25 years since Beckham vs Wimbledon
Today marks 25 years since David Beckham announced himself as the new face of English football with an audacious half way line lob against Wimbledon on the opening day of the 1996/97 season.
Having made his debut for United’s first team in the League Cup as a 17 year old back in 1992, he had had to work hard for his big break. He impressed with star performances in the 1992 FA Youth Cup alongside the class of 92 and earned his first professional contract with United in 1993.
He followed this with a Champions League debut goal against Galatasaray and a brief but eventful spell on loan with Preston North End that saw him play alongside David Moyes and score a goal directly from a corner.
So when the 1995/96 season came around, Beckham looked poised to make an impact with the first team. It would, however, be another year of biding his time as he found his route to the first team blocked by Andrei Kanchelskis and Lee Sharpe, ultimately ending the season with just four league appearances.
The game may have been into its dying moments but this was still Ferguson’s United. Ferguson, who’s commitment to the team above individualism was unrivalled. Basically, it was a pretty ballsy move - and it changed his life.
As Beckham later stated in his autobiography “I couldn’t have known it then, but that moment was the start of it all: the attention, the press coverage, the fame,”
For better or worse it really was the day Beckham, with his floppy hair and well earned self satisfied smirk, was set on the path to becoming a bona fide icon, followed as closely off the pitch as on it.
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Words by Andy Gallagher