Class of ‘92 blue­print for Mi­ami, says Becks

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Sport -

DAVID Beck­ham wants to em­u­late Manch­ester United’s tra­di­tion of youth de­vel­op­ment as he looks to build suc­cess with his new Ma­jor League Soc­cer fran­chise in Mi­ami.

The English foot­ball su­per­star was cel­e­brat­ing on Mon­day af­ter his fouryear wait to own an MLS fran­chise came to end in a glitzy press con­fer­ence in Florida.

Good luck mes­sages were beamed to the new team’s ex­cited South­ern Le­gion fan group from the likes of Ney­mar, Tom Brady, Usain Bolt and Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ter Will Smith.

There is still no name for the team or logo, while con­tro­versy over the build­ing of a 25 000-seater sta­dium in Over­town, a de­prived area of down­town Mi­ami where Beck­ham’s own­er­ship group have pur­chased a plot of land which will even­tu­ally cost in ex­cess of $25m (R300m).

A le­gal case against the sale of one part of the land re­mains on­go­ing and won’t be set­tled un­til June.

“This is a pos­i­tive story,” Beck­ham said when asked about ap­peas­ing those who are against his plans. “We want to be good neigh­bours.”

Brand Beck­ham, how­ever, is alive and well in South Florida and, of course, it wasn’t long be­fore play­ers’ names were be­ing thrown into the mix as he took ques­tions.

“Cris­tiano Ron­aldo? You’d have to ask him,” Beck­ham said when quizzed if he would be mak­ing a move for the Por­tuguese su­per­star.

Nat­u­rally, a team in Mi­ami needs a big name to push ticket sales and get the mar­ket­ing men in­ter­ested.

Yet Beck­ham knows about the im­por­tance of nur­tur­ing from within.

The for­mer Real Madrid mid­fielder was part of the fa­mous Class of ‘92 who came through the ranks at Manch­ester United and helped take the club on an un­for­get­table, tro­phy-laden jour­ney un­der Alex Fer­gu­son.

Beck­ham, along with Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Sc­holes and Ryan Giggs were the cream of United’s crop and the new owner of the 25th MLS fran­chise wants to cre­ate some­thing sim­i­lar in Mi­ami.

“I have al­ready had so many calls from top play­ers and of course you need to bring some su­per­stars in,” Beck­ham said.

He said close friend Gary Neville wouldn’t be con­sid­ered for a man­age­rial role be­cause “he talks too much”.

“There are so many names I would love to bring in,” Beck­ham said.

“We want to reach for the stars. Mi­ami needs a star and that’s what we plan on do­ing 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 so 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 suc­cess­ful. We were only suc­cess­ful be­cause of the play­ers we came in with, Roy Keane, Eric Can­tona as well as a man­ager like Alex Fer­gu­son.

“That’s where my ex­pe­ri­ence comes in. I un­der­stand the acad­e­mies 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 it’s not go­ing to be but I want to fo­cus on the phi­los­o­phy of the club and the team.” – AFP

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

CEL­E­BRAT­ING: David Beck­ham at a press con­fer­ence in Mi­ami on an­nounc­ing the grant­ing of a MLS fran­chise.

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