New chairman, same money worries at Leeds
As a new era dawns at Elland Road, it may yet be a case of more of the same.
July 1st, 2013
With the purchase of Leeds United by Bahraini investment firm GFH Capital coming as an early Christmas present for fans – following an extremely lengthy takeover period – fans reserved their biggest cheers for the point it was announced that Ken Bates would be replaced as chairman; a move which happens today that sees board member Salah Nooruddin take up the role. Chief Executive Shaun Harvey is also making way for David Haigh, one of the two ‘faces’ of the whole takeover saga.
Bates’ new role as President is one not welcomed by large swathes of the fanbase, given his succession to the role previously held by George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood, for 50 years until his death in 2011. The new owners have insisted that Bates will have no part in club policy.
Meanwhile on the pitch, any mental connection made between the words “Arab bankers” and “loaded football club” quickly dissipated last week following manager Brian McDermott’s appearance at a charity function, where he spoke candidly enough to…well, if not assuage then at least acknowledge fans’ financial doubts. From the tweets assembled, United fanzine writer and blogger Moscowhite concluded that McDermott was promised £3 million to build a squad – which is yet to appear – to pay for the seven deals he has lined up since taking over the team in April.
The money may yet appear by doing some “wheeling and dealing” – but the biggest concern lies with the fact that, in order to afford the wages of transfer target Noel Hunt, he has since had to offload Steve Morison back to Millwall – even more alarmingly, the man brought in to replace Elland Road’s departed darling Argentine, Luciano Becchio.
Failing that, said McDermott, he’d “snatch someone’s arm off if they offered £8 million” for latest Leeds wunderkind Sam Byram.
With footballing optimism like that, who needs a change of ownership…