Youve got to love David Beckham’s mum says TV critic Mike Ward
As we discover in Netflix’s superb new documentary series Beckham, out today, she even still bears a grudge against former England boss Glenn Hoddle, for dropping her David at the start of the 1998 World Cup.
“I just put him on my hit-list for people who upset me,” she recalls with a chuckle.
Throughout this four-part series, the power of family is a recurring theme – whether, in Beckham’s case, it’s been his parents, Sandra and Ted, no longer together but still his biggest fans, his wife Victoria and their kids, or the football family created during his years at Manchester United, where manager Alex Ferguson became “someone I looked up to as a father figure”.
Having reminded us how this skinny kid from East London shot to fame in the mid-90s, basking in the adulation on the pitch and unapologetically enjoying the rewards off it, the series recalls how, in a moment of madness, it all went horribly wrong.
The 1998 World Cup in France ended disastrously for Beckham – sent off against Argentina in a knockout game England later lost on penalties.
READ MORE Victoria Beckham ‘p***ed off’ David almost missed son’s birth for photoshoot
While his dad Ted assured him: “You didn’t let anyone down,” hordes of morons chose to express an alternative view.
An effigy was hung outside a London pub. A bullet arrived in the post. Strangers spat at him in the street. The bullying was sickening and continued for months.
“The whole country hated me,” Beckham recalls.
For him and Victoria, it seems, much of that period has since been blotted out. But, interviewed here, the pain comes flooding back. “I still want to kill these people,” Victoria admits.
Of course, we all know (spoiler alert) the boy comes good in the end, but you’re left to wonder whether, without that support network – and the resilience instilled in him by his dad, if a
little old-school by today’s standards – it might have been a different story.
“In that time, mental health wasn’t a thing,” points out ex-team-mate Rio Ferdinand, reflecting on how the wider world offered little in the way of support.
He adds: “David would have been alone.”
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