Showing posts from May, 2012

Leeds United takeover talks: All signs point to a deal in the offing

Yorkshire Evening Post 30/5/12 Chief football writer Phil Hay looks at the implications of Leeds United’s takeover talks announcement. Ken Bates has a stock response to anyone who approaches him with promises of meaningful investment in Leeds United. “We have two golden rules,” he said last year, 24 hours after revealing himself as the club’s new owner. “We say ‘the identity of a proposed investor, proof of funds in a London bank.’ That usually gets rid of most of them.” In the past decade, rumours of impending investment at Leeds have often proved to be no more than speculation but the fact that an interested party were present at Elland Road six days ago suggests the individuals concerned have already cleared the first hurdle facing them. The group, described as North American, took a tour of United’s stadium and their training ground at Thorp Arch last Thursday as whispers of a buy-out began to circulate in the city around them. It was an intriguing end to a concerning week in

Quality of investors is crucial, say Leeds United

Yorkshire Post 30/5/12 By Ian Appleyard LEEDS United have confirmed that talks are taking place with potential investors following a season of unrest at Elland Road. Chairman Ken Bates, who took control at Leeds seven years ago, has been the subject of protests from a section of supporters who question his ambitions for the club. The identity of the potential investors has not been revealed but Yorkshire Post sources say that one is based in North America. It is understood at least three groups have declared an interest in Leeds with a Chicago-based would-be investor – thought to have inspected the club’s facilities last week – believed to be the frontrunner. However, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) – the owners of Canadian ice hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs – denied any involvement via Twitter yesterday, saying: “We love the enthusiasm of #LUFC Fans! However to repeat our response from last week – there is no truth to the rumours.” And Jon Pritchett, chief executive o

Leeds United takeover talks: US bidders make their move for Whites

Yorkshire Evening Post 30/5/12 By Phil Hay An American group are behind advanced plans for a takeover of Leeds United, the Yorkshire Evening Post can confirm. The mystery consortium – believed to be based in Chicago – are looking to secure a major shareholding in Leeds after travelling to England for talks last week. The YEP understands that members of the group were shown around Leeds’ stadium and Thorp Arch training ground on Thursday with a view to pushing through a buy-out of the Championship side. United chairman Ken Bates currently holds a controlling interest in Leeds having acquired 72.85 per cent of the club’s shares last year. Bates purchased the stake for an undisclosed sum from former owners Forward Sports Fund (FSF), buying FSF’s interest through another offshore firm, Outro Limited. United are actively seeking investment, however, and have attracted serious interest from across the Atlantic, leading to meetings in Leeds in the past seven days. The identity of the A

Bates puts whopping £80m price tag on LUFC?

To Ell And Back 30/5/12 According to the not-so reliable Daily Mail, Ken Bates has told a mystery Canadian consortium to stump up a massive £80m if they wish to buy the club. The Mail report that Bates has been offered a more modest £40m, however due to the complexities as to who actually owns the ground and Thorp Arch etc it is unlikely they will up the ante. It appears that our beloved owner/chairman has realised his time is up at ER and the more he can make out of handing over the reigns to a new owner, the better for him. Bates endured a season of conflict with supporters over perceived lack of investment in the squad over stadium redevelopments. However the ultimate embarrassment came last week when Captain Robert Snodgrass openly questioned Bates' ambition on the field and indicated this would be a massive factor in deciding his own future at the club. Bates however has insisted that Leeds went over budget on transfer spend, Including signing on fees and wages last seaso

Confirmed: Possible Takeover With Bid On The Table

The Scratching Shed 28/5/12 After days of takeover rumours, Leeds United Supporters Trust have confirmed that there is ‘firm’ interest in buying the club on their blog, and on Twitter, while the club has released an official statement acknowledging talks (see below). Talks are believed to have taken place last week between one group and the club, and so the potential takeover might be at a fairly advanced stage. L.U.S.T. wrote: In February we responded to Ken Bates’ suggestion that we “put our money where our mouth is,” by asking any potential investors, who shared the aims and ambitions of our members and of our Vision Statement, to contact the Trust with a view to working together to take Mr Bates up on his offer. We developed a presentation so interested parties could see how working with L.U.S.T. could help them, and have been in contact with a number of people to explore ways of bringing about change for the better at Elland Road. As part of this ongoing work, we have spoken to

Leeds United Takeover Rumour: The Origins Story

The Scratching Shed 28/5/12 I’ve received a lot of tweets and emails over the last 24 hours asking how the latest Leeds United takeover rumour managed to create mass hysteria without any comment from the club or rumours posted in the national rags. Generally speaking, Leeds United takeover rumours start on an internet forum or across the social media sites and are shot down in seconds because the original perpetrator lacks any kind of credibility. The story is usually something along the lines of “I have it on very good authority that [random billionaire] has made an offer for Leeds United.” This is invariably followed by hysterical laughter from everyone reading, a quick cross-examination to tear the story to bits and in many cases, the sudden disappearance of the original poster. How The Latest Rumour Began This particular Leeds United takeover rumour started out in much the same way as every other Leeds United takeover rumour, with a couple of threads opened up on various Leeds

Snodgrass reveals new doubts

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/5/12 By Leon Wobschall Robert Snodgrass has cast fresh doubt over his Leeds United future – and admits he is unsure whether the club’s ambitions match his own. The United skipper is mulling over whether to accept United’s offer of a contract extension, which would make him the highest-paid player at Elland Road, and is expected to reveal his decision next month. The Scottish international’s current deal runs out next summer, with the club keen to secure his long-term future. But with so much to consider in the light of United’s failure to win promotion and the possibility of renewed Premiership interest, the 24-year-old isn’t rushing into things and has reiterated he will put his family first when he arrives at his decision. He said: “The next decision for me is vital. But it’s not about me, it’s about my family and making the right decision for them. I have a wife and daughter now, plus there’s my mum and dad who have always stood by me when times were

Leeds United – Marching On Together?

Swiss Ramble 18/5/12 So another season passes with Leeds United failing in their attempt to return to the top flight. Having narrowly missed out on the play-off places the previous season, hopes were high that this could be their year, but the Whites went backwards, ending up in the bottom half of the Championship. Poor results resulted in the January dismissal of manager Simon Grayson, who had guided the team out of League One two years ago, to be replaced by the experienced Neil Warnock. However, there was little improvement, though Warnock’s cause was not helped by the timing of his arrival – one day after the transfer window closed. That said, given the limited investment in the squad in the last few years, it is doubtful whether Warnock would have been able to spend much in any case. In fairness to Grayson, it must have been difficult for him to make significant progress, as the club has got into the habit of selling its best players. Before a ball was even kicked, goalkeeper K

Future’s safe in my hands - Warnock

Yorkshire Evening Post 9/5/12 By Phil Hay Neil Warnock insisted his one-year project as Leeds United boss would leave a legacy of “investments” at Elland Road after striking his first deal of the summer. Warnock, who signed 24-year-old Jason Pearce from Portsmouth last week, claimed his strategy was aimed at securing long-term assets and avoiding the need for another overhaul of United’s squad in 12 months’ time. Leeds paid £500,000 to sign Pearce, a fee which Portsmouth administrator Trevor Birch has been forced to defend amid suggestions that the centre-back was sold for less than his true value, and Pearce committed himself to United until the summer of 2016 by signing a four-year deal. Warnock’s contract is far shorter, running for the next 12 months, and he plans to retire at the end of the 2012-13 season, a term in which he hopes to sign off with his eighth promotion as a Football League manager. But he vowed to take a responsible approach to the rebuilding of a squad who f

Lure of Whites was hard to resist - Pearce INTERVIEW

Yorkshire Evening Post 8/5/12 By Phil Hay For the second time in one short year, Jason Pearce has taken a leap of faith by moving clubs on the promise of a successful season ahead. Eleven months ago he joined Portsmouth from Bournemouth believing the squad and financial situation at Fratton Park would be adequate for the Championship. The club he quit yesterday were insolvent, relegated and sadly devoid of hope. In signing a four-year deal with Leeds United and becoming Neil Warnock’s first acquisition of the summer, Pearce engaged himself in another game of trust. Earlier this week Warnock directed 11 professionals towards the exit door at Elland Road having previously released four others. The gaps in United’s squad are vast and Pearce, in the words of his new manager, is “the first piece of the jigsaw” – a large jigsaw which lies far from completion but should ultimately paint a picture of promotion. Pearce’s experience at Fratton Park did not tempt him to think twice when War

Jason deal is just the start - Boss

Image 4/5/12 United manager Neil Warnock says the early arrival of Portsmouth defender Jason Pearce is just the start as his re-building plans kicked off with some urgency this week. The boss wasted little time in signalling his intentions earlier this week when he placed six players on the transfer list, and he was delighted to be able to announce his first long-term signing so soon after the season ended. "I'm delighted," said the United manager. "He is a lad I've been looking at a lot and for a long while now. I saw him when he was at Bournemouth and almost took him to QPR last summer. "I tried to get him in March when I first came here, but couldn't quite do it. "I think he epitomises what I'm looking for in a player. He's got hunger and enthusiasm, and he won all the player of the year awards down at Portsmouth. He's just the type of player we need. "I feel disappointed for the situation Portsmouth are in at the

Eleven told they can go 2/5/12 Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has placed six players on the transfer list and has told five more their contracts won't be renewed. The boss met with all his playing staff individually on Wednesday when he informed them of his decisions, and a total of 11 senior players could now be set to leave the club this summer as the manager looks to re-build for the new season. Midfielder Adam Clayton, strikers Ramon Nunez and Billy Paynter, defenders Paul Connolly and Andy O'Brien, and goalkeeper Paul Rachubka are the contracted players who have been placed on the transfer list. In addition, Alex Bruce, Lloyd Sam, Mikael Forsell, Danny Webber and Maik Taylor are the players who have been informed that their contracts will not be renewed and are free to leave the club this summer. Of the players to be placed on the transfer list Clayton has been the most prolific this season with the midfielder having made 46 appearances, scoring six goals, including the Go

Sloppy Whites hit record low

Yorkshire Evening Post 30/4/12 By Phil Hay They say charity begins at home. For the past nine months it has begun too often at Elland Road. History will remember this as the season when the stadium’s hostile reputation collapsed like a house of cards. It will remember certain others things too: the non-event that was Leeds United’s stab at promotion and the impotence of the transfer window preceding it. Eleven league defeats at home – a total never before seen in 90 years of existence – is not the only legacy of a wasted year but few are more symptomatic of the club’s spineless struggle. United’s players embarked on what is generally described as a lap of honour at full-time on Saturday but their walkaround was nothing of the sort. Between driving rain, a 2-1 loss to Leicester City and a final league position of 14th, the stands were half-empty by the time it began. A glance at the Championship table said it all: 27 points shy of automatic promotion and 14 below the play-offs. Pe