It’s been a day of conflicting takeover speculation for Leeds United fans and one that perfectly encapsulates the summer at large.
Ken Bates’ arrival on UK shores earlier this week led many to believe that the takeover was reaching it’s conclusion. With speculation that Ken had flown in to complete the deal in time for Leeds United’s season-opener against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, fans were starting to get excited again after the off again, on again drama of the week previous.
That was until Neil Warnock gave his weekly press conference at least.
Despite the obviously tongue-in-cheek manner in which Warnock said he expected to still be talking about the takeover this time next year, it was enough to bring into question the belief that we’ve reached the endgame of this long drawn out saga.
Suddenly, any hopes that Ken Bates may have left by the time we kick-off against Wolves on Saturday were shattered. From being days, maybe only hours away from an announcement, fans were once again thinking in terms of weeks and months. The likelihood of the 2-3 quality signings almost everyone insists we’re lacking arriving this transfer window dissipated as fans started to ponder the possibility of a January splurge.
But then, just as all hope was once again lost, the Yorkshire Evening Post told how two separate sources had last night told them “the deal was in the final throes of completion,” thus sending us all in a huge circle and leaving us back where the day had begun – believing that the takeover has reached it’s endgame. Just in time to repeat the whole cycle again tomorrow.
This is the problem with takeovers, trying to put an ETA on them is almost impossible. But that’s not a concept we understand as football fans, patience is a virtue that none of us possess, least of all Leeds United fans after eight long and frustrating seasons outside the Premier League.
I’ve used the deliberately vague term “endgame” twice in the 300 or so words that precede this sentence because I’m no better informed than the majority of Leeds United fans. My understanding is that the bulk of the work is done – save for the odd kink or two that may need working out – and that this is being considered the final phase by those better informed than I am. Whether that’s a day, two days, two weeks or a month, I couldn’t possibly say, and the reality is, no one else can either.
Until the process reaches a stage where Ken Bates and the buyers set-up a meeting to sign the papers, all anyone can possibly know is that we’ve reached a stage where that meeting is technically possible. Even if it is possible for them to do that tomorrow, there’s an infinite number of things that could change in the meantime – one of the parties could review the contracts and insist on an amendment, someone may have a change of heart or maybe their camel (or cat) gets sick and they’re tied up at the vets. Anything could happen.
What we do know however – and as the YEP point out in the article I linked to earlier – is that this process has been going on for almost three months now and a lot of money, time and effort has been spent by both sides. The silence and repetitively up and down nature of speculation is incredibly frustrating for all of us, but the longer this goes on, the more it’s costing both parties. I sincerely doubt either one of them is dragging their heels for the fun of it and suspect they both want to put this deal to bed as soon as possible.
In the meantime we all must make peace with our Groundhog Day existence and try to master the art of patience. Either that or we can grab the pitchforks and head for Elland Road? No?