GFH Capital’s David Haigh, who has taken a short break from social-media site Twitter, was at Elland Road again yesterday as Leeds defeated Barnsley 1-0 to record 10 points in our last 4 games, and our first clean sheet since the opening game of the season.
And Leeds’ current chairman and majority-owner Ken Bates once again took to his programme notes and radio station to update fans on his side of the takeover deal. Writing in the Barnsley programme notes, he said:
At the last home game, with the consent of the potential buyers, I did all I could to update the fans on the current investment situation. Needless to say, this led to further speculation, rumour and social media comment. I revealed that representatives of the potential buyers were with us at the game.
[GFH Capital were forced to release a statement to the Bahrain bourse as a result of intensified rumours rumours.]
As a result of the statement, the focus has turned to them rather than the club with the media poring over their credentials and trying to second guess matters that they probably have not even considered yet. This is not a slight at them, because one important issue remains outstanding, the transaction is not complete! There are many contributing factors as to why it is not complete, save to say, it will only be complete when all parties are happy.
This is not about financial return for the shareholders, it is about making sure that the club prospers both on and off the field in the future.
The confidentiality provisions have been both a challenge and a frustration to everyone, but while we are at an advanced stage there are still matters to agree, so the YEP’s headline (headlines sell papers) of “BATES WILL GO IF DEAL IS DONE” could well be premature in all circumstances, because until everything is agreed and the board comfortable, at all levels, nothing changes.
Mr Bates also took to the radio to give some extra opinion. Talking to LUTV/Yorkshire Radio, he said:
I think the real problem is [GFH Capital's] lawyers. I’ve done hundreds of deals, and I don’t understand what the delay is.
I understand that GFH Capital want to do a deal, and we’re happy to do a deal with them.
I wonder if [the lawyers] realize that they’re not acting in their clients best interests. But it’s very difficult, because things turn up in the paperwork and we say ‘that’s not in the agreement header, so why is it in there?’ I think part of the problem is that lawyers sometimes work on their own initiative rather than on instructions.
By GFH’s terms, this isn’t a big deal, so I don’t know what the holdup is. But all I can say is, fans: don’t blame me.
With the takeover circus descending on Elland Road once again, journalists inevitably got scraps of information
BBC Leeds were told that lawyers were not holding up the takeover as Mr Bates suggests, “but are being diligent”, and that lawyers were in the “final throes” of the deal, ensuring everything was ready for long-term investment in the club, “after a non-leveraged buy-out”.
Meanwhile GFH Capital’s David Haigh told The Sun’s Andrew Haigh (no relation) that the deal is on track, and in the “closing stages”. The YEP were also told by a source at GFH Capital that the deal was “in a good place”.
BBC Leeds’ Adam Pope suggests that there was a “convivial atmosphere between Ken Bates & David Haigh”. Fans with a good view of the chairman’s box suggest David Haigh took his usual seat at the front of the box, but moved to sit with Mr Bates’ upon the chairman’s invitation.