BECKHAM’S MIAMI GRIPE

FROM STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

As Manchester footballing royalty arrive in Miami for pre-season matches, spare a thought for one of the city’s most famous sporting sons.

David Beckham’s legacy at Old Trafford is of course long since secure, but the former England captain must be pulling out his hair in frustration as he tries to bring the beautiful game permanently to the Magic City.

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A TRUE HERO

BY STEVE BRENNER

Tim Don will never forget the pain. The agony coursing through his veins. Arguably one of the greatest ever British athletes — yet relatively unknown — had been reduced to a quivering wreck with a medieval-looking brace known as a halo screwed into his head to heal a broken neck.

Friends and family were just relieved a collision with a car while training on his bike two days before the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October 2017 was not fatal. Someone in the house, however, was not happy.

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FRIENDLY? THAT’S A DIRTY WORD

FROM STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

Charlie Stillitano knows exactly when everything fell into place. “I sat down with José Mourinho in 2003 and he said. ‘I want to play really hard games,’” the New Yorker, who appears to be friends with every football A-lister, tells the Guardian.

“José was the first person to not just embrace it, but demand it. Sir Alex Ferguson later wrote he learned something from José about getting ready to start the season. It was like total stamp-endorsing.”

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PEP HAS SET STANDARD FOR CITY’S GLOBAL PUSH

Steve Brenner in New York

Patrick Vieira is attempting to illustrate Manchester City’s global standing with a piece of paper and three pens. “Manchester United and Liverpool are here,” the manager of City’s American sister club, New York City FC, says pointing to the top of his notepad before sliding a finger down the page. “We are here,” he adds. “But we can reach the top.”

While the aforementioned Premier League rivals certainly possess significantly larger fanbases in key market areas such as the Far East and United States, City’s quest to gatecrash the party is relentless. The rich, trophy-laden histories emanating from Old Trafford and Anfield are impossible to recreate, no matter how much money is available from the club’s powerbrokers in Abu Dhabi. History cannot be brought.

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VIEIRA WANTS TO REPLACE WENGER

 

 

Exclusive by Steve Brenner in New York

Patrick Vieira is open to the opportunity of returning to Arsenal after the end of Arsène Wenger’s 22-year reign.

The Frenchman, who is managing New York City in MLS, admitted that it would be difficult to leave his role within the City Football Group, but he said he was ready to coach in Europe.

Vieira has worked for CFG since 2013, first as a reserve team and academy coach in Manchester before moving to the United States. He sees his immediate future in New York but, with a three-year deal signed in November 2015 set to expire before the end of this year, Vieira would not dismiss the chance of going back to Arsenal, where he became an international star under Wenger.

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A NEW DAWN FOR MIAMI TENNIS

FROM STEVE BRENNER IN KEY BISCAYNE

When the last ball is hit at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne this weekend, tennis sentimentalists will shed a tear. For the past 32 years Crandon Park has hosted a tournament once heralded as the ‘fifth slam’, a moniker which has weakened along with the decay of a venue badly in need of an update it will never get.

Instead, with upgrades blocked by legal wranglings and environmental concerns, the tournament will move north to the recently renovated Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.

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MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS FOR BECKS

STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

There was no name. No badge. Not even a mention of a stadium. Yet just the mere presence of David Beckham was enough to get the MLS party started in Miami.

“It is with tremendous pride that we welcome Miami to Major League Soccer,” Commissioner Don Garber said.

And with that, the 300 members of the Southern Legion, a very excitable fan group who’ve been dreaming about this moment ever since Beckham first went public with his intentions on February 5th 2014, boomed out their delight, serenading the former England captain and members of his ownership group. In 2020, they will finally see this team take to the field.

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BECKHAM’S MIAMI PROBLEM

 

STEVE BRENNER IN MIAMI

It’s approaching four years – 1,454 days to be exact – since David Beckham flashed that knowing smile and announced his intentions to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.

What has transpired since, however, has been a severe kick in the Golden Balls.

Beckham is poised to announce here in the “Magic City” on Monday that he’s finally ticked all the boxes to become the owner of MLS’s 25th franchise.

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MADDMAN INDEED

BY STEVE BRENNER

Steve Madden is exhausted.

A whirlwind tour to promote Maddman: The Steve Madden Story — a brilliant and unexpected film that delves into the life of the irrepressible shoe czar — has led him to one of his namesake stores in South Beach. It’s one of more than 100 locations in the United States and 250 in 65-plus countries worldwide.

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EL CLASICO COMES TO MIAMI

STEVE BRENNER

MIAMI — An excitable, well-heeled crowd gathered in the Brickell City Centre shopping complex, camera phones poised.

Paolo Maldini, the legendary Italian soccer player, smiled back. He was in good company: a handful of current stars of the world game — Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and Luis Suárez — were there, too.

Well, at least their faces were. Faces made out of moss.

“Soccer is the most powerful sport in the world,” said Paloma Teppa, the founder of the botanical art gallery Plant the Future, who had created the works with the local muralist Andrew Antonaccio. “So combining it with Mother Nature is a wonderful thing.”

Teppa, an Argentine, said she was unsure if any of the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in town for a match this weekend had seen the portraits, but it hardly seemed to matter.

The seeds of soccer fascination had been sown wide here for the past few weeks as everyone, it seems — artists and performers, reporters and marketers, small shops and big brands — tried to attach themselves to Saturday night’s big show: a highly priced matchup between Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium. A total of 66,014 people were said to attend, some of them paying $500— or much, much more — for the chance to watch Barcelona’s 3-2 win from the stadium’s upper reaches.

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