Beckham says he is 'passionate' about being a club owner as he admits interest in MLS franchise
Former L.A. Galaxy star says he had contemplated asking Alex Ferguson to manage the side
Onetime England captain was speaking at launch of pictorial book covering his playing career
David Beckham stressed his desire to launch a new Major League Soccer franchise on Wednesday, as the former England captain revealed his passion about becoming a future club owner.
The former L. A. Galaxy star’s potential interest in Miami was leaked on Tuesday, but the footballer-turned-global-icon refused to confirm or deny the reports when speaking at a launch for his new book.
“I’m passionate about staying in football and being an owner of a team is something I’m passionate about,” the 38-year-old said on a show broadcast live on Facebook to his 30 million followers.
“Miami is one of the places we looked at, and we’ve looked at others too.”
Included in the ground-breaking contract he signed with Galaxy in 2007 was the option to create a new MLS team for $25 million, a right that the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan star is now aiming to exercise.
“When I signed my contract six, seven years ago, my manager Simon Fuller actually got a clause in the contract that enabled me to have a franchise at the end of my playing career and obviously now I’ve stopped playing,” Beckham added.
Full details have yet to emerge of how the expansion and its funding may come about in a city whose only previous MLS team – Miami Fusion – was closed in 2002, after just four years in the league.
Yet there is renewed belief that Miami, with many local football fans and a handful of suitable stadiums, could be ready for a new team.
Indeed, Italian financier Alessandro Butini is behind a potential rival bid, having created a website – MIA4MLS.com – earlier this year to drum up support and suggest designs for a new stadium.
Major League Soccer currently has 19 teams, and a 20th club – New York City FC – is set to launch in 2015.
“It’s going to get better and bigger,” said Beckham. “Since I moved there, 11 to 12 teams have come into the league. I have seen the excitement of the people talking about soccer or football.”
Despite being slammed for a preoccupation with fame by Alex Ferguson in his recent autobiography, Beckham refused to slate the former Manchester United manager as he conducted an innovative digital book-signing session.
Instead, he seemed to be half-joking and half-serious when he said he had been hoping to lure the retiree back into the dug-out.
“I’m not going to sit here and be negative about a man who gave me a chance to play for my boyhood team, who I always dreamed of playing for,” said Beckham, who won six Premier League titles and one Uefa Champions League under Ferguson.
“He believed in me and believed in the rest of the young lads who came through this with us.
“The funny thing was I’m involved in the MLS and bringing my own franchise into the league and actually he was one of the first in my phone book to contact as the manager!”
Read: Keane hits back at Ferguson claims
Beckham conceded that such a prospect was no longer likely and further increased the odds when praising Roy Keane, who was once Ferguson’s right-hand man on the pitch but who has since been engaged in a lengthy feud with the 71-year-old.
“For me, Roy Keane is the best captain I’ve ever played under,” said Beckham. “He had two career threatening injuries and he set the example for us young kids. He was the most dedicated and driven player.”
Keane has since stepped into the world of football management, with limited success, but Beckham is adamant he will not be following what is a well-trodden path for many former footballers.
“You should never say never, because something may happen in 10 years’ time which may make me think I should be a manager but I don’t think so,” he explained.
“It’s not something I’m really passionate about. To do something well you have to be passionate about it. I love coaching kids – my own kids and other kids too – but management is something that does not float my boat.”
During his playing career in the United States, Beckham won two MLS titles with Galaxy, prior to joining French side Paris Saint-Germain in January this year.
He played his final game as a professional in May and conceded that his retirement in a match against Brest did not finish in the way he had hoped, as emotion got the better of him.
Read: Beckham makes tearful farewell
“As soon as I announced my retirement, I knew the day was going to be tough – but I didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was,” he revealed on Wednesday.
“I spoke to (coach) Carlo (Ancelotti) before, who told me he would bring me off about 80 minutes. 65 minutes came and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe.
“I got short of breath and I had a real struggle controlling my emotions. I broke down. It was not something I wanted to do, but I couldn’t control it.”
Images of his final game form part of Beckham’s new book, one that takes a pictorial journey through his two decades in the game - even if a whole new chapter looks set to be needed soon.