On February 15, 2003 the Manchester faithful lay in shock after United were eliminated from the FA Cup in the fifth round to Arsenal (2-0). But what was more shocking was seeing David Beckham exiting the locker room with stitches over his brow.
After the match, a livid Fergie exploded some pent-up frustration on his team brought up by their on-field form, or lack thereof.
Allegedly, Sir Alex focused his attention on David Beckham and the end result was a boot to the face.
During his dramatic tirade the Manchester Boss kicked a boot conveniently in front of him and accidently struck Becks above his brow.
The blow required stitches and with his hair pulled back; the world saw the mark of Ferguson.
Following the incident, Sir Alex played down the event often laughing about it and referring it to as a “graze,” that was a “freak accident,” and “just one of those things.”
In a poll taken shortly after, an overwhelming 70 percent of the voters believed Fergie should apologize for what happened despite it being an “accident.” Sir Alex did not atone but assured his team unity and spirits were intact and not differed.
The midfielder had much more of a stoic and passive approach by simple stating he “would not add fuel to the fire.”
Former United Boss Tommy Docherty said, “I think it is an act of total frustration. Fergie being Fergie he went berserk. He is a law unto himself. He is a bully. There is a set of rules for him and one for all others.”
“There is no way he did it deliberately, but I don’t think he should get away with it.” Reported by The Manchester Evening News.
Defender Mikael Silvestre reminisced about the event in 2009. He told, L’Equipe, “I was taking my boots off myself, when he stormed in. He was irritated, but he wasn’t intending to injure [Beckham].
“He often threw things in the dressing room, but that day he happened to throw a boot at the player he was talking to!”
Ferguson later sold his midfielder to Real Madrid for a £25 million fee.