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The posh wedding Friday, 2 July, 1999, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Victoria's star player
David Beckham: On the up and up
Few public figures in British life can have experienced such a dramatic transformation in fortunes in the past year as David Beckham.

On 30 June 1998 he was suddenly "public enemy number one" in the popular press, as a sending off against Argentina ruined England's World Cup hopes and made him a target for the terrace boo-boys.

The posh wedding
Fast forward exactly 12 months and he is a hero once again - a key member of arguably the greatest club side in English football history and poised to marry one of the world's most famous pop stars.

The 1998-99 season was David Beckham's annus mirabilis.

A year ago the talk in the press was that he would leave the country to escape the abuse over his World Cup debacle.

But now he is thoroughly rehabilitated, after helping Manchester United to an unprecedented Treble of Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League.

And he has earned new admirers for his behaviour off the pitch, particularly for the way he kept his counsel in the face of criticism from ill-fated England manager Glenn Hoddle.

Wonder goal at Wimbledon

David Beckham first made his real mark on the nation's consciousness on the opening day of the 1996-97 Premiership season, when he scored from the half-way line at Wimbledon.

The spectacular strike signalled his arrival on the big stage - and it earned him BBC TV's prestigious Match of the Day goal of the season award.

From then on there seemed no stopping him.

First a series of assured midfield displays for United led to an international call-up from Hoddle.

Lucrative endorsements followed as he established himself as a school playground idol.

Then came his relationship with Victoria Adams, which propelled him to the status of tabloid superstardom.


Fiasco in France

But if his rise was meteoric, his fall from grace was just as swift.

It all turned sour one sultry night in St Etienne

With England's second round World Cup match with Argentina perfectly poised at 2-2, Beckham was fouled by Diego Simeone and, his temper fraying, lashed out, felling the midfielder with his boot.

The rest has entered footballing folklore as a the shame of a red card followed.

Hoddle was in no doubt that Beckham had single-handedly brought about England's exit - and he broke the unwritten managerial code of never publicly criticising your players by going on the record to say so.

After the sending off in France
Later, in his controversial World Cup diary, Hoddle said that Beckham was a troubled individual who needed help from his friend and faith healer Eileen Drewery.

Beckham refused to rise to the bait and instead acted in the only way he knew how - on the pitch.

When his return to domestic football was greeted by personal abuse from opposition fans, he responded by producing the best football of his career.

He was arguably manager Alex Ferguson's most consistent player, as United moved inexorably on their three-pronged trophy assault.

Beckham's form in a series of vital Champions League matches was so impressive that Ferguson proclaimed his young charge was "absolutely outstanding - the best crosser of a ball in Europe".

And that, from an individual not prone to hyperbole, is testament indeed to just how far David Beckham has come.

See also:

19 Oct 98 | UK
23 Aug 98 | FA Carling Premiership
04 Mar 99 | Football
21 May 99 | Uniteds Euro Showdown
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