Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, briefly ignited the conversation over Manchester United’s future by tweeting that he was purchasing the ailing Premier League team, only to later clarify that the tweet was part of a “long-running joke.”
He did not make it obvious how he felt about star striker Cristiano Ronaldo’s discontent or the contentious new coach Eric ten Hag’s insistence on passing out from the back, but he did state that if he were to purchase a sports team, “it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid”.
The outspoken businessman’s statement provided hope—albeit momentarily—to supporters who want to get rid of the team’s present owners, the Florida-based Glazer family since the squad is currently anchored to the bottom of the league following a humiliating 4-0 away loss to Brentford.
Musk, who is known for his irreverent tweets, later clarified that he was not purchasing any sports franchises.
According to its current stock market valuation, buying United, one of the biggest football teams in the world, would have cost Musk at least £2 billion.
The Glazers, who acquired Manchester United in a highly leveraged deal for £790 million ($955.51 million) in 2005, are facing rising fan protests as a result of the club’s recent on-field struggles.
After United participated in an unsuccessful attempt to establish a breakaway European Super League last year, the anti-Glazer campaign gathered steam.
But given Musk’s penchant for making rash statements and running afoul of market regulators, a takeover by the billionaire would have been a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for the club.
Many others were quick to point out that Musk has also boasted about colonising Mars and increasing birthrates on Earth. He also offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion before the deal fell through in July.
Given the club’s modest standing and the fact that it was used to finishing towards the top of the league rather than at the bottom, the fans’ reactions were a mix of confusion and optimism.
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