PARTY IN THE CITY WHERE THE HEAT IS ON
When David Beckham announced his intention to buy a new Major League Soccerball franchise in Miami, he was asked which three players it would like to sign. “It would be disrespectful for me to say which players I want in the team,” he cooed, ever the diplomat. “But we have a list of players. I’ve been fortunate to play with some of the best players in the world and some of them are calling me up to ask me when Miami is happening.”
And while the notion of Roy Keane, Ronaldinho and Luis Figo all having been stuck on hold listening to Will Smith’s Miami on a loop for the past six years is an amusing one, neither they nor any other of Beckham’s former teammates will be on the field when Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (aka Inter Miami) line up against Los Angeles FC to play their first MLS game this Sunday. There have been pitfalls along the way: an inability to get permission to build a sw@nky new stadium in Miami’s bijoux downtown waterfront area, the protracted construction of the team’s 25,000-seater alternative in Miami Freedom Park and an ongoing legal battle with Italian side Internazionale that could yet force an embarrassing climbdown and name change.
Of course, should the unthinkable occur, this tea-timely email’s moody, bestubbled, Miami-dwelling, Corvette-driving, Ray-Ban-Wayfarers-pink-pastel-T-shirt-and-Armani-jacket-wearing, drug-busting cousin Sonny Crockett Fiver is willing to give up his claim to Miami Vice. “There’s been moments where I doubted it would happen,” chirped Becks, who owns the franchise along with four businessmen who have even more money than he does. “People turned around to me and said, y’know: ‘Why don’t you take your franchise to another city?’ I always knew Miami is the city and the fact that we are now a few days away from starting the season is very exciting.”
Coached by former Uruguayan international Diego Alonso, boasting a roster of players The Fiver has never heard of and ready to play in a kit that will be all too familiar to supporters of London hipster club Dulwich Hamlet, Beckham’s dream will become a reality this weekend. But while he always knew Miami would be the city, it won’t be the city for at least two years until their new stadium is ready. Until then, fans of the team that “was always destined to be based in Miami” will be driving 45 minutes up the Florida coast to their temporary digs in Fort Lauderdale.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I heard yesterday that if we win the league, we will have a medal. I never knew that happened” – Sadio Mané there, revealing how out of practice Liverpool have got in the 30 years since they last won the title.
“Amidst talk of renaming their Big Cup exit tradition in these pages, it’s heartening the Gunners aren’t taking that slight lying down. It’s Big Vase nowadays, and while there may have been 32 teams left, let ‘the Round of Arsenal’ continue” – Jonathan Alphonsus.
“John Carver’s impressive win record at Newcastle (yesterday’s Fiver letters) is ‘bettered’ by Alan Shearer’s 12.5% win rate. Alan’s solitary victory was against Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough, make of that what you will” – Vic Rushton.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has revealed that the threat of coronavirus has led to a ban on handshakes at the club’s training ground. “We’ve stopped that on the advice of our club doctor,” said Bruce. “We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next.” Meanwhile at West Ham, David Moyes added: “We’ve also agreed to no shaking hands at the moment, just fist bumps.”
Swiss league suits have called off all of this weekend’s matches after the government banned large events expected to draw more than 1,000 people as a measure to curb the coronavirus epidemic.
Coronavirus has also forced the ding-dong Serie A clash between Juventus and Inter to be played behind closed doors in Turin on Sunday.
Copenhagen forward Michael Santos and a steward have been charged over an alleged assault on a Glasgow police officer during their Big Vase win over the Queen’s Celtic.
Your Big Vase last-16 draw is right here.
Aston Villa have recorded a loss of £69m for the last financial year, which is probably good news for fans of £80m-rated Union Jack Grealish.
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte will miss the Rumbelows Cup final with Villa after the hamstring-twang he suffered in Madrid was deemed serious enough to keep him out for a month.
Mikel Arteta almost shed hot salty tears of woe after Arsenal were dumped out of Big Vase by Olympiakos. “It hurts, big time,” he sniffed. “We had a lot of hope in this competition … sometimes it is very cruel.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is confident that his Manchester United side will be nothing like the sorry shower who got whacked 4-0 by Everton last season when they revisit Goodison on Sunday. “That was the lowest I’ve been. That was a capitulation. I can with hand on heart 100% say these boys will never give in and never give up like that team did,” he blabbed, inviting trouble.
And Woking have signed former England international Matt Jarvis.
STILL WANT MORE?
Authorities are scared of jailed Football Leaks founder Rui Pinto, who may have more damaging info on hard drives which only his head knows the passwords to. Ed Aarons has more.
“Goodbye to our history for nothing”: Stephen Cross explains why West Ham fans will protest against Gollivan and Karren Brady on Saturday.
Ten things to look out for this weekend in the Premier League and Milk Cup.
Meanwhile, Pep has Bob Paisley’s record in his sights as Manchester City seek a Rumbelows Cup treble, writes Paul Wilson.
Magda Eriksson has her eyes on the Continental Cup to complete her haul of shiny silver pots at Chelsea, explains Suzanne Wrack.
The winner and runner-up on Granny Fiver’s TV favourite Love Island were both footballers. Why is sport such a natural fit for reality TV, wonders Gavin Willacy.
And Inter Miami finally kick off but will Miami give a flying one, asks Chris Smith. Anyone who does care might want to read this on MLS’s best new players of 2020, featuring Rodolfo Pizarro and young pup Javier Hernández.
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