Elon Musk claimed on Tuesday night that is planning to buy Manchester United, getting fans excited over a potential takeover from the increasingly unpopular Glazer family, before the South African-born tech multi-billionaire revealed it was just a joke.
Attitudes towards the Glazer family, who have taken an estimated £1.1bn out of the club during their ownership, have once again boiled back up to full blown anger in recent weeks amid a frustrating summer and disastrous start to the new season.
Fans are planning a major protest before next week’s huge Old Trafford clash with Liverpool and former board member Michael Knighton has hit headlines after claiming he has the financial backing to launch a hostile takeover bid.
Questions have been raised over Knighton’s supposed bid, but fans thought their prayers had been answered when a tweet from Musk suddenly went viral.
“Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome [sic],” he said, having just made an odd joke about American politics.
The Tesla chief executive and SpaceX founder, who has courted controversy over the years with bizarre statements, is the world’s richest person with a net worth estimated at $240bn.
Musk had attempted to buy Twitter earlier this year, submitting a $44bn bid but eventually withdrawing it in a messy saga. That alone could have made fans believe a United takeover bid was plausible – for reference, Chelsea were sold in a deal worth £4.25bn.
Listen now to 90min’s Manchester United podcast, The Promised Land, with Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette. In the latest edition they discuss Matheus Cunha, is he worth £50m? Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, the Moises Caicedo links, defeat at Brentford, Erik ten Hag and more.
But within a few hours, Musk replied to a tweet asking ‘Are you serious?’ and ended the fantasy.
“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” he said.
However, he didn’t fully rule it out if he ever were to get into sports, adding, “If it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid.”
Musk also declared, “Standup is my side-hustle.”