Monday, July 8, 2013

8 July 1991 - A Pretty Good Bit Of Business, That

On 8 July 1991, sixteen-year old David Beckham signed his first contract with Manchester United, joining the U-18s as one of "Fergie's Fledglings."

He had been associated with the club for over two years, having signed schoolboy forms with them on his fourteenth birthday, but the 1991 contract formalized his position at the club under the Youth Training Scheme, intended as a type of apprenticeship program to provide post-educational opportunities for 16- and 17-year olds.

Although he remained with the U-18s that first season, he nonetheless got his first piece of silverware, helping the club win the 1992 FA Youth Cup. His teammates on the winning team included Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. That group formed the core of manager Alex Ferguson's second attempt to invigorate the club with youth players brought up through the ranks, nicknamed by the press as "Fergie's Fledglings" in comparison to the "Busby Babes" of former manager Matt Busby.

Beckham cracked into the first squad for the 1992-93 season, but made only one appearance over the next two years, then went on loan to Preston North End. He returned in 1995 and became a regular starter, making a total of 394 appearances before moving to Real Madrid in 2003 for a transfer fee of £25M which was, at the time, the club's record received fee. Before his departure, he won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and one Champions League trophy.

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