Major Leeds Investment – But it May Be Jam Tomorrow for “Under-capitalised” United – by Rob Atkinson


Haigh: investment negotiator extraordinary

After the initial flurry of excitement this morning – when first Twitter went into one of its periodic #LUFC meltdowns after David Haigh promised “great news” today and then the reliable Phil Hay confirmed it was a major investment that was being talked about – things have developed further.  First, Leeds United themselves confirmed that they had granted a period of exclusivity to an English consortium who would be making a significant investment, to be in place in time for the January window.  This in itself hardly came as a surprise to those of us who had thought Lucas Radebe’s earlier expression of interest would get things moving.  But the Leeds United statement made it expressly clear that the consortium does not involve ex-players (no Lucas) or ex-owners (no Smurf).  Phil Hay then tweeted that the United board are keen to have Lucas Radebe involved with the club, in an ambassadorial role.  Good move, though apparently it’s news to The Chief. Phew.  Busy morning.

Now though, we have an interesting expert opinion from sports lawyer Richard Cramer of Front Row Legal.  He feels that today’s news is clearly positive, but will not necessarily translate into giving United the freedom of the transfer market as early as January. Leeds United, thinks Mr Cramer, seem to be under-capitalised and need money to keep going. This view might well be supported by David Haigh’s own recent injection of a “seven figure sum” in the last week.  On the face of it, that would seem to be a superfluous move if Haigh had reason to expect that major investment would be coming into the club.  But if, as Cramer says, Leeds are still relatively strapped for cash to meet running costs – then maybe Haigh’s million or so was intended to bridge the gap between now and the completion of the consortium’s injection of further capital.

This is not to say that a bucket of cold water has to be poured all over this morning’s excited speculation about “daring to dream”.  While we may not be looking at blowing the rest of the league out of the water in this coming transfer window, it is still probably the case that Brian McDermott will have options in January, and will be able to flex a little financial muscle.

Mr Cramer feels that it is when the Financial Fair Play rules kick in and start to bite that Leeds will truly come into their own.  At that point, clubs will perforce be looking to shed players and reduce expenditure in order to comply with the regulations.  It will be a time when the “naturally big clubs” – including Leeds, naturally, because there are none bigger outside the Premier League – will have a distinct advantage because of their superior income streams.  So Leeds would benefit from operating in a buyers’ market; the cream would rise naturally to the top.

Whether and to what degree this somewhat more favourable scenario would still be warped by the parachute payments of relegated Premier League clubs remains to be seen. I’ve said before that, in any event, I’m not all that convinced about the motivations behind Financial Fair Play – but let’s face it, if in the short term it helped get Leeds back up to the top flight, I’d drop principled reservations of that nature like a hot brick – as I suspect others would also.

It’s going to be an interesting several weeks between now and the end of the January 2014 transfer window.  Will the identity of those involved in this English consortium be revealed?  Will Lucas hop aboard as Ambassador-in-Chief?  Will we be able to chuck our weight around in the transfer market?  My request has already gone up the chimney to Santa – delayed presents this year, please.  Tom Ince from Blackpool and Kevin Doyle from Wolves.  That would do nicely I think, though there will be many, many opinions and we won’t know the thoughts of the only man who counts until Mr McDermott has completed any deals he manages to get done.

Today’s news though is an overall positive, even if it isn’t going to be such a massive boost in the short term.  “Jam tomorrow” is still better than “Pie in the sky, by and by”. The signs are good for the continued revival of our club over the next couple of years or so, with a realistic chance of being back where we all know we belong, back at the top, somewhere in that time frame.  Now that is a dream worth daring to dream.

10 responses to “Major Leeds Investment – But it May Be Jam Tomorrow for “Under-capitalised” United – by Rob Atkinson

  1. That’s the first crap comment spammed. Paul the scum fan coward who pretends to be Leeds – why do you bother? Get a life you sad act.


  2. I didn’t realize that we were so cash-strapped. Here in the U.S., even the most non competitive teams (in the main three sports: American football, baseball, basketball) have enough money coming in to keep their team running, especially during their respective seasons. Whether their money comes from gate receipts or TV deals of some sort, everybody handles it. Do we not have a TV deal or something like that? Did Bates really kill us that badly? I understand we are in the second division, but we have a wide and loyal fan base. Am I wrong to assume that we wouldn’t bring in TV revenue?


    • I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation as to why we appear so skint, Brad – or “under-capitalised”, which seems to be the technical term. Who knows, really?


  3. Oops I’ve rattled his cage and he’s having a tantrum now – calm down Paul. It’s all spam, spam, spam – as Monty Python used to sing. It is hilarious though – funny little Paul says he wants to be the first to punch me on the nose. My email is on the contacts page Paul – but you’re too much of a chicken to make direct contact aren’t you – you just hide behind bogus addresses like the cowardly creep you are. If you ever grew the balls to meet up for a chat, I’d be extremely willing to give you a shot at fulfilling your dream – but we both know it’s not going to happen, don’t we – because you’re simply too much of a pussy.


  4. Love the site and article Rob! Blimy what’s Pauls problem? Exciting times ahead,drives the missus mad with me constantly checking for news,she’s gonna have to be patient. I wonder who they are? Adam Pearson and Co?


    • What’s Paul’s problem? He’s a sad, angry and resentful prick, mate, that’s what his problem is.

      Thanks for the kind words – here’s to those exciting times and to the patience all our wives need 😉


  5. Hi rob , went to blackburn yesterday , had a brilliant day then a football match broke out ,, need some investment this January


    • Hi Mr O – I agree. Ince of Blackpool and Doyle of Wolves would do me, though I’m sure some will aim higher. We’ve been promised transfer funds, in so many words – but we have heard it all before, haven’t we? Then again I doubt that they can make all this fuss and then fail to deliver. The problem with talking about having money is that prices tend to go up, so maybe this under-capitalisation reality check is no bad thing. For what it’s worth I think we will sign two quality additions in Jan with maybe a loanee with a view to a permanent in summer – depending what league we’re in – as well. It’s also refreshing to see this season ticket holders promotion for the Wigan game – nice touch. MOT onwards and upwards after yesterday’s blip!


      • Well put rob , I couldn’t agree more ,, after seeing most of the championship opposition up close this year we really don’t have that much to fear , a couple of good aquisitions this January and we’ll be close….


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