Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

This is just the start of investment - GFH

YEP 29/3/13 Aabed al Zeerah has joined Leeds United’s board and GFH’s David Haigh tells Phil Hay he expects more new investors to follow suit. GFH Capital expects to announce further sales of shares in Leeds United in the weeks ahead after relinquishing a 10 per cent stake to an investment bank in Bahrain. The International Investment Bank (IIB) has acquired a minority interest in the Elland Road club in what is likely to be the first of several equity deals negotiated by United’s owner. GFH Capital completed a full purchase of Leeds on December 21 but the addition of IIB to its ranks and the appointment of the bank’s chief executive, Aabed Al Zeera, as a director of United’s parent company, Leeds City Holdings Limited, is an initial step towards reducing the company’s exposure at Elland Road. The Dubai-based private equity firm – itself wholly owned by Gulf Finance House, another investment bank situated in Bahrain – has been under intense pressure to outline its long-term plans

Gus Poyet now favourite to be next Leeds United boss

Scratching Shed 28/3/13 Brighton & Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet is the latest name to top the bookies odds for the Leeds United managers job. Poyet, who spent time at Elland Road as Assistant Manager to Dennis Wise, was recently linked with a move to Reading following the dismissal of Brian McDermott, the bookies second favourite to replace Neil Warnock at odds of 11/4. The former Chelsea midfielder rejected Reading’s advances, instead deciding to continue his work at promotion chasing Brighton who are currently placed 7th in Championship, level on points with Leicester City who occupy the final play-off position. Previous favourite Paolo Di Canio has slipped back down to 10/1, perhaps as a result of comments made by Neil Warnock who told a press conference earlier today that he thinks 3-4 good managers will become available in the summer, urging the owners of Leeds United to be patient in making their choice. Leeds United resume their Championship schedule following the inter

Leeds United: An Open Letter to GFH Capital 2

Spoughts 28/3/13 By awinehouse_spoughts To whom it may concern, You may remember me from my last letter, where I said you were doing alright, but you could be doing a lot better. You (you being GFH Capital or whichever PR company you’ve hired this week) have done some other things since, and they’ve mainly been alright, with a handful less than alright, and a couple that are better than alright. A summation of your time in charge of Leeds in one word: alright. On that note, let me put forward what I think you should do next: sell the club. No ifs, no buts, no selling tiny cuts. Today’s sale of 10% to IIB is hopefully not the beginning of a continual sale of tiny percentages to a great swathe of purchasers, because it will create a club that, in the future, grinds to a halt as people without the knowledge play at being football club owners. As much as it seems a way to bring funds in, it will ultimately result in a club being run in a shambolic fashion. Too many cooks and all that.

GFH Capital unveils first investment move

leedsunited.com 28/3/13 10% sale of holding announced... GFH Capital, owners of Leeds United FC, today unveils the first move in its long term strategy of bringing strategic investors into the ownership of the club by announcing the sale of 10% of its holding to the International Investment Bank ('IIB'). The CEO of the Bahrain-based IIB, Aabed Al-Zeera, will join the Board of Leeds City Holdings Limited. IIB is the first strategic investor to come into the club in line with GFH Capital's long-stated plans to strengthen the club's overall shareholder base. Others are expected to join as GFH Capital creates the ownership structure which will provide the club with sound long term finance as the basis for its return to the top tier of English football. Aabed Al-Zeera said, 'We are delighted to become investors in Leeds United and would like to thank GFH Capital for facilitating this for us" David Haigh, Deputy CEO of GFH Capital, said: "The introduction

Leeds United owners sell 10pc stake to Bahrain bank LATEST

YEP 28/3/13 By Phil Hay Leeds United’s owners, GFH Capital, have sold a 10 per cent stake in the club to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank. There had been uncertainty over GFH Capital’s intentions for the Whites, with some suggestions that they were looking to offload completely. However, it appears that is not the case. Instead, GFH is recruiting “strategic investors” to strengthen the club’s financial position, which it believes is necessary if Leeds are to regain their former status as a Premier League heavyweight. IIB’s chief executive, Aabed Al-Zeera, will join the Board of Leeds City Holdings Limited. David Haigh, deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, said: “The introduction of IIB is in keeping with what have always been GFH Capital’s aims for the successful, sustainable and long term ownership of Leeds United FC. “We believe that a consortium of like-minded investors provides the best ownership model for a club which belongs among the elite of English footbal

Bahrain Stock Exchange Requests Takeover Clarification From GFH

Scratching Shed 27/3/13 The Bahrain Stock Exchange has requested clarification from GFH Capital regarding the future of Leeds United. A year-end report from Gulf Financial House, the parent company of GFH Capital, listed Leeds United as a ‘held-for-sale’ asset, an accounting classification used when a company expects to sell the majority share of an asset within 12 months. When the report was made public on the website of Gulf Financial House, the media quickly reported that Leeds United was once again for sale, leading to speculation amongst fans as to who the next owners may be. This drew what appeared to be a conflicting statement from GFH Capital via Leeds United’s official website. While the firm didn’t deny they were seeking investment in the club – a position they’ve maintained since day one – they insisted their position hadn’t changed, referring to an earlier interview with David Conn in which Salem Patel said they’d prefer to sell a 30% stake and maintain majority ownersh

Leeds United: Nigel Adkins and a lack of ambition

Spoughts 27/3/13 By Dominic Smith Ten days ago, as Leeds folded to a wholly unsurprising 2-1 defeat at home to Huddersfield, the coming chain of events seemed inevitable. The unlikely play-off push became the impossible, and the time had come for Neil Warnock to step aside as promised and let a new manager bed in before a summer of repair. The despair at late equalisers given away to Wolves, Leicester and Crystal Palace had given away to a grim acceptance as Leeds’ ill-fated season faded with a whimper. Warnock summed up the mood in his post-match interviews, he was waiting to hear whether he would be required for the rest of the campaign. The season was over. Time to move on. Fast forward to today, and bizarrely, Warnock is still in charge, and our allegedly prime target to replace him, Nigel Adkins, has taken over at Reading. I’ve written here about why I thought Adkins would be Warnock’s ideal replacement, due to his track record at Southampton, his faith in young players and the

Warnock tried to get Adkins to Leeds United

YEP 27/3/13 By Phil Hay Neil Warnock last night revealed how he spoke with Nigel Adkins and urged him to pursue the manager’s job at Leeds United prior to Adkins’ appointment as Reading’s new boss. Warnock said he and Adkins discussed the soon-to-be-vacant post at Elland Road more than two weeks ago and claimed the 48-year-old was “definitely interested” in succeeding him as manager of Leeds. Adkins was seen as a leading candidate to replace Warnock, who remains in charge of United but will leave the club before his contract expires in June, but Reading unveiled the ex-Southampton coach yesterday, filling a vacancy created by Brian McDermott’s recent sacking. Adkins has taken control of a Reading squad who are seven points from safety in the Premier League and headed for relegation to the Championship, 12 months after winning promotion. The YEP understands that Leeds – once again the subject of intense takeover speculation – took a keen interest in Adkins following his dismissal

Leeds United miss out on Nigel Adkins

Right In the Gary Kellys 26/3/13 As per last week’s article on this site the need for urgency in settling the long term future of Leeds United was underlined in all too dramatic fashion as former Saints Boss Nigel Adkins was set to be unveiled as the new manager of Premier league basement dwellers Reading. A smart appointment by them, and him. If he pulls off a miracle and keeps them up he’ll be assured of legendary status in East Berkshire. If he goes down to the Championship, the damage had already been done and he surely has the nous to get them back up again with some sensible spending. Meanwhile back at Elland Road it seems inertia is the order of the day. On this very site Nigel Adkins has come out top twice in recent polls as the fans choice – and the case was compelling. Adkins can squeeze top level performances out of sides as ordinary as Scunthorpe and Southampton, with a bit of funding and vision he could no doubt have done just as well at Leeds United. But this is acad

How Leeds Became Football's Most Hated Club With The Most Hated Manager And Player

Sabotage Times 25/3/13 by Andy Peterson It's been a hell of a season for Leeds United who, already widely disliked hired Warnock and El Hadji Diouf. So how can they now change their fortunes for the better? Events at Leeds United during the last decade have rarely read like any one of football’s traditional scripts; following on from a takeover by new owners GFH Capital seven months in the making which was only concluded last December, the club now finds itself in the unlikely situation whereby the incumbent manager is talking publically about finding his own successor. But the Anfield boot room this is not. There is no cosy, promote-from-within philosophy in the modern game as we know, and Neil Warnock in reality finds himself a victim of his own personal schedule, one he’s repeatedly stated doesn’t feature any involvement with a side in the Championship beyond the end of this season. This bold vision of the future would of course all point towards a record eighth date with de

Leeds United: Fresh twist in battle for control of Whites

YEP 21/3/13 Leon Wobschall reports. Exactly three months ago today, GFH Capital officially took over at Leeds United. But the contented smiles among Whites fans that December day have now been replaced by furrowed brows and widespread bewilderment. Today, confusion reigns more than ever with thousands of supporters wondering just what is going on behind the scenes at their football club and what are the motives of the Dubai-based private equity group. This despite yesterday’s attempt by GFH Capital to clarify its position after it was revealed in the end-of-year financial statements of their parent company Gulf Finance House (GFH) of its formal intention to start negotiations to sell the club. To add to the confusion, reports last night suggested that GFH had all-but completed the sale of the club – with the bidders to take over led by local businessman and multi-millionaire Steve Parkin, who is said to be working on the deal with potential partners from the Middle East. Parkin,

Leeds United owner contradicts itself over plans to sell club

Guardian 20/3/13 Company now says it will sell only some, not all, shares New position goes against statement in annual accounts David Conn Leeds United's owner, GFH, has taken the extraordinary step of contradicting statements made in its own annual accounts, insisting it is not, in fact, intending to sell the club immediately, only a stake in it. The Bahrain-based finance firm stated in its 2012 accounts that it bought Leeds, as recently as 21 December, as an "asset held for sale", which it planned to realise within six to 12 months. The accounts stated that the club had "commenced negotiations relating to the sale of its stake". Following media reports of that detail, GFH issued a statement on the Leeds United website emphasising its previously publicly stated position that, having bought the club from the previous owner Ken Bates for £22m, it is looking for "strategic investors" to buy a stake in the club, but is not selling it completely. &q

A message from the owners

leedsunited.com 20/3/13 GFH Capital have issued the following... In March 2013, Gulf Finance House (GFH), parent company of Leeds United FC owner GFH Capital, published its financial audited report that stated it was looking to sell its stake in the club. To clarify and as previously stated, GFH Capital is looking for investment in part of its share in the club, not its entirety. GFH Capital has been transparent since acquiring Leeds United and is continuing to look for strategic investors in part of the club that can invest in Leeds United, alongside GFH Capital, to ensure a long term, sustainable future. Since GFH Capital took ownership of Leeds United, it has fulfilled its promise of investing in the club, with around £10 million having already been injected into the club; to strengthen the squad and for other working capital purposes. Additional financial support will continue to be provided as required. Through cutting ticket prices, reducing 2013/14 Season Ticket costs and th

Confusion reigns at Elland Road after Leeds owners demand £7m from sale of the club just THREE months after takeover

Mail 20/3/13 By Jon Harvey Leeds owners GFH Capital have added to the growing confusion at Elland Road by insisting they are actively seeking investment but do not want to sell the club. The Dubai-based equity investment firm, who bought the club in December following a protracted takeover from previous owner Ken Bates, said in their financial statements for the year ending December 31 2012 - which came to light yesterday - that they were negotiating to sell their stake in the club's parent company LUFC Holdings for £7million more than they paid. But in a club statement released this afternoon the owners said they were looking to attract investors and did not want to end their involvement at Elland Road. It read: 'In March 2013, Gulf Finance House (GFH), parent company of Leeds United FC owner GFH Capital, published its financial audited report that stated it was looking to sell its stake in the club. 'To clarify and as previously stated, GFH Capital is looking for in

Leeds owners GFH Capital have added to the growing confusion at Elland Road by insisting they are actively seeking investment but do not want to sell the club.

Independent 20/3/13 The Dubai-based equity investment firm, who bought the club in December following a protracted takeover from previous owner Ken Bates, said in their financial statements for the year ending December 31 2012 - which came to light yesterday - that they were negotiating to sell their stake in the club's parent company LUFC Holdings for £7million more than they paid. But in a club statement released this afternoon the owners said they were looking to attract investors and did not want to end their involvement at Elland Road. It read: "In March 2013, Gulf Finance House (GFH), parent company of Leeds United FC owner GFH Capital, published its financial audited report that stated it was looking to sell its stake in the club. "To clarify and as previously stated, GFH Capital is looking for investment in part of its share in the club, not its entirety. "GFH Capital has been transparent since acquiring Leeds United and is continuing to look for strate

GFH deny plans to sell up UPDATED

YEP 20/3/13 By Leon Wobschall Leeds United owners GFH Capital have reiterated their desire to attract strategic investors to the club and denied they plan to sell up, despite their parent company saying otherwise. A statement issued by GFH Capital said: “Gulf Finance House (GFH), parent company of Leeds United FC owner GFH Capital, published its financial audited report that stated it was looking to sell its stake in the club. “To clarify and as previously stated, GFH Capital is looking for investment in part of its share in the club, not its entirety. “GFH Capital has been transparent since acquiring Leeds United and is continuing to look for strategic investors in part of the club that can invest in Leeds United, alongside GFH Capital, to ensure a long term, sustainable future.” The statement followed reports that Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House had given formal notice that they had started talks to sell the club, which they only purchased on December 21. GFH state in their f

New Leeds United owners decide to sell – three months after buying

Guardian 19/3/13 Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House ready to make quick profit Negotiations with potential buyers have already begun David Conn The Bahrain-based owners of Leeds United have given formal notice that they have begun negotiations to sell the club, which they bought from the previous owner, Ken Bates, only on 21 December. In their financial statements for the year to 31 December 2012, Gulf Finance House (GFH) state that they bought Leeds for "a bargain purchase" and are now holding the club for sale, which they envisage completing within six months to a year. GFH also revealed for the first time the price they paid for Leeds, "net cash" of $33m (£22m), and they assess the club to be worth immediately $10m (£7m) more than that. Bates owned 73% of the club via his offshore company, Outro, so of that £22m purchase price disclosed by GFH, he would have been paid £16m. He has never revealed how much he paid to buy Leeds, so it is not known whether Bates,

GFH have an “active plan” to sell Leeds United

Scratching Shed 19/3/13 GFH Capital have begun negotiations to sell their stake in Leeds United according to the year end financial statement from Gulf Financial House, the parent company of GFH Capital. A report from the Reuters New Agency says GFH paid a lump sum of $33m (£21m) to acquire the club, a deal which is believed to include add-ons at a later date. In the financial statement, GFH explain that negotiations to sell Leeds United began almost immediately after the club was purchased, adding; “The Group has an active plan to sell its stake in LUFC Holdings Limited, and accordingly, the asset and liabilities acquired were classified as held-for-sale and presented in the consolidated statement of financial position,” Both David Haigh and Leeds United refused to comment when contacted by Reuters, pointing towards an interview with David Conn earlier this year in which Haigh and Patel say the plan is to sell a minority stake only. Nothing particularly ground-breaking in this,

GFH-C: A Fortnight to Lay the Foundations for a Successful 2013/14 Season

Fear And Loathing In LS11 17/3/13 by Ken DeMange For the first time since early October, the international break has afforded the supporters of Championship clubs a respite from an unrelenting league programme. For Leeds fans, UEFA’s scheduling almost feels like a noble act of mercy, offering the prospect of at least one weekend, not sullied by another unremarkable Leeds performance. However, for GFH-C it should represent a lot more, a Godsend no less, if they are serious in their intentions to make the club a force, come August. If something positive was to be salvaged from the wreckage of yesterday’s miserable defeat, it was that even Neil Warnock was moved to accept publicly, that the loss dealt a “fatal blow” to the club’s play-off aspirations. With such statement, Warnock has essentially admitted that not only our season, but his own managerial career is over. In the press conference afterwards, he spoke more about the task of finding his successor than anything that happened o

Warnock in talks over Leeds successor

Yorkshire Post 17/3/13 LEEDS manager Neil Warnock has already spoken to the club’s owners about his possible successor after watching his side’s play-off hopes dealt a huge blow today by West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield. Terriers midfielder Neil Danns volleyed home his first goal for the club in the 54th minute and although Leeds substitute Aidy White headed home with his first touch soon after, James Vaughan held his nerve to slide home an 86th-minute winner for the visitors, who triumphed 2-1. A first home defeat for Leeds since early February following three straight draws leaves them four points adrift of the npower Championship play-offs with eight games remaining and Warnock admitted today’s loss felt “like a fatal defeat”. “Realistically we’re running out of games and (the owners) GFH know my situation, I speak to them on a regular basis,” the 64-year-old said. “Once we’re out of contention for the Premier League they know I won’t be having another year in the Championshi

Warnock in talks over club’s future direction

YEP 16/3/13 Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has already spoken to the club’s owners about his possible successor after watching his side’s play-off hopes dealt a huge blow by West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town. Terriers midfielder Neil Danns volleyed home his first goal for the club in the 54th minute and although Leeds substitute Aidy White headed home with his first touch soon after, James Vaughan held his nerve to slide home an 86th-minute winner for the visitors, who triumphed 2-1. A first home defeat for Leeds since early February following three straight draws leaves them four points adrift of the npower Championship play-offs with eight games remaining and Warnock admitted today’s loss felt “like a fatal defeat”. “Realistically we’re running out of games and (the owners) GFH know my situation, I speak to them on a regular basis,” the 64-year-old said. “Once we’re out of contention for the Premier League they know I won’t be having another year in the Championship. “

Leeds 1 Huddersfield 2: Terriers' double derby delight as Vaughan gives survival hopes a fillip AND dents rivals' play-off push

Image
Mail 16/3/13 James Vaughan struck an 86th-minute winner as Huddersfield exacted revenge on their West Yorkshire rivals and dealt Leeds' npower Championship play-off hopes a major blow. Vaughan kept his composure to steer home the winner from inside the penalty area after Leeds substitute Aidy White had cancelled out Scott Danns' opener for the visitors early in the second half. It was a welcome victory for Huddersfield, beaten 4-2 by Leeds at the John Smith's Stadium in December, and lifted them eight points clear of the relegation zone. Leeds' outside play-off chances appear to be fading fast as they slipped to their first home defeat since early February. They still trail sixth-placed Nottingham Forest by four points, having played a game more than all their rivals. Leeds almost took the lead in the fourth minute when Luke Varney's goalbound header from Stephen Warnock's corner was headed off the line and up on to the crossbar by Huddersfield skipper Pe

Leeds United adopt sensible pricing plan, but still must get their sums right

YEP 16/3/13 By Phil Hay Leeds United first put a firework up the backside of season-ticket prices in 2005. Later that summer the club got in touch to tell the YEP that income from sales had reached £4.5m with a further £1m guaranteed in credit payments. It prompted a very obvious question: how many season tickets had been sold? No comment. And with that you realised that a steep hike in prices had hacked away at the existing group of holders, as if there was any doubt that it would. Over time, 17,000 ran closer to 10,000 and the battle lines were drawn. Before the contentious rises, adult holders were charged a minimum of £330 and an average of between £400 and £450. Allowing for inflation, the reduced prices announced by Leeds on Thursday are almost in line with pre-Ken Bates attitudes. If you’re over 21 and yet to receive a bus pass, you’ll pay an average of £491. That’s £21 a game. This is sensible pricing in action and not before time; a genuine attempt to find the middle grou

Leeds United 1 Peterborough 1: Play-offs move further out of Leeds’s grasp

Yorkshire Post 13/3/13 By Richard Sutcliffe A TENTH season outside the Premier League is surely beckoning for Leeds United after another frustrating, if entertaining, stalemate for Neil Warnock’s men. Following on from the recent trio of draws on the road that had seen a potential nine-point haul turned into just three by the concession of late equalisers, United lost further ground against one of the Championship’s lesser lights. Worse still, Leeds being held by a Peterborough United side, who belied their lowly status with a hugely impressive attacking display, came on a night when one of the clubs in the West Yorkshire club’s sights suffered a setback of their own, seventh-placed Brighton & Hove Albion losing at Barnsley. All in all, therefore, a disappointing start to the 10-game run-in that Warnock believes can take his side into the top six – a point illustrated by the muted reaction of the 24,240 crowd at the final whistle. A few booed, a few clapped. But the overwhelm

Leeds United v Peterborough United: Gayle blows a hole in Whites chances

Image
YEP 13/2/13 By Phil Hay The right fixture at the right time, you assumed, but ultimately the wrong result. This would not be Leeds United if the club avoided a backwards step on what promised to be an optimistic night. A game in hand against a club in as much trouble as Peterborough United had the look of a Godsend but the Championship’s capacity to surprise is as high as Leeds’ capacity to disappoint. The division made unhappy reading after Dwight Gayle goal deflated Elland Road and left Leeds fighting to salvage a draw. Gayle’s 15th-minute effort – the product of sharp shooting and tame defending – warned of a hard evening to come and Leeds were duly demoralised, despite Sam Byram’s equaliser. Held by a side who are struggling to fend off relegation but not yet down, the bleak picture in front of Leeds is not simply a case of gut feeling; it is a matter of basic mathematics, their position weakened by the loss of two points they could not afford to lose. The best-case scenar

Leeds 1-1 Peterborough: Byram strike not enough to earn the Whites all three points

Through It All Together 12/3/13 By Tom Crowther Sam Byram’s third goal of the season was not enough for Leeds to take all three points in front of 24,240 at Elland Road in an entertaining score draw. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring for the Posh who gave as good as they got on the night. Manager Neil Warnock named an unchanged starting eleven for the sixth game running; the last time the Whites managed that was in 1992. El-Hadji Diouf recovered from illness to replace Ryan Hall on the substitute’s bench. Peterborough started the stronger of the two sides and Dwight Gayle had the first real clear cut chance on 13 minutes as his effort smacked against the crossbar. The following attack Peterborough deservedly took the lead through Gayle. The former Dagenham striker took on Peltier and finished tidily leaving Paddy Kenny with no chance. To make matters worse for the Whites, the United backline had to be disrupted when Tom Lees was taken off with an injury and replaced by Jason Pearce

Warnock’s backing striker Morison

Image
YEP 11/3/13 By Phil Hay Steve Morison answered criticism of his form with two clinical goals against Crystal Palace, earning the praise of Leeds United manager Neil Warnock. United’s boss rounded on critics of Morison after the striker’s second-half brace earned Leeds a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Warnock saluted the attitude and work-ethic of a player whose performances have been closely scrutinised since his move to Elland Road from Norwich City in January. Morison joined Leeds in a deal which took United’s top-scorer Luciano Becchio to Carrow Road and his first seven appearances for the Championship club yielded just one goal. But he produced two deadly finishes on another frustrating afternoon for Leeds, putting the club on course for a priceless win over Palace. Glenn Murray’s 85th minute equaliser denied United the chance to move to within four points of the Championship play-offs with 10 games remaining but Warnock was pleased to see Morison make his mark. W

Crystal Palace v Leeds United: Lethal Murray dents Whites’ play-off hopes

Image
YEP 11/3/13 By Phil Hay Ian Holloway is off-the-wall enough to drop Glenn Murray at the height of the season but even he must lack the nerve. The Crystal Palace striker has bloodied almost every Championship club and Saturday’s draw at Selhurst Park added Leeds United to the list. “Tired,” said Holloway of Murray last week in what was either a euphemism for three games without a goal or a monumental bluff on Holloway’s part. Murray started against Leeds and scored first and last, rescuing Palace by hitting United where it hurt in the 85th minute. Yet again, those in white shirts walked away with a crestfallen air. Holloway, Palace’s manager, likes to use a statistic which shows that in the highest two divisions in each of Europe’s five major footballing nations, Murray’s strike rate – 30 goals and counting – ranks second only to Lionel Messi, but the forward is not alone in finding Leeds prone in the dying embers of a game. “I’ve seen it all before,” said Neil Warnock after Mur