Def Leppard Sheffield: Joe Elliott explains why he wouldn't invest in Sheffield United despite being big fan
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The lead singer of the rock behemoths grew up in Sheffield, where he attended King Edward VII School and worked as a teenager at the Osborne-Mushett Tools steel factory. He and the rest of the band, which formed in the city, are set to play an emotional homecoming gig on May 22 at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium. They are also due to attend an album signing at Meadowhall.
Speaking to the Metro ahead of the concert, at which Def Leppard will be joined by fellow rock legends Mötley Crüe, Elliott was asked whether he would ever consider investing in football as Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have famously done with Wrexham AFC.
He replied ‘absolutely not’, explaining that was something you can only do if you’re a billionaire, which he said ‘I’m not by a long way’.
But he revealed how he was offered the chance to get involved in around 1989 when Dave Bassett was manager and ‘they kind of hung the carrot in front of me’.
He added: “It was talked about in the corridors when I was at a game, but it never really got any further than that.”
Elliott, who has an estimated net worth of $70 million, told how he did spend around £3,000 on a stretching table which he said the club couldn’t afford at the time and which helped get striker Brian Deane back on the pitch six weeks sooner. But the money involved in football has skyrocketed since the 80s and he said: “There’s nothing I could give them that wouldn’t ruin my life. It would be a drop in the ocean.”
Asked about Sheffield, he said he rarely makes it back, adding: “Sheffield is always gonna be my birth town, but we look back at this as part of the journey.”
He did say, however, that he ‘wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else’ because of the ‘grounding of being in an industrial place post-WW2 that was moving into punk rock’.
He remains in touch with his friends in Sheffield, he told the Metro, and when he does return he says it’s mostly for weddings, christenings, funerals or gigs.