There is no sentiment in modern football. Just ask Red Bull!

02 Jul 2024 01:09 pm, by YorkshireSquare


Those who willingly welcomed the news of investment in our beloved football club by a certain fizzy beverage company last month should not be surprised that we have sold one of our own generational homegrown talents. After all, there is no sentiment in modern football, a trend glaringly exemplified by Red Bull. Their controversial takeovers of Austria Salzburg and SSV Markranstädt have transformed these clubs into corporate entities, erasing their history and culture.

The Red Bull model focuses on marketing their brand, an approach starkly contrasting with the sentiment-driven ethos that once underscored football clubs as part of their local community, integral to local culture and history. Austria Salzburg was a club with deep local roots and a passionate fan base. The team's identity was intertwined with the city of Salzburg, fostering a sense of community pride and belonging. However, this heritage ended in 2005 when Red Bull purchased the club.

Red Bull's acquisition led to a complete rebranding: the club's name was changed to FC Red Bull Salzburg, the traditional violet and white colors were replaced with Red Bull's corporate red and white, and the club's crest was altered to reflect the energy drink giant's logo. Many fans saw this move as a direct attack on the club's history and identity. The club had been stripped of its soul; its history, records, and achievements were wiped from the record books.

A similar scenario unfolded in Germany with the takeover of SSV Markranstädt by Red Bull in 2009. Located in Leipzig, SSV Markranstädt was a modest club with a strong local following. Red Bull's vision was to establish a new club that could compete at the highest levels of German football, leveraging its financial power to achieve rapid success. The result was RB Leipzig, a club created by purchasing the playing license of SSV Markranstädt and systematically climbing through the tiers of German football.

Even the famous German regulations preventing clubs from being named after sponsors could not stop Red Bull. The club is officially called ‘RasenBallsport Leipzig’ but is shortened to RB Leipzig, with two bulls on their badge, playing in white, red, and yellow, making it clear who their corporate owners are. They even circumvent the 50+1 rule, designed to ensure fan ownership and involvement, with a limited and restrictive membership policy, keeping control in the hands of Red Bull employees or associates, away from real fans.





Football has moved on from when I first started supporting Leeds United. Long gone are the days of local businessmen in the boardroom, local companies' logos on the front of shirts, and homegrown players playing for their boyhood club for their whole careers. Our owners come from a franchise background, and our sponsors and most recent investors are a global multinational with a background of investing in multiple sports for marketing purposes.

They think nothing of changing a club's name, badge, and kit, deleting its history, and moving their stadium 40 miles. Why should there be any consideration of selling their most saleable asset for £40 million? Even if they are part of the biggest dynasties in our club's history. The transfer fee is worth far more to them than any goodwill from Eddie Gray. After all, modern football is a business, and money and success mean everything.

I would love Archie to have continued the Gray family legacy at Leeds United. To play alongside his brother Harry one day and add to the 1,075 appearances and 105 goals the family has racked up for the club so far. But maybe that makes me a romantic. If the £40 million helps us meet PSR targets and allows us to strengthen the squad and achieve Premier League promotion, will anyone even care?

This week has been a successful one for Leeds United financially, but there has been a chipping away at the history and legacy of our club. A massive pair of bulls butting heads on the front of our home shirt, the sale of a player who is part of one of the most important legacies in our club's history. If Red Bull gets their claws in, this will only be the start, but if they, along with the 49ers, deliver success for Leeds United, it won't matter to many. I’m just being sentimental, and as we know, there is no room for sentiment in modern football!

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malcolmw wrote on 03 Jul 2024 05:35 pm

andrewjohnsmith wrote: Tue Jul 02, 2024 4:22 pm I would be envious. I'm also jealous of Citeh and Newcastle. I want Leeds to be champions of Europe. But that's just me.
I would urge everyone fearful of the Red Bull involvement to watch the video below by Locky Leeds. (hope I've posted it right??)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiWQxPHW7a4

I am also an old romantic about football - nostalgic for the 'good old days'!
But in reality - as is usually the case, the good old days weren't that great - we just remember the bits we liked and erase the bits we didn't - like poor owners who didn't know the difference between a debit and a credit, and who weren't really capable of planning the future (some just got lucky).

But in this modern era, if we do want to - as Andrew puts it - get back into Europe - we need the kind of technology around performance that the Red Bull organization is passionate about.

Please watch Locky's research and analysis on this and give it some thought.

Clitheroe White wrote on 02 Jul 2024 09:03 pm

Clitheroe White wrote: Tue Jul 02, 2024 9:02 pm Nice piece YS.

This is progress they say,
Yet it’s not liked by all,
Where will we stand come May?
Hopefully top and tall!

And if that’s the case
will we be delighted ?
One thing for sure
We will all stand united!

Clitheroe White wrote on 02 Jul 2024 09:02 pm

Nice piece YS.

This is progress they say,
Yet it’s not liked by all,
Where will we stand come next May?
Hopefully top and tall!

And if that’s the case
will we be delighted ?
One thing for sure
We will all stand united!

andrewjohnsmith wrote on 02 Jul 2024 05:14 pm

YorkshireSquare wrote: Tue Jul 02, 2024 1:09 pm
Was that picture telling the story already?

andrewjohnsmith wrote on 02 Jul 2024 04:42 pm

I was referring to ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw above (a legend of the game) but for some reason the edit function isn't available