Posted October 22, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson critical of David Beckham’s ego, pursuit of fame

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was critical of David Beckham. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography includes criticism of David Beckham. (AFP/Getty Images)

In his new self-titled autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson is critical of David Beckham for his desire for fame and for thinking he was “bigger than the manager.”

Beckham and Ferguson won six Premier League championships, two FA Cups and one Champions League title at Manchester United before the superstar was sold to Real Madrid in 2003. Beckham later signed to play Major League Soccer for LA Galaxy.

Ferguson said the former England captain had to leave United because of his ego. Ferguson and Beckham had a falling out after the manager was critical of Beckham’s performance during an FA Cup defeat by Arsenal in 2003.

From BBC Sport:

“The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go,” he wrote. “David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson.

“That was the death knell for him.”

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In the book, Ferguson describes his version of the dressing-room incident with Beckham that followed the FA Cup loss to Arsenal and his call for the star’s transfer.

“He was around 12 feet from me,” wrote Ferguson. “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.’

“It was in those days that I told the board David had to go.”

Ferguson believed Beckham’s celebrity lifestyle affected his play following the player’s marriage to pop star Victoria Adams.

“David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game.”

In a press conference on Tuesday to launch his book, Ferguson added: “He fell in love with Victoria – that changed everything.”

Ferguson wasn’t without praise for Beckham. He complimented him for his role in United’s success and called him an “icon to every kid in the world.”


It's very to criticize Fergie's handling of Beckham, but it's also important to consider the context of the events.  With Ferguson, form was always of primary importance, if you delivered on the pitch he tended to forgive peculiar decision from awkward characters.  The problem Beckham had was that he had no form for that entire season, thus leaving Ferguson with a easily justifiable sale.


Seems those concerns followed Beckham wherever he went. I've read more than a few statements about his leadership abilities and professionalism. But there were also statements about his ego and focus on his celebrity. The truth is surely somewhere in the middle.

Of more concern to me is that a manager kicked a cleat at one of his players, striking him in the head. Accident or not, the manager is at fault and should have handled the matter with humility. SAF seems to have done the opposite - which is typical of him.


complaining about ego in a self-titled autobiography? hmmm


...says the man with one of the largest egos in the history of the game. I understand not putting up with being publicly challenged by a player; but it says a lot to me about SAF's mgmt ability if the only option was to release him. ‘You’ve let your team down. You can argue as much as you like.’ - Not a world class leader. He may be brilliant in other ways, but Capello and Arena seemed to be able to do what SAF couldn't.