Being The Boss: Players Who Own Their Own Team

Tom Dunstan

When a player finally decides that it’s time to hang up their boots, they’re almost spoilt for choice in what to do next. Some make the transition into management, some try their hand at punditry, others become a scout.

But, unlike some players who might own a few shares in a club, a handful of stars have taken it one step further and actually bought their very own team.

David Beckham – Miami MLS (Unnamed)

After David Beckham arrived in the MLS in 2007, his profile is arguably the flame that lit the US soccer revolution.

Bizarrely enough, upon Beckham’s much-anticipated arrival in LA, the MLS commissioner was the one who actually offered the former England captain the chance to purchase an expansion team for just $25million. After retiring in 2013, Beckham accepted the offer and the plans were underway.

But, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Beckham, despite numerous set backs regarding planning permission for his new stadium, it looks like Becks might have finally got his Miami wish and although they still might not have a name, they will look to be the next MLS powerhouse come 2020.

Didier Drogba – Phoenix Rising

What’s the best way to guarantee you will get a game come Saturday afternoon? Just go and buy the team.

In England, we used to love a good player/manager, but the former king of Stamford Bridge has taken it one step further by becoming football’s first player/owner.

In April 2017, Drogba announced himself as the marque signing and the new boss of the United Soccer League’s side Pheonix Rising. The five-time Premier League champion has big plans for his side tho, Drogba is hoping that Phoenix will soon be playing among the MLS elite within the next two years.

But, even now at 39, the boss is still showing his new team how to do it.


Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville & Phil Neville – Salford City

Although one member of the Class of 92 might be looking for a more glamorous adventure in Miami, the rest of the class have decided to keep it more local.

In 2014, five of Manchester United’s most iconic figures decided to purchase non-league Salford City and it’s already been quite the journey.

Only three years ago the club was sat in English football’s eighth tier, but under the guidance of the United legends, Salford has enjoyed back-to-back promotions and currently sit second in the National League North, only two steps away from the professional ranks.

With a new 5000 seater stadium on the horizon and their new owners installing the clubs first youth team, things look on the rise for the Ammies.

Paolo Maldini – Miami FC

While everyone including David Beckham expected the former England skipper to be the first man running a Miami based franchise, his former AC Millan teammate and Italian legend Paolo Maldini sneaked in as the pioneer.

In 2015 Maldini signed up as the new owner of North American Soccer League (NASL) side Miami FC. Unsurprisingly, during a career spanning nearly a quarter of a century, Maldini has made some friends along the way and his connections look to be helping Miami on their way to the MLS.

Since 2016 the side has been managed by another Italian legend, Alessandro Nesta. With Miami winning the Spring season of the NASL, like Drogba in Pheonix, Maldini is hoping come 2020, Miami will be in the big leagues, maybe with a little help from one more legend?

Demba Ba’s consortium – San Diego NASL (Unnamed)

Question? What do Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow all have in common? Well, all four stars currently own NASL expansion side, San Diego.

Much like Beckham in Miami, the team is yet to be named, but, with clearance from the league already being granted, San Diego’s new side will be debuting in American soccer’s second division next season.

The ownership is spearheaded by former Chelsea man Demba Ba, now playing in the Chinese Super League, Ba owns 35% of the club. But with the combined stakes controlled by his other three footballing colleagues, their consortium is the majority owner of the new side.

The four are clearly excited by the new opportunity:

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