Flying boot row was like movie, says Beckham

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David Beckham "went for" Sir Alex Ferguson when his manager kicked a boot which hit his face, sparking scenes fit for a gangster movie.

Beckham was restrained by team-mates as he lost control after being hit by the boot following defeat by arch-rivals Arsenal, according to his new autobiography, My Side.

In February 2003, Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup at home and looked like they were going to miss out on the Premiership title. After the defeat, Ferguson allegedly blamed Beckham for one of the goals, prompting the dressing-room altercation.

"I felt like I was being bullied in public, and being backed into a corner for no reason other than spite," Beckham said. Of his reaction when he was hit by the boot, he said: "I went for the gaffer. I don't know if I have ever lost control like that in my life before."

His team-mates Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Ruud van Nistelrooy restrained the England captain, who likened the scene to a gangster movie. Ferguson apologised shortly afterwards. The team went on to overhaul Arsenal and win the Premiership, but Beckham was sold to Real Madrid.

Excerpts from the book revealed how the relationship between Beckham and Ferguson soured over the last two years. Beckham said it started to deteriorate after his manager criticised him for visiting the Queen. Beckham sustained an injury last season and went to Buckingham Palace the following week with the rest of England's World Cup squad.

"I had a broken rib," he said. "I didn't have any choice but to rest. The whole England squad was invited to Buckingham Palace, which was something I couldn't miss out on. I felt unbelievably proud, being introduced to Her Majesty the Queen as England captain."

When he returned to training at United, he said he "began to feel a chill in the atmosphere between me and Alex Ferguson". "He reckoned I'd have been fit sooner if I hadn't waited those extra couple of days before going away."