UNDERWEAR model, Olympic Ambassador, treble winner, simpleton, hero, villain, the world’s best from a dead ball, all time outfield appearance holder for England, boot throwing victim, wearer of the best haircut ever (quiff, 2013), wearer of the worst haircut ever (cornrows, 2003), Spice Girl wearer, winner of over 21 major football trophies including league titles in four different countries, the first Englishman to do so, and the most recognisable athlete, possibly person, in the world today.
United’s attempts to pay tribute to their one time star are commendable but the exhibition is limited and predictable, offering little for anyone other than foreign tourists and Beckham obsessives.
It’s safe to say David Beckham has achieved a fair bit in his 38 years on this planet but despite his globetrotting exploits, not all football orientated, undoubtedly his home will always be Manchester United. Fourteen of his major titles were won at Old Trafford during his 11 year tenure from 1992 to 2003, racking up 394 appearances and 85 goals in the process.
The adopted Mancunian is still very much adored down Sir Matt Busby Way and a fitting tribute has been put in place at the club’s museum, located in the depths of Old Trafford’s Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, to commemorate one of the premiership’s greatest players following his retirement earlier this year.
With a phenomenon the size of Golden Balls it would be easy to dedicate an entire museum to his life, so how does his old stomping ground approach the task of chronicling the mammoth life and times of Beckham?
By dedicating a small room to his genius right foot, offering a brief overview of his career with the focus unsurprisingly on his Man United days. There is the usual selection of memorabilia from Beckham’s past including football shirts, youth training tops, signed boots and a few of the publications he has graced.
There are some interesting tales about the young Becks, filling in a few of the gaps about his start in the game, such as the fact that at the tender age of seven he was carrying Rideway Rovers to a 90 game unbeaten streak or that Spurs were dangerously close to capturing him before his boyhood heroes, United, took the gamble on the promising midfielder.
Bar these noteworthy stories there is little we don’t already know about Beckham, sections about That Goal against Wimbledon and the crowning treble season make for familiar reading.
Attempts to make the exhibition interactive are lacklustre at best; guessing where Beckham put some of his free kicks is a tedious game of trial and error while a highlights video is disappointingly user unfriendly.
United’s attempts to pay tribute to their one time star are commendable but the exhibition is limited and predictable, offering little for anyone other than Beckham obsessives.
In fact you could call the exhibition a missed opportunity, an in depth look at the Beckham’s footballing contribution and impact as a world phenomenon or ambassador for the beautiful game would have been more appropriate, as might have been making the National Football Museum the venue for such an idea.
It’s not Man United’s place to be exploring Beckham beyond his years at the club but someone of his stature and iconic status deserves more than he’s presently being afforded at Old Trafford.
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