David Beckham, one of the world’s most iconic celebrities, worshipped in the far corners of the world, playing for Third Division side Preston North End – it defies belief.
What a truly remarkable event in time this was – a 19-year-old star-to-be David Beckham taking his talents to Lancashire’s very own Preston North End.
The paradox of the former Manchester United star playing in the grizzly depths of the Third Division is almost comical. This is a man who would later leave a club after having a boot thrown at his head – how would he survive in the melee of 90s era lower tier football?
Not very well it would seem – at least not from the perspective of the hardened fans at Raising the Coffin, Preston North End’s former monthly in-house fanzine, anyhow, who included the winger in ‘Preston’s worst ever XI’ (via the Lancashire Telegraph).
The reason for his inclusion is a little ambiguous given he had actually been playing quite well for the side scoring two goals in five appearances, one of which he scored directly from a corner.
Indeed, we can only imagine his antics off the pitch was the sole reason for the inclusion.
Anecdotes from far and wide about how the team teased their new recruit have been documented in one convenient location by FourFourTwo, including this one from former teammate Ryan Kidd: “We were travelling to Exeter and David was reading Match magazine,” reminisces Kidd.
“He was reading an article about himself: when he scored in Europe and celebrated with Eric Cantona. Raymond Sharp, the Scottish left-back, got hold of this and started reading it out loud to everybody – something along the lines of ‘I ran into Eric’s arms and it was wonderful’. He embarrassed him to the high heavens! I could see him glowing red but that was the way Sharpy welcomed him into the squad.”
Beckham went on to win a famous treble with Manchester United before making a big money move to Real Madrid, where he became the very definition of what it is to be a ‘Galactico’.
Four years later he made the surprise move to the MLS to play for LA Galaxy, where he spent five successful years boosting the profile of American “soccer,” setting the way for the likes of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Final stints in Europe were spent between Milan and Paris – a point in his career that sounds more like a fashion grand tour than the final years of an icon’s footballing career.
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