Leeds United: Red Bull link-up is given a cautious welcome by fans

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News of a big-money link-up between Leeds United and energy drink giants Red Bull has provoked a mixed reaction from fans.

The YEP exclusively reported that the club was in talks with the firm about a possible shirt sponsorship deal.

The news immediately sparked speculation that a stadium naming rights deal for Elland Road could also be in the offing.

Thousands of Whites fans flocked to read the news on our website, with hundreds making their thoughts – both for and against – known.

And speaking to the YEP, Gary Cooper, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust gave the news a similarly cautious welcome.

He said: “If what we’re talking about here is a shirt sponsorship deal, realistically, as a club we’re not in a position to turn down investment and we’ve got to make money where we can.

“At the moment, we haven’t heard anything from the club but what we would want is for them to sit down with the fans and talk about what any deal would mean.”

Speaking about the prospect of the hallowed Elland Road ground taking on a new moniker, Mr Cooper added: “All clubs have heritage and that’s built up though your history and your identity with the team.

“Along with that is the place you consider your church- where you go to worship your team and for Leeds, that place is Elland Road.

“To think that Elland Road could possibly be called something else puts the fear of God in me. That being said, we have got to raise some money from somewhere.”

As yet, nobody involved in the discussions has gone on record about any possible deal.

Red Bull is already linked with a number of football clubs around the world and the New York Red Bulls and Austria’s FC Red Bull Salzburg play in grounds named after the company.

By Friday afternoon tends of thousands of fans had viewed the Red Bull story on our website, making it the most popular story of the year so far.

One comment read: “We do need investment to compete at the highest level, but not at the cost of selling out” adding “We should be seeking investment elsewhere to ensure we keep our ‘brand’ image.”

But another said: “There are still plenty ifs and buts. Saying that I hope this is the boost we’ve been needing for the last 10 years.”

Another said: “People need to get into the real world, this is not 1963. Leeds need to team up with a well known exciting brand.”

BRAND IS A BIG WINNER

Founded in 1987, Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, with 4.6 billion cans sold in 2011.

The drink is sold by Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, which was founded by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz

As well as football, the firm lends its name to extreme sports including mountain biking, BMX, motocross, windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding and cliff-diving.

Red Bull’s turnover in 2012 was close to five billion euros.

They also sponsor a Formula 1 motor racing team.

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