The Mail reported over the weekend that Red Bull are in talks with Leeds owner Massimo Cellino about taking over the Championship team. At first, it was easy to laugh off the rumour – it is the Mail after all. However, over the weekend, rather than dying away, the story seems to have something in it.
Red Bull were linked with the club last year, before Cellino took over. Ex Managing Director David Haigh of former owners GFH regularly took to twitter with thinly veiled references to the Austrian company – posing with cans of their drinks, and at various events. It looked like they were ready to be involved with the club, but all went quiet and the Italian took over.
Now, it seems, Red Bull are back. Cellino says the stories of them taking over are ‘bullsh*t’ – but did, in a round about way, confirm he was in talks about investment. He was annoyed at ‘a mole’ feeding info to the media – which suggests that there is something to leak…
So – is Red Bull a good thing? The easy answer is no. There are some plusses – they have a seemingly bottomless pit of money, and could take us right back to the top – but it comes at a price. Their usual model seems to involve selling our soul. Everything they run has Red Bull plastered all over it – training grounds, stadium, advertising, and even the name of the team. For all the money in the world would we want to be the Leeds Red Bulls?
There is nothing to suggest this will happen – however, despite Cellino’s outrage, money talks – he is a business man at the end of the day, and if RB wanted us, and I mean really wanted us, they could make an offer that could not be refused.
As I see it, I think Cellino is in talks with them – possibly around the Academy, and possibly about Elland Road – both need to be repurchased, and both will cost. Could we cope with renaming the academy? I would think so. Could we cope with the renaming of the ground? That’s much harder to swallow.
The mail reports that Cellino is willing to give up a stake in the club (as well as RB buying the 25% that GFH hold). Who would be the majority shareholder though is open to debate.
Talks are seemingly set to resume this week – last time, with Haigh, there was no end product – the next few weeks will see if these go the same way.