MIAMI: David Beckham has been told he faces “the biggest challenge in sports” in trying to resurrect a football team in Miami — from the manager of the club that folded.
Ray Hudson was in charge of the Miami Fusion, which went under more than a decade ago after failing to capture the imagination of a Miami public that already has the best NBA team in the land.
“It’s the biggest challenge in sports I can imagine,” said Hudson, a former Newcastle United player who was manager of the Fusion from 2000 to 2001. The club was dissolved the same year.
“With the history of sports in this area, it’s sufficient to put anyone off. The bling of Beckham is not going to be enough. It’s not going to be,” he told reporters after Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he was to build a Major League Soccer team in the city.
“He fully recognizes that . . . He’s going to have to build a great chain of people. All the right people with the right credentials. The best of the best.”
Hudson, who is now a football commentator in the United States, told the MLS official website: “The allure of Miami is like the call of the sirens.
“He’s got to be like Jason and the Argonauts in his search for the golden fleece. This is what Beckham is going to have to be. It just has to be flawless, basically.”
Beckham’s ambitious franchise, which is not expected to take to the field until 2016 at the earliest, is the third attempt at making a football team work in south Florida.
Before the Fusion, there was the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which is no longer in the top US league.
“This area has been wounded in the past and they don’t forget,” said Hudson. “But this is another generation from the Strikers and the Fusion. Those fans are virtually grandparents now.
“These kids today are dying to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and who knows who Beckham will bring in. It’ll be someone from that clout. It’s not going to be enough.
“It’s got to be more. The rest of the links of the chain have to be strong and they have a chance.”