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Can Red Bull help Leeds to fly back to the top?
Thursday, 30th May 2024 20:10 by Tim Whelan

Today Leeds announced that Red Bull have bought a minority stake in the club, and will take over as the main shirt sponsor, but thankfully there will be no change in the name of the club or the colour of the shirt.

A statement on the club’s official site said that “Today’s announcement reinforces the international popularity and significance of the club. Beginning in the 2024/2025 season, Leeds United will feature Red Bull branding on the front of Leeds United men’s and women’s first team kits. Red Bull will also become the club’s Exclusive Energy Drink Partner with branding featured inside Elland Road and during the club’s official media appearances”.

Which is very nice, even though the club has managed to get through the last 105 years without an Exclusive Energy Drink Partner. Presumably the stuff will now be freely available inside Elland Road on matchdays, just in case we’re a bit worn out after walking to the stadium and need to pep ourselves up for all the singing and scarf twirling to come.

Paraag Marathe said “I am thrilled that Red Bull is joining us to build a bright future for Leeds United and shares our deep respect for this truly special club. As Chairman, our consortium of investment partners will be invaluable to me as we approach this important moment for the club, now and into the future. Red Bull’s addition is a historic milestone that will further empower the club to reach its full competitive potential.”

While Oliver Mintzlaff, Red Bull CEO of Corporate Projects and Investments was certainly bigging us up. “We are delighted to be an important element and partner of Leeds United. A club that is certainly one of the biggest in England and has a rich and successful history. The ambition to bring Leeds United back to the Premier League and establish themselves in the best football league in the world fits very well with Red Bull.”

“We look forward to the partnership and are optimistic and energized about the future”. And even if he has only been energised by drinking his own product, the deal will help us to build a competitive squad for the new season despite those pesky PSR regulations, as the shirt sponsorship will bring in considerably more than the current deal with BOXT.

The Athletic have reported that the discussions with Red Bull had been going on for some time, so clearly they weren’t put off by our failure to get promoted into the Premier League. And it was made clear to them that a seat on the board was not on offer, and that changes to the club’s name, shirt colour, badge or stadium name would not be open to discussion.

Which makes a pleasant change from the clubs they own outright around the world, in New York, Salzburg and Leipzig, all of whom have ‘Red Bull’ at the start of their name. In Salzburg they changed the colour of the kit and threatened to ban anyone coming to matches in the club’s traditional colour of purple, so some disgruntled fans started their own separate club.

This multi-ownership might be a problem if we get back into Europe and end up in the same competition as one of the other Red Bull teams, but it might be a few years before we need to worry about that. A more immediate concern for some of our fans posting on social media was that they didn’t want to have red anywhere on the shirt, so won’t be buying it while the Red Bull logo is across the front.

Many have made the predictable joke about the new sponsors giving us wings, while a few have asked if this investment is compensation for having to employ Jesse Marsch. But generally the reaction of the fanbase has been positive, and this investment can only be a good thing, provided the 49ers can keep them in their place and preserve the history and traditions of the club.

Photo: Action Images

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