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Beckham still subject of fans' ire

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Posted: Saturday September 19, 1998 11:51 AM

  Beckham was shown the red card for aiming a kick at Argentina's Diego Simeone Ross Kinnaird/Allsport

MANCHESTER, England (CNN/SI) -- The World Cup is over, but the stream of abuse David Beckham faces has just begun, and his club coach, Manchester United's Alex Ferguson, fears for his young star's safety.

Beckham, 23, has been widely vilified after his sending off in England's second-round defeat at the World Cup.

His father, Ted, also said the player would consider a move abroad if the abuse carried on.

"I spoke to David recently and he hardly mentioned football. He's feeling very low and very apprehensive about the whole thing," Ted Beckham said.

"He'll go back to training with United but after that, I don't know. It's early to say whether he'll stay or go abroad. All he wants to do is play football."

Beckham was shown the red card for aiming a kick at Argentina's Diego Simeone. England subsequently lost the match on penalties.

Ferguson has already called for extra security when United travel to London club West Ham on August 22. A banner reading "Beckham: August 22 -- hell" was found pinned to the main gates of the club last week.

An effigy of Beckham was also strung up outside a London pub on the eve of the player's return from holiday in America with fiancee and Spice Girl Victoria Adams.

Beckham returned to training on Tuesday.

"Whatever is necessary, Manchester United will do it," said Ferguson.

"It is not right to blame one young lad. There are several options to us, and we just hope we can see him through."

Andy Walsh, spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association, fears the situation might get worse, but added, "I don't think Beckham will be forced to move abroad as long as he gets enough love and support from Manchester United.

"It will be a difficult situation and United fans realize he may want to escape the abuse if it carries on much longer.

"But he knows he will get all the support possible from United fans and if the club responds as well, I think it would be unlikely he would feel he had to leave this country."


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Reuters contributed to this report.

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