Polarizing centibillionaire Elon Musk briefly sent the hearts of Manchester United fans around the world on Tuesday, claiming he was on the verge of taking over the club from the clutches of its hated current owners.

Wealthy patrons and sports clubs go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise the visionary CEO is toying with the idea of ​​backing a team.

One as prestigious as United also has hundreds of millions of fans around the world, who might be more supportive of buying one of Musk’s Teslas if he were to acquire the club.

After making it clear that a previous tweet about buying the club was a joke, he then revealed a long-standing weak point for the record holders of the Premier League title.

“If this were a team it would be Man U,” he posted on Twitter, using a name for the club that many traditional United supporters in England shy away from. “It was my favorite team when I was a kid.”

Alas, it was all just a joke, but fans who’ve endured too many seasons of disappointment have cheered on the deep-pocketed CEO saving their club from its creeping demise.

Despised American Owner

That’s because if there’s one figure more universally despised by United fans than anyone else in football, it’s Joel Glazer, the club’s US chairman and owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He inherited the property from his father, Malcolm Glazer, who acquired United in a leveraged buyout in 2005 that saddled the club with a mountain of debt, effectively forcing the club to pay for its own acquisition.

“There’s a family out there in America that literally let their employees take all the hits for them, and that’s unforgivable,” said former United player and football commentator Gary Neville after a 0-4 beating by lowly Brentford, playing in just his second season in the Premier League.

He asked the owners to stop “hiding in Tampa” and work things out: “Joe Glazer has to fly to Manchester tomorrow…and he has to tell everyone what his plan is with the football club. “

By comparison, Chelsea FC fans spoke well of their Russian oligarch owner Roman Abramovich even during the war in Ukraine because of all the money he poured into the Blues to win titles.

United are England’s most legendary side, having won 20 league titles, one more than rivals Liverpool, including 13 under their totemic former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He tasted triumph with the last second victory of the 1999 UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich in stoppage time, and endured tragedy with the 1958 air disaster when the team’s plane crashed in Munich, killing eight of England’s most talented football players.

Thanks to its rich and moving history, the Old Trafford stadium ranks, along with Real Madrid’s Bernabeu and Barcelona’s Camp Nou, as a place of pilgrimage for football fans around the world.

hard times

However, the glorious days when Red Devils fans were spoiled with silverware are over.

With Ferguson’s departure in 2013, the club slowly descended into mediocrity, going through a seemingly endless pool of managers.

Everyone from strict Dutch schoolmaster Louis van Gaal and legendary Welsh United midfielder Ryan Giggs to ‘Special One’ José Mourinho have tried their hand at training for the team, but haven’t not met expectations.

Not even the return of former star winger Cristiano Ronaldo after years of scoring at Real and Juventus energized the club last season. He is already pushing to be released from his contract in order to qualify to compete in Europe’s top competition with another team.

Worse, Manchester City, the club’s once pitiful local rivals, have eclipsed it thanks to the coaching talents of Pep Guardiola and the bankroll of its wealthy Emirati owner, Sheikh Mansour.

Now the Citizens top the table, while United are bottom and risk relegation to the dreaded Second League if they don’t improve.

Fans thought for years they knew who the culprits were: the Glazers.

Already ten years ago, a group of wealthy United supporters around former Goldman Sachs banker Jim O’Neill, nicknamed the Red Knights, sensed the Glazers were not a safe pair of hands and attempted to wrest control of the club from the American family.

This is because the family is widely seen as grasshoppers, stripping the club of assets while leaving the team, staff and facilities to fall into a state of neglect.

daily tabloid The sun estimated on Tuesday that the Glazers had emptied the club’s coffers to the tune of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in interest, dividends and fees since taking over.

“The only money that has been spent on Manchester United players is money the club has generated or borrowed,” Neville said over the weekend.

“It doesn’t come from the families; let’s get this out of our heads that the Glazer family invests money every year like Roman Abramovich did.

Maybe Musk can be convinced to buy it in the end – money isn’t a problem for the richest person in the world after all, especially if he can walk away from his buyout. Twitter for $44 billion.

Although his remark about buying United was only a joke, he admitted in April that he started his Boring Company as a joke.

Apparently the Glazers are ready to sell.

All they’re asking for is apparently just a tenth of what Musk was willing to pay for the social media platform.

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