Commentary: Manchester United is a joke even to Elon Musk

For all Musk’s flaws, a lack of long-term vision isn’t one of them. Tesla and SpaceX do things that others once deemed impossible. And surely he couldn’t have done that without hiring top executives, something the Glazers have been abysmal at. 


And Musk likely wouldn’t be the most provocative owner in the world – or even the Premier League, which is rife with controversial proprietors and sportswashing suspicions.

Newcastle United was taken over in 2021 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, just three years on from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The spending of Manchester City, owned by United Arab Emirates Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour, has attracted nearly as much attention as their on-field success. 

The US owners who make up more than half the Premier League mostly seem to be in it for return on capital, when what fans want is usually unlimited spending and ambition. A wave of Chinese buying of European clubs in the mid-2010’s raised eyebrows, though has largely been dialed back. 

Whether Musk would have passed the “fit and proper person” test for English football ownership is a question we will – for now – be able to avoid answering.

But with United next set to face rival Liverpool, to whom they lost by an aggregate 9-0 across two games last season, forgive fans for hoping Musk’s tweet inspires another benevolent billionaire. 

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