David Beckham is one of the most accomplished athletes of all time. A highly decorated football player, the 45-year-old has had a storied career. Having played for the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and, most famously of all, Manchester United, Beckham was a consummate professional. Charismatic and affable, he is one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
A shrewd businessman, and a highly photogenic one to boot, Beckham is much more than an ex-footballer. He is a brand. He is the ultimate metrosexual. He is a fashion icon. A sex symbol. A father. A husband. An icon. An ambassador.
Nicknamed “Golden Balls” by his wife Victoria, Beckham appears to have the Midas touch. Be it underpants or aftershave, everything he touches turns to gold…. Well, almost everything.
On Sunday evening, Inter Miami CF were defeated by LA Galaxy. Beckham, the current president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF, watched on from the stands as his team lost 3-2. Losing is not something Beckham is familiar with. After all, the man is a serial winner. Inter Miami, however, simply excel at losing.
The club made its Major League Soccer (MLS) debut in the 2020 season, and twelve months later, Inter Miami’s results leave a lot to be desired. So far, the team has played 24 league games, losing 14 of them and drawing 3. Last season, the club finished 10th among 14 teams in the Eastern Conference.
Although Beckham has repeatedly talked about his desire to sign the biggest names in world football – people like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi – fans must instead settle for names like Ryan Shawcross and Federico Higuaín, two very average players with limited abilities. In many ways, Inter Miami represents the city in which it operates, a somewhat chaotic place crammed with ageing millionaires.
For a football club to thrive, recruitment is key. A quick look at Inter Miami’s roster leaves football fans scratching their heads. The defense and midfield look weak, and the club’s attacking options look limited.
Furthermore, Beckham’s desire to appoint Phil Neville, one of his closest friends, as team manager may very well prove to be the worst decision of his professional career. As products of Manchester United’s youth academy, Beckham and Neville’s relationship is more than three decades old. The two also happen to be co-owners of Salford City, a small club in England. Their knowledge of football is clearly broad. Their love of the game is undeniable. However, considering Neville has never managed a men’s football team, why was he offered the job in the first place?
Players, fans, and pundits know that Neville was appointed because he is one of Beckham’s closest friends. This is problematic on many levels. A manager is an integral cog in a football club’s machinery. Without an appropriate leader, someone with experience of actually managing a men’s football team, how can Neville help the club grow? Beckham’s desire to mix the personal with the professional could prove to be a very costly error.
Speaking of costly errors, Beckham’s club has been found guilty of making one. By violating Major League Soccer’s budget rules, Inter Miami now face major sanctions. Interestingly, when choosing the name for the club, Miami Vice made the three-name shortlist. Considering the club is in clear violation of MLS rules, Vice seems more appropriate than ever. The club is a mess, arguably one of the worst run clubs in the history of the MLS.
What does the future fold for Beckham and Inter Miami? We don’t know, but Beckham’s charm and charisma can only carry the team so far. Football is, first and foremost, a business, a ruthless one to add. Results matter. Performance matters. The accumulation of silverware matters. Score lines matter. Winning matters. Beckham has big dreams for this club, but first Inter Miami needs to win an actual game.