It might sound too bizarre to be true, or maybe it’s completely plausible in the current world of football mayhem, but Elon Musk says he’s going to buy Manchester United.
We’re not kidding – the world’s richest man wants to buy one of the world’s most famous football clubs.
In what is news that no one really saw coming, the South African-born business tycoon with a net worth of US$242 billion, who is the CEO and owner of a handful of major companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and very-nearly but not-quite, Twitter, wants to get his hands on the club that’s arguably in the most disarray in world football currently.
As many sports fans – and at this point, even people who don’t know too much about football – across the globe will know, the red half of Manchester is going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment, and that’s putting it lightly.
There is a great deal of anger across the board from fans, former players, and prominent TV pundits – including Gary Neville, who this week said the club is a “graveyard” and likened it to a school in “special measures” – being publicly expressed, with the majority of it being directed towards the club’s American owners, The Glazer family.
The Glazers took over the club in 2005, and it’s been a rocky relationship since then.
In the 17 years following the takeover, the club has seen immense success in the Premier League and the Champions League, but has very-prominently been in decline since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, and there have been multiple protests against the Glazers’ ownership in recent years – including one in May 2021 which caused a match against Liverpool to be postponed, and several over the club’s involvement in the proposed European Super League.
With debt ever-increasing, the team at the bottom of the Premier League table, star player Cristiano Ronaldo potentially exiting before the transfer window closes, and not much news of new signings through the door, it’s been a painful start to the 2022/23 season for United and new manager Erik ten Hag.
And on top of that, the team lost 4-0 to Brentford away this past weekend.
So, what could possibly fix this situation? Who could be the saviour of the club that fans are so adamant needs saving? Step forward, Elon Musk.
In a stream of consciousness on Twitter that’s come to be pretty typical of the billionaire enigma, after bizarrely explaining that he “supports the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party”, Musk just thought he’d throw it out there that he’s “buying Manchester United” – and it understandably sent a lot of fans into pandemonium.
The tweet went on to amass well over 600,000 likes and retweets, with thousands of confused fans questioning whether or not it’s actually true and if he fancies committing to that promise.
It turns out, he didn’t really mean it.
When asked “are you serious?” by Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV), Musk responded that it was part of a “long-running joke”.
He explained: “No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams,” before following up with: “Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid.”
Oh well, the hope of a fresh start was nice while it lasted.
These three Greater Manchester Wilko stores are reopening as Poundlands this weekend
The first 10 Wilko stores to start new lives as Poundlands are reopening this weekend, and three of them are in Greater Manchester.
We all know by now that it’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for Wilko after it entered administration earlier last month, but after it was sadly announced back on 11 September that all of the retailer’s outlets across the UK would be forced to close, leaving around 12,500 jobs at risk, a glimmer of hope was offered.
And that glimmer of hope was that several dozen stores had been saved.
Only, they wouldn’t be remaining under the Wilko name, as they’d be reopening as another popular bargain retailer instead, and that’s because Pepco Group – the company which owns Poundland in the UK – managed to strike a deal with Wilko administrators PwC to take control of up to 71 store leases.
With lease assignments expected to be completed in the coming weeks, according to Pepco, this meant that the some 71 stores would join Poundland’s existing 800-plus UK outlets before 2023 is out.
Pepco Group published the full list of stores set for conversion earlier this month, and also confirmed it would be offering employment some of Wilko’s former employees – with it being good news for six Greater Manchester sites.
Altrincham, Bolton, Eccles, Sale, Leigh, and Stockport were confirmed to be the region’s towns set to get themselves a new Poundland, and Poundland added that it intends to convert the stores over to its brand “as soon as is practical”.
It turns out that window of practicality has arrived this weekend for three of those confirmed sites.
Among the 10 former Wilko branches across the UK that are set to start a new chapter and begin lives as Poundlands this weekend are sites at The Peel Centre in Stockport, The Mall in Eccles, and on Lord Street in Leigh.
It’s expected that dates for the new round of Poundland conversions will be announced in due course, as will news from PwC about the other deals it has struck for the Wilko name to live on.
You may remember that administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores, while another high street chain, The Range, had also confirmed a last-minute deal to buy Wilko’s brand last month.
The Range has bought Wilko’s website and intellectual property, so shoppers can expect to see Wilko own-brand items appear in The Range stores nationwide very soon.
Featured Image – Poundland
Iconic Sycamore Gap tree renamed ‘Sycamore Stump’ after heartbreaking vandalism
Someone has already changed the name of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree to ‘Sycamore Stump’ after it was felled in what’s believed to be an act of vandalism.
The famous tree was believed to be about 300 years old and was made famous when it appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It’s one of the most photographed trees in the world (Rockefeller’s Christmas tree might just edge that one) and has stood on Hadrian’s Wall for centuries.
But overnight on Wednesday, this world-famous tree was felled, leaving just a small stump behind.
Someone has already changed its name on Google Maps from Sycamore Gap to Sycamore Stump, echoing the public outcry over the tree’s disappearance.
The National Trust said on Thursday: “We are shocked and desperately saddened to learn that the famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall has been felled overnight, in what appears to be an act of vandalism.
“We know just how much this iconic tree is loved locally, nationally and by everyone who has visited.
“We are working with our partners to understand what has happened and what can be done. The incident has also been reported to the police.”
Police have now confirmed that a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
Supt Kevin Waring of Northumbria police said: “This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.
“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our inquiries.
“Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind. I am appealing to the public for information to assist us – if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.”