David Beckham shares his memories of growing up with the boss, explaining to us how much of an influence he’s been not just on his career, but on his life…
What do you remember about your first meeting with the boss?
It was when I went to the Bobby Charlton Soccer School when I was 11 and I saw him again at the Soccer School final at Old Trafford. After that he used to invite me to come to a lot of United games, including all the London ones, and he’d take me into the dressing room afterwards and let me have some of the players’ kit [as a souvenir]. I absolutely loved it because I was such a big United fan and all I ever wanted to do was play for Manchester United. To be in his presence was a dream come true and the fact that he looked after me in that way and let me be around the players made me feel special. He made me feel part of the club even when I wasn’t. That was one of the big reasons I wanted to play for Manchester United. Yes, it was a boyhood dream of mine, but the way the club and Sir Alex in particular treated young lads like myself made you want to play for the club even more. Thankfully I was lucky enough to do that and the one man that made it possible was the boss.
So it’s fair to say he was a real father figure as well as a manager to you?
He was to all the young lads. He was so good to me because I’d moved up north from London on my own without my parents or any family, and he treated me like a father would. He was strict with me when he needed to be and when I needed an arm around me he was there. He was there for all of us. He always told us his door was open if we ever needed him although we were a bit scared to go into his office sometimes! He was definitely more than just a manager and he looked after us all.
You shared so many great memories with him while you were here, but what’s your favourite?
Wow, that’s a tough question because there were so many. The time I spent at United was the greatest of my career and the best moments of my football life were there. I think the day I signed as a young kid will always stick out. It was on my birthday before a game at Old Trafford and I remember the manager had organised a cake for me. I’ve got a photo of the two of us when I signed and it’s one of my favourite pictures from my career. He made a real fuss of me that day and, despite the fact I was leaving home and my family, I knew I was doing the right thing by signing for United. Obviously winning the Treble was so