Leeds takeover on course to be finalised by Haigh in New Year

Yorkshire Post 30/12/13
by Richard Sutcliffe
THE second takeover of Leeds United in a little over 12 months is expected to go through early in the New Year, sources close to the group looking to take control at Elland Road have told the Yorkshire Post.
A consortium led by United managing director David Haigh is bidding to buy a 75 per cent stake in the Championship club, who yesterday ended 2013 with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Last month, the group – which includes Andrew Flowers, the managing director of current shirt sponsors Enterprise Insurance – signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital, the Dubai-based firm that purchased United from Ken Bates a year ago.
Since then, the working out of the deal’s legalities, which has included Football League approval, has been the priority for Haigh’s consortium and sources have suggested to this newspaper that these are all but done. The deal, therefore, will go through once the festive holidays are out of the way.
That will see Haigh head over to the League’s Preston headquarters for the second time in a little over a year, the club’s managing director having been a pivotal figure in the GFH Capital takeover of December, 2012.
Providing there are no late hitches, supporters will then be expecting Brian McDermott to be backed in the January transfer window as the United manager looks to turn a promising position at the halfway stage – they head into the New Year sitting seventh – into a concerted push for promotion.
Following yesterday’s defeat – which was more comprehensive than the final score suggested – the Leeds chief revealed his list of targets contains four names.
He said: “We definitely need to add to what we have got. The lads have done fantastically well for me and we are seventh in the league. But we need a bit of help, there is no doubt about that.
“I am sure the owners see that. There is no reluctance on their part. They want to do the best they can for Leeds United. That is definitely the feel I get from the owners.
“Everyone is travelling in the same direction. They know the history and want Leeds United to do well.”
Defeat at the City Ground meant United fell out of the top six but McDermott, who has fitness worries over Paddy Kenny (ankle) and Ross McCormack (hamstring) ahead of the New Year clash with Blackburn Rovers, said: “We are in an okay position in the league. There are 23 games to go and I know where we are at.
“I have spoken to the owners and I have given them four names who I think would be good additions.
“Many things are involved. You have to try and do a deal with their club. Can we do a deal? Do we have the money? We will see what happens.
“Sometimes, these things happen naturally. Players come in and players go out. That has happened in my first eight months at the club.
“I have never said there is any quick fix. I have always said it will take time. I think the fans appreciate that. The majority, at least.
“We are trying to get there as quickly as we can. There has been a lot of improvement at the club, both on and off the pitch. Vast improvements. But we need to keep that going.”
United were bossed for the opening 45 minutes yesterday but looked to have rescued a point when Ross McCormack cancelled out Greg Halford’s first half strike.
However, just 70 seconds later, Matt Derbyshire netted the winner to ensure that, on the balance of play, justice was done.
McDermott added: “I thought we looked a bit leggy. If you look at the end we had three young players in terms of experience coming on. I feel sorry for Matt Smith because we’re not working the ball through the midfield the way we want to and we need to work on that to get to crossing areas for Matt to play to his strengths.”

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