus on sports for development program. In 2015, the former English national also launched The David Beckham UNICEF Fund with the aim of helping and protecting children from such dangers like malnutrition, sickness and other vices.
Other foundations that Beckham supports include Malaria No More UK, Unite for Children, Elton John AIDS Foundation and Unite Against AIDS.
In 1997, Beck started dating Victoria Adams popularly known as Posh Spice from pop music group Spice Girls. The two met when Victoria attended a Manchester United match and some chemistry developed between them instantly. Considering the two were already celebrities, their relationship attracted lots of attention from the media.
On 24th January 1998, Beck proposed to Victoria and they later got married in July 1999 at Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland. The invite-only wedding ceremony which was highly extravagant with an estimated budget of £500,000 was made private and the media were kept away from the event.
Together, Beckham and Victoria have four children: three sons and a daughter. Their son Brooklyn Joseph was born in 1999, Romeo James born in 2002, Cruz David born in February 2002 and their only daughter Harper Seven born in 2011.
Beckham has tried his best to inspire his three sons to play football. In fact, they have all played in the Arsenal Academy. His eldest son Brooklyn has in the past played for Arsenal Under 16 but he was released during the 2014-2015 season. Brooklyn and Romeo are also very keen on their fashion and they have both been models and named among the best dressed British men by GQ.
In 2004, Beckham went through difficult times after some women claimed to have had extramarital affairs with him. One of them was his personal assistant Rebecca Loos and the other one being model Sarah Marbeck from Australia. Another prostitute by the name Irma Nici further claimed to have had sex with him. All these allegations were later dismissed by Beckham terming them ludicrous.
Beckham is a tattoo lover and has more than 40 of them painted on his body. The tattoos are all about people that matter in his life. He has the names of his four children and his wife’s name in hindi.
- Both Feet on the Ground by David Beckham
- David Beckham: My Side by David Beckham
- Beckham: My World by David Beckham
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya