'Class of 92' blueprint for Miami: Beckham

David Beckham wants to emulate Manchester United's tradition of youth development as he looks to build success with his new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in Miami.

The English football superstar was celebrating yesterday morning (Singapore time), after his four-year 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, as controversy ensues over the building of a 25,000-seater stadium in Overtown, a deprived area of downtown Miami where Beckham's ownership group has purchased a plot of land which will eventually cost in excess of US$25 million (S$32m).

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

Brand Beckham, however, is alive and well in South Florida and, of course, it wasn't long before player 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 need 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 a trophy-laden journey under Sir 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 replicate that success in Miami.

"I have already had so many calls from top players and, of course, you need to bring some superstars in," said Beckham who stressed 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. 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 very successful. We were successful only because of the players we came in with - Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, etc. as well as a manager like Alex Ferguson." - AFP