David Beckham launches new MLS franchise in Miami
Written by: Manas Pratim Kashyap
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid ace was also a part of Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.
World-renowned football icon David Beckham will now own a Major League Soccer franchise. Putting an end to a 4-year long wait, the decision was announced on Monday by MLS commissioner Don Garber in Florida in a glittering ceremony. This will be the 25th franchise in the MLS and will be based in Miami as the city was granted an expansion side as the previous side Miami Fusion was shut down way back in 2001.
Speaking on the occasion, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid hero said to the BBC, “I'm excited to bring this great team to this great city - it has been a hell of a journey. I promise you the team we will bring into the league will be the best team.”
A host of international celebrities including his kids and wife Victoria, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Tom Brady, Hollywood’s Will Smith, Jay Z and Jennifer Lopez congratulated the ex-England captain via a special video message and wished him all the luck for his newest venture.
Beckham left Real Madrid in 2007 and joined the MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy on a 5-year contract. He later signed a 2-year extension but decided to cut short his contract by a year to pursue footballing challenges elsewhere. It is worth mentioning that the original Galaxy contract gave him the right to purchase an MLS team and Beckham planned to exercise that option once his playing days were over.Finally, the idea saw broad daylight on Monday evening after the official announcement but the club is unnamed as of now.
The delay in the announcement was caused due to ongoing disputes over the site for the stadium. It was Bruce Matheson, a wealthy business magnate, who sued the local administration claiming that the proposed land for the site was sold below fair value and without a competitive bidding process. But the judgement was declared favouring Beckham’s plan.
ISL Week 12 Preview: Mumbai host Jamshedpur in battle of playoffs hopefuls as incumbents look to cement spots
“This is a positive story. We want to be good neighbours,” said Beckham taking a dig at those who are against his plans. Although everything looks to be heading in the right direction, but it is learnt that the case won’t be settled until June as the businessman plans to appeal against the verdict.
David Beckham team launch press conference (Courtesy: Beanyman Sports)
"I joined Galaxy because I realised the long-term potential in this league," Beckham said.
"I moved from Real Madrid to a league that wasn't fully established yet - that was a big move and one I knew was going to be a big challenge but an exciting challenge. Commissioner Garber came to me and sat down and explained the plan of this league and where he wanted to take it - I was in from day one," he added.
It is widely believed that Beckham would like to model his new side in the line of Manchester United’s famous “Class of 92”.
On being asked if people could get to watch any big name playing, Beckham said, “There are so many names I would love to bring in. We want to reach for the stars. Miami needs a star and that’s what we plan to do but my dream is to create a state-of-the-art academy where we have a hotbed of talent and bring kids through just like we did at United.”
“That will make us proud. We were a unique group of kids who saved United so much money over the years. We all came in during 1992 and were very successful. We were only successful because of the players we came in with – (Roy) Keane, (Eric) Cantona etc. as well as a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson.”
He further elaborated his plans saying, “That’s where my experience comes in. I understand the academics where you save money (I am talking like an owner now) and where you bring these talented kids through. If you can do that it would be incredible. The ownership group have made it clear, my role is to look for the right manager. It doesn’t have to be a big name. I am not saying its not going to be but I want to focus on the philosophy of the club and the team. That’s what I want to build towards.”
Published: Wed Jan 31, 2018 07:52 PM IST