They wanted to win for me.
I don’t know anybody who has done 25 years at the top level with the same club. Certainly nobody will do it again
I don’t call him Sir, Alex or Mr. I just call him ‘boss’ because he’s our boss
SAF has always been a father figure to me and to the rest of the lads who have come through the Old Trafford ranks
We have had 25 years of absolute paradise
David Beckham hails ‘father figure’ Sir Alex Ferguson
The 36-year-old enjoyed a successful decade at Old Trafford, claiming six Premier League titles, two FA cups, and the Champions League in 1999, before leaving the Red Devils for Real Madrid in 2003 and Beckham admits he’s indebted to his former manager, whom he describes as a “father figure”.
“I have got a huge amount of respect for him and what he did over the years and the chance he gave me and all my friends in that great United youth team to play for Manchester United. It was a real dream for all of us,” he told the United Review.
“My parents brought me up to a certain level and then Sir Alex took over. There were a lot of people along the way. Eric Harrison, Nobby Stiles, Brian Kidd, but Sir Alex was the man who gave me my chance.
“He wanted to kill me at times, I’m sure, but he was a father figure to me and he was also the man who gave me the chance of playing for my dream club.”
Despite Beckham being one of the most famous products of Ferguson’s 25 years in charge of United, both player and manager had a difficult relationship towards the end of Beckham’s spell at Old Trafford, which even resulted in the midfielder being cut over the eye by a flying boot that Ferguson had kicked across the dressing room.
“There are no hard feelings from me about the boot in the face thing,” said Beckham. “It was forgotten straight away, within the club and within the team.
“There were other people who continued to speculate and talk about it but, with me and the boss, it had been forgotten the day after.
“As a manager, he’s got everything. That’s what is great about him. He has got the staying power that not many people have.
“To have the passion that he has had over the years and to still have it at his age after having 25 years as manager of one club, that says it all.”
Beckham made his first team debut for United in the League Cup against Brighton & Hove Albion, and admits the memory of signing for Ferguson means more to him than the numerous trophies won during his time there.
“My favourite memory of Sir Alex isn’t anything to do with winning the Champions League or any of the league titles I won with United,” he added.
“It’s the day I signed for him.
“I was sitting at Old Trafford before one of the games and it was my birthday. He brought a cake out and he was just about to go into a game with the team.
“I have still got the picture in my house. It’s one of my favourite pictures, me kind of leaning down signing the paper that was my first contract at United with him next to me. That is my best memory of Sir Alex.
“When I first went to Old Trafford as a young boy, you had the feeling straight away of it being a family club with a welcoming atmosphere. It was a big family.
“That’s the reason I wanted to play for Manchester United.”