David Beckham’s first stadium is now a Lidl and also hosted the Olympics
On the south coast in 1992 David Beckham’s first steps into professional football took place, but you wouldn’t recognize the pitch.
Brighton had the honor of seeing the Manchester United legend for the first time, but it wasn’t at the newly built Amex Stadium, which wouldn’t open for 19 years.
Instead, the Goldstone Ground – home of the Seagulls since 1902 – was where Becks first appeared.
The stadium had its charm, even hosting football matches during the 1948 Olympics – the first competition of its kind since World War II.
It was one of two grounds to host football matches outside London during the tournament, the other being Portsmouth’s Fratton Park.
And when United traveled to Brighton in the League Cup in September 1992, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to launch a fresh-faced Beckham on his first-team debut.
Aged just 17 at the time, the midfielder lacked the tattoos and chiseled looks he has since become synonymous with.
Instead, a floppy-haired Cockney teenager sprinted down the field, coming on for the final throes to replace Andrei Kanchelskis.
Around 16,000 people were on hand to watch Beckham take his first steps into the sport.
He would go on to become one of, if not the most famous football players of all time, plastered on billboards, television commercials and men’s perfumes for years to come.
And that doesn’t discount his impressive playing career, winning Premier League titles at United, La Liga at Real Madrid, the MLS Cup with LA Galaxy and Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain.
But if Beckham ever wanted to visit the pitch where he got his start, he’d likely find himself in Lidl’s mid-aisle staring at potato peelers.
Indeed, the Goldstone Ground was sold by Brighton in 1997, leaving the club homeless while the site was turned into a business park.
They had to travel to Kent to play Gillingham’s Priestfield for two years, which was not a pleasant trip for the people of Brighton.
Back in the area, the Seagulls played at Withdean Stadium – an athletic ground before identifying a pitch in Falmer to build a new pitch.
In 2021 Lidl opened a store on the Goldstone site where the land used to be while other stores include TK Maxx, Pets At Home and a Burger King.
While Hove locals rejoiced at the sight of the low-cost shop, some older Seagull fans might regret the fact that they moved.
Brighton have since enjoyed great success in recent years under the ownership of Tony Bloom, establishing themselves in the Premier League.
This season they have lost key players such as Marc Cucurella, Leandro Trossard and Yves Bissouma and even their manager Graham Potter.
But substitute Robert De Zerbi has been a revelation, leading them to a Europa League spot next year.
This means Albion will play in Europe for the first time in their history, writing new chapters at the Amex Stadium.