Global superstar David Beckham has name dropped West Ham when telling an emotional story about his career as a player.
Beckham is one of the most recognisable faces and names in world sport.
He is an ambassador of English football and – like West Ham’s own Bobby Moore – was a respected captain of the national team.
But it wasn’t always sweetness and light for Beckham – as West Ham fans of a certain age will remember only too well.
West Ham legend Moore remains the only England captain to have ever lifted the World Cup.
The Three Lions looked to have a team capable of matching that feat back in France in 1998.
But Beckham went from hero to villain when he reacted angrily to a challenge from Argentina captain Diego Simeone and was dismissed by referee Kim Milton Nielsen.
He was vilified and opposing fans often booed and jeered his every touch during the following 1998-99 Premier League season.
And Man United’s first away game that season came away at West Ham’s hostile and beloved former Upton Park home.
A Beckham effigy was infamously seen dangling from a hangman’s noose and the Man United team coach was pelted with stones and beer glasses as West Ham fans vented their frustration, chanting “We hate Beckham” and “You let down your country” at the future England captain.
West Ham fans were not alone, though, as Beckham endured similar treatment on his travels around the country.
Now Beckham has name dropped West Ham when telling an emotional story about his career.
And Beckham revealed the moment he feels he won over the likes of the West Ham faithful and fans of other clubs following the 1998 controversy.
Beckham would have redemption when his last gasp free-kick against Greece saw England qualify for the 2002 World Cup.
David Beckham name drops West Ham when telling emotional story about his career
And he named that as the pivotal moment for his reputation among fans of the likes of West Ham.
“I think it has to be the goal against Greece (that changed everything),” Beckham said in a new interview.
“That was possibly the moment, for me, where most of the nation forgave me for what I did four years before.
“That was probably the moment, England fans – whether it was West Ham, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool fans – finally went ‘Ok, enough is enough’.
“It was a special moment.”
The fact Beckham name checks West Ham fans first on his list – ahead of Man United’s bitter rivals Liverpool – probably tells you everything about the impact the reception at Upton Park had on him.
Beckham turned things around, though, and the softly spoken star went on to lead England by example much in the same way West Ham’s great Moore did.
Beckham has always been and still is respectful of Moore’s England legacy.
But you would not expect anything less from the classy star who was of course born and raised in east London.