David Beckham’s Inter Miami have certainly been in the media spotlight during their inaugural season in Major League Soccer, whether that would be due to inconsistent results, financial investigations or other controversies. Before the season had even begun, Inter were already in the headlines as the target of a lawsuit from Italian side, Football Club Internazionale Milano, more commonly known as Inter Milan. The belief in the Inter Milan camp was that the use of the word ‘Inter’ was wrongly used from Inter Miami due to a trademark application from the Italian side back in 2014. With the backing of the MLS, this was quickly challenged, and though not quite resolved, Inter Miami have certainly bought themselves time while the proceedings slow.
Is Phil Neville Up To The Job?
The next issue for debate, is whether former English Premier League professional, Phil Neville, is the qualified man to spearhead Miami’s first (and future) MLS campaigns. There is no doubt that Neville was a solid professional during his playing days, amassing hundreds of appearances through a lengthy career with Manchester United and Everton, while acquiring 59 caps for the England national team. However, his current managerial record speaks in a different rhetoric. Neville’s only formal managerial experience comes from his time managing the England Women’s national team, where he attained an average win record of 54%. Though not a terrible record; his only campaign in a tournament setting (2019 Women’s World Cup) ended in defeat in the Semi-Final to the US Women’s National Team. Though a World Cup Semi-Final can’t be quite considered disastrous, this was England Women’s third consecutive semi-final, something Neville was hired to rectify, and progress further. Neville also holds a UEFA Pro License and was part of David Moyes’ coaching team at Manchester United. The footballing brain is there, but without solid statistics to back up his qualifications, questions still loom over Neville’s suitability as manager of Inter Miami. To say that Neville’s first season has been underwhelming, would be an understatement. Miami made headlines earlier this season for their 6 game losing streak, perhaps the wrong reasons to be in the spotlight. Even though they seemed to have turned a corner with a recent upturn of results; the squad at Neville’s disposal includes stars such as Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Kieran Gibbs. Pairing this with serious financial backing, there is no reason Miami shouldn’t be competing at the top of the table this year, rather than looming around the bottom.
Just a Brand?
The name ‘Beckham’, was enough to stir up interest in the prospective ‘Inter Miami’ from the moment the club name was announced in 2018. Beckham has already made a brand of himself within industries such as fashion and fragrance, and his latest adventure is surely his biggest. The question that stands out however, is why? The MLS is not a global league, and rules within the league including no promotion or relegation, a play-off structure at the end of the season and no access to major world competitions like the European Champions league; it isn’t hard to see why the MLS has a much smaller following. If Beckham was to invest into a side ready to compete in world football, would it not have made more sense to invest in a team that plays in the European Leagues. Take Actor Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s takeover of Welsh side Wrexham. Though not a team in the top divisions, the long term plan is clearly there to see in terms of success in the English football league. There is no doubt that within the US, Miami will always be relevant seeing as they can never be relegated and will always compete with the other top American teams. Also, with the MLS attempting to bring top games such as the El Classico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid) to the US, as well as other La Liga games, the MLS is clearly heading in a direction that would give it more global recognition.
As of this moment, we must give Beckham and Inter Miami the benefit of the doubt. The baby pink themed side are new to Major League Soccer, and are establishing themselves as a real side in the league. Though nearer the bottom, they are above established teams Toronto and NY Red Bulls, and with smart moves in the next transfer window Miami will surely compete nearer the top end of the league next season. The MLS is on the rise, and with brands such as Inter Miami receiving such media spotlight, the only way is up.