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‘Beckham’ offers a glimpse into the highs and lows of the iconic English footballer

David Beckham unpacks the most challenging moments of his life in “Beckham”. Picture: Netflix

David Beckham unpacks the most challenging moments of his life in “Beckham”. Picture: Netflix

Published Oct 11, 2023


When there’s a documentary out on a famous sports personality, chances are, I’m going to make some popcorn, get comfy on the couch and watch it until the end, uninterrupted!

This past weekend, Netflix’s new release, “Beckham”, had me glued to the TV.

Before I knew it, about five hours had passed watching the four episode docu-series, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I grew up in the era where anything and everything centred on football star David Beckham.

Just like the doccie reveals, all the boys wanted to look like and be like him, while all the girls crushed hard on the posters of him on their bedroom walls.

I was also a Spice Girls fan, so when David and Victoria (née Adams), aka Posh Spice, got together, it was somewhat of a fairytale love story that I’d hoped to have someday. Didn’t we all, though.

Victoria Beckham and David Beckham attend the UK Premiere of Netflix's “Beckham”. Picture: StillMoving.Net for Netflix.

Back to doccie, the episodes titled “The Kick”, “Seeing Red”, “Golden Balls” and “What Makes David Run” gives viewers insight into the 48-year-old global icon’s rise to fame.

From the start of his football career at 15, and even before that, his defining career moments, his failures, how it affected him and the English fans, and his whirlwind romance with Victoria, including a dive into the rumoured four month affair David had with his personal assistant, Rebecca Loos, in 2004.

The series begins with David harvesting honey from a hive of bees, which he gives Fisher Stevens of “Succession” fame to taste.

“What’s the name of your honey again,” asked Stevens.

“There’s a bit of an argument in the house at the moment. I think it should be ‘Golden Bees’. Victoria likes ‘DB Sticky Stuff’,” David responded.

“That might get you in trouble with HR,” chuckled Stevens.

In “Beckham”, Stevens serves as a director along with Emmy Award-winning producer John Battsek.

The two were granted unprecedented access to David and Victoria, his family, his friends and his team-mates, which results in a cosy and intimate portrait of a man as well as a chronicle of late-modern sports and celebrity culture.

David’s friend and former Manchester United teammate, Gary Neville, who gives a lot of insight into the couple’s lives, also serves as an executive producer.

Gary Neville, David Beckham and other Manchester United team members. Picture: Netflix

His mum and dad, Sandra and Ted, the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo Nazário, Pauls Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, and the two paparazzi who followed the Beckham’s almost everywhere, are among a few others who make up the interviewees.

What’s great about the documentary is that it doesn’t shy away from capturing the highs and lows of David’s life, especially when it delved into that catastrophic “red card” moment against Argentina that “cost” England the chance to play in the 1998 Soccer World Cup final.

David calls the moment a “stupid mistake” and revealed that he still cannot forgive himself for the abuse his family suffered amid the fallout from his red card.

“I wish there was a pill you could take which could erase certain memories. I made a stupid mistake. It changed my life.

“Wherever I went, I got abused every single day – to walk down the street and to see people look at you in a certain way, spit at you, abuse you, come up to your face and say some of the things they said, that is difficult.

While Victoria shared that her husband was left “absolutely clinically depressed”.

On the alleged affair with Loos, both seemed very evasive, giving no definitive answer as to whether the rumours were true.

As the viewer, we kind of get what the answer is but had Stevens asked the question directly, it would have made the guessing game a lot easier.

About the alleged affair, David shared: “There was some horrible stories which were difficult to deal with.

‘’It was the first time that me and Victoria had been put under that kind of pressure in our marriage.’’

He is still unsure how he and Victoria survived that time period. ‘’I don't know how we got through it, in all honesty.”

A young David Beckham. Picture: Netflix

David also spoke of the support he received from then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, calling him a father figure.

The doccie charts his triumphant end to the 1998-99 season, which culminated with United having won the treble (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League).

In the end, David and Victoria share a dance to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream”.

Then David and Romeo head to their mini football field to practice, just like David and his dad did back when he was a little boy.

“Beckham” is currently streaming on Netflix.