Scarcely a week ago, Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino stated he was committed to the club for at least another two seasons. It appeared an unambiguous riposte to the persistent rumors that the team will be sold imminently. It sounded particularly like a rebuttal of the latest incarnation of the oft-denied speculation that Red Bull would be buying LUFC in the near future.
Not quite, reports Leeds United blog The Scratching Shed: Leed Fans CBS (aka Leeds Fans LLP, aka @LeedsFansUnited) has sparked a fresh round of the old rumor by including in its newsletter to shareholders an update on its understanding of the current situation regarding a potential takeover at LUFC.
The same snippets of information hit social media:
.@leedsfansutd: "We are now aware of a number of groups ready to pounce if Cellino is forced to sell after his June court dates." #lufc— TBG (@TBG2005) May 22, 2015
.@leedsfansutd: "Most of these are keen on fan involvement. Red Bull however, are still not keen on our involvement." #lufc— TBG (@TBG2005) May 22, 2015
.@leedsfansutd: "We understand that [Red Bull's] current strategy is to not alter name, colours or location for ‘the first 3 years.’" #lufc— TBG (@TBG2005) May 22, 2015
.@leedsfansutd: "[Red Bull] have admitted to a journalist that Ralf Rangnick has watched Leeds live 'at least 5 times since January.'" #lufc— TBG (@TBG2005) May 22, 2015
And it didn't take long for some fans to supply additional circumstantial evidence (Leeds has just appointed Uwe Rosler as its manager for the 2015-16 season):
part of me feels new manager is a stipulation of a takeover deal to curb bad press for new owners. red bull linked in german markets? #lufc— David Walker (@djwalker24) May 20, 2015
@WACCOE @simon_orourke Rosler in place? Strategic move to sell to the Red Bull CEO? #lufc— Andy (@Spitfire_Chap) May 19, 2015
@WACCOE reckon its red bull must be multi million pound deal. Isn't macron suing #lufc?— Hagar the Horrible (@Hagar62lufc) May 22, 2015
@gymcrack has always been mateschitz, IMO. Buy, wait, promotion, transfer to Red bull.— Simon O'Rourke (@simon_orourke) May 22, 2015
New kit supplier,sponsor no staff. German speaking coach. Maybe Red Bull are coming secretly. #lufc— Matt Staniforth (@MattStaniforth) May 22, 2015
It ought to be pointed out that the rumor has been consistently denied by Red Bull on almost every occasion it has arisen. And Cellino did just say he wasn't selling for at least two years.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is buying the latest round of Red-Bull-is-coming whispers:
More Red Bull and other "interested parties" rumours...blah blah blah. Can't buy what isn't for sale. #lufc— Wayne Wellwood (@Carlitoswayne) May 22, 2015
We're as these redbull rumours come from again. Every 1 denies it #lufc— karlos (@Kdlittle26) May 22, 2015
More red bull rumours all I'll say if they was coming in they would bring there own team & manager so what's point in Cellino doing it #lufc— jamie (@jamiepartridge3) May 22, 2015
The rumor is stuck in an infinite loop: every iteration of the Red Bull takeover story appears to bring fresh denial from either Leeds' current ownership, Red Bull GmbH or Papa himself; every denial appears to spark fresh RB-buyout rumors.
The Red Bull chat is started up again, so we wait for the inevitable denial in...3...2...1...