Tuesday 20 March 2018

David Beckham: Alex Ferguson misses shouting at referees for Manchester United

Alex Ferguson takes out his frustration on an official Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Alex Ferguson takes out his frustration on an official Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Mark Ogden

David Beckham claims Alex Ferguson misses ‘shouting at referees and players’ after persuading the former Manchester United manager to return to the Old Trafford dug-out for a game for Unicef next month.

Former England captain Beckham, who left United for Real Madrid in a £25m transfer in 2003, will lace up his boots for the first time since his retirement in May 2013 by playing for Ferguson’s Great Britain and Ireland XI against Carlo Ancelotti’s Rest of the World team at Old Trafford on November 14.

Beckham has also persuaded Ferguson to manage for the first time since his own retirement two-and-a-half years ago and he admits that the 73-year-old needed little convincing to accept the invitation.

“Pierluigi Collina is going to be the referee, so I don’t know how much Sir Alex will want to shout at him,” Beckham said. “But I know he will be excited about it.

“It’s for a great cause and I am sure each time he is in the stadium watching games, he wants to be down there on the touchline, shouting at players and referees.

“He didn’t take much persuading, but him being in charge is very special. I have known him for many years, he is a Manchester United legend and it wouldn’t be right without him. But he was able to say yes and fit the game into his busy schedule.”

Beckham’s United career ended abruptly twelve years ago following a series of clashes with Ferguson, with the most high-profile the dressing-room incident which saw Beckham require stitches in a head wound after Ferguson kicked a stray boot at the player’s head.

But after admitting that Ferguson still has a ‘hold’ over the players he managed, Beckham joked that the pair could even recreate the flying boot incident next month.

“Maybe it is one of the things we can recreate,” Beckham said. “Somebody mentioned it. We’ll see. My relationship with him was always great, despite the couple of ups and downs, but that’s the passion we have and I have always had respect for Sir Alex that I should have.

“The manager still has the old over us that he has always has. I saw him a few weeks ago and, as kids we would never drink in front of him or talk about nights out, and I saw him with a glass of wine in my hand and I found myself putting it behind my back!

“The manager has always appreciated what I have done outside the game. All he was interested in was what you did on the field and for the club.

“And that’s the way you want to be managed and how I wanted to be managed.”

 With 60,000 tickets already sold for next month’s game, Beckham admits he is now determined to ensure a star-studded squad list for the clash.

“I have had every involvement in picking teams and players,” Beckham said. “You have your wish lists and some of the best players, past and present, will be involved in this game.

“There has been a lot of interest and support from players I have played with. Carlo Ancelotti is manager of opposition team and I worked with him at Milan and PSG.

“Zinedine Zidane is a friend and probably the best I ever played with. I think it will be fun. But playing here would be a dream, so thanks to United. It feels very special and sacred.

“I’m pretty fit, I try to keep myself fit, but match fit? We’ll see.”

For tickets for the UNICEF Match for Children, which will be held at Old Trafford, Manchester on Saturday 14th November at 15:00, visit manutd.com.


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