Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dream start for David in Leeds role

This is Cornwall 29/11/12
A FORMER Cornishman reporter has become a director of Leeds United after fronting the bid for a Middle Eastern bank to take full control of the Championship side.
David Haigh, who grew up in Sancreed, is the chief executive of Dubai-based GFH Capital, which finalised a deal for buying the club last week, after months of negotiations.
The investment bank has now started a one-month transitional period and, following Football League approval, will become 100 per cent shareholder of the club.
In the interim period, Mr Haigh has joined the board of Leeds United as a director as well as joining the boards of parent company, Leeds City Holding's other businesses including Yorkshire Radio, while his fellow bank executives are expected to join next month.
Mr Haigh, a former Cape Cornwall school pupil, worked on The Cornishman's Down Your Way reporting team from the age of 13 – a job he continued to do for about seven years.
He said the company was proud to have completed the deal, which involved a long process of international negotiations and was thrilled with the result of Saturday's clash against Crystal Palace.
United scored a 2-1 victory over the team that is at the top of the league. "You could see the affect the takeover has had in the performance of the team on Saturday," said Mr Haigh.
"In 14 games Crystal Palace had not been beaten and we thrashed them. You could see the energy in the stadium and the atmosphere. The players were re-energised." Mr Haigh said that GFH Capital hoped to take full control of the club by the end of the year.
"The idea being there is a steady, clear, well thought out take over process, which is in the good of the club," he said.
He added that he was not able to talk about possible future signings but that decisions about players would be made by the side's manager Neil Warnock, who he described as "fantastic".
"There is a lot that we can bring with our board members and our expertise but the club has got a good (management) team as it is."
Mr Haigh is now thinking of ways he can build stronger connections between youngsters in west Cornwall and football in Leeds and has offered to give a talk at his old school, Cape Cornwall.
"I am very glad I went to that school. They were fantastic teachers and I learned a lot not just in the classroom but with things like Duke of Edinburgh," he said.
Mr Haigh said he is passionate about showing young people in Cornwall that they have a world of opportunities available to them.

Palace and Leicester wins have revived fortunes - Norris INTERVIEW

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/11/12
By Phil Hay
Contrary to public opinion and the club’s faltering form, David Norris always believed that Leeds United could drag six points from their games against Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
But the midfielder spoke today of a sense of relief among United’s players after back-to-back wins revived a season which he and his team-mates felt slipping through their fingers a week ago.
Norris admitted to a noticeable loss of confidence prior to Saturday’s 2-1 win over Palace, caused by seven games without a victory and the persistent uncertainty surrounding the takeover of Leeds.
United fell to 18th position in the Championship table after losing to Millwall on November 18 and looked hopelessly vulnerable ahead of three games in eight days against Palace, Leicester and Huddersfield Town.
But the club consolidate a spirited win against Palace by inflicting a 1-0 defeat on Leicester on Tuesday night, and Norris is hopeful that a “desperately” needed change in form will allow Leeds to turn a corner.
Palace came to Elland Road as Championship leaders while Leicester – another team who have led the division this season – lie fourth in the table after succumbing to a second-minute penalty from Luciano Becchio.
Norris said: “I did think we could get six points from six because of the way the league is. But with the run we were on, confidence was low going into a tough week. “We weren’t picking ourselves up off the floor but you could really sense that we were looking for the next win desperately – the sooner the better.
“The gaffer told us that the Palace game was as good a game as we could have with the run we were on. If you win that, it isn’t just any old game won. It’s against the team at the top of the league.
“To get two wins so far really gets the confidence going for Saturday’s derby. These results have hopefully set us up.”
Successive wins over Palace and Leicester gave GFH Capital, the firm which finalised its takeover of Leeds last week, a satisfying start to its time as club owner.
The Dubai-based company is due to complete a 100 per cent buy-out next month but the impact of its involvement has been felt already. It injected money into United soon after striking a deal with existing owner Ken Bates, and the club subsequently secured the loan signings of Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate ahead of the Football League’s emergency deadline.
The pair made impressive debuts in Saturday’s defeat of Palace and retained their places against Leicester on Tuesday. Their arrivals coincided with a first win since October 6 and led manager Neil Warnock to admit that his side “wouldn’t have won either game without them.”
For the best part of seven months, Warnock did what he could to distance his squad from the doubt surrounding GFH Capital’s takeover but Norris admitted that prolonged confusion amid lengthy negotiations had taken its toll on the mood of the dressing room.
“The takeover going through seemed to give everybody a lift,” he said. “As much it shouldn’t really affect us as players, it seemed to be all around us and the whole club.
“But it’s given the gaffer the opportunity to bring in two lads to help us out, and Tate and Thomas are good players. Coming from the Premier League, they’ve got quality.
“You know now that if you don’t keep performing – and I’ve personally found this out in the last few weeks – then the gaffer has other options.
“It’s a small squad but a good squad. You have to be on the top of your game. The gaffer can rotate if he needs to.”
Norris was singled out by Warnock after Tuesday’s win over Leicester, highlighted for his strong performance in the centre of midfield.
The former Ipswich Town captain has been in and out of Leeds’ line-up this season – a victim of both injuries and Warnock’s team selections – but he was part of two strong and dominant performances at a time when United’s manager needed them most.
“I thought David Norris was man of the match,” said Warnock after Tuesday’s victory.
“He was outstanding. Some of the tackles he won were 80-20 against him.”
Asked if the performance had been his most impressive for Leeds, Norris said: “Possibly, although it always feels much better when you win.
“But rather than singling out individual performances, as a team we were brilliant. The back four were excellent and Leicester didn’t create too much. We were in control for most of the game. We got at them and didn’t let them get into their stride. That’s what won it.
“You could see when the lads left the pitch that they’d given everything, and sometimes those sort of games – a 1-0 win where you’ve really grafted – are just as rewarding as beating somebody 5-0. It was very satisfying.
“Most of us would expect Leicester to be right up there at the end of the season and Palace too. If you can beat Leicester and Palace as we did, we can’t be too far away.
“Once you get a win in this league it gives you confidence. You see teams go on runs and that’s what we’re hoping to do.
“Everyone will think they’ve got a chance of promotion and it’s been a good week for us so far. We need to keep that momentum going.”
Warnock admitted after Saturday’s clash with Palace than prior to the game he was “struggling to see where the next win was coming from.” But he will take his squad to Huddersfield on Saturday in expectation of a third in eight days, against a team whose impetus has been clipped by the loss of eight points in their last three fixtures.
Norris, who came to Leeds on a free transfer from Portsmouth in July, has prior experience of local derbies and scored a dramatic injury-time goal in last season’s 2-2 draw between Portsmouth and Southampton at St Mary’s. “I’ve not had a feeling like that in my career,” he said in the aftermath of an end-to-end contest.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Huddersfield, Norris said: “I always enjoy local derbies and you have to appreciate that they mean a lot to the fans. I’ve played in a few big derbies and Portsmouth versus Southampton was a bit lively, a really good one to play in.
“You always appreciate from a fans’ perspective that they never want to lose to their local rivals. We’ll be well up for Saturday.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ownership statement

leedsunited.com 28/11/12
Leeds United Football Club Limited ('LUFC') the company that holds the shares in the Football League, is a member of the West Riding County Football Association and an Associate Member of the Football Association.
LUFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeds City Holdings Limited ('LCH').
LCH has 6 unconnected shareholders.
Four of the shareholders hold 18.11% collectively, with no one of these holding more than 10%.
FSF Limited (a company incorporated in Nevis) holds 48.56% of the issued shares.
FSF Limited is owned by Outro Limited which is wholly owned by Mr. K. W. Bates and is registered in Nevis.
LUFC Holding Limited a company based in Grand Cayman holds 33.33% of the issued shares.
LUFC Holding Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of GFH Capital Limited which is based in Dubai.
GFH Capital Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, BSC, which is based in Bahrain. No shareholder in Gulf Finance House, BSC holds over 10% of its shares.
LUFC Holding Limited will acquire the 66.67% shareholding held by the other shareholders on the 21st December 2012.

Leeds United 1 Leicester 0: Leeds are given impetus again to honour Speed

Yorkshire Post 28/11/12
By Leon Wobschall
IT has been a year-long wait between midweek Championship victories for Leeds United – but both have borne the same emotional imprint.
Twelve months ago, a following of 3,700 Whites supporters made the trip to Nottingham Forest to see United honour the late Gary Speed in the best possible way by virtue of a 4-0 victory, just a few days after his untimely passing.
In 10 subsequent league midweek matches, United were not able to celebrate victory and have endured some embarrassing and awful nights.
Redemption was finally at hand last night on another evening when Speed was central to everybody’s thoughts on the first anniversary of his tragic death.
His former club delivered, albeit not quite with the same panache against Leciester as they did against their East Midlands rivals Forest.
But victories come in all shapes and sizes and the win over the Foxes, courtesy of a third-minute penalty from Luciano Becchio, felt pretty sweet as United remembered Speedo.
It was Leeds’s first midweek league victory at Elland Road since August 2011 when they beat Hull City, then managed by current Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and sealed a momentum-filled week for the club, now with a fair bit of wind in their sails ahead of Saturday’s derby at Huddersfield Town.
Generous applause from the Kop followed a medley of Speed’s magic moments on the giant video screen ahead of the crowd saluting, as one, the midfielder in 60 emotion-packed seconds in a poignant prelude to kick-off.
And it was not long before most were back on their feet hailing a United opener from the spot courtesy of some slapdash defending from Jeffrey Schlupp, hardly befitting of a back four which possessed the highest number of Championship clean sheets, eight.
Recently converted from front to back by Foxes boss Pearson, Schlupp showed he is the proverbial work in progress defensively, displaying the impetuosity of youth to trip fellow teenager Sam Byram after just 96 seconds.
Becchio obligingly tucked away the early festive gift for his 12th goal of the campaign, sending former Whites goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock may have tipped Leicester to be champions in his pre-match musings, but they looked nothing like a side dining at the top end of the table for most of the first half, punctuated by an 11th-minute tribute to Speed.
The rendition was going strong when a raid, in comparative isolation, arrived and Martyn Waghorn was fouled by Tom Lees, perilously close to the box, with Ben Marshall’s meaty free-kick blocked by David Norris.
It was United who were the more assertive and composed side and only a tremendous one-handed tip-over from Schmeichel denied the hosts a second goal on 27 minutes following an instinctive half-volley from Saturday’s goal hero Paul Green following Becchio’s cross.
Leicester’s one moment of first-half class arrived six minutes later when a superb cross from Marshall was helped on by Jamie Vardy, with Waghorn showing tremendous technique to fire a dipping angled volley, which clipped the woodwork.
By and large, it was a half which United controlled, with only a great saving tackle from Richie De Laet stopping Jerome Thomas from pulling the trigger following El-Hadji Diouf’s clever assist.
Leicester showed more purpose on the restart but little penetration and Pearson, in a bid to pep up his side, made a double substitution on 57 minutes, throwing on Marko Futacs and Anthony Knockaert for Vardy and Marshall.
The latter, who scored two sublime strikes in a 2-0 victory at Huddersfield earlier in the autumn, soon tested the reactions of home goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, the precursor to the visitors’ most sustained cameo of pressure.
Such was Warnock’s concern that he soon threw on a defensive midfielder in Michael Brown for Thomas in an attempt to regain control back in the engine room with Leicester threatening to lay siege.
As it was, the veteran almost played a decisive hand at the other end shortly after his entrance when he shot narrowly wide as United sought a relieving second goal.
Futacs then saw a piledriving shot flash wide after latching onto a rare defensive mistake from Byram before Pearson played his final card by replacing Waghorn with Jesse Lingard, handed an attacking brief along with Knockaert to support fellow substitute Futacs.
While Leicester boasted plenty of possession, United competed ferociously to protect their advantage in a high-energy shift, with their industry and unstinting commitment raucously recognised by the United fans on a evening when they remembered a thoroughly committed son in Speed.
An everyman in a footballing sense who recognised that talent was nothing without graft, it was a victory that the revered Welshman and adopted son of Leeds would have appreciated fully.
leon.wobschall@ypn.co.uk

Leeds 1 Leicester 0: Hosts honour Speed's memory in style after early Becchio penalty secures win

Mail 27/11/12
By John Edwards
Gary Speed's memory was honoured in fitting style by Leeds United's players and fans at an emotional Elland Road.
If it hardly seems possible a year has passed since Speed's death, the way Leeds fans commemorated it was easier to believe.
He was revered by an adoring public, for his deeds in the No 11 shirt, and it showed as they applauded his life for 60 seconds before kick-off, then chanted his name for 11 minutes from the 11th minute.
By the time their rousing tribute had finished, those who have followed in Speed's footsteps had done their bit by claiming a thirdminute penalty breakthrough that was to prove decisive.
Attacking right back Sam Byram's darting run into the area was halted by a clumsy challenge from Jeff Schlupp, and Luciano Becchio calmly waited for Leicester protests to die down before sending former Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Fresh from denting Crystal Palace's promotion hopes with a win that knocked them off the Championship summit on Saturday, the hosts followed up with another top-three scalp, much to Neil Warnock's delight.
'It wasn't just that we won but the way we won that would have delighted Gary,' said the Leeds manager.
'That was a Gary Speed game, roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. He never shirked a challenge and was always involved.
'I could just see him playing where David Norris was tonight, and I made Norris man of the match.
'I thought it was so appropriate for Gary that we should play like that on a night like tonight.'
It took a stunning save from Schmeichel to deny Leeds a second goal in the 27th minute after Paul Green connected perfectly with Becchio's low cross.
The Leicester keeper scarcely had time to see it, yet reacted brilliantly to palm it over.
Martyn Waghorn hinted at a Leicester revival with an angled volley against the bar in the 33rd minute, but, for all their second half pressure, Nigel Pearson's side struggled to make chances.
And after weathering the storm, Leeds resumed their search for a second goal, going closest in the 66th minute, after Becchio rolled an El Hadji Diouf cross into the path of substitute Michael Brown. The midfielder took careful aim, but shot inches wide.
After that, a year to the day after losing one of their favourite sons, Leeds were in no mood to let their lead slip. They duly held out, and the final whistle was greeted by cheers and more Speed chants. Players and supporters alike, they had done him proud.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Match report: Leeds United 1 Leicester 0

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/11/12
Leeds United ended their year-long midweek league hoodoo by claiming their second impressive scalp in as many games as they saw off Leicester City at Elland Road.
Three days after a 2-1 victory over then-leaders Crystal Palace, Neil Warnock’s men got the better of the third-placed Foxes to record a first midweek success since they beat Nottingham Forest 4-0 some 364 days ago.
That night was a significant one for United as it was their first game since the death of club icon Gary Speed and they tonight remembered their former title winner, marking the occasion in style with another success.
Luciano Becchio scored the only goal of the game with an early penalty, meaning the Whites have yet to lose since they were acquired by GFH Capital last week. Warnock hopes their investment can drag his side up the table.
Leicester have been flush with foreign money for some time now and this was their first defeat in five outings.
Martyn Waghorn hit the bar with a brilliant first-half effort and they were better after the break, but they missed leading scorer David Nugent badly.
Warnock had spoken of wanting Saturday’s win to be the launchpad for a “five-month miracle” which would result in him achieving a record-setting eighth promotion, and his side were certainly spurred on by his words.
They were ahead inside three minutes, with the trickery of Sam Byram earning a penalty which Becchio converted for his 12th goal of the season.
Even through Leeds’ fallow start to the campaign, Byram was impressive, and the teenage full-back ran at Jeff Schlupp and was brought down, although it took referee Mick Russell a little time to award the spot-kick. Becchio duly sent former team-mate Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.
Leicester found it hard to mount a response to the goal, with Leeds’ central-defensive pairing of Tom Lees and Alan Tait looking robust, and their first effort came from full-back Richie De Laet who charged forward and hit a cross-shot at Paddy Kenny.
The experienced keeper was barely troubled by the effort, though, but the same could not be said for Schmeichel at the other end when he had to spring into life to produce a brilliant one-handed stop after Paul Green dug out an impudent chip from a Jerome Thomas cross.
Waghorn was the next to flash a shot across goal, with the England under-21 striker going closer than any of his team-mates when he swivelled on a loose ball and hit a volley which grazed Kenny’s bar and went away before the stopper had even seen it.
Waghorn nearly caught Leeds cold at the start of the second half, breaking clear to bare down on Kenny’s goal before he hesitated and was crowded out, before Wes Morgan’s free header at least forced the former Sheffield United keeper to make a routine save.
Leicester had clearly upped the ante from their first-half showing and substitute Anthony Knockaert, a scorer of spectacular goals, forced Kenny to go full stretch to keep out a 25-yarder.
Warnock threw on Michael Brown to try and restore some calm.
The change nearly yielded a reward going forward as the veteran midfielder curled a shot narrowly wide, with Mark Futacs doing the same for Leicester with an outside-of-the-boot attempt.
For all their pressure, though, Leicester could not find a way to get past Lees or Tate and Leeds held out, despite a late punt from Schmeichel rearing up and bouncing off the top of Kenny’s bar.

100 Years Ago - Leeds City and Walden

Leeds Mercury Thursday, November 28, 1912
Transfer developments unfavourable
The hurried effort to help the Northampton Football Club in its serious financial embarrassment closed tonight, when the guarantors and the club secretary met to receive the final contributions.
The campaign, which has lasted twelve days, has resulted in a sum of £650 being contributed.
The task set was £1,500 and failure means transferring at least one player to obtain money.
The Northampton supporters hope the partial success will prevent transfers, especially as it has been officially stated that no players will be parted with until the Cup-ties are done with.
Walden, the brilliant outside-right, is the idol of the crowd, and everyone recognises that were he to go to Leeds, the gain of that city would be very much the loss of the Cobblers’ town.
Confidence is, however, now general that Fanny Walden is saved for the present still to represent the premier team of his native city.
The disappointing feature of the money raising campaign is that, although the fund was kept open beyond the time at first allotted, the amount received in the extra time was less than £30 but, to the general pleasure, last Saturday’s gate against Coventry was £75 in advance of the season’s average. If this were kept up it would mean Northampton’s salvation.

Thomas delighted he opted for Whites

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/11/12
By Leon Wobschall
Sat on the settee watching Jeff Stelling and the Soccer Saturday team hold court this season was starting to rankle with Jerome Thomas.
As it was for Leeds United’s other emergency loan window deadline-day signing Alan Tate, with both casting aside a fair bit of frustration to do their bit on the pitch and sample the joyous atmosphere of a winning dressing room in the process for the first time in a good while on Saturday.
It’s something Swansea City defender Tate had, until last weekend, experienced just once this term, albeit in a routine Capital One Cup victory for the Swans against Barnsley, one of just four appearances in 2012-13.
You have to go back to last season for West Brom loanee Thomas tasting that particular sensation, with the wingman having not featured for the bouyant Baggies since the end of April and it was he who was the one clutching the man-of-the-match champagne for his efforts in Saturday’s 2-1 home success over Crystal Palace.
Although it could have easily been Tate who left with the bubbly after a similarly polished performance.
On his own Super Saturday, Thomas quipped: “Like Tatey said, it beats listening to Jeff Stelling!
“It is frustrating to train all week as hard as you can and then have the weekend off watching the results at home. We train on Sunday as well (at West Brom), so it is extra-depressing!”
While Thomas’ West Brom side have been very much the story so far in this Premiership with the Hawthorns outfit further enhancing their reputation with a 4-2 away-day victory at Sunderland on Saturday, it’s been a tad bittersweet for the 29-year-old.
Thomas – unable to force his way back into boss Steve Clarke’s plans after an early-season calf injury – has had to watch on while his team-mates hog the headlines, although he insists that a loan move was not at the top of his agenda.
It took all the persuasive sales-pitch skills of Neil Warnock, who had made unsuccessful moves to land Thomas during his spells at various clubs four or five times in the past, to convince him to move north, with the veteran boss’ decision to hand him a solely attacking brief music to his ears.
And Thomas certainly wasted no time making a favourable impression to all and sundry on Saturday.
He said: “I was pretty adamant I did not want to go on loan and had been asked by a few clubs. It was just a case of Leeds catching me at the right time, really. But I would not have gone just to any team.
“I know there had been talk in the past of Neil wanting me, but people go in different paths in football.
“I think when I was leaving Charlton, he mentioned his interest and when he was at QPR. I also know a few players who have played under him and they have all had positive things to say.
“It’s funny, you can always meet up somewhere and that is why it is important in business never to burn bridges as you never know where you are doing to end up.
“He is the kind of manager, who if I can pick, would play for throughout the whole of my career.
“The gaffer is very straight-forward and tells it how it is. It’s not rocket science with me; if I am given the freedom to play my game and can attack and don’t have to use as much of my energy to defend, I’m going to create chances.
“He has told the other (Leeds) players outright just to get me on the ball on Saturday and he wants me just to concentrate on my attacking game. Once my fitness is up, that is when I can starting adding goals and assists.”
“I think that is what the fans saw on Saturday and hopefully, they will start seeing more of it once I get match-fit.”
Handed his first Elland Road experience playing for the Whites nation was an uplifting one for Thomas, who has heard plenty about the passion and fervour of the United hordes from former Charlton colleague Lloyd Sam.
Coincidentally, Thomas is renting his ex-Addicks team-mates’ house in Leeds during his loan spell and he certainly got his feet under the table in a big way on the pitch at the weekend.
The Londoner has a further opportunity to endear himself to United punters at home to high-flying Leicester City tonight, the second part of a big triple header for the club, who make the short journey across the M62 for a raucous derby at Huddersfield Town on Saturday lunch-time.
And he is seeking to build on a hugely promising start to his Whites adventure. He added: “Lloyd and a few others have told me about the fans and I witnessed it on Saturday. It was a great atmosphere.
“I have heard so many stores about the fans and they did not disappoint.
“I’m so glad I decided to come here. We were training at West Brom and I had to make a decision when the window was closing in about two hours and that’s when I signed the papers.
“I had discussed it in the (Thursday) morning and then trained, but had pretty much decided to go ahead with it.
“I am actually renting Lloyd’s house, so it all magically fell into place. If that’s fate, who knows.
“Everything fell into place on Friday and I got my house and managed to settle in; that side of it is important. Literally, I had my feet up on Friday raring to go and I actually said those words on Twitter.”
On his longer-term future, Thomas is making no predictions, with his sole focus being on all matters United until January and boosting his match-fitness and getting some games under his belt.
He added: “The (WBA) manager has just said he will be watching the games and that it will be good for me to go out and play. It’s been hard for me with the team doing so well.
“But I can’t think too far ahead, to be honest. It’s been a good start at Leeds and I am just focusing on two things – staying injury-free and getting Leeds some points on the table.
“Saturday was my first game of the season and my calves completely went and I cramped up in the second-half. Once I get my fitness up, I feel I can give more than I did on Saturday and it is exciting times.
“But there’s enough time to recover for Tuesday and I am used to it, having played in the Championship before.
“I want to help get as many points as I can for Leeds, to be honest. It’s not about individuals.
“We are going to aim to get three points. Even in the away games, even though we had some tough ones coming up such as Huddersfield and Derby. Personally, my mentality going into games is always to go and get three points. If the lads have the same mentality as Saturday, we’ll be fine.”

Overseas Investment At Elland Road – What This Means For Leeds United?

The Hard Tackle 27/11/12
By Siddharth Mohan
After six months of speculation and negotiation, the saga of Leeds United A.F.C getting a new owner finally seems to be coming to an end. Dubai based investment bank GFH Capital have finalized agreements with Leeds United and its current chairman and owner Ken Bates, and are expected to complete 100 % takeover of the club by 21st of December in a deal worth £52million. Ken Bates will continue as the chairman of the club for the current season after which he is expected to take over the reins as the president of the Yorkshire club. GFH Capital executive David Haigh who is a supporter of Leeds’ since his childhood will join the board of Leeds United and he will be accompanied by his colleagues from GFH, Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel, who will be joining the board once the takeover is fully completed.
It has been a difficult decade for Leeds United and its fans, starting out from the financial meltdown caused by their failure to qualify for UEFA Champions League followed by relegation from the Premier league and the Championship. In the process, the three time English champions have lost a bunch of their best players and have also endured erratic management decisions under the ownership of Ken Bates who took over the club’s running eight years back.
The news of course will come as a new ray of hope for The Whites fans who have seen their beloved club hit a bad patch over recent weeks going winless in their last seven games before this weekend and plummeting down the table to 18th position. Manager Neil Warnock who was frustrated in the summer over lack of funds available to the club in the transfer market will be a much relieved man and will look forward to money flowing in during the January transfer window.
Three days into the GFH tenure and things started ticking in the right direction. Neil Warnock managed to obtain the services of defender Alan Tate from Swansea City and winger Jerome Thomas from West Bromwich Albion on loan on deadline day. When Leeds took on table topping Crystal Palace at Elland Road this weekend, there was an atmosphere of belief in the crowd, an extra spring in the foot-steps of the players and an overall confidence resonating all through the stadium. But things did not stop just there, results came along as well. Leeds United strengthened by the additions of Tate and Thomas won 2-1 over high flying Palace, their first in eight games. Jerome Thomas tormented the Palace defense with a strong display on the left flank and Tate who was slotted alongside Lees in defense played a crucial role in retaining Leeds United‘s lead. If the win over Palace and the influence of the new recruits are a sign of things to come for Leeds, fans will have much to look forward to for the rest of the season.

Key factors that can take Leeds United forward
1.The Magic Touch – Aside from the takeover, the other big news for Leeds United will be the decision of the new owners to retain Neil Warnock as manager. Warnock is widely regarded in English football to have that magic touch of getting teams promoted with minimum resources at his disposal. His experience of player handling will also be key to now cash rich Leeds United in terms of retaining harmony amongst new recruits and keeping the players focused on their goal of getting promoted to the Premiership. Warnock was handed a brand new team in the summer and has done quite well in gelling the team together and embedding into the team his style of play and Leeds United fans will loathe to see this team broken again. With transfer money now available for him to spend, expect Warnock to spend wisely and bring in players who will complement and strengthen the current squad for the club’s push to the Premier league.

2.Neutralization of Ken Bates – When Bates bought Leeds United, many saw him as a saviour of the club that had entered administration and were at a point in danger of being liquidated. But aside from saving the club, the “Bates” effect has in recent years taken the club backwards. Rifts with managers and players have seen many leave the club when the team has been on the brink of success. When GFH Capital take over the affairs of the club completely in December, Ken Bates will have minimum control over the running of the club and his control will be further lessened come next season. A board comprising GFH executives and ex-players,most notably Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray, should ensure a smooth running of the club’s affairs.

3.Return of a belief and confidence – The availability of money is always good news to a club and its fans and this will be the case at Leeds United as well. Big name signings and better resources will be on the cards and this always brings about a sense of confidence and morale amongst fans and in the dressing room.

4. A downside to the new money is of course the owners getting impatient for success and changing too many things at the club for the worse. GFH Capital, as was the case with Blackburn Rover’s Venkys, have no history in football management and if things aren’t kept in control, the club could very well go along the wrong direction. Leeds United though are blessed with a set of loyal ex-players who assume an active role in the club’s running and administration and they should be playing a major role in cooperating with the new owners in their plans to take Leeds United to the top of England and Europe.

An exciting time lies ahead of Leeds United A.F.C and its fans and much is expected from the new investment. Club and fans though must realize that success cannot be attained quickly and that they must remain patient and focused to bring back their glory days.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Warnock delighted Leeds won for new owners

Yorkshire Post 26/11/12
By Leon Wobschall
LEEDS UNITED director David Haigh basked in the glow of a heartening start to the GFH Capital era as the Whites ended their seven-match winless streak in fine style with a 2-1 victory over Championship form side Crystal Palace.
United ended a roller-coaster week in exhilarating fashion, much to the delight of GFH deputy chief executive Haigh and executive Salem Patel, who were sat in the East Stand on Saturday.
Haigh was appointed to the board in midweek after GFH 
finalised the first stage of their buy-out of United. Completion of the takeover from owner Ken Bates is due on December 21 and Patel will become a club director next month. The pair watched as goals from Luciano Becchio and Paul Green saw the hosts inflict a first defeat in 15 games upon Palace who were deposed as leaders.
The duo met Neil Warnock after Saturday’s game, with transfer business in January top of the agenda. GFH had already made a statement of intent on Thursday by providing additional loan funds to enable the United manager to bring in Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate, who were influential in the weekend victory.
Haigh, a lifelong United fan, said: “What an atmosphere and what a result.
“The fans were amazing and so was the football. It is a cracking win and a great start on the field in our first week as owners.”
Warnock praised the support given by GFH to enable him to raid the transfer market ahead of the emergency loan deadline, while adding that Wednesday’s dramatic takeover development has reinvigorated him and the club’s campaign.
Warnock, who ahead of the game spoke about the ‘season starting now’ with United having five months to produce a promotion ‘miracle’, said: “It alters everybody’s outlook. Ten days ago, you would think I was thinking of chopping my head off. Ten days later, I am thinking of other things. That’s football.
“Even at my age and with my experience, you do get yourself down a little bit. But these people have given me a massive lift. We have got to take advantage.
“One of them is a massive Leeds fan, so he knows what type of club it is. More days like Saturday and who knows? It’s such an early part of the season.
“In fairness to the new owners, they were instrumental in the Jerome Thomas deal. There was a hitch late on and it looked like it was not going to go through, but within five minutes, they made it go through. I am delighted that we won for them. It is a big plus for them.
“We have shown that with two or three additions, we are as good as anybody in the league when we play like we did on Saturday, home and away.”
West Bromwich loan winger Thomas, starting his first competitive match since April 28, and Swansea City centre-half Tate were praised by Warnock as United produced their most complete Championship performance of the season.
Warnock, whose side host Leicester City tomorrow, said: “The two new lads really made the difference. If I had not got them over the line, then I do not know what would have happened.
“Tate was fantastic. I do not mean to be disrespectful when I say he played with a fag in his mouth, but he had that calming influence on us.
“Jerome, on his day, is as good as anything in the Premier League, let alone the Championship. I am delighted to have got them both until January.
“We coped well with a strong side. We have got to build on this.
“It was our best performance by a mile (this season). The two lads came in and played like they had been with us all year. But one swallow does not make a summer.”

Leeds United v Crystal Palace: Whites back in the groove

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/11/12
By Phil Hay
When the relief of the final whistle washed over him, Neil Warnock gestured appreciatively to the directors’ box at Elland Road. A clap, a wave, a nod and a wink, all of which said this win was for them.
There are ways of impressing incoming owners and Saturday’s defeat of Crystal Palace was Leeds United’s gift to GFH Capital, gratefully given and gladly received. Four days after edging its takeover beyond the point of no return, the firm’s representatives were made to feel that their money was in the right place.
Two of them attended the game – new Leeds director David Haigh and soon-to-be-board member Salem Patel – and the result ensured a pleasant meeting with Warnock afterwards. They kept a low profile throughout their visit, leaving comment about the takeover to Ken Bates and attention post-match to Warnock and his team but United’s manager refused to let them go unmentioned. “These people have given me a massive lift,” he said.
There was little doubt that completion of the first stage of GFH Capital’s takeover, setting the stage for a full buy-out next month, influenced the victory over Palace. A minor bounce occurred in the size of the attendance, just 1,800 up on the crowd for United’s previous home fixture, but the atmosphere soared. Palace found no way to settle and their 14-game unbeaten run fell apart. The club’s manager, Ian Holloway, talked of the “energy of the takeover” in United’s football.
Beyond that, Warnock felt more tangible benefit from the deadline-day transfers which brought Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas to Leeds on Thursday. Thomas’ loan from West Brom, he claimed, was salvaged by GFH Capital after a late “hitch” and both players were central to Palace’s demise, Tate as an unflappable centre-back and Thomas as a quick, penetrative winger. Leeds looked refreshed and re-enforced if not quite transformed.
“I could tell how pleased everyone was with the two new players at training on Friday,” Warnock said. “Just having them around the training ground made the point that we were having a go.
“The new owners were instrumental in the Thomas deal. There was a hitch late on and it looked like it wasn’t going to go through but within five minutes they made it go through. I’m delighted that we’ve won for them.
“The takeover alters everybody’s outlook and this was our best performance of the season – by a mile.”
Warnock realised that it needed to be, against the Championship’s form team. Palace led the division on Saturday morning, driven forward by five straight wins and an undefeated sequence reaching back to August; the consistency and league position Warnock aspires to. Palace make for unlikely pace-setters in name alone but they are well-placed on merit. Holloway was unimpressed by chants of “top of the league, you’re having a laugh” as a rare loss arrived.
United’s circumstances were largely incomparable. They approached the game with little optimism but came out the other side with a first win in seven games and no further injuries or suspensions to fret over. A good day all round. Second-half goals from Luciano Becchio and Paul Green were more than Palace could deal with and Peter Ramage’s late header did nothing more than create bedlam during six minutes of injury-time. “They were up for it,” Holloway said afterwards. “Neil will be pleased.”
Palace’s problem lay in the effectiveness of United’s tactics. Warnock’s line-up had a more ambitious feel to it, not least because of Thomas’ inclusion, but their positioning was tight and constraining. Twenty five minutes passed before Palace started to settle. At no point did they ever seem comfortable.
“They were like the Leeds of old to begin with,” Holloway said. “Bang, bang, bang, right at you.” Palace’s goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, kept out a low shot from David Norris with a strong right hand and stood in the thick of the contest for half-an-hour but it was a measure of Palace’s explosive quality that Speroni’s counterpart, Paddy Kenny, had more to do.
United’s keeper maintained parity with two fine saves in the 31st minute, beating away Jonathan Parr’s shot before climbing to his feet and meeting Glenn Murray’s volley on the rebound. They were as crucial as his two-handed parry from Owen Garvan 10 minutes earlier. Wilfried Zaha, the outrageously talented England international, started to creep from his shell and Yannick Bolaise did too. So much of Palace’s expectation weighed on those two players.
Their season is bound to suffer in patches from the raw and carefree attitude of a winger like Zaha but it is impossible not to appreciate the 20-year-old’s brilliance or the speed with which his brain engages his feet. It was impossible, too, to overlook Zaha’s frustration as he emerged second-best from a direct confrontation with Sam Byram, United’s blossoming right-back.
Warnock trusted Byram to keep Zaha tied down and the teenager wound the rope with exceptional skill. For all that Jerome’s pace and drive earned him the man-of-the-match award, the champagne ought to have gone to Byram. Neither Zaha nor Palace’s 15-goal striker, Glenn Murray, made much of their afternoon at Elland Road and that fact in itself explained the result.
It also transpired that when Leeds leaned on Holloway’s defence, the foundations beneath it cracked. Seven minutes into the second half, Lee Peltier hooked a deep cross into Speroni’s box and Green beat Parr to a header at the far post. The ball bounced in turn off Ramage and Damien Delaney and Becchio attacked the rebound with a finish which flashed into the roof of Speroni’s net.
The decisive second goal was similar in nature, created through nothing more creative than another high ball launched towards goal. A weak clearing header dropped to Green who hit it on the volley and saw a deflection divert it past Speroni. The keeper gave his defence one of those looks and fished the ball from his net again.
Warnock teased Palace by using Dominic Poleon and Ross McCormack as substitutes but Poleon’s introduction was costly. When he allowed Jermaine Easter the run of the right wing on 86 minutes, Ramage ran in to meet Easter’s cross with an unstoppable header. Predictably, injury-time descended into chaos as Michael Tonge cleared a goalbound header from Murray and Warnock replaced Poleon with another substitute, Michael Brown, amid a flurry of attacks on Kenny. In pouring rain, United’s defence held.
“I was struggling to see another win coming when I looked at a few of our performances,” Warnock admitted, “but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. The lads have been trying. They just needed a lift like Jerome and Tate gave us.
“Confidence is a thin line and you could see that Palace hadn’t lost for so long. You could see that in the way they play. But we played some good football and we deserved the win.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Leeds United 2 Crystal Palace 1

Fear and Loathing in LS11 25/11/12
Ken DeMange
In the directors’ box, a boyhood Leeds fan appears, smiling and waving in acknowledgement to the well-wishers around him; he takes up his seat and surveys the sight afore him – a buzzing Elland Road. The teams emerge to rapturous applause; he detects fervour, an enthusiasm, a new sense of hope that sets this day aside from many that have preceded it. The highly fancied opposition, decked out in the distinctive striped kit with which they’ve become synonymous and blessed with an abundance of high quality, technically gifted players have come to offer the acid test, as the Whites’ ambitions of securing a top two slot rest upon a seminal 90 minutes under the floodlights…
I still remember that Champions League clash with Barcelona like it was yesterday. Saturday’s clash though played in front of 19,000 less spectators and host to several hundred millions of pounds less of talent, couldn’t help but provoke memories at that night. While Ridsdale’s role is now David Haigh’s and his view of Elland Road is predominantly of a dilapidated West Stand, rather than from it, the fervour, enthusiasm and new sense of hope was there; that Leeds United was finally on the cusp of moving up a level, of punching their weight and just maybe, switching the focus to success on the pitch.
Palace’s kit provided the key trigger to invoking memories of the past, but so too was their current status within Championship circles and the plethora of exciting, talented individuals that currently grace their side. Back in 2000, Rivaldo turned in one of the most astonishing displays the stadium has bared witness to, now in Wilfried Zaha, Palace possess their own man of the moment; lauded by the British press as the ‘next Cherno Samba’ (younger readers, ask your dads) on the back of his England call-up, the 20-year old Ivorian took to the pitch with the gait of player who’d gorged himself on his own publicity and was expectant that his opposite number would merely step aside in deference as he continued his inevitable journey towards supplanting Lionel Messi as the next permanent fixture on Ballon d’Or roll of honour. Arrogance has a nasty…actually scrub that, pleasing habit of delivering a smack around the chops to those who ply their trade on the pitch, especially in this instance where Sam Byram’s involved. While Byram’s rise to prominence has hardly gone unnoticed around Elland Road, he still remains a relative unknown on a national scale – yesterday’s showing was the most resounding affirmation so far, that this status will inevitably change. For the duration of the game, he bossed Zaha, reducing the Ivorian to frustrated gesticulations and hissy fits; indeed by the latter third of the game, it was Byram who offered the greater attacking threat, overlapping with increasing regularity as Leeds gained the ascendancy for a spell.
But Byram’s display was just one of many positives to be drawn from a first league win in eight. The whole demeanour of the side was different; while Neil Warnock’s ‘force of personality’ has arguably proved his greatest asset in inspiring players, so his melancholic, deflated tone has also been reflected in recent performances. Over the last few days, the sparkle has returned to Warnock’s eye and so too, to the starting XI.
From the whistle the tempo was higher, Paul Green finding the extra yard that’d deserted him since his return from injury in a more cohesive midfield unit. At the back, Alan Tate and Tom Lees immediately looked at ease playing together and uncomfortably similar appearance; from a rear perspective, the pair are almost identical to the trained eye – aside from Tate having a large arse, so I’m told – while from the front and side elevations, only Tate’s pigeon chest and ability to emote with his facial expressions mark him out as the new face in town. Encouraging too were the signs from Jerome Thomas, offering glimpses throughout of pace and the ability to beat his man, concepts that combined have almost become intangible down the Leeds left. White was exiled to the bench, with Pugh, the most stubborn of skid marks from the Bates era, washed away from the collective conscious by a new brand of brilliant whites producing, post-take over detergent!
It all made for a compelling spectacle to Leeds fans starved of such fare for much of the last 2 years. After a strong opening spell, in which Norris most notably tested the keeper, Palace gained the upper hand in the latter stages of the first half, Paddy Kenny’s double stop from Parrs and Murray the most notable of his work. On 27 minutes, Damien Delaney took it upon himself to find another way of breaching through, performing the most laughable of dives – he received a yellow card, but a far more satisfying form of justice was to affront him later. As the half drew to a close, Zaha also cried “penalty!” having encouraged a challenge from Norris then left his leg trailing; the referee turned away unimpressed and Zaha waved his hands like a wronged child – it was to be the last impression he made upon the game.
Come the second half, come the change of fortune, come the restoration of karmic balance. On 52 minutes Peltier put in a deep diagonal cross, Green looked to meet it, but instead Peter Ramage did, planting his header into the midriff of Delaney – a delightful assist for Becchio to hook home from a couple of yards. 1-0!! Elation in the stands; WACCOE and cries of ‘Marching on Together’ resounded from the Kop with a passion that’s been all too inconspicuous recently.
The pace continued and necessarily so for a Leeds side not renown for defensive stability, the replacement of Thomas with Poleon, a signal of Warnock’s mindset to secure the win rather than shut up shop. Within a minute of that change, arrived the second goal. Tate’s free kick from halfway, launched high and Delaney (again) rose to head the ball with Jedinak, the product of their best efforts was a loose ball that fell into the path of Paul Green to rifle home.
With the game slipping away, Palace’s efforts became increasingly frantic and direct as balls into the box became the pre-cursors to mass panic. With 3 minutes remaining an alternative route was opened up, Dikgacoi passing Poleon with ease and cutting the ball back – Ramage ran from deep, unchallenged to cast a cloud of doubt over the outcome.
A concerned Warnock chose to sacrifice Poleon after less than 15 minutes on the pitch, perhaps mindful of his role in the concession of the goal. Michael Brown entered the fray, and within moments had the crowd out of their seats with one thundering challenge – it drew roars of approval from the crowd, but a rather less enthused response from the recipient.
The fourth official appeared, the board showed 5 minutes! 5 minutes! This decreed by a man so consumed with an ideal of letting the game flow that he’d let countless challenges worthy of free-kicks go unpunished throughout. Baffled, fraught expressions formed a mosaic in the Kop, a visual representation of nerves on a grand scale. Palace were to stretch those nerves to the limit one more time, another goalmouth frenzy survived thanks to Michael Tonge’s position on the post.
The final whistle arrived, hands were raised and fists were pumped as players and supporters celebrated in unison. Warnock as tradition dictates also made a journey onto the pitch to salute the stands, but not before taking the time out to embrace Sam Byram. The future’s suddenly that bit brighter and that bit whiter…and who knows, we might just get to watch this lad play, long after Zaha’s departed to pastures new.

Warnock hoping to keep loan players- Win was no fluke

Leeds United boss Neil Warnock felt the win over Crystal Palace was no fluke after ending a seven match winless run.
The 2-1 win at Elland Road against top of the table Palace also brought to an end a run of fourteen games without a defeat for the visitors, stretching back to August.
Warnock was delighted with what he called a disciplined and good all-round team performance and he heaped praise on the full backs as well as new signing Alan Tate.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "I thought we were really disciplined today and we have worked on it for a few days. I thought Sam (Byram) and Lee (Peltier) were really good with the Palace danger men out wide and Tate was fantastic.
"It was a good all-round performance and I don`t think it was a fluke."
Leeds started brightly and David Norris came close to giving Leeds an early lead, his shot being kept out by Palace goalkeeper Juliano Speroni.
At the other end, Paddy Kenny made a great double save to deny Palace going in at the break ahead.
In the second half, Luciano Becchio broke the deadlock for Leeds when he pounced from close range after a mix up in the Palace defence.
The goal for Becchio was his twelfth of the season but his first in open play since he scored against Nottingham Forest on September 22nd.
Becchio must enjoy Palace visiting Elland Road, he has now scored four times in their three championship visits.
Leeds gave themselves a bit of breathing space with fourteen minutes remaining when Becchio put the Palace defence under pressure. The ball broke to Paul Green who volleyed home for his first goal in a Leeds shirt.
Palace tried in vain to maintain their unbeaten run and Peter Ramage gave them late hope when he headed home from close range.
They almost clinched a point deep into stoppage time but Leeds midfielder Michael Tonge was in the right place to hook the ball off the line.
The win for Leeds moves them up to sixteenth in the championship and they face another team in good form when third placed Leicester City visit Elland Road on Tuesday night.
United boss Neil Warnock indicated he would like to keep loan signings Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas on past their initial loan spell ending in January.
Swansea City defender Tate and West Brom winger Thomas both signed for Leeds on Thursday and Warnock feels if he can add a few more players to the squad in January as well as these two, the future looks good for Leeds.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "If we can keep these two lads on and look for a couple more in January, we have a very bright future."
Tate was making just his fifth appearance of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday, as Leeds brought to an end a run of seven games without a win with a 2-1 win over the side top of the table at the start of the afternoon.
Warnock was delighted with the contribution made by both Tate and Thomas and he felt Tate brought the best out of the defence. "I have always picked him out because he is a tough nut. He is uncompromising, he plays well, talks well and I think it brought the best out of all of them at the back," Warnock continued.
Thomas was making his first appearance of the season and his speed out wide gave Leeds something they have been missing all season.
Despite his lack of match fitness, Thomas started the game, he lasted 75 minutes before being substituted and Warnock was surprised how long he lasted. "I didn`t think Jerome would last as long as he did."
Thomas looked dangerous whenever he had the ball and Warnock says he has given him a free licence to go at the opposition defenders. "He is so positive. When he gets it, he just goes at people and I love that about players.
"I have told him, I don`t care how many times he loses it if he is positive, as long as he goes at them," added Warnock.
Warnock has been frustrated in the loan market since the transfer window closed in August, adding just Michael Tonge and Ryan Hall to his ranks.
The long running takeover saga was seeing him having to wait for the takeover to be completed before adding more players to his squad with neither the old regime or GFH Capital, who were concluding the deal to buy the club willing to commit to transfer until the completion.
GFH Capital finally got the takeover over the line on Wednesday and Warnock says the new owners played a key role in bringing in the two new players on Thursday before the loan transfer window closed until the New Year. "We just needed a bit of luck to bring these two lads in, which we managed to get over the line thanks to the new owners.
"It was nice to get them in and you could see what a difference they made."
Warnock will now be looking to add to his squad at the start of the January transfer window as he looks to get Leeds back into contention for promotion.
Despite their recent poor form, Leeds are just six points off the play-off places and teams like Reading last season, have shown that a run of victories can quickly take you from the bottom half of the table to in and around the play-off places.

Leeds United world of James, Ten for GFH-C

Clarkeonenil 25/11/12
By Clarke One Nil
Remember this?
James asks the vital questions.
When I wrote my last missive a month ago and titled it Spot The Difference, little did I know it would prove to be quite so prophetic….
Because this week, we saw the takeover that never was… Saviours GFH-C signed a deal to take over ownership of Leeds United, and then went and spoilt it by leaving possibly the most hated – and certainly the most divisive – man in the club’s history in charge until the summer. To add insult to injury, they then gave him the title of honorary life president to boot.
Many will have you believe that this is the end of the Ken Bates regime, but I’m not so sure myself. He will still be around until at least the end of May to produce more of his poison pen programme notes and then he takes over a position previously graced for many years by such a gentleman as George Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood.
While his lordship undoubtedly saw the title as little more than a figurehead position, anyone who expects Ken Bates to do the same just doesn’t know Ken Bates. Can anyone seriously see him being linked with a football club and not sticking his oar in somewhere?
So GFH-C’s regime at Elland Road starts, in my eyes at least, with a pretty humongous black mark by their name. Despite that, I appreciate that dealing with Mr Bates would have been little short of a nightmare and so I’m prepared to accept that him staying on in some capacity may have been a condition of sale, and so they could have been left with little choice.
In giving them the benefit of the doubt however, it deserves to be pointed out that one of the key issues surrounding the anger for the Bates regime was the complete lack of transparency the club went through for the last eight years. That lack of transparency spawned the well-received Tenforken.com campaign that floundered only on promotion to the Championship and people’s want to give the club a fair chance in a division higher.
GFH-C could go a long way to earning some very significant brownie points with myself and, I’m sure, other fans, if they came out as soon as possible and shed some more light on their ownership of Leeds United in an open and transparent manner.
So in the spirit of that previous campaign, here are my starting Ten For GFH-C…

1. You claim that the club will be run as Leeds United Holdings, a subsidiary of GFH-C. As this is a new entity, have you purchased the football club Leeds United or the parent company Leeds City Holdings and all associated companies such as Yorkshire Radio and Howard’s restaurant? If you have not purchased the associated companies, who owns them?
2. Earlier this year, 32 ‘Preference Shares’ were issued in the football club. Shares were reported as purchased for £100k with a guaranteed worth of £125k to be redeemed if the club or its holding company changed ownership. Given change of ownership is taking place, have you paid out on these shares and, if so, to whom?
3. What, exactly, will Ken Bates role be as President of the club? Will it be purely a ceremonial/honorary position or will he hold greater sway over club affairs and, if so, what exactly does that mean in practical terms. If an overwhelming percentage of Leeds fans express discontent at Mr Bates future position with the club, will you relieve him of the title of President?
4. There has been much conjecture over the summer as to how GFH-C is financing its purchase. Mr Bates alluded in his address on Yorkshire Radio on Wednesday that there is a ‘rich’ individual that has funded the purchase, which would imply they are the ultimate beneficiary of the club. If this person exists, who is it (you will need to give out this information to both the Football League and if we are promoted the Premier League so why not give it to the fans as well)? We spent at least five years of the Bates regime not knowing who the owners of Leeds United were – this cannot be allowed to happen again.
5. Is Leeds United and/or Leeds City Holdings ring-fenced from GFH and GFH-C’s other companies and dealings? Could a failure in another line of business be a draw on club funds?
6. Please do not underestimate the value Leeds fans place on their emotional attachment to Elland Road. Have you purchased Elland Road as part of the deal? If not, do you know who owns the ground and what are your plans for bringing it back to the club?
7. Leeds fans like nothing more than to see a home-grown hero on the field. Have you purchased Thorp Arch as part of the deal? If not, do you know who owns the training facilities and what are your plans for bringing them back to the club?
8. Will you continue with Ken Bates’ plans to build a hotel at Elland Road and if so, why and how will it be funded? Also, Leeds City Holdings is a bidder for the community television licence in Leeds. Will you be pursuing this aim? Will further capital projects at Elland Road once again take money away from the team itself and could further future ticket sales be mortgaged (again).
9. Neil Warnock has declared that this is his last season in football and his motivation at Leeds was to gain a record-breaking promotion. Given that motivation – by the manager’s own admission – is now a pipe dream, what are your plans for the management of the club? Will you be asking him to commit longer term to Leeds United given he may have significant funds to spend in the January transfer window?
10. Ticket prices are the elephant in the room. While football is admittedly an expensive business, we have been paying Premiership prices for lower division football for many years. Why not change tack and drop prices to increase attendance? Will you introduce half-season ticket prices in January? The next generation of Leeds fans is imperative to the long-term survival of the club – how do you plan to attract younger people given the lack club’s lack of recent successes?

If GFH-C can answer these starting questions, honestly and openly, I believe it would go a long way to placate Leeds United supporters and ensure a long extension of the honeymoon period with the new owners. We have had nigh on eight years of obfuscation – that has to end and it has to end now.
James Ellis.

Energised Leeds take a step in the right direction

Independent 25/11/12
Leeds United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Simon Hart
A cold, wet winter's afternoon in west Yorkshire did not feel much like a bright new dawn but Leeds United completed a significant week off the pitch at Elland Road with a much-needed step in the right direction on it.
Three days after the long-awaited announcement of the club's takeover by the Dubai-based investment firm, Gulf Finance House Capital, Neil Warnock's team ended a seven-match wait for a League victory by overcoming high-flying Crystal Palace.
With the paralysing uncertainty over the club's future now settled, Warnock had said the season started here, and this was the right way to go about it in front of David Haigh, GFH Capital's deputy chief executive, and director Salem Patel.
The takeover process is expected to be completed in December after a one-month transitional period and Haigh's declared wish is to take Leeds "back to the Premier League as soon as possible". Whatever follows – and the prospect of Ken Bates staying on as president remains a worry for some fans – this was the perfect start for Warnock.
The delighted manager said it was Leeds' best performance of the campaign "by a mile" and admitted the week's events had given his team "a massive lift". It was thanks to the takeover that Warnock had two new loan players on show in Swansea centre-back Alan Tate and West Bromwich winger Jerome Thomas, and he said of the pair: "We needed a bit of a lift with one of two new faces and they've come in and played like they've been with us all year."
Palace's manager, Ian Holloway, admitted that "the energy from the takeover, the energy from the new signings" had helped Leeds, though it might have been a different story had the visitors capitalised on a strong spell of first-half pressure when Paddy Kenny made a fine double save to thwart Jonathan Parr and Glenn Murray.
That it was Leeds' day was underlined by the fortuitous build-up to their opening goal after 52 minutes when Peter Ramage's defensive header hit fellow centre-back Damien Delaney and fell straight to Luciano Becchio who swept the loose ball home. The second goal came when Lee Peltier's ball into the box bounced off a Palace head towards Paul Green and his powerful volley flew past Julian Speroni.
Palace hit back with Ramage's header from Kagisho Dikgacoi's cross and saw Michael Tonge hook a ball off the line in stoppage time, but their 14-game unbeaten run was over. For Leeds, though, something may just be starting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leeds United 2 Crystal Palace 1: We deserved our victory, says Warnock

Yorkshire Evening Post 24/11/12
Neil Warnock was full of praise for his new loan signings as Leeds United beat Championship leaders Crystal Place.
Leeds were 2-1 victors thanks to goals from Luciano Becchio and Paul Green and although Peter Ramage scored for Palace with a powerful header, the Londoners lost for the first time in 16 matches, as they were knocked off the top of the npower Championship table by Cardiff.
Leeds were determined to impress their new owners, with loan signings Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas playing their part in ending a seven-match winless drought.
Thomas gave Palace a torrid time with his strong, direct runs down the left, while Tate was solid at the back alongside Tom Lees.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock felt his side were well worth the win and praised his deadline day loan signings.
“I am absolutely delighted for the new owners. We deserved the win over the 90 minutes,” he said.
“We started the game very well and had to hang in there at times but our two new lads made the difference. Alan Tate is a good pro. He had a calming influence on us at the back and Jerome Thomas is as good as anyone in the Premier League, let alone the Championship.
“We needed the lift in confidence those two have given us.”
Leeds keeper Paddy Kenny had to complete a double save from Jonathan Parr and Glenn Murray in the first half but Palace lacked their usual cutting edge.
Damien Delaney had already been booked for diving and when his Palace team-mate Wilfried Zaha also went down easily inside the box, Leeds midfielder David Norris squared up to him and was pushed aside by Zaha in an unsavoury incident on the half-time whistle.
All three goals came in a tension-packed second half. Becchio hooked in the first after a defensive mix-up, the Argentinian grabbing his 11th goal of the season in the 52nd minute, before Green volleyed his first goal for the club when Palace failed to deal with Tate’s free-kick.
Palace were given hope by Ramage’s 86th minute header but their late onslaught failed to produce an equaliser.
“You have to give Leeds credit,” Palace boss Ian Holloway said. “They looked like the Leeds of old in the first 20 minutes by coming at us. We came through that period but didn’t get the breaks.
“I thought we deserved at least a point and we did our supporters proud. Leeds got on the end of two things inside our box and scored two goals but there was a real scramble at the end and how the referee awarded Leeds a free-kick to relieve the pressure I don’t know. “The crowd got them that free-kick.”

Leeds 2 Crystal Palace 1: Becchio and Green put on a show for new owners GFH Capital

Mail 24/11/12
By Wayne Gardiner
Leeds manager Neil Warnock delivered on his promise that the season started today as his side kicked off their new era by ending Crystal Palace's 14-game unbeaten run.
After six months of negotiations, United were this week bought by GFH Capital, and Warnock, having said anyone could have done his job for the first four cash-strapped months of the season, claimed today was the first day of his pursuit of a record-setting eighth promotion.
And, although the goals scored by Luciano Becchio and Paul Green do not mask the fact Leeds had gone seven without a win prior to today, leaving them far from Premier League material, this was as good a start as they and GFH could have wished for.
Equally, a first defeat since their Capital One Cup defeat to Preston on August 28 does not spell disaster for Palace, although Cardiff's win at Barnsley means top spot is no longer theirs.
Manager Ian Holloway, for whom this was a first loss since his switch from Blackpool, will point to two contentious penalty decisions which went against England winger Wilfried Zaha but, short of Peter Ramage's late goal, his men were undone by a side revelling in front of playing in front of their new owners.
GFH have promised investment in January but it was one of the players they brought in on loan yesterday, Jerome Thomas, who took the fight to Palace early on, skinning Joel Ward and firing in a cross which nearly led to danger.
Leeds fed off Thomas' energy and soon Becchio was denied by Julian Speroni in the Palace goal, before the Argentinean stopper, a summer target of Warnock, did brilliantly to get down low and keep out David Norris after a bursting run from the midfielder.
After failing to land Speroni, Warnock tied up a deal for another of his old foot soldiers, Paddy Kenny, and he was then called into action at the other end, getting the slightest touch to an across-goal drive from Zaha, who outmuscled Sam Byram to get a shot in.
He then got to work behind a routine drive from Owen Garvan, before a brilliant double save kept his side level. First he flung himself to his left to palm away Jonathan Parr's curler, leaving the goal open in the process. He was up quickly, though, shutting down Glenn Murray who looked a safe bet to grab his 16th of the season from six yards.
Zaha was Palace's most dangerous player - far too strong for opposite number Byram - and the two were involved in a flashpoint on the stroke of half-time, with the former not getting the penalty he courted after appearing to be tripped.
Fortunately for him, he received no caution for his subsequent shoving of Norris. There was no doubt Palace had ended the first half the better but seven minutes into the second half, they were behind, owing largely to Ramage's failure to clear his lines. After Lee Peltier's cross was nodded across goal by Paul Green, the experienced defender headed it against his own man, Mile Jedinak, allowing Becchio to pounce from two yards.
Palace's attempts at a response inevitably went through Zaha who again thought he had claims on a penalty when he and Byram became entangled for a second time, although the best chances fell in Leeds' favour, with Norris drilling over after a Byram cross fell kindly for him.
A second Leeds goal would arrive, though, with Green's 75th-minute sweet back-post volley - after Alan Tate's punt forward fell to him - deflecting beyond Speroni's reach.
Thinking the game was done, Warnock sent on Ross McCormack for a first home appearance in almost three months following injury, but Leeds were given a reality check with five minutes left when Ramage dived to head in Kagisho Dikgacoi's cross. With five minutes of time added Palace had a chance to get a second, but the closest they came was Michael Tonge booting off his own line following a scramble, and Leeds held on.

Leeds United takeover: A good start but plenty still to sort - Hay

Yorkshire Evening Post 24/11/12
By Phil Hay
There are hostile takeovers and then there is the takeover sealed in principle by GFH Capital. No blood was spilled in the sale of Leeds United or none that we can see. As business transactions go, this was friendly to a fault.
The measured tone of Wednesday’s announcement brought to mind the contrasting style of Ken Bates’ ascension to the position of chairman in January 2005. The buy-out he fronted was largely amicable – strangely so given the deterioration of his relationship with the out-going board – but it was also quick; agreed within days and implemented within days.
Bates staged a press conference a week later and a fans’ forum on the same night, controlling both events as men like him do. You knew by then that this was his club, his turf and his call. Farewell to the days of ruling by committee.
In the past week a committee of sorts has re-established itself at Elland Road, for the month ahead and perhaps beyond. The deal struck on Tuesday night did not prompt an immediate transfer of power. That will come four days before Christmas or as soon as the Football League gives GFH Capital its approval. In the meantime, the difference from the outside is unlikely to be discernible.
In a radio interview on Wednesday morning, Bates claimed that “nothing will change” as a result of the takeover and he is understood to have given the same message to United’s players and staff at Thorp Arch the following day. It was an odd comment. Change is, by most people’s reasoning, the whole point of a complete buy-out. It is the definition of a takeover. And as GFH Capital cannot fail to realise, there is much about Leeds which those who invest emotionally in the club want to see redressed.
We know already that Bates will retain control until his buyers pay the final instalment of the price agreed for full ownership. The date for official completion has been declared by him as December 21. We know too that he will remain as chairman for the rest of this season, despite the fact that GFH Capital expect to have three representatives on the board at Elland Road by the turn of the year.
David Haigh, its deputy chief executive, has joined already. Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes will be added next month. Bates aside, there are presently three other directors at Elland Road – Shaun Harvey, Yvonne Todd and United’s former striker, Peter Lorimer. Harvey is expected to continue as chief executive but GFH Capital’s rearrangement of the boardroom will be worth watching. It is the company’s way of depicting a new era and avoiding the impression of a partnership with the old regime. The retention of Bates as chairman for this season and club president for years beyond was never in GFH Capital’s blueprint. The firm cannot pretend otherwise. It was an unforeseen compromise through which GFH Capital was able to close a deal. The company is entitled to be pragmatic and make its own choices but in the long-term it must act with single, uncontested authority. The mooted purchase price of £52million is more than enough to give it autonomy.
That, more than anything, was the issue with the decision to allow Bates a legacy at Elland Road. His planned appointment as club president sits uncomfortably with a lot of supporters. They could name without thinking other candidates who they see as more worthy or more appropriate.
But the argument reflects the long-standing clash of personalities between Bates and sections of United’s support. It is far less important than the matter of what active input Bates will have once 100 per cent of United’s shares pass to GFH Capital. He can advise and direct but in no way should he be free to dictate. GFH Capital will do itself a favour by drawing a line at the right time.
For now, the firm can simply continue to take small steps. The first three days of GFH Capital’s involvement were not at all disappointing. It provided United with funding on Wednesday morning and two loan signings – Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas – followed the next day. Regardless of whether the injection of cash was used directly to finance those deals, the club made more progress in the transfer market in 48 hours than they made in the previous four weeks. There are few better ways of endearing yourself to an expectant audience.
When the chaos subsides – and doubtless GFH Capital’s staff have been short of time to breathe this week – the public will look for more than that.
Those who take a keen interest in the structure of United’s business are anxious to discover whether this buy-out incorporates the whole of Leeds City Holdings Limited, the club’s parent company, or merely the club itself. GFH Capital’s takeover statement was ambiguous about that, saying: “GFH Capital has finalised the deal for the acquisition of Leeds United Football Club. Following Football League approval, LUFC Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of GFH Capital, will be 100 per cent shareholders.” GFH Capital can also expect to be asked for clarification about who precisely is backing it; in Bates’ words: “a very rich individual, very close to the government of Bahrain.”
The planned repurchase of Elland Road and Thorp Arch is another matter of intrigue. GFH Capital has not yet acquired either property. It intends to buy both but so did Bates when he first became chairman in 2005. Elland Road is subject to a buy-back clause costing in the region of £15million and Leeds hold no legal right to repurchase Thorp Arch after their buy-back agreement lapsed in 2009. Some serious money will be needed to claw back the deeds.
These are fundamental points about which questions will be raised. It is hardly fair to expect GFH Capital to drop everything and lay itself bare immediately but relief at the conclusion of a long takeover will soon give way to a desire to understand what exactly this takeover entails. The devil at Leeds United is always in the detail.

Five months remain to ‘work a miracle’

Yorkshire Evening Post 23/11/12
By Phil Hay
This time last week, Neil Warnock thought the game was up. His body language said as much. No money, no takeover, no players, no hope. A week is a long time in management.
Thursday’s press conference stopped short of a carnival but it no longer resembled the last rites. If nothing else, the fight in Warnock revealed itself again. “Seven days ago I was thinking ‘what a wasted opportunity’,” he said. “Now it feels like I’m opening the curtains.”
There are, of course, clouds in the sky: a troubling league position and an acute shortage of players, a shortage so bad that Warnock made 33 phone calls in pursuit of new signings while the takeover of Leeds United sank in on Wednesday. An overnight solution was too much to ask for with the January transfer window so far away and Warnock said he had “five months to do a miracle”. He at least made it sound like a miracle could happen.
United’s manager cut a sombre, depressed figure in the days before last weekend’s defeat to Millwall. He was close to writing off the season. But for the first time yesterday, he was able to speak about the takeover in certain terms rather than discussing an event which might never happen.
GFH Capital, the new owner of Leeds, has not spoken in detail about what its buy-out of Leeds will mean for Warnock but the 63-year-old is willing to assume that the situation facing him cannot get worse. Funds were invested by GFH Capital within hours of its takeover on Tuesday night and more has been promised for January.
Warnock will meet David Haigh and Salem Patel, two of the driving forces behind GFH Capital’s successful bid, to discuss the way ahead after tomorrow’s game against Crystal Palace.
“It’s a fabulous step forward,” said Warnock. “It’s been a long time coming but it’s a progressive step for the club.
“We’ve been standing still so it’s a positive thing for everybody’s mental outlook. When you wake up in the morning it’s a different feeling. At last it gives us closure on the whole saga.
“The last two or three weeks have been as difficult as they come. You start thinking it’s you. Are you a Jonah with football clubs? Everywhere I’ve been in the last how-many years, they’ve all had new owners. But we still got success and it’s a matter of being positive. What’s that saying? Look too much at the clouds and you forget about the sunshine.
“I suppose seven days ago I was thinking ‘what a wasted opportunity.’ Now it feels like opening the curtains. We’ve got to look at it and say ‘let’s have a go.’
“Really, my season starts now and I’m almost feeling like I feel when I come back for the first week of pre-season. Yes, we’re short of players but I only look to the future. Because in my eyes I’ve got five months to work a miracle.”
The Championship table after 17 games says exactly that: Leeds in 18th position and eight points short of the play-off spots. As Warnock himself admitted last week it would be brash of United to talk about promotion with the league as it is, and rash to assume that the club were immune to a much worse fate. Asked if his squad were presently contesting relegation or promotion, Warnock said: “I don’t actually know.
“At the moment and before the news (about the takeover), probably the first one. But I’ve not given up anything. I can’t give it up and I’m not going to give it up. I’ll have to bite my tongue and go with what we’ve got for a few weeks but at the same time I’m going to plan for January so that when it comes we can have a right good go.
“In the meantime, we’ve got to pick up as many points as we can. We’ve got major problems at the moment and we’re decimated with injuries and suspensions but it’s not the takeover that gets you sent off or makes you lose your man in the box. You can’t blame that for everything. We’ve got to get on with being footballers.”
Leeds were afflicted by both of those problems at Millwall – a red card shown to Luke Varney and a goal conceded to a free header from Chris Wood five minutes from time. Varney begins a three-match suspension against Palace tomorrow, joining centre-back Jason Pearce in sinners’ corner. Michael Brown returns from a one-match ban but Rodolph Austin is injured and Warnock said Ross McCormack ended his appearance for the United’s Under-21s on Monday complaining of pain in the ankle on which he had surgery in September. The striker’s hasty return as a substitute against Millwall was very much a symptom of the pressure on Leeds.
Warnock has seen worse situations in his time, including his spell as manager of Palace. He was the coach in charge when the South London club entered administration in 2010 and began fighting liquidation but Palace have truly turned a corner. Blessed with the fruits of a productive academy, they come to Leeds tomorrow as Championship leaders after five straight wins.
“I’d love to see them in the Premier League,” Warnock said. “Just because of what we had to put up with when I was there. It was a horrendous time for the whole club and me as well. To see them doing what they’re doing now, I can’t tell you how pleased I am.
“But tomorrow I’ll be doing my utmost to beat them. This game – personally I’m pleased that it’s top of the league we’re playing. And then Leicester on Tuesday. They’re two of the best teams at the moment.
“It’s appropriate in a way, even with all our disappointments and problems. It gives everyone here an opportunity to get together and give it a go.
“We’re struggling numbers-wise but it’s still only 11 versus 11. It’s a new era and we’ve got to play like that; play above ourselves because Palace are the best team in the league. That’s the short-term – trying to get something off the best team in the league.”
GFH Capital made it clear from an early stage of its protracted takeover that Warnock would be retained as manager upon completion of the deal and then supported with sufficient funds in January.
Chairman Ken Bates, who is remaining in his post until the end of the season but will relinquish his majority shareholding to GFH Capital next month, made a telling comment on Wednesday morning, saying: “Neil Warnock will continue as manager and have more support than the present administration have been able to give him.”
It has doubtless occurred to Warnock that in the longer term, GFH Capital will judge him on results.
There are few ways to disguise United’s current form: three straight league defeats, four defeats in five and seven games without a win. The weeks leading up to January, the moment when GFH Capital’s takeover will come in for its first bout of serious scrutiny, are still likely to dictate whether the transfer window offers any sort of salvation.
For Warnock, this was meant to be the crowning year of a long career in management. “It’s been difficult for me,” he said, “with my family being in Cornwall as well. It’s bound to be difficult. But Sharon (Warnock’s wife) realised what an important year this was for me. Really, my year starts now.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been working. I feel I’ve been doing a job that most people could have done. But it’s onwards now. Look to the future and be positive.”

Leeds United Takeover: A Silver Lining Marred By A Huge Ken Bates - Shaped Cloud

Sabotage Times 23/11/12
by Andy Peterson
The Leeds United takeover saga is finally over, but scepticism still remains as Bates will remain as President. A lot of work must go into taking Leeds of handbrake that Bates has had them on for years... Now it’s here, the feeling is more than a little anti-climactic: as the implications continue to sink in of yesterday’s long awaited takeover announcement, the sensation it provoked amongst many Leeds United fans was one of simple relief, tinged however with suspicion.
This contrasted to our sentiments at the beginning of the process, one which has taken six months to come to fruition – and isn’t even officially completed until December 21st, after United take on Chelsea in the league cup – when there was a huge sense of optimism amongst the club’s supporters. It was quite reasonably anticipated then that with an experienced manager like Neil Warnock and some astute investment Simon Grayson’s lop sided squad could be improved to the point of competitiveness. This frankly normal desire for success on the field was of course squared with a far more fundamental ambition – the removal from his position of current chairman Ken Bates and an end to his seven year reign in charge of United’s destiny.
At the risk of repeating myself, my perception is that Bates‘ tenure will be viewed in hindsight as having almost certainly removed the prospect of Leeds competing at the top of British football for years to come. His often used rebuttal is that he “Saved” the club in 2005 and then “Saved” it again in 2007 by putting it into administration, then fronting the consortium that subsequently bought it out for a fraction of it’s market value. For the sake of balance it’s fair to say that in the first instance United, laden with debt and relegated from the Premier League, were certainly a less than attractive prospect for investors. This doesn’t explain why though, having done all that hard work, any chairman would logically then go and hire Dennis Wise as manager. The merits of his latter instance of self proclaimed philanthropy are far murkier, a view shared by the football league, which docked Leeds United the fifteen points which effectively prevented Gary McAllister’s side from gaining automatic promotion the next season. And so began a period of “Stabilisation” which in fact has had completely the opposite effect.
And here lies the rub. Measured against it’s publicly stated objectives, the Chairman’s grand plan – Premier League, European football, financial stability, repurchasing Elland Road and the club’s Thorp Arch training facility – has failed humiliatingly. United’s league status is there for all to see. Despite being “Profitable” for three seasons, it’s now in fact indebted to the tune of at least £7 million, loans secured against future season ticket and corporate hospitality receipts which are by no means guaranteed.
Meanwhile, it’s best talent has been released or sold to cover the increasing holes caused by supporter disaffection and dwindling gates. The loss of high profile players like Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson caused most upset for supporters, but more worryingly a former player I spoke to a couple of months ago described the existing youth set up as a shambles, also claiming that the likes of Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom were initially farmed through it and then allowed to slip away. Finally all of the club’s stranded assets remained, until yesterday, owned by shell companies who were charging United far more than a peppercorn annual rent. After seven years, Leeds United remained tenants in their own home.
Let’s speculate for a moment though. Perhaps in this alternative world there were other, private strategies which Bates and CEO Shaun Harvey formulated. Here it’s possible that inwardly they envisaged a scenario of promotion as they perceived it “On the cheap”, like perhaps a Reading, a Norwich, or a Swansea. Bates himself has often used his programme notes for fulsome praise for clubs of their ilk, “Well run” being his usual metaphor for their business models. But assembling that kind of organisation of course takes time, effort and investment in quality coaching and players, along with a good scouting system for lower league talent. And of course patience.
In this world you might also speculate that the likes of Brian McDermott, Roberto Martinez or Paul Lambert may well reject wholesale the concept of working under the sort of conditions Simon Grayson had to endure, forced to constantly shop in the emergency loans market and then relinquish Beckford, Johnson, Gradel et al.
Except of course allegedly Lambert made contact with someone close to Leeds following Grayson’s sacking and before Warnock was appointed to express his interest in the manager’s job at Elland Road. The Scot, of course, had at that point guided Norwich past Leeds not once but twice in search of the Premier League holy grail. Surely a chairman who had ambitions for his legacy to be that of steering United back to the promised land would hire a manager who was fresh from just having done that, and on a budget too? We’ll probably never know the truth. Lambert in the real world is now at Villa and Warnock has been left high and dry by a takeover process which has starved him of cash to build.
Perhaps the other plan was quite simple, and again purely speculating perhaps it consisted of administration, then operate with a net cash surplus for a few years, then sell at a vast mark up. In a strict business sense – and no-one can deny that Bates is a man who knows his balance sheet from his P&L – this is nirvana. But football is a sentimental industry, one in which stakeholders demand high performance as well as good cost management. A plan like this which would benefit so few, mostly anonymous people whom it would seem have failed to invest anything materially in the club would by definition have to be a veiled one.
Incompetent then, or covertly self serving. Allegedly.
Yesterday’s announcement by definition than had a flaw, one which new Chairman David Haigh probably describes to his friends as a “Wrinkle”. Under the terms of the agreement, Bates stays on, continuing his association with club which he has effectively hand-braked for so long. Ultimately his role will be that of President, one held with dignity for almost forty years by the late Earl of Harewood, George Lascelles. I like many Leeds fans shudder inwardly at the prospect of a man so lacking an inner voice of reason acting in the capacity of diplomat for United’s interests.
But then again this outcome is so typical of our existence: for Leeds United fans it seems that every silver lining has a huge, f-off cloud. So thanks GFHC for putting your faith in us. But right now we’re going to keep looking that gift horse straight in the bloody mouth.

Takeover lifts Warnock’s gloom as Elland Road future looks brighter

Yorkshire Post 23/11/12
By Leon Wobschall
Seven days ago, a thoroughly downcast Neil Warnock could hardly summon the energy to look out of the window to see what was on the horizon for Leeds United.
Fast forward to today and the long-awaited confirmation by GFH Capital of their takeover of the Whites has now enabled him to ‘open the curtains’ again. Potentially to a bright new dawn.
The mood in Warnock’s pre-match press conference yesterday was practically the polar opposite of the one he presided over at Thorp Arch a couple of days before the Millwall game, when he mulled over United’s increasingly stagnating campaign on and off the pitch and said that he would be “thick” even to contemplate promotion.
And the 63-year-old is the first to acknowledge the differing vibes.
Warnock, who has previously experienced his fair share of upheaval behind the scenes at a number of previous clubs, most notably United’s weekend opponents Crystal Palace, said: “I suppose seven days ago I was thinking ‘what a wasted opportunity’. But everything is positive this week and it is like opening the curtains. We have got to look at it now and say, ‘ let’s have a go.’
“The last two or three weeks have been as difficult as they come. You do start thinking it is you. Are you a Jonah with football clubs? Everywhere I have been in the last how-many years, they have all had new owners. But we still got success with that, so it is a matter of looking at the positive. What is that saying – look too much at the clouds, you forget about the sunshine?
“You’ve got to look at tomorrow now, not what happened yesterday.” Heralding the concrete takeover news, he added: “It’s a fabulous step forward. It’s been a long time coming, but it is a progressive step for the club in general.
“All I am concerned about is that at last it gives us closure on the whole saga.” While keen to draw a line under the countless frustrations endured while waiting for the protracted takeover to get over the line, Warnock is equally determined to move on and start a new chapter on the pitch.
The emphatic message from the energised Whites boss, who put several weeks of transfer angst behind him yesterday by bringing in Premier League pair Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas ahead of the emergency loan deadline – from Swansea City and West Brom respectively – is that the season very much starts now.
He added: “It is difficult for me at the moment with the family being in Cornwall. It is bound to be. But (wife) Sharon realised what an important year this is for me. Really, my year starts now. I don’t feel like I have been working; I feel I have just been doing a job that most people could have done.
“But my season starts now and I am almost feeling like I do when I come back for the first week of pre-season.
“Yes, we have lost a lot of players but it’s onwards now. Look to the future and be positive. Because in my eyes I have got five months to do another miracle.”
Having managed to secure two deals in double-quick time ahead of yesterday’s 5pm deadline, Warnock is envisaging more of the same and a bit more incoming activity of the permanent variety besides when the transfer window opens in January.
In terms of full-time transfers, the New Year window proved largely a write-off on the transfer front for United at the start of this year, with the only permanent deal that was finalised being the capture of Danny Pugh, with former boss Simon Grayson enduring a lorry-load of frustration otherwise.
Warnock will meet GFH Capital officials following tomorrow’s game with Palace and it is highly likely that January transfer business will be at the very top of the agenda.
Warnock, who plans to write a letter to the FA outlining what he perceives as an injustice for his improper conduct charge following events after the game at Millwall, said: “I will see them (GFH Capital) on Saturday after the game. I will know more then. But we have got four or five weeks and we will be working hard to put things in place, so we can move quite quickly rather than waiting until the end of January. We do not want to do that. We want to have signings in place.
“We are going to be looking at targets, talking to the new owners about who we want to bring in and getting the okay, so we can move quickly.
“We have got the best part of five months of fixtures and we have got to make sure we are ready as early as possible in January. In the meantime, we have got to pick up as many points as we can from a run of difficult fixtures and all the problems we have got.”
Having been afforded additional funds by GFH Capital to boost his transfer kitty following the takeover deal, Warnock wasted no time in completing the deals for Tate and Thomas and the Leeds boss admits it was a refreshing change to hear from agents, managers and clubs willing to do business, with it perhaps more than coincidence, given this week’s developments.
Warnock said: “For a change, I had a couple of good calls (on Wednesday). I counted 33 phone calls. I actually logged them so I knew how many I had done. Of which I got 24 answers and nine never even returned my call. I presumed they were a no.”
Last week, Warnock alluded to his hopes of a record eighth promotion of his distinguished managerial career slipping away. Defeat at Millwall was another dent to those prospects with selection worries compounded by a three-match ban for Luke Varney following his red card, with the striker joining the likes of Jason Pearce and Rodolph Austin in the stands tomorrow.
United reside in 18th spot in the Championship, but Warnock’s dream just about stays intact – Wednesday’s news certainly helped in that regard.
The United boss defiantly roared: “I am not giving up anything. I cannot give it up and I am not going to give it up. I am going to plan that once January comes we can have a right good go.”