Elon Musk buying Manchester United: Will the world's richest man become Red Devils' owner?

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The football world is abuzz after the world's richest man Elon Musk declared he wanted to buy Manchester United.

Tesla's chief executive officer made the random statement on social media during a post on Tuesday.

The Sporting News dissects whether the billionaire could become the Red Devils' owner as criticism and negativity continues to swell around the club's current owners.

How did Elon Musk announce he was buying Manchester United?

Following a tweet about his political allegiances, Musk randomly added afterwards that he would be buying Manchester United.

"Also, I'm buying Manchester United ur (sic) welcome," the tech billionaire posted on his Twitter account.

Musk has not previously been linked to wanting to purchase the Premier League giants before.

Manchester United's current owners - The Glazer family - have yet to make a comment about the claim.

Is Elon Musk serious about becoming Manchester United's owner?

Initially it was unclear if Musk was serious about his pledge to buy Manchester United.

Musk is known to make irreverent tweets that the meaning is often unclear about and a short while later he clarified that he was in fact joking about buying the club.

When asked if he was serious about a purchase he replied: "No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams."

He added: "Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid."

Do Manchester United fans want Elon Musk as their owner?

As mentioned below with the protests and discontent at Manchester United's current ownership structure, it's likely the majority of supporters would welcome a change in the hierarchy.

Earlier this year, there was even a group of Manchester United fans who tweeted Musk asking them to buy the club, as reported by Stretty News.

They urged Musk to buy the Premier League giants instead of Twitter - which the billionaire is currently trying to acquire.

Who are Manchester United's current owners?

The Glazer family are the current owners of Manchester United.

Their ownership of United is built from Malcolm Glazer's original purchase of the club in 2005.

U.S. businessman Glazer gradually built up his investment stake in United from 2003, buying out previous majority shareholders JP McManus and John Magnier, before rapidly acquiring a majority stake and eventually launching a full buyout via investment company Red Football.

However, due to Glazer's poor health from 2006 onwards, his sons Joel and Avram took on the majority of the day-to-day running of United, with the pair now co-chairmen at Old Trafford.

Following the senior Glazer's death in 2014, his remaining 90 percent controlling stake in United was shared equally between Joel, Avram and his four other children, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward, who all hold director roles.

Why do Manchester United fans dislike the Glazers?

United fan distaste for the Glazers dates back to their original takeover with supporter groups publicly voicing their disagreement over the deal.

Some fans tried to block the sale, similar to their revolt against Rupert Murdoch's bid in the early 90's, with phoenix groups attempting to buy smaller blocks of shares to frustrate the Glazers.

The eventual sale caused a split within United fans, with those completely opposed to it, forming the breakaway club of FC United of Manchester in the non-league pyramid, as concerns of debt association persisted.

Issues over saddling debt onto United is the primary concern for fans with United virtually debt-free prior to the arrival of the Glazers.

Some sections of fans are unhappy at a perceived detachment of the Glazers from the practicalities of running a Premier League club.

The attempted European Super League move has been viewed as a deal breaker by the majority of supporters however, with the ownership's disregard for fans pushing thousands of them to protest.

Have there been other protests against the Glazers?

Protests over the Glazers have been ever present across the last two decades stretching from the creation of FC United in 2005 and the 'Love United Hate Glazer' banners at Old Trafford through the fan-backed Red Knights in 2010, who wanted to reduce the club debt, and they continue to the present day.

In 2018-19 fans charted planes to fly a 'Glazers Out' banner over Old Trafford, and away grounds, with the emerging fan groups continuing the message of spiraling debts being the main concern, not on-pitch performances.

The 2021 storming of Old Trafford made headlines across the globe, as United fans reignited their anger, alongside millions of other fans opposed to their own club's involvement in the Super League project.

What other sports teams do the Glazers own?

Alongside United, the Glazers have a longstanding ownership of NFL team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, following Malcolm Glazer's original purchase in 1995.

Glazer bought the club for an NFL franchise record fee of $192 million before passing control over to son Bryan in the early 2000s.

Author(s)
Kieran Francis is a senior editor at Sporting News Australia.
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