High Time That Profiteer Parasites GFH Took Some Responsibility – by Rob Atkinson


Cellino - silent and unimpressed

Cellino – silent and unimpressed

The fact that Leeds United have missed a 21 day deadline imposed by a Statutory Demand – for payment of just under £1m allegedly owed to David Haigh’s Sport Capital outfit – is capable of interpretation in a number of ways.

One is to take the gloomy view that new United owner Massimo Cellino is not quite as minted as we have been led to believe; that he is starting to struggle under the weight of outstanding bills left behind by previous owners notable mainly for their incompetence and lack of experience, along with sundry other negative attributes.  And yet Cellino has acted swiftly to clear debts up to this point; when HMRC were owed £500,000 in unpaid tax, the bill was settled in the first flush of the Corn King’s reign.  Likewise, former suitor for the club Andrew Flowers was paid off quickly and the players’ deferred wages were restored to them, saving them from inevitable penury and the soup kitchen, I shouldn’t wonder.

Cellino has remained silent on this latest financial demand.  The form-book, though, suggests that if he was both willing and able to pay up, he would have done so promptly, perhaps with a few typically acerbic Latin observations on the craziness of running a Championship club along the lines of one in the latter stages of the Champions League.

But nothing has yet happened – and obviously this has persuaded some that the scenario above – of Cellino being not exactly skint, but cash-strapped enough to prevaricate – is being proved true.

Another possible version of reality, though, is that Cellino, a downy bird if ever there was one, is determined not to be taken for a mug; determined not to pay up meekly when others might be liable for at least some of the burden.  The money that Haigh is demanding was put into the club at a time when GFH – as they loudly and repeatedly trumpeted – were still Leeds United owners, for as long as Cellino’s purchase of a controlling stake was still held up by Football League red tape.  As has since become clear, however, GFH throughout this time were resolved to avoid meeting the club’s running costs and relied instead on what they claimed were contractual provisions supposedly obliging Cellino to meet those costs – even though the success of his purchase was in extreme doubt. Cellino differed on that matter; although he had been funding the club, he cut that off when the League initially ruled against him, a ruling that made his chances of ultimately owning Leeds United seem remote indeed.

At this time, Leeds were therefore grubbing about for money wherever and however it might be obtained, in order to keep the ship afloat.  Can Cellino, who must have seen his prospects of becoming owner receding by the hour, really be held totally responsible for the debts incurred in running the club and paying the bills during this awkward limbo period when nobody really knew what was going to happen?  His verdict on that is likely to have been: Not on your Nélie.

Another relevant consideration is of just how well GFH did for themselves during the time they were in charge of Leeds.  The bald fact of the matter is that Gulf Finance House has reported a net gain of $6.46m (£3.8m) from the investment bank’s time as majority owner.  This will, of course, include those last few weeks of uncertainty when they basically backed away from any financial responsibility, pointing fingers at just about anybody else, but refusing to meet business costs from their own purse.  Elementary arithmetic shows that the money they avoided paying not only had to be provided from elsewhere – but also that the cash thus saved by GFH will appear as a significant part of that £3.8m GFH net gain.

Profiting from an abdication of responsibility?  You can bet that Signor Cellino is not too impressed by that – especially when he is now faced with a bill from one or more of the people who did pay up when Cellino was hamstrung by the Owners and Directors test – and when GFH were pouting and sulking and claiming that, despite being owners, it wasn’t their responsibility.

It is also a fact that, as part of the deal whereby Cellino’s Eleonora Sport bought a 75% stake in Leeds United, GFH have retained a 10% stake “in order to take advantage of future revenues” – in other words, because they wanted to make damned sure that they would get a fat slice of the cake as and when Leeds United return to the Premier League.  This will be seen by some as just good business practice – but it means also that GFH are still a part of the entity which now faces a winding-up petition – and yet they are apparently showing absolutely no sign of wishing to contribute towards the settling of that matter, even though the debt was incurred on their watch, due to their unwillingness to meet owners’ responsibilities at that time – and despite the fact that they were telling anyone who would listen that they were still in charge.

So now we have a situation whereby Cellino, having already stumped up millions during his brief time as owner, to settle legacy debts and repel winding-up orders, is faced with yet another bill – one incurred while he was not yet owner and one arguably attributable to the fact that the nominal owners GFH had put their wallets away and abandoned their financial responsibilities.  The same GFH who recorded a fat profit from a time in which they managed the club in a cack-handed way, the results of which are now at Cellino’s door.  And the same GFH that remains one-tenth owners of Leeds, ready to profit in that proportion from any future success, but seemingly unwilling to take anything like 10% of the responsibility for the currently pending litigation.  Does that seem remotely fair to you?

Football is business – big business.  But it’s not simply that.  It’s also an emotional matter, with complex questions of loyalty and commitment very much to the fore.  GFH remain on board at Leeds United – but it appears that they are here simply as parasites, unwilling to help or assist their host in any way, intent merely on sucking away greedily when the good times come around again.  That’s a deeply unattractive position to adopt, and the better it is recognised and understood by the fans, the worse it will reflect on GFH who, presumably, still have some interest in retaining a good name in the business world if not in the more parochial football sphere.

Cellino’s silence and inactivity in respect of David Haigh’s winding-up petition should really be seen in the light of the GFH stance – and not as any sign of poverty or lack of commitment on the Italian’s part. Massimo is no mug and it could well be the case that he is preparing to fight over this, even if the amount of money involved is small beer to him.  If GFH really are prepared to “lie low and do nuffink” until such time as there are dividends to be reaped on their 10% holding, then it’s laudable on Cellino’s part to stand up to them and make them pay up on their responsibilities, if possible – instead of simply allowing them to sit tight and reap a fat reward at some future date.  Surely fighting such unfairness has to be the right and proper thing to do.

The bill is due; it was incurred under GFH while they were cocking a deaf’un to the club creditors – including the playing and general staff.  Now it’s landed on Cellino’s doormat, and when he looks around, he sees only parasites – not partners.  That’s a tawdry and disgusting state of affairs.

If Massimo Cellino is prepared to contest this current matter on that basis, then this blog is of the opinion that he deserves the support of all Leeds United fans in bringing GFH to account.  Good luck to him in this – and also in the greater battles ahead as he looks to restore Leeds United to the game’s top table.

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66 responses to “High Time That Profiteer Parasites GFH Took Some Responsibility – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Very well written my friend I have said that there would be more debt to come to light M C comments and body language has spoken more about the state of the club .
    I have been saying that M C is no mug ,I believe this remains unpaid as he will challenge both Haigh and gfh

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  2. sniffersshorts

    again based on the previous comments placed by people on the last blog, the above is the opinion of most of us fans. GFH are parasites, and are only here to bleed us when they can. Being passionate we all tend to jump to conclusions, this report has only been within a day. Mr Cellino knew this was coming, he after all called Haigh the Devil, and this has come to roost. Massimo is a canny soul, he is just treading water, you can bet he has his lawyers on this case. Like all business men, he wants to hold on to as much cash as possible, he will gather his facts and then explain his case…. I am sure of this. as for GFH they have just laundered us for cash, shown face as Arabs always do, look we have made 3.8 million, remember they were in the shit up to their necks…. I am disgusted at their attitude and galled at the show of the profit posted…. I will be very surprised if they will pay a red dinar… and you can bet the contract between them and Cellino is clear cut …. you are the majority shareholder, its your call you sort it …. we are the cats that just want the cream ….. Rob what can we do, wait, fester and bear with it until we get some news from the powers that be.

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    • That profit figure does rankle – and the idea of them just sitting there, refusing to help, waiting for the day they can make a killing with their 10% – it just makes me ill.

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    • Just a small point sniffer……the consortium of GFH are not Arabs they are of Indian origin. Their names such as Patel tell you this. They may live in Bahrain, maybe have citizenship there but they are definitely not Arabs.

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  3. AllWhiteNow

    excellent analysis Rob – I’m not at all surprised as ToryBoy Haigh struck me immediately as one oily two-faced git fronting up a sleazy banking operation with other oily faceless moneymen [Patel, Nasruddin – where they now?]. Cellino called him right straight off as ‘the devil’ so lets hope he has some seriously Big Dog lawyers to fight and get rid of these nobodies before next season

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  4. I think as supporters we need to cast off our cynicism for a concerted effort to support Cellino and to expose GFH/Bates and the football league . I hope the muppets chasing his taxi out of the ground have managed to spit the bubble gum out and realise where we were/are as a club. If the bloke wants to interfere and meddle in the future, I think he gets some credence to do just that don’t you? Good blog , we need to give it to the FL and make sure the football world knows what we feel about all this, before we get rolled over again .

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  5. I totally agree the parasites need to pay up or get out, the amount Cellino paid for Leeds should allow GFH to pay there debts which was incurred during there ownership of the club.

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  6. A touch naive, I think to expect any financial institution to face their responsibilities is more hope than expectation. Expect the usual wriggling, they are bankers after all

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  7. I was just thinking about it myself, and I figured the only reason he’d be keeping his mouth shut on this one is because he’s planning on fighting it.

    I would not at all be surprised to see his lawyers show up in court with both a counterclaim and a cheque. With luck he’ll be able to get it sorted out in a way that ensures GFH takes responsibility for some of the debts they incurred.

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  8. Time to find out just what are gfhs other businesses, financial concerns, partners etc.. and organise a mass boycott of anyone and everyone who has anything to do with them.

    Force them out the club

    Also time to get out the anti gfh banners, especially for televised games. I’m sure our new owner won’t object.

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  9. Excellent article Rob and very true, every word. It sums up the mischievous, conniving bastards to a T. I think you are spot on about supporting Cellino to bring the bastards down they are gloating at their profit at a time when creditors and the players were owed money. We have to trust Cellino and give him time to clear up thus mess! There are a couple of things that we know about Cellino. He has wealth and he is very shrewd. Hail, Cellino!

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  10. Great article as always Rob – look forward to getting your blogs.

    Does anybody know what is happening re the case of Bates v LUFC regarding the early sacking of his presidency

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  11. I wonder.

    With this hidden camera thing. Perhaps MC has called in some financial forensic auditors to gave a good poke around at just what gfh, bates, haigh & Harvey were up to.

    Would also explain not buying ER, if as many of us suspect its bates that actually owns it, via some dodgy Caribbean tax avoidance holding company.

    Perhaps hes just waiting on the police investigation into the camera thing. Might be able to get shot of the buggers by having them convicted of something, which would stop them being “fit and proper” and force them to sell their stake.

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  12. Sounds like gfh have been naughty boys with their other business dealings too http://babahrain.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/rise-and-fall-of-gulf-finance-house.html?m=1

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  13. Be interesting to see if GFH have just used us as a money laundering cash convertor. Perhaps the FL may wish to spend some time looking into their affairs, as partial owners should they not face a FFP audit.? Bankers and Oily Tories what more could you ask for when it comes to FFP?

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  14. Reality Cheque

    You have hit the nail on the head Rob. This is an excellent analysis and explanation of the point I was trying to raise about your earlier post (re Haigh making a loan to GFH to hide their mutual mismanagement but failing to use said loan to meet any of their financial liabilities). I also suspect that some of the loan has financed hidden cameras in the boardroom & toilets (rather than paying running costs, wages, debts or tax bills!!) to ensure that GFH, Bates, and the “Son of the Devil” could ensure that they knew Cellino’s every move. It is no surprise at all that Haigh resigned as soon as the old bill were summoned to investigate the paper trail of evidence regarding the hidden cameras. Clearly, Haigh’s fingerprints will be all over the evidence which is probably another good reason why Cellino is likely to challenge the legality of how the said loan’s funds were supposed to be used by Haigh (acting on behalf of, and instructions of GFH), in relation to keeping Leeds United afloat. Cellino is not skint and he certainly isn’t a mug. Watch this space.

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  15. ANOTHER EXCELLENT COMMENT ROB,IF ONLY MR C HAD BOUGHT THE WHOLE LOT.AS USUAL WE ARE ON TENTERHOOKS WONDERING WHAT COMES NEXT.I’M SURE HE WON’T GIVE IN EASILY AND HOPEFULLY HE WILL SHOW GFH FOR WHAT THEY ARE,GREEDY CHANCERS.!!!MOT.

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  16. Ropey Wyla

    No doubt Cellino will be forced to fork out the lions share if not all of this, GFH should obviously be liable for 10% if not 100% but I have very little faith in legal processes. Haigh being a Tory wannabe will no doubt be schooled in how to profit from utter failure. Hope he wakes up with a horse’s head in his bed and Cellino makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

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  17. A little cheery news.

    Juventus selling pogba to psg for $70 million.

    Man u let him go one free 🙂

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  18. I wonder whether Mega rich Sardinian business men are a bit pally with some other Sardinian “business ” men, who have business interests in most American cities. Including the one where our Sardinian business man lives. Personally, if I was going to try and get clever with a Sardinian billionaire I’d be watching my back, anyone got a horse’s head for Dave.

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  19. I hope this case goes to court,its only then the truth will come out on how Haigh&GHF have run the club before Massimo,s take over.Then with a bit of luck(which we are due) our FRIENDS at the FL may disqualify GFH from owning any part of the club. As for Haigh he,s finished.

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  20. Completely agree Rob, personally I think he should demand a further chunk of their shares for the £1 million, that way they are 1 more step out the door

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  21. By the way….on haigh…. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was pre planned………pay himself a nice wage….loan leeds some money then get it back + interest regardless of whether he was at leeds or not. Haigh is a winner regardless…….. He screwed leeds just like everyone has, bar Cellino who has come in and cleaned up the mess. Cellino is the first owner Leeds have had who has actually put his own cash into leeds. Bates made damn sure he didn’t by placing us into two admins and pumping up ticket prices.

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  22. Kevin Wilson

    What can I say Rob another excellent article and I agree we must back Cellino all the way on this. Just hope some of the suggestions, particularly about going to court are taken up and GFH, totally embarrassed are forced to sell up and shown the door. If not we should target them with some tasty songs and chants at our first home match next season (yes I missing it already and planning for next season!).

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  23. AS Phil Hay said in the Yorkshire EP after speaking to Massimo,s lawyer he said he dosent suffer fools and it would be wise to keep on the right side of him.Haigh hasn,t nor have GHF. only one winner in this Massimo Cellino by a knock out.

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  24. if GFH plan never to pay the debts they incured then they should be made to hand over the 10% stake as a matter of principal… however we all know GFH dont have good principles and will have no intention to pay what THEY owe.. i hope that M C inactivity is because he plans to fight it as he has my backing 100%

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  25. peacock273

    Not sure whether GFH do hold 10% of shares. I thought Salad Noodles had 10% and IIB held another 10%.
    Another great post though, Rob

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  26. Any idea Rob on who borowed the cash from Andy Flowers iff it was Haigh ,Massimo,s got him by the balls by paying his debt off to Flowers.Iff it was GHF they should made by law to pay Massimo back.

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    • Anyone any idea?

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      • The club borrowed money from flowers, not Haigh personally. Re your percentages question, Eleanora Sport own 75%, GFH (the gulf shower, not Patel or Haigh) own 10%, IBS and Nooruddin own the rest. ES are solely liable for everything, as I understand it, because that was the legally-binding contract Cellino signed up to when he bought his 75% and agreed to waive due diligence. GFH dictated terms, just as GFH have.

        I know why I think the SC (it isn’t Haigh personally, at this point) debt hasn’t been paid, but I’m not saying.

        Am wondering what Rob/anyone else makes of the closure of Thorp Arch.

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      • I’m hearing a lot of hopeful stuff about how Cellino hasn’t accumulated his wealth by chucking cash into a black hole, and that this is a symptom of carefulness – but shutting down a major training complex for six weeks to save money does strike me as oddly parsimonious.

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      • Hang on — I mean LUFC borrowed cash from Flowers. Haigh didn’t borrow from Flowers. In case that isn’t clear.

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      • Fuck me. GFH dictated terms, just as Bates did! I’ve had a hard day today…

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  27. I have a good feeling about this, believing all will come out in the wash. Massimo is no idiot. Did like your’e comment “Not on your Nélie”. As Leeds fans, we’re all aboard the Skylark.

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  28. Oddly enough I was musing over this very subject as I walked the dogs this morning!

    GFH really are parasites, not prepared to take any responsibility for their actions.

    Also do I recall from somewhere that Haigh said he would convert this debt to equity and give to the fans? Or did I dream that?

    As many have said on this blog, they are all a bunch of bankers!

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  29. White Angle

    Good article Rob,
    I almost wish Cellino, does challenging Haigh in a High Court, would be fascinating as to the decisions made by GFH’s accounting protocols and business practices, as a registered Bank.
    Surely though it depends on ‘Terms of Agreement’, when GFH sold to Eleanora Sports………did it include transfer of debt, or exclude………ie was Cellino aware of the loan by Sports Capital to GFH ……….in which case the matter is with GFH and Sports Capital
    Can of worms for sure!!

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  30. Like you say Rob, they are a disgrace. I would add Nooruddin to the list of shockers, and between him and GFH they retain 25% of our great Club which is incredible given the total contempt they have had for it in these last few months, indeed from the first second of their association with LUFC if we get down to tin tacks.
    I truly believe that they have broken basic commercial law by effectively making LUFC insolvent (sucking all the cash out by way of their daft bills for their expertise, and refusing to pay any and all creditors and liabilities except themselves during this period. It is illegal in the UK to trade while insolvent:
    “Insolvency is defined both in terms of cash flow and in terms of balance sheet in the UK Insolvency Act 1986, Section 123, which reads in part:

    123.-(1) A company is deemed unable to pay its debts —
    (a) if a creditor (by assignment or otherwise) to whom the company is indebted in a sum exceeding £750 then due has served on the company, by leaving it at the company’s registered office, a written demand (in the prescribed form) requiring the company to pay the sum so due and the company has for 3 weeks thereafter neglected to pay the sum or to secure or compound for it to the reasonable satisfaction of the creditor,…

    — Insolvency Act 1986, Section 123 (Part IV, Chapter VI), p. 68.”
    How long have Leeds united’s creditors been waiting? And ALL totally due to GFH’s refusal to fund the club adequately to fulfil its obligations?
    It’s not the Club, it’s the bespoke suited chancers making a motza out of LUFC, who are liable and culpable here.
    I rest my case, M’lud.

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    • Blimey. I feel we should adjourn and consider these legal niceties :-O

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      • I’m no legal eagle, just cut and pasted a section under “insolvency” but it doesn’t look great for GFH or Noodles if MC gets a good brief.
        I think I’m still traumatised from the revelation that Steve Morison earns 17K a week. That’s SEVENTEEN THOUSAND OF THE QUEEN’S POUNDS STERLING. PER WEEK! 884K per year! Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!
        I need some tablets and a lie-down…

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      • I think I do now. Bleedin’ Norah!!

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  31. Brilliant piece thanks Rob! Too many people are jumping up and down blaming Cellino in all of this. He’s been shafted well and truly by the crooked GFH cooked books.

    He’s trying his best but he’s only been in for a short amount of time, he’s dealing with long standing issues left from Bates & GFH! We need to understand his difficulties now and if we got stumped with as many bills like he has that was anothers issue would we willing splash the cash? I agree GFH should be held to account for some of the financial ruin of this!

    I raised the question on my blog yesterday of what would you sort out first at our club? So many areas that need sorting?! Have a look:

    http://www.ballandall.com/football-manager-cellino-edition/

    MOT!!!

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  32. keith white

    hear hear well said

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  33. But there are loads of extra bills. MC agreed to take them all on, he agreed to give whatever GFH wanted, he agreed to skip due diligence. He’s either thick or he knew that this stuff would come up. He certainly knew Haigh was owed money. I wonder if his exasperation with Haigh follows Haigh having the temerity to ask for what he was owed, or at least the position in the club MC agreed was his.

    I reckon it’s too early to call this. Anyway, unless MC can buy Elland Road, separate it from the club and run off with it in the meantime (as it’s reported he wants to do with Cagliari’s training facility and some of their players) this bill will be paid — he can’t walk away and let us be wound up, he’d lose his investment.

    I wonder if he’s just too busy to deal with this. Paying the bill won’t be as simple as getting his credit card out and making a call, it’ll take all day. He’s probably on the phone a lot already. I hope it’s because he’s bidding for a goalkeeper, Gareth Barry, Snodgrass and Johnson, and a Blackstock-like striker. No doubt that’s exactly what he’s doing right now.

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  34. Haigh currently being questioned under caution by west yorkshire police.

    Keep fighting massimo!

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  35. Haigh currently being questioned under caution by west yorkshire police.

    Keep fighting massimo!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I can feel the noose getting tighter+tighter around Haigh,s neck here in south wales,all we need now is for someone to build the gallows and hang the the scum bastard. Know any scafholders Rob.

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  37. heared the latest Haigh says he installed the cameras in January because there were class a drugs being taken in the board room.now he.s a fucking grass as well as a thief .This is better than any soap opera this is pure theatre.

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  38. What’s really weird is the reason. I’d guessed that Alrayes and co. put the cameras in to spy on Haigh and co. but Haigh is saying that he put them in to spy on people in the boardroom taking coke — who??? Nooruddin or Patel, who doesn’t even drink??? Were the cleaners snorting the stuff at night (paid for out of their 50p an hour wages, no doubt). Incredible story.

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  39. belfastpete

    Hang all the bastards,
    Well written Rob.

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    • You could see it with one of our former directors from years back (pre bates). but I cant see gfh sticking half of columbia up their noses. It’s just some bullshit he’s made up to get him off the real reason the cameras were there, industrial espionage. surely he’d have just gone the police about it in the first place if he was that concerned.

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      • Hes also probably leaked this to the press too. Hardly the actions of “a life long Leeds fan” is it, dragging the name of the club through the mud, yet again.

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