Why did Elon Musk tweet about buying Manchester United?
The beleaguered former football powerhouse have been struggling for the best part of a decade. Could Musk be the owner to drag them out of their slump?
Elon Musk is not scared of the spotlight, as evidenced by recent antics concerning social media giant Twitter. This time, he has floated the idea of buing English football club Manchester United.
If his calamitous deal with Twitter is anything to go by, perhaps fans of the Red Devils should be worried. Instead, tongues are wagging at the prospect, “Big if true” commented Bleacher Report. At this stage nothing is certain and Musk’s word on social media can rarely be trusted.
At present, Manchester United are a publicly listed company, though they are fully owned by the Glazer family. In recent years there has been big fan pushback against their ownership due to a host of problems the club is experiencing.
Why are United fans so unhappy with the ownership of the Glazers?
Since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 the club has stagnated with a high manager turnover rate and multiple big-money flops such as Paul Pogba and Angel de Maria to name a couple.
This came to an almighty head in the fallout of the European Super League (ESL) debacle in 2021. A fan revolt against plans to break up English football led to the postponement of a game against Liverpool. It did not take long for the owners to back down and apologise with an open letter saying the Glazers would “better communicate” with fans.
This communication has yet to materalise. Former United great turned pundit Gary Neville has been particularly scathing of the role the Glazers play, or rather don’t play, in the club.
Big criticism has been levied at the finances between the Glazers and United. The original buyout was enabled with the use of loans which were offset against the assets of Manchester United, causing a perpetual debt which has yet to be resolved. It is thought that the current debt sits at more than half a billion pounds with a tenth of that paid each year in interest payments. Protests against this back in 2004 were not enough to stop the sale.
While there has been significant investment in players, many other aspects of the club seem to be floundering. The ageing stadium of Old Trafford gazes hungrily at the reconstruction plans at rivals Liverpool, Arsenal, and cross-city enemies Manchester City. The latter is a particular sting; while United have fallen by the wayside, City has risen to their cousin’s empty plinth as the hegemon of English football. The training facilities at Carrington, once the envy of clubs of Europe, is waiting on a multi-million pound uplift.
Considering these swathes of problems, it should come as no surprise that fans would take a chance with Elon Musk compared to the current ownership.