Miami (AFP) – David Beckham insists patience is key as the former England captain enters his third season as an owner this weekend following a difficult start in Major League Soccer for his Inter Miami franchise.
Beckham has seen the team he purchased for a cut price $25 million as part of the deal to join the LA Galaxy in 2007 — teams are now valued upwards of $400 million — struggle to reach the stellar heights of his own playing days.
Beckham’s high standards – and a fierce desire to win – remain yet with former team-mate, and old friend, Phil Neville working in tandem with experienced sporting director Chris Henderson, Miami appear to have suitably rebooted after winning just 12 times last season.
Myriad problems on and off the field in south Florida have caused all manner of distractions yet the 46-year-old is keeping the faith.
“What we have learned from the last few years is to have a little bit of patience,” Beckham told reporters in a Zoom call on Friday ahead of Saturday’s MLS opener against the Chicago Fire.
“My wife will say I don’t have much but as an owner, and someone that has high expectations , you have to have a little bit of patience. I’ve needed it over the last eight years to bring this club into this great city and into this league.
“And in the last two years, I have had to learn to have even more.
“Everybody knows the expectations and pressures that we have. Yes, the last couple of years haven’t lived up to exactly what we wanted. But I think when we step back and look at the last eight years, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.”
– Raft of changes –
With allocated transfer money reduced following a lengthy MLS investigation into the signing of Blaise Matuidi, the French World Cup winning midfielder, the task of attempting to emulate reigning champions, the Abu Dhabi-owned New York City FC, has become harder.
Nevertheless, coach Neville enters his second campaign in charge with a new look squad and a firm belief that missing the play-offs again will not happen.
A significant raft of changes have seen 15 players from last season’s roster leave including higher-earning designated players like Rodolfo Pizarro, the Mexican international, and Matuidi, who is in discussions to end his contract a year early, whose departures have freed up space in what was an underperforming group.
The most intriguing arrival is Leonardo Campana, the Ecuador international forward on-loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, who will aim to take the pressure off star player Gonzalo Higuain who at 34 years -old is potentially entering the final season of his glittering career.
“Everything that has been done behind the scenes has been very impressive,” Beckham said.
“And that’s one of the reasons why we as owners wanted to bring someone like Phil because it wasn’t just his experience in the game.
“His professionalism, hard work and his commitment was one of the biggest reasons for bringing him into this club. Stability is also important and of course, we need to be successful on the field.
“But when you look at the great clubs around the world, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, the work that Jurgen Klopp has done within Liverpool behind the scenes is one of the reasons why they’re so successful on the field.
“And, that’s why I think the work that Phil has done has been incredible. Our relationship is professional but whatever happens, we will always be friends.”
The pressure on Beckham – and Neville – remains but Inter Miami appear to finally have their house in order after a rough introduction to the League.
“For a team to gel, in a way it’s easier if there are a lot of changes – they have had no choice but to bond. We have worked hard during pre-season,” said Neville, whose family have settled well in Florida.
“It will take time but we are in a good place.”
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