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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Beckham's pride at OBE
Beckham may have played his last game for Man Utd
David Beckham has been awarded an OBE for services to football in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The England captain is currently the subject of intense transfer speculation with Manchester United set to sell him to either Barcelona, Real Madrid or AC Milan this summer.

But the 28-year-old was given some respite from headlines about his future when it was announced that he was going to be honoured by the Queen.

Beckham said: "I am honoured and privileged to receive this recognition.

"It's not just for me but for Manchester United, England, all of my team-mates and my family."

Beckham was born and raised in east London but always supported his dad Ted's favourite team, Manchester United.

Therefore when scouts from Tottenham and West Ham began watching him shine for local club Ridgeway Rovers, the youngster only had eyes for Old Trafford.

"Being from London and being a southerner, I never thought I would get seen by a United scout," said Beckham.

But he was asked to attend trials at his beloved club - crying when he was invited north - and he did enough to be offered schoolboy forms, signing on his 14th birthday in 1989.

He became a trainee two years later - moving full-time to Manchester - and made his senior debut in a league cup tie against Brighton in 1992 when not even a professional.

I used to wear my United shirt over my school uniform on my way to school so I got a lot of stick, but I used to give a lot back
David Beckham

Along with the majority of the team which claimed the '92 FA Youth Cup, he soon signed professional forms and by 1994 he was scoring on his Champions League debut against Galatasaray.

But Ferguson felt Beckham's education was not complete and in February 1995 sent him on a month's loan to Preston, where the youngster scored two goals in five games - one a free-kick and the other direct from a corner.

At the start of the following season, back at United, Beckham scored from inside his own half against Wimbledon and he never looked back, going on to be part of a Double-winning side.

His first England cap arrived in the autumn of 1996 and soon he was hitting the front pages of the newspapers as well as the back thanks to his relationship with Spice Girls singer Victoria Adams.

The pair would later marry but only after the most harrowing episode of Beckham's career.

The midfielder was sent off while playing for England in the second round of the 1998 World Cup in France after kicking out at Argentina's Diego Simeone.

He was subsequently vilified for leaving the national team a man short as they gamely lost on penalties with 10 men.

The following season he was booed wherever he played, but he was exceptional as United won the treble of Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League.

Beckham's showbusiness lifestyle has earned him worldwide fame

That was the making of the player and the man and, with United retaining their title in 2000 and 2001, Beckham became a superstar.

Sven-Goran Eriksson, upon taking over as England manager in 2001, kept Beckham as captain after caretaker manager Peter Taylor had given him the honour in a friendly.

He rose to the challenge by leading his country to qualification for the 2002 World Cup and picking up the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award along the way.

A broken metartarsal bone ensured Beckham was not at his best in Japan and Korea but he did score the penalty which gave England a revenge victory over Argentina.

He also enhanced his iconic status in the Far East, but during the 2002-2003 season his status at Old Trafford dipped.

Ferguson tired of his off-field showbusiness lifestyle and Beckham found himself on the bench for crucial games.

Their relationship was hardly helped when, after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in February, Ferguson kicked a boot in the dressing-room and it hit Beckham, cutting his eye.

Now it is said the pair, who once enjoyed a father-son relationship, have not spoken properly for months.

That will have upset Beckham but it is also likely that he is excited at the prospect of leaving Old Trafford - and choosing from the likes of Real Madrid and AC Milan.

The boy has outgrown Manchester United - and now the biggest clubs in the world are queuing up for David Beckham OBE.


Royal roll call
Roger Moore, David Beckham and Jamie Oliver are honoured by the Queen.


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