From the frying pan, to the fire - Why Leeds United fans should fear takeover from Red Bull

Red Bull

Leeds United may end up having to sacrifice a lot if Red Bull take the helm.

This weekend it has emerged, via a report by The Mirror, that Austrian drinks giants Red Bull are keen on making a bid for Leeds United.

The club's controversial current owner Massimo Cellino then confirmed the interest to the Yorkshire Evening Post yesterday.

The story comes hot on the heels of the Steve Thompson suspension furore, and claims manager Neil Redfearn was told not to play Mirco Antenucci any more because he could activate a clause in his contract.

So with that in mind, news of Red Bull's increased keenness was understandably met by some excitement.

But that should be tempered.

On the one hand Red Bull are a brand who have a track record when it comes to success in the sporting world. They dominate the 'extreme sports' market. From X Games to cliff diving and air racing - it is their field. They have had major success in Formula 1. Then there is their football pedigree.

Three teams carry the Red Bull brand. Austria's Red Bull Salzburg, USA's New York Red Bulls and Germany's RasenBallsport Leipzig.

But the success and capital they would bring comes at a price.

They would likely take the identity of the club. A report in Germany today, via T-Online, claims that the name would change.

When they did so with New York, Americans didn't care. US sport 'franchises' often change name and locations - it was not considered a big deal.

But when they took control of Salzburg in 2005 the complete re-branding saw fans create a new team, SV Austria Salzburg.

Leipzig's takeover was more straightforward. Red Bull purchased fifth tier side SSV Markranstadt five years ago. Now they are in the second tier of German football, their ascent has been rapid.

But because of German licensing laws they were not allowed to name their team Red Bull Leipzig - so they manufactured 'RasenBallsport' - just to ensure they were known as RB Leipzig.

Then there is the stadia. All three teams play at grounds dubbed Red Bull Arena. Are Leeds fans really going to stand back and watch as their team is re-branded the Leeds Red Bulls whilst Elland Road is renamed Red Bull Arena - the fourth in the world?

Hull City's chairman Assam Allam received widespread condemnation over wanting to add 'Tigers' to the end of the club's name. Cardiff City's chairman Vincent Tan recently backtracked on the decision to change the Bluebirds kit red. In England, these changes simply will not go down well, not without a fight.

Times are desperate for Leeds. Most fans want Cellino and co as far away from their club as possible. But at what cost? The heritage, history and integrity of the club?

Leeds must be careful what they wish for.

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