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Sir Alex Ferguson on David Beckham: "He always had a lovely smile"

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Veteran talk show host Charlie Rose followed up his appearance on the penultimate episode of “Breaking Bad” (not a spoiler), with a lengthy interview with legendary former Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson this week. Transcripts of the interview are surfacing across the Internet. The Daily Mail has a solid post pulled from a Manchester United forum.

If you’re a Manchester United fan, you’ll gobble it up. If not, you’ll probably find it as appealing as a peanut butter-and-tuna sandwich.

It’s a long ranging interview. Some of the topics getting pulled out across the web today include Ferguson revealing he was approached to coach Chelsea when Roman Abramovich bought the London club in 2003. Ferguson affirming his support for his under-fire successor David Moyes, stating he’s not going to come back and coach again. There’s also a long discussion about the Civil War, as Ferguson — like Keith Hernandez — is a big buff on the subject. At one point Rose asks Ferguson if he saw the movie “Lincoln.” (The 71-year-old Scot didn’t think it was a great film, but respected the acting. Riveting.)

There’s all sorts of stuff about leadership, coaching and identifying young talent, including David Beckham. Ferguson offers up a candid take on the celebrity/player and doesn’t seem to fond of his former Spice Girl wife, Victoria.

CR: And then there was a fellow named David Beckham.
AF: David, yes – amazing boy. I mean how he’s created himself. He’s (inaudible) conquering young people, it’s fantastic. I mean he’s a wonderful boy.
CR: How did he do that?
AF: Well, he always had a lovely smile, you know, and he always presents himself well. But as a young kid when I got him at 12 years of age, his great desire was to do the best. He was a fantastic trainer, practiced all the time and at night he would come back with the school boys and practice with them.
And he was in that collection along with Giggs and Scholes. And then of course his life changed when he married the girl from -
CR: Spice Girls.
AF: Yes. And his focus changed.
CR: What did it become?
AF: Well, he got drawn into that celebrity status, you know. For me I’m a football man. I’m a football man. It wasn’t my –
CR: So you had to go to David and say -
AF: Yes, he has to focus. And so they’ll be trying to -
CR: So what did you do? I mean did you go – tell me what you said to him when you believed that he was becoming more interested in celebrity than football?
AF: I just think he’s over his head. I don’t think he could listen. I always remember in the (inaudible) he says “I’m in love” and there was nothing you can do with that, you know. And therefore he lost the focus. But I saw them in Real, Madrid. He did well.
The thing I couldn’t believe – (inaudible) – I couldn’t believe that. I couldn’t understand that. I would never have allowed him to do that, you know. He was going to make sure he went to the best and Real Madrid was the best outside United.And he reinvented himself, of course, and plays for the English team after a couple of years. He goes and plays for Milan. And well done. You can’t argue with the status he has in life.
CR: Yes. But would it have been better if he stayed at Manchester United and still have all the celebrity?
AF: For me? For me it would have pleased me more to see him in a great (inaudible), you know, to see him with a woman. But how can you argue with life? He’s an icon for young people; represents himself the proper way. And I say well done.

The Ferguson/Beckham relationship is fascinating and paternal. Ten years ago the Scot infamously kicked a soccer shoe in Beckham’s face, sealing his exit from Manchester United to Real Madrid. (I’m still blow away by Ferguson’s interest in the American Civil War.)

Manchester United, which has lost two straight Premier League games and is off to its worst start since 1989-90, played Ukranian power Shakhtar Donetsk today in the Champions League.

Here’s the clip that’s been released so far:

Related: David Beckham Close to Buying MLS Team in Miami, His Star Power Could Make it Viable

 

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