If you take a look at the Bundesliga table, there may be a name at the top that you’re unfamiliar with and that is RB Leipzig. Then if you proceed into having a quick look-up of who exactly they are, you will first see that the club is only 7 years old but you may also notice that there is a lot of hatred towards them from other fans in Germany. So what could a club that has been in existence for such a small time have done to cause all of this negative hate from other supporters?
Well, the hate stems from the fact that Leipzig are part of the Red Bull franchise who also have clubs in the USA (New York Red Bulls), Austria (FC Red Bull Salzburg) and Brazil (Red Bull Brasil). The term ‘franchise’ isn’t met with the greatest response when mentioned relating to football which was evident in 2004 when Wimbledon FC were bought and then relocated to Milton Keynes to create the present club MK Dons, who similar to Leipzig are subject to a large amount of hate from supporters of other teams.
As much as franchising is frowned upon, one thing coming with the money is certainly success with the best example of this being Leipzig. Rumours have been circulating on social media in the last few weeks that Red Bull are looking for a British club to invest in and add to their portfolio, specifically Glasgow Rangers. These rumours got me thinking as to whether football fans would be willing to potentially sacrifice their club name and colours for a better chance of success?
As an Oldham fan myself, I can definitely see both pros and cons on the matter but after speaking with a member of the Oldham Athletic supporters group, Thomas O’Dea, it was clear that he is against any sort of a franchise coming in to the club but he could also see the positive aspects that investment would bring. As much as he welcomes sponsorship at a club, he feels as though franchising is “not a part of English culture” and that “football is built upon tradition”.
With RB Leipzig currently sitting top of the table, if they were to go on and win the championship, it would be rather interesting to see if some people’s opinions on franchising would change after witnessing a franchise club not only compete but come out on top when put against some of the biggest footballing powerhouses in Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
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