Saturday 17 August 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Long before he won 115 England caps, before he won titles in four different countries and before he became the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League games, David Beckham was another promising youngster trying to establish himself in Sir Alex Ferguson’s first eleven at Manchester United.
Beckham won the first of his six Barclays Premier League titles with United in May, but come August it was at Selhurst Park that the 21-year-old took the first steps towards making the name ‘Beckham’ one known all over the world.
"I just realised it was going beyond me and it dropped [under] the crossbar”
The champions were two goals up against Wimbledon when, with the clock ticking to the 90th minute, Beckham picked the ball up just inside his own half. He spotted goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line and the rest has gone down in history.
"He just picked it up and hit it,” Sullivan told the BBC years later. "I just realised it was going beyond me and it dropped [under] the crossbar and that was it. The whole Manchester United team at the time were special but I didn't expect anything like that.”
The goal helped Beckham win Premier League player of the month for the only time in his career. The strike was named the Premier League Goal of the Decade in 2002 and 10 years later it was included in the 20 Seasons best goal selection.
United won the title again that year and Beckham went on to become one of the world’s best-known footballers. When the midfielder announced his retirement at the end of last summer, every highlight reel started in the same place: Beckham holding his arms aloft at Selhurst Park as his United team-mates ran to help him celebrate his wonder-strike.