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Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography

Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography

4.1 33
by David Beckham, Tom Watt

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In England, where he spent ten seasons leading his storied club Manchester United and his nation to soccer glory, he is so wildly popular that his countrymen voted him the face they'd most want to see imprinted on their money. (Winston Churchill finished second.) In Japan, where he is worshiped as much for his headline-making fashion trends as for his ability to


In England, where he spent ten seasons leading his storied club Manchester United and his nation to soccer glory, he is so wildly popular that his countrymen voted him the face they'd most want to see imprinted on their money. (Winston Churchill finished second.) In Japan, where he is worshiped as much for his headline-making fashion trends as for his ability to bend a ball around a wall of defenders, women styled their bikini waxes after the blond mohawk he sported during the 2002 World Cup. And in Spain, within days of his $41 million trade to Real Madrid, his new team received two million requests to buy his number 23 jersey. The legend of David Beckham — soccer god, global sex symbol, style icon — has been celebrated around the world, arguably more than Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan combined. Now, with the publication of his long-awaited autobiography, the man who inspired the surprise hit movie Bend It Like Beckham is set to conquer the last remaining outpost where soccer is not a national religion: the United States.

Beckham is a classic rags-to-riches saga: a boy, David, is born to a poor East End London family. He develops prodigious soccer skills, and his parents nurture him until he becomes one of the most gifted athletes of his generation. He grows up to marry Victoria — a Spice Girl, "Posh" — and enters a celebrity whirlwind of Princess Diana — esque proportions. Together, the Beckhams are Britain's new royal couple — their 240-acre estate outside of London is known as Beckingham Palace — and their presence at parties or charity events guarantees endless tabloid stories and photos as well as adoring mobs that must be restrained by police barricades. Their life is as much a study in managing fame as it is in sports and pop phenomena.

In Beckham he talks candidly about the pressures of celebrity — his wife and sons were the targets of a 2002 kidnapping plot; how he balances his roles as a devoted husband and besotted father with his globetrotting existence as an international soccer player; the behind-the-scenes stories of his most memorable career moments, such as the penalty kick against archrival Argentina in the World Cup that redeemed him to a nation who blamed him for their failure in the previous World Cup; the controversy surrounding his move to Real Madrid and the falling out with the man who shaped his career, Manchester United's famously combative manager Sir Alex Ferguson; and, finally, his love of America — his first son was conceived in and named Brooklyn — where, like the great Pelé, David can imagine playing out his final seasons.

So much has been written about David Beckham that it's easy to think we know everything about the world's most famous athlete, but only Beckham himself can set the record straight on his beliefs, his dreams, his loves, his fears, and, above all, his sense of who he is. Beckham is an intimate account of an extraordinary life, a life in which, against all odds, he has managed to keep both feet on the ground.

Editorial Reviews

Sports Illustrated
“Smashing. . .Beckham is a magnet for controversy”
Oh, soccer! The world loves you. But in the United States, the sport takes a lowly backseat to football, basketball, baseball, and, well, any other televised game. Despite David Beckham being the world's most popular soccer player-and having a sweeping pass so sweet it makes grown men weep-this reviewer doubts that many Americans could pick him out of a police lineup. But last year's sleeper film Bend it Like Beckham, his marriage to Spice Girl Posh Spice, and his $41 million trade to Spanish heavyweight Real Madrid might have increased his stateside profile somewhat. Beckham and coauthor Watt write with a conversational ease about his role in the beautiful game, chronicling his career from talented youngster to professional athlete on a global market. Each chapter drops a lot of names and references many games, which will delight fans but could be a bit off-putting to those unfamiliar with soccer history. The book's length might be prohibitive as well. Soccer-loving teens, however, will relish the first-person storytelling. The photos are top notch, showing the scrawny boy who became a father, husband, and world-renowned celebrity. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, HarperCollins, 386p.; Photos., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Travis Fristoe
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The legendary soccer player and cultural icon takes readers on a tour of his life, from the streets of Chingford, England, to his role as star player on the world's most famous professional soccer team, with all the struggles and stadiums, and daring exploits, in between. As the inspiration for the hit movie Bend It Like Beckham, the subject of endless tabloid fodder, and the husband of a former Spice Girl, Beckham has captured the minds and hearts of not only the people of his native country, but of those around the world as well. Dozens of excellent-quality, black-and-white and color photos are included, about half of which have appeared elsewhere. This book is sure to be wildly popular with teens.-James O. Cahill, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography

Chapter One

Murdering the Flowerbeds

'Mrs Beckham? Can David come and have a
game in the park?'

I'm sure Mum could dig it out of the pile: that first video of me in action. There I am, David Robert Joseph Beckham, aged three, wearing the new Manchester United uniform Dad had bought me for Christmas, playing soccer in the front room of our house in Chingford. Twenty-five years on, and Victoria could have filmed me having a kickabout this morning with Brooklyn before I left for training. For all that so much has happened during my life -- and the shirt I'm wearing now is a different color -- some things haven't really changed at all.

As a father watching my own sons growing up, I get an idea of what I must have been like as a boy; and reminders, as well, of what Dad was like with me. As soon as I could walk, he made sure I had a ball to kick. Maybe I didn't even wait for a ball. I remember when Brooklyn had only just got the hang of standing up. We were messing around together one afternoon after training. For some reason there was a tin of baked beans on the floor of the kitchen and, before I realized it, he'd taken a couple of unsteady steps towards it and kicked the thing as hard as you like. Frightening really: you could fracture a metatarsal doing that. Even as I was hugging him, I couldn't help laughing. That must have been me.

It's just there, wired into the genes. Look at Brooklyn: he always wants to be playing soccer, running, kicking, diving about. And he's already listening, like he's ready to learn. By the time he was three and a half, if I rolled the ball to him and told him to stop it, he'd trap it by putting his foot on it. Then he'd take a step back and line himself up before kicking it back to me. He's also got a great sense of balance. We were in New York when Brooklyn was about two and a half, and I remember us coming out of a restaurant and walking down some steps. He was standing, facing up towards Victoria and I, his toes on one step and his heels rocking back over the next. This guy must have been watching from inside the restaurant, because suddenly he came running out and asked us how old our son was. When I told him, he explained he was a child psychologist and that for Brooklyn to be able to balance himself over the step like that was amazing for a boy of his age.

It's a little too early to tell with my younger boy, Romeo, but Brooklyn has got a real confidence that comes from his energy, his strength, and his sense of coordination. He's been whizzing around on two-wheeled scooters -- I mean flying -- for years already. He's got a belief in himself, physically, that I know I had as well. When I was a boy, I only ever felt really sure of myself when I was playing soccer. In fact I'd still say that about me now, although Victoria has given me confidence in myself in all sorts of other ways. I know she'll do the same for Brooklyn and Romeo too.

For all that father and son have in common, Brooklyn and I are very different. By the time I was his age, I was already telling anyone who would listen: 'I'm going to play soccer for Manchester United. 'He says he wants to be a soccer player like Daddy, but United? We haven't heard that out of him yet. Brooklyn's a really strong, well-built boy. Me, though, I was always skinny. However much I ate it never made any difference while I was growing up. When I was playing soccer, I must have seemed even smaller because, if I wasn't with my dad and his mates, I was over at Chase Lane Park, just round the corner from the house, playing with boys twice my age. I don't know if it was because I was good or because they could kick me up in the air and I'd come back for more, but they always turned up on the doorstep after school:

'Mrs Beckham? Can David come and have a game in the park?'

I spent a lot of time in Chase Lane Park. If I wasn't there with the bigger boys like Alan Smith, who lived two doors away on our road, I'd be there with my dad. We'd started by kicking a ball about in the back garden but I was murdering the flowerbeds so, after he got in from his job as a heating engineer, we'd go to the park together and just practice and practice for hours on end. All the strengths in my game are the ones Dad taught me in the park twenty years ago: we'd work on touch and striking the ball properly until it was too dark to see. He'd kick the ball up in the air as high as he could and get me to control it. Then it would be kicking it with each foot, making sure I was doing it right. It was great, even if he did drive me mad sometimes. 'Why can't you just go in goal and let me take shots at you?' I'd be thinking. I suppose you could say he was pushing me along. You'd also have to say, though, that it was all I wanted to do and I was lucky Dad was so willing to do it with me.

My dad, Ted, played himself for a local team called King fisher in the Forest and District League ...

Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography
. Copyright © by David Beckham. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

David Beckham, who currently plays for Real Madrid, is the soccer world’s biggest star.

Tom Watt is an English actor, writer, and broadcaster. Television, film, and stage credits include EastEnders, Patriot Games, and Fever Pitch. Tom has broadcast about soccer extensively in the U.K. and the U.S. He co-produced the innovative children's sports series Rookies for Channel Four television and created the successful Row Z for BBC Choice TV. After presenting sports shows over the past ten years for BBC and independent radio and television stations, he is currently the lead presenter for BBC London's soccer coverage and hosts weekly programs for Arsenal's club TV channel.

As well as writing about soccer for every major U.K. newspaper, Tom is the author of several books about the game: The End, a groundbreaking oral history of Arsenal FC; A Passion for the Game, ninety firsthand accounts of life behind the scenes in English football; The Greatest Stage, the official history of Wembley Stadium; and, most recently, My Side, the bestselling autobiography of David Beckham. Tom also produces schoolbooks built around soccer, the latest of which, a twelve-book series called The Jags, was published earlier this year.

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Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground: An Autobiography 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I started to read this book I thought to myself that his ways of strategy could help me on the field. Its 2013 right now and I have finished the book and used his advice. I am a young soccer player in U-14 and when I read this book I was amazed on how many things he did on the field that could help me on the field. I have read three of his books and used all of his ways of playing to help me on the field at Left midfield. When I paly during a game I think teamwork and passing, when I have pass play to assist I don't think and I just do it. David had inspired me to play soccer and thats one of the only reasons I play right now 2013. I started when I was four years old and now I'm about to turn 13. This expierence to read and learn how David plays is amzing and read what he does is amazing. I'm telling you he the best read this book see.
Coltonlikesrainbows More than 1 year ago
I suggest every soccer fan should read this book. Growing up David Beckham was my idol, and this book helped me learn more about him. It gave me an insight throughout Beckhams life through his eyes. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was awesome. It kind of dragged some stuff on an on, but overall I thought the book was great. I loved how much detail he included about his games and the face taht he not only talked about his games he talked about the players, coaches, and his family. You could really feel what he was feeling at each given point in time even if if was a while ago. Plus for the soccer players that read this book you can totally understand some of the stuff he is talking about, how a victory feels, how a tie feels, and even worse how a loss feels. In the book you could really tell how much he cares about his family, parents, and the game, well especially the game. Teh book was a lot more then I expected I didn't think that he would go into that much detail and I was sure that he wouldn't talk about his family that much. I loved the fact that the book started from when he was very young and just starting out playing soccer. I also really liked the fact that the book showed pictures of each team the he played for starting when he was very young. The pictures of his family, and his wife and kids were also really great. His kids are adorable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a HUGE fan of the Beckhams so this was a GREAT book to read. It was very informative! Every Beckham fan should get it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this read, mainly because of how I discovered that David can turn his life into such an interesting read. In depth look at big matches that he remembers, from when he was a young boy playing for his local club, to playing for England, will have the reader turning the pages. There is enough drama, both on and off the field, and the one thing that makes the book so enjoyable is the fact how articulate David's writing is. The emotion is practically tangible. Highly Recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He a b#%$& f#%&
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ronaldinho and beckham rule
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As one of the most recognizable faces in the world, David Beckham shares the story of his life in BECKHAM: BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND. From his remarkable talent as a small school boy playing soccer to playing with a multimillion dollar contract with Manchester United, David has no bars held. he wants you to know that he's just a simple man with a complicated life. This book is remarkable. David Beckham, born in Leytonstone, England, had a knack for the national sport from the time he was born. Though he was small, he never let that get in the way of achieving his dream. At age 16, he signed a developmental deal with Manchester United and by the time he was in his 20's, he was already a household name. He faced the tribulations of having a public relationship with Spice Girl Victoria Adams, who he eventually married and had 3 children with, and the backlash of under performing for fans worldwide. His publicized feud with Manchester United manager Ferguson, which led to his Real Madrid transfer, was more than what the public made it to be. David shows what the life of a world renowned public figure is and how on the inside, they are just regular people. Athlete, celebrity, sex idol and fashion icon. David Beckham has done it all. If a great read about the life of a public figure is what you would like, BECKHAM: BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND is for you. He's just a regular guy with an irregular life. Plus, he's not bad to look at. smileyface. -JanniBeckham
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a HUGE David Beckham fan and I really got to know more about him. I recommend it to anyone who likes him!!!! I also bought another book about him: The Comings and Goings of David Beckham. I haven't read it yet but I'm excited to start!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awsome for the Beckham fans . As I read the book i was amized of all the great thing. Its better to read this book written by the one that knows him best, David, instead of hearing people make up comments. Read it , I beat you'll enjoy ALOT !!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a long time Becks fan and this book will NOT dissapoint. He is very respectful to all the people in his life whether there was ever a conflict with them or not. Even during his falling out with Sir Alex, he stepped up and took responsibility. The book is truthful and gives a great insight on soccer's most famous star. He is far from conceited and keeps his focus on his game. The other reviewer who gave this book one star obviously doesn't appreciate the beauty of the game and should read more about the players/the game. This book was well worth every minute i read it. And, Becks is absoultely gorgeous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, David Beckham writes about his life, how he come to acheive the of the things he loves so dearly, soccer. It's amazing to read what he's gone through in life, and its not always just about playing soccer. He talks about his teammates, whether for Manchester United, or Real Madrid, like they're his brothers, and all of them together make the team what it is. He talks so sweetly about his wife, and his kids, and the best part of the book is that he respects EACH AND EVERYONE in that book, whether he had a good/bad relation with them. That just shows you what kind of a person he is, honest, and kind. He feels for people, for situations, and he's anything but conceited. And he's just gorgeous.. :) I definitely recommed it, specially if you're a soccer fan like me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing,Beckham rules
Guest More than 1 year ago
its a great book...tells u evrything u ever wanted to knw about beckham..and that too in his own words..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book..when i started to read it i couldn't stop..read more then half of it in one day..it was wonderful..i've been telling everyone about it..you don't have to be a fan of his sport to enjoy this...to hear him talk about his family and his love for his wife and childeren was fantastic..he really shows there is more to him then good looks and good talent.. A+++++++++...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who enjoys soccer, David Beckham, or just excellent biographies will really enjoy this one. The life of David Beckham is basically obscured by his soccer abilities, and this book dives deep to reveal the real David Beckham. This is really well written and is bound to become a book which you cannot put down. AWESOME
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a great book and everyone that likes beckham should read it!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
if u are david beckham's fan u should read this book. even if u r not, read it to know what he is all about, why more than half of the world is crazy about him... BECKHAM rules..and so does his book..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago