David Beckham : The vilification of David Beckham in England (1998)
The Villification of David Beckham in England (1998)
David Beckham is a global fashion mogul, English Football Hall of Famer and a universal brand that has become a staple in the depths of popular culture for the last three decades. Growing up in London, David exemplified unseen talents as a boy and signed to Manchester United at the tender age of 14 where he would grow into a national star. Beckham’s rise to stardom though was a turbulent one, as he would be painted as the villain of the UK at the age of 23.
In the late 1990’s, David Beckham’s legacy was being written in real-time. He was the most promising player on one of Europe’s largest and most prestigious club, Manchester United, and had entered the mainstream entertainment scene through a relationship with then-member of the Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham. Him and Victoria are known for defining an era of high-fashion and culture in the UK. His exponential rise to fame would hit a crucial inflection point though in the summer of 1998, as he would disappoint a nation and ruin England’s chances at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup saw England facing off against Argentina in Saint-Etienne, France in a knockout stage match. After being deliberately shoved to the ground by now-famous head coach of Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone, Beckham would ever-so-slightly lash his right boot out at the Argentine midfielder while on the ground. This would be enough of an attempt to earn Beckham a straight red card, which would see England eventually lose the match playing down a man.
Upon returning to England, Beckham would be loathed & painted as the nemesis of the UK. The jeering got so bad that fans even hanged a life-like doll with Beckham’s jersey outside a pub near Manchester. It would take Beckham 3 or 4 long years to restore the faith of England in him and the 3 lions, as he would go on to score that iconic free-kick goal in 2002 to help England past Greece and into the World Cup, effectively re-cementing his legacy.