Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, briefly lifted the gloom over Manchester United’s shares and fans on Wednesday by saying he was buying the English soccer club – only to say a little later it was all part of “a long-running joke”.
One of the world’s most successful soccer clubs, the “Red Devils” are languishing at the bottom of England’s Premier League, and, having seen eight coaches come and go in less than 10 years, some fans and investors are wondering whether it’s time for its owners, the American Glazer family, to sell up.
“To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party! Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur (sic) welcome – Elon Musk,” the 51-year-old tweeted to his 103 million followers.
Some of the club’s fans had previously urged Musk on Twitter to consider buying the club, complaining at what they see as under-investment by the Glazers. United haven’t won the English league title since the glory days of manager Alex Ferguson, claiming the last of their record 20 wins in 2013.
Within six hours of his tweet, Musk’s message had attracted more than 500,000 ‘likes’ on the club’s main Twitter account – though some users didn’t take it too seriously, comparing his tweet with his troubled run at buying Twitter.
But then came the clarification.
“No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” Musk posted, when asked by a user if he was serious about buying United.
“Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U,” he added. “They were my fav (sic) team as a kid.”
The Florida-based Glazer family did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Manchester United declined to comment.
United fans were not impressed.
“It’s just a tweet from somebody who not always thinking twice before write something (sic),” The Manchester United Fanatics Club Hungary said.