Manchester United fans were ecstatic after a report that Apple is considering buying their club for £5.8bn.
The Premier League football club has been put up for sale by its owners, the Glazer family, potentially sparking a bidding war among some of the world’s richest people.
Reports have emerged in the Daily Star today suggesting that Apple, the £326 billion annual tech company, could make a bid to take over the club.
Red Devils supporters have reacted with delight to the news which, if it comes to pass, would see them become by far the richest club in England.
Some joked that given Apple’s huge revenues from its tech business, they could afford to update the notoriously scruffy Old Trafford grounds “every two months.”
The California-based tech company had never owned a major sports team before, but the commercial opportunities offered by United are said to be a key reason for their interest.
Any potential deal would almost certainly become the most expensive football club takeover in history, surpassing the £4.25billion fee a consortium led by Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea earlier this year.
A big concern for anyone buying United is Old Trafford, the club’s iconic stadium. The venue took a long time to refurbish to compete with the biggest clubs around the world.
The stadium is expected to cost around £1.5bn to rebuild, making it the most expensive football stadium in the world – ahead of Tottenham’s new £1bn stadium.
United moved into the ground – nicknamed ‘The Theater of Dreams’ – in 1910 and have called it home ever since. The stadium was last renovated between 2005 and 2006, adding 8,000 seats.
Red Devils legend Gary Neville has backed calls for the stadium to be fully rebuilt when stories of plans to demolish the current site first surfaced in February.
He wrote on Instagram: “There’s a story from Old Trafford that they might rebuild the entire stadium and I’ve just been asked what I think of that. I actually think it would be the right move.
“I think by the time they’ve spent money on Old Trafford, the existing one, I think you’d be better off building a brand new, better, super stadium. I think Manchester United should always be at the top of stadiums, have the best facilities and they have fallen behind.
CEO Cook is just the latest in a string of high-profile figures who have expressed interest in taking charge of Old Trafford.
Now-Twitter CEO Elon Musk jokingly wrote on the platform this summer that he was buying the club, with the 51-year-old’s post garnering more than 800,000 likes.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor has also thrown his hat in the ring after previously expressing interest in taking over the club.
The 34-year-old took to Twitter following the European Super League announcement in April last year, writing: ‘Hey guys I’m thinking about buying Manchester United! What do you think?’
The Irishman added that he would like to acquire a sports team “at some point”.
“First, to be honest, a conversation about Celtic came up. Acquisition of shares in Dermot Desmond. I’m definitely interested in taking on a sports team at some point! Both Celtic and Man United are teams I definitely like. But I’m open. I feel like I could do great things for a club.
Joel and Avram Glazer have been largely unpopular with fans since taking over the club in 2005.
Such was the reaction to the American investment bankers’ takeover of United that some supporters formed the breakaway club FC United of Manchester in protest.
Dissatisfaction with United’s leadership also led to the Green and Gold Movement, which saw fans don scarves depicting the club’s original colors, and led to a series of protests taking place both inside and outside Old Trafford.
A club statement on Tuesday outlined the Glazers’ intention to sell: “Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU), one of the most successful and storied sports clubs in the world, announces today that the Company’s board of directors (the “Board”) is beginning a process to develop strategic Explore alternatives for the club.
“The process is designed to support the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.