Football: Beckham's thoughts on fame game and Munich add spice to pounds 3.5m boot deal

Dry ice, loud music, stroboscopic lights - they launch West End shows with less fuss. All this for a boot sponsorship, but yesterday the player was David Beckham.

Guy Hodgson was there.

You could hear the approach of the full-scale personality and part- time footballer from half a mile away. The deep, satisfying roar of a Porsche heralded David Beckham's arrival as surely as trumpets used to announce a monarch.

In the 1950s Bobby Charlton would walk into the city for a night out with the other Manchester United players, set apart from the man on the terraces only by their ability. Not now. Can you imagine Ryan Giggs in a bus queue, or Beckham knocking about in a beat-up Escort?

On the day before today's 40th anniversary of the Munich air crash, Beckham was on display to announce a seven-year deal with Adidas that will earn him pounds 3.5m. At 22, in the space of six years he has gone from cleaning Bryan Robson's footwear to filling his boots by the simple expedient of being talented in them. Duncan Edwards thought he had made it when the club started supplying studs.

You read so many things about Beckham that when you hear him speak it is a surprise. Quiet, embarrassed even, he was anything but flash. Soberly he addressed his image, his temper and Munich.

Even he is shocked at the rocket, partly-Posh Spice powered, rise from the nervous debutant against Leeds in April 1995 to becoming one of the most famous people in the country. "I didn't expect it to come so quickly," he said. "It's been hard to keep up with.

"There's been a few articles in the papers that say I've got too big for my boots but people who know me say I'm just the same. Things have changed in my life but I haven't - too many people would knock me down if I did. The criticism hurts sometimes and I worry about the effect on my family."

Which would be fine except that Beckham has the habit of courting publicity as well as one of Britain's most desirable women. His celebration at Chelsea recently, hands behind ears directed at supporters who barracked him, was not designed to win friends and neither are the occasional on-field flashes of temper.

"There's a picture in a magazine of the abuse I was getting from the Chelsea fans when I was taking a corner there," he countered by reference to the provocation he faces each week. "It doesn't bother me, but when I celebrate I don't think I've done anything wrong. I haven't stuck two fingers up or anything."

As for his short fuse he says both his club manager, Alex Ferguson, and the England coach, Glenn Hoddle, have spoken to him and are satisfied he is handling things better. "I do it because I'm so hyped up for the game. I love football and I love winning and when things aren't going right I get annoyed. I can't help it," he said.

Perhaps Beckham would be more restrained if he did not play for the club he supported as a boy. He understands the split emotions this weekend as United both commemorate and celebrate the lives of the eight players who died in Munich 40 years ago with a service of remembrance today and a minute's silence before tomorrow's match against Bolton.

"Saturday will be a great day and a sad day," Beckham, a member of the last generation of United players to meet Sir Matt Busby, said, "and hopefully we'll perform in the way the Busby Babes would have done, get the result in style."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us