Having seen eight managers come and go in less than 10 years, Manchester United fans know their false dawns. Wednesday shed a different light on the conflicts within the giant soccer club: Elon Musk said he was buying it – then said it was all a joke.
Musk, the world’s richest person, said early on Wednesday he hadn’t been serious when he tweeted hours earlier that he was going to buy Manchester United Plc, which is now languishing at the foot of the English Premier League as weary fans urge the current owners, the American Glazer family to resell.
“No, it’s a longtime joke on Twitter. I don’t buy any sports teams,” Musk said when asked by a user if he was serious about buying the club when he first posted, “I buy Manchester United ur (sic) welcome.”
“Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U,” he added, putting salt in the wound for some: “They were my favorite team (sic) when I was a child.”
Some Manchester United fans had previously urged Musk on Twitter to consider buying the club, complaining about what they saw as underinvestment in one of the biggest football clubs in the world. United have not won the Premiership since the days of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson last of his record 20 victories in 2013, despite the efforts of a cast of eight permanent and temporary managers since then .
The North of England-based team have over 32 million followers on their main Twitter account and Musk’s first tweet about the club garnered over 500,000 likes on the platform in six hours .
After Musk said he was joking, Manchester United Fanatics Club Hungary said: “This is just a tweet from someone who doesn’t always think twice before writing something (sic).”
Manchester United Fans Club Kolkata said: “It has once again reinstated the fact that Elon and his tweets are just gimmicks. Although it would have been great if he really invested 1/10th of what he has paid for Twitter to own this legendary club…the whole fan base is fed up with the Glazers.
At the start of trading in the Frankfurt-listed club’s shares, the stock rose 2.5%.
Musk has a habit of being unconventional and posting irreverent tweets.
“I buy Manchester United ur [sic] welcome,” Musk said in a tweet on Tuesday without giving details.
Musk’s message followed an earlier tweet: “To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party!” The left half and the right half are football alignment positions.
The comment from the chief executive of electric car giant Tesla comes as United, champions of England a record 20 times, suffer an opening nightmare on the pitch for the 2022-2023 season.
One of the best-known and most-supported teams in the world, United are entrenched at the bottom of the English Premier League after losing their opening two games, having failed in the past two months to adequately rebuild a squad that performed relatively poorly last season.
Its New York-listed shares have slid 24% in the past 12 months, valuing it at just over $2 billion.
Neither the Florida-based Glazer family nor Musk immediately responded to requests for comment after the initial tweet.
The clamor from fans and pundits for a change of ownership at the three-time winners of the European Cup, the most prestigious club competition in the world game, is intensifying amid a lengthening race without winning major titles.
In its annual ranking this year, Forbes rated Manchester Unitedwith its huge global fan base, the third most valuable football club in the world, worth $4.6 billion, behind Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Britain’s The Daily Mirror newspaper reported last year that the Glazers, who have faced widespread fan opposition to their management since acquiring the club in 2005 for 790 million pounds ($957 million), were ready to sell but only if they were offered at more than 4 billion pounds ($4.85 billion).
Musk has a history of unconventional actions and comments, which sometimes makes it hard to tell when he’s joking.
“Then I’m buying Coca-Cola to get the cocaine back,” Musk tweeted in April, two days after Twitter’s board accepted his unsolicited offer — advertised on his Twitter feed — to buy the company. society. Musk is currently trying to get out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company, which has sued him.
Musk’s tweets about potential acquisitions have gotten him into hot water with US regulators in the past.
In 2018, he tweeted that there was “secured funding” for a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, but didn’t move forward with an offer. Musk and Tesla each paid civil fines of $20 million – and Musk resigned as Tesla chairman – to resolve US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allegations that Musk defrauded investors .
Forbes estimates his fortune at $270 billion.