david haigh delivers leeds bouquetBack
Leeds United have released a statement confirming that Andrew Flowers of club sponsor Enterprise Insurance is part of the consortium closing in on a takeover of the club.
The consortium, led by current managing director David Haigh, is known as Sport Capital, and the statement says they are “close to completing a transaction that will see them acquire a minimum 75% stakeholding” from current owners and near namesakes GFH Capital.
There is no definitive confirmation of when the process – which was first confirmed in a club statement on November 30th – will be complete, with David Haigh quoted as saying, “Completion is something we have been working very hard to achieve. We’re now past the holiday periods of Christmas and New Year and we’re looking forward to completing shortly. We are working closely with the Football League regarding the necessary documentation, and we will do our best to keep fans fully informed.”
The drawn out process of completing the takeover has caused anxiety among Leeds fans, even before a tired-looking team were embarrassed 2-0 at Rochdale on Satuday. That performance underlined the need for additional players, but a week into the transfer window neither a new player or a complete takeover has been delivered, and more tense Leeds wrists have been wrung through clawed United fingers with every passing day.
Both Flowers and Haigh refer to the transfer window in the statement, though, Flowers saying, “As a lifelong Leeds United fan and as a businessman, I can assure other fans, that while the process is being finalised, we have been working hard to ensure that our due diligence was completed as quickly as possible and that there are funds in place ahead of completion to support the manager during the opening weeks of the January transfer window,” and Haigh adding, “In the meantime, as Andrew has said, we have ensured that there are funds in place for the January transfer window and we are working closely with Brian McDermott regarding his plans. Hopefully, we will all see some of this work come to fruition in the coming days.”
Two Premier League players are expected to arrive before Saturday’s game at Sheffield Wednesday, with Hull City winger Cameron Stewart reported as only needing to resist the last minute allure of an offer from Charlton, where he has been on loan, and for whom he scored against Leeds in our 4-2 win at The Valley.
With no confirmed signings and no completion date for the takeover, the statement is an odd mixture of things fans didn’t want to hear and things they already knew; news of Andrew Flowers’ involvement in the consortium is old news to fans who have been following the takeover in the local press. He was named by the Yorkshire Post as early as 16th December. Confirming his part in the consortium tonight, he said, “I’m delighted to confirm that I am part of the consortium that will be acquiring the major shareholding in the club.” There is no mention of whether anyone else is involved as part of Sport Capital, or whether Haigh and Flowers are the only investors involved.
But the statement also must bring the situation closer to a positive resolution, and soon. The first line sounds a bullish note – Sport Capital “will acquire a majority shareholding in Leeds United later this month” – with no ifs or maybes. To many fans, though, change in the boardroom is only of immediate interest in terms of how it affects change on the pitch; another Rochdale at Hillsborough doesn’t bear thinking about, and it’s clear from recent performances that only fresh arrivals in the team can guarantee against that happening again. Having the funds in place to support Brian McDermott’s plans is only of use once those plans become actions, and hopefully there won’t be a long wait following this statement before the action happens.
The full statement can be read on Leeds United’s official website here.
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