Wes Brown explains how Man Utd players felt about David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson feud
David Beckham sings carols while he starts the fire
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Manchester United players were surprised at David Beckham’s move away from the club in 2003 but still stuck by Sir Alex Ferguson, according to Wes Brown. The two men won titles galore at Old Trafford together. Yet their relationship crumbled in 2003, with Beckham then leaving for Real Madrid.
Manchester United were fighting it out with Arsenal for Premier League title glory in 2003.
And the fierce nature of their rivalry saw sparks fly, including within the Old Trafford dressing room.
After United lost 2-0 to the Gunners at home in the FA Cup, Beckham was sitting in the dressing room when Ferguson let loose.
The Scot accidentally kicked a boot in the England midfielder’s direction, which struck him in the head.
Beckham, whose relationship with his manager had been deteriorating for months, then wore an alice band to show his wound off to the world.
In the end, Ferguson decided to let Beckham leave for Real Madrid in 2003 – signing a young Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon as the winger’s replacement.
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And Brown, speaking to the Daily Mail, has claimed the decision to let Beckham go was a ‘surprise’, while also revealing the players trusted Ferguson’s judgement.
“Becks (David Beckham) was the biggest surprise because he was world-class and only 28,” he said.
“But still nobody questioned the gaffer inside the club because he’d done it successfully before.
“I played in three great United sides and realised he always knew when to move with the times and build another one.
“It’s a cliché but the team always came first.
“I spoke to Berba (Dimitar Berbatov) about it, he said at Tottenham he was the best player with Robbie Keane and everyone accepted it.
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“At United, there were many great players who’d won things like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs but every player still worked hard and respected each other.
“The gaffer created that atmosphere. When I went to other clubs, I realised it wasn’t a guarantee.
“Not every decision proved right but he corrected it. Juan Sebastian Veron was an unbelievable player but for some reason it didn’t fit.
“So he left and the team quickly moved on.”
Brown was speaking ahead of Ferguson’s birthday, which is on December 31.
And he also opened up on the Scot’s ‘best’ team talk, claiming it was before they beat Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2008.
“It was the best team talk I heard the gaffer do,” he explained.
“He went around every player, said a few things about where they’d come from and what they had achieved.
“The message was about a group all coming from different places, nobody growing up the same, but we were all here now, United. It was very good, inspiring.
“The game was a real battle. Cristiano scored from my cross, Frank Lampard equalised. Chelsea had the same mentality as us, nobody would give in, so it went to penalties.
“The gaffer took me off near the end of extra-time and I felt this enormous sense of relief afterwards because I’d not taken penalties since I was 14.
“It doesn’t work for all managers but it did that night, Anderson scored in the shoot-out and we won it.”
For Brown, Ferguson had a bit of everything required to make him one of the best managers of all time.
“He definitely knew his football,” he said.
“He wanted the best coaches and people who understood him. But while he wouldn’t put on the sessions himself, he was there every day, watching every single thing in the building.
“If something needed fixing, he would be the one to do it.
“He had a way of relating to personalities from different countries and communicating with them.”
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