David HaighStatement from David Haigh on collapse of Sports Capital takeover, as published by the BBC’s Adam Pope

I have spent more than a year working for what I passionately believe are the best interests of Leeds United. I have also been grateful for the full and continuing support of GFH Capital and my fellow board members at Leeds.

My primary aim has always been to source the additional strategic investment necessary to take the club forward.
Last year what I believed was the right opportunity presented itself in the shape of a chance for me to lead a consortium of investors under the name of Sport Capital, to acquire a major stakeholding in the club.

As fans know, we signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital at the end of last year. This meant, I believed, that we were in a position to move things forward and complete the transaction in time for the January window.

Throughout every stage of the process we sought to keep fans as fully updated as possible on the progress of the negotiations. I personally assure every supporter that every public statement made regarding the acquisition was made in the utmost good faith. Unfortunately, however, some of the consortium’s backers ultimately didn’t feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward.

Despite this, the future of this club remains the most important thing to me personally and I remain totally committed to putting the right team and backing in place to ensure that Leeds United can move forward.

It is an indication of that commitment that in recent months the Sports Capital consortium and I personally .
have injected substantial sums into the club to ensure its viability.

At the same time neither my life nor my job has been made easier by the personal intrusions and abuse directed towards me on social media or by some of the smear campaigns against me personally.

Equally, some of the speculation & stories published in the media have made things difficult for everyone including the staff, players and supporters.

I have met many, many potential investors over the past year and, sadly, while many are keen to talk the talk they have been unable or unwilling to deliver in financial terms. Nevertheless these talks continue with a number of parties to seek the best possible outcome for Leeds United.

55 Responses

    • TSS

      What’s most worrying is the sums of money already invested. One would assume that has to be paid back now the takeover appears to have collapsed?

  1. Andrew Nattan

    Let’s play Bates Bullshit Bingo!

    I love Leeds more than anyone! – TICK

    “I have spent more than a year working for what I passionately believe are the best interests of Leeds United.”
    We’ve got loads of investors lined up! – TICK

    “consortium of investors”

    Something something legalese financial bullshit! – TICK

    “well… all of the above, really.”

    Sickpot dissidents on Twitter scuppered the deal! – TICK AND BINGO!

    “At the same time neither my life nor my job has been made easier by the personal intrusions and abuse directed towards me on social media”

    The gammon-faced twat has destabilised his own fucking company to try and get the headlines, and he’s undermined the manager with this Uncle Festa bollocks. Now, to put the icing on the turd cake, it turns out that he’s not got a pot to piss in and he’s handing the club to Ken’s insane Italian cousin.

    What an arsehole he is.

    • TSS

      I’m still trying to figure out how you can be MD of a football club and then get shocked by the findings of due diligence while attempting to takeover the very same football club.

      I’m not an expert, but wouldn’t his job require an in-depth understanding of the club’s financial situation?

      • mrbigwheels

        Simple answer TSS. David Haigh is not qualified to be at the level required to carry out his employment position or lead a takeover.

        He’s simply…. ‘not that sharp’… imo.

      • Drogheda White

        Reminds me of Tim Nice But Dim from Harry Enfield and Chums

      • Andrew Nattan

        You’d imagine so, wouldn’t you? The man just comes across as completely and utterly clueless.

      • Monty

        Isn’t that the point though ? Read Haigh’s statement again … he’s said nothing about due dilligence, that was Flowers comment. His statement is basically saying backers (presumably Flowers) have pulled out / changed their mind about how much they want to invest.

      • mrbigwheels

        He’s a politician, a solicitor, a pr banker…. a chancer of a nice bloke

      • TSS

        The backers have pulled out for a reason though. Presumably because they’ve uncovered something during due diligence, which suggests one of two things – A) Haigh was keeping it from them or B) Haigh himself didn’t know. If it’s B then Haigh, as MD of the football club and a high-level figure at GFH has some serious questions to answer regarding his own competence.

        It’s worth noting that Haigh’s statement doesn’t contradict Flowers in any way whatsoever, so there’s no reason to doubt his account of the saga. The funds were there or the share agreement wouldn’t have been signed and due diligence wouldn’t have taken place, something has changed at that point that gave the investors cold feet. Something that the investors should have already known about since they were working with the MD of the football club they’re buying.

        I get that some fans have sympathies for Haigh, I’m sure his intentions were (and are) genuine enough and he seems a nice enough guy. But he’s the Managing Director of Leeds United Football Club who has put progress on hold for two months while he fails to complete a deal to takeover the club. It’s caused a great deal of instability, prevented us from doing anything during the January window and stopped other parties (such as Farnan’s) trying to work a deal out themselves.

        Furthermore, Haigh got so far ahead of himself that Sports Capital released funds the club have presumably spent before completing the deal. That no doubt leaves the club in even more financial difficulties than we were already experiencing.

        Is that the kind of job performance you expect from the Managing Director of a football club? He’s played way too many sides and ended up costing Leeds United greatly. We’ve been paralyzed by this ongoing saga and the buck stops with Haigh.

      • Monty

        Hmmm … a lot of your post makes a lot of sense, but only if the bit at the top is true;

        “Presumably because they’ve uncovered something during due diligence”

        What if one of the backers simply thought they could get away with investing less up front ? Or had 2nd thoughts ? Or some other reason ?

        “It’s worth noting that Haigh’s statement doesn’t contradict Flowers in any way whatsoever”

        It also doesn’t back it up in any way whatsoever. No mention of anything being uncovered in due dilligence, or any justified reason for the backer(s) to decide to invest less.

        At the end of the day I have no idea, I’m speculating like everyone else, which is why I’m not after Haighs head (certainly not yet anyway).

      • Chareose

        Spot on mate, now re-post the article with that statement in it….

    • Strummer10

      What gets me is the way they try endearing themselves to us by insisting on how they were always honest, & how they always kept us in the loop! We’re not idiots at Leeds, we’ve seen it all, more than once. You guys are bang on when you question Haigh’s intelligence. What could possibly come up during due diligence that wouldn’t have come up when they took over from Bates? I’m sick of arseholes with no real money trying to ride on our coat tails for a bit of publicity. Pearson in now, with Verity as frontman. I doubt you’ll find a better advocate for anything than Verity, & anyone who can boast bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire on his cv will do for me

    • onetonycurrie

      Spot on, absolutely spot on. Content, tone, utter contempt – couldn’t agree more.

  2. Strummer10

    This is potentially disastrous for our club. We got the only Arabs with no money, & now we’re in real danger of doing a Portsmouth. We desperately need Adam Pearson & his consortium to step up now, to effectively save our club. GFH are more dangerous than Bates ever was, & it’s only the involvement of Haigh that forced things such as cheap tickets & the local teams parade. We need Haigh, Pearson, Farnan, Steve Parkin etc…to keep that crazy Italian away from our club. He’ll ruin us. Never has a club needed stability as much as we do now. It’s funny how Haigh mentioned that lots of people ‘talk the talk’, we slated Bates & accused him lying when he said exactly the same thing. Now’s the time for LUST to show what they’re made of. We need to beg those mentioned above to save us from an Italian nightmare. We deserve better. We need GFH out of this club.

  3. Mersey-White

    A simple analogy would be this: You buy a house with your missus, mortgage in both names. Years later you break up, you want to buy the house outright and agree to do so. Just before completion you start having a grumble about the state of the electrics, the leaking roof, the damp-course needing to be re-done…. But wait, you were living there all the time!
    You decide to drop the purchase altogether and you go looking for another house. You spot the house you want and make an offer which is accepted.
    Oops, you did not go get a mortgage guarantee from your bank before your offer and now you cannot borrow anything to buy it!
    In both instances, you are naive and one could even argue, foolish.

    David Haigh is a Solicitor

  4. markman

    Not sure why Mr Haigh is getting so much abuse.
    accepting that his statement is the truth and there is not another side of the story.

    There is nothing to doubt his integrity,except perhaps champagne tastes with white wine pockets.

    He has been let down by other members of the consortium who,presumably had the money but now don’t want to come up with the readies.

    Also,i seem to recall he personally put a chunk of money into the club

  5. mrbigwheels

    There has always been a case that David Haigh has always been the front man for GFH to find a buyer for the Club, work for GFH-C as MD of this Club and at the same time have personal desires to be an owner in this Club.

    A total position of hunting with the hounds/running with the fox and definitely being gamekeeper while at the same time…. absolutely guilty of being a poacher.

    The present situation can demand nothing less than his resignation.
    If he doesn’t resign by Monday 3rd February then I will assume all of the above… is true

    By Monday one man will be wanting his £6m back, Varney and Green will be gone, hopefully Ross won’t have been sold for £5m to Sunderland, which is being talked as I type, the team will hopefully have 3 points and Brian will still be here and feeling a tad better. As for Haigh…. Go find yourself another cause that doesn’t involve football please

    This whole farce is becoming increasingly ‘Batesesque’ and wants closing down… now.


  6. tim campbell

    Maybe master bates will come back with a cheeky bid to ‘save the club’ again’. Now that would be something, wouldn’t it!! Sorry i need a laugh this is all too depressing and familiar

    • TSS

      I said the same thing on Twitter last night. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, Bates turns up with an “I’m back, bitches!” statement on the club’s homepage.

      • tim campbell

        Lol he must be haven’t multiple orgasms over the head of this, no slow arousal this time methinks haha

  7. Fed up Fan

    100 true leeds fans invest £50 on Euro millions and buy 25,000 tickets . . . .wait for a weeks for a rollover . . . . . .you just never know!!!

    • TSS

      They’re good at using a lot of words without actually say anything, has anyone else noticed that?

      • tim campbell

        How ironic it is when the transfer windows about to shut that the whole thing falls apart – reminds me of those days of the Evil santa and his pie in the Sky transfer chest

    • mrbigwheels

      Someone wasted their time typing that.
      Makes you wonder which corporate hat wrote it?.

      Quite tedious reading it… when one knows the reality.

  8. henrymouni

    Here it is:-

    “A statement from GFH Capital, owners of Leeds United.

    Following recent media speculation, GFH Capital can confirm that we are in continual discussions regarding the introduction of new investment into Leeds United Football Club.

    Since acquiring ownership of the club in December 2012, we have supported the club financially, supported the manager, and worked hard to forge closer links with both the fans and the local community.

    We have never made any secret about the fact that our aim has always been to attract investment partners, and we are currently speaking to a number of parties regarding the acquisition of shares.

    We would ask fans to ignore the media speculation surrounding investment, and be assured that we remain as committed as ever to the club and ensuring any new investment is in the best interests of Leeds United, for now and the future.

    We’d like to thank our fans for their wonderful support and for their patience, and we will endeavour to keep you updated.- ”

    I feel better already!

    • mrbigwheels

      It’s either a fluffy bunny rabbit party invitation or a monty python sketch on acid.

  9. Tim

    Having thought about all this I wonder if the earlier stuff about the Haigh consortium wanting to make a lower bid is all hot air to divert from the real reason being that Flowers could not raise the money on his Enterprise shares and in desperation Haigh has turned to Cellino.
    Cellino has shown his true colours with the Festa in the dugout nonsense and then Cellino decides not to watch the game in his reserved box and goes home with his mates – maybe never to be heard of again.
    Meanwhile GFH for all sorts of monetary reasons within their business need to sell soon so we will just have to wait and see what happens with that. You can understand their point of view in blocking the Barnes transfer with all this going on and the money put in already by the Haigh lot!
    Lets put this into perspective. We have bought in two wingers and have Smith to return and also have Hunt who despite a bad start is proven at this level, so why bring in more bargain basement players?
    What I don’t understand is why Hunt wasn’t at least on the bench having scored a hat trick during the week. Maybe Brian had decided to keep him back for a few days and then Varney who would have started refuses to play and leaves Brian with few options at the last minute and has to start with Diouf who for me was useless and unfit and has lost his legs.
    Poleon for me has not stepped up this season so I hope Hunt gets his chance on Saturday as I think he can come good.
    So lets just forget about the transfer window, get behind the team and we can be in a play off position by the time we are back at ER in five weeks time. I really believe that.
    Brian has obviously had a very bad week but needs to deliver a winning team for us and concentrate now on football after a miserable run of games.
    Supporters can’t influence ownership but we can help the team to beat Hudders on Saturday.

  10. Emily

    Complete shambles. I posted before this on the dubious way GFH seem to have a takeover smoke screen before transfer periods, and this is no other. There never was a take over, just a reason for GFH not to spend any money. I remember Leslie Silver saying the reason why Leeds went for Wilko was that crowds had regularly started to drop below 20, 000 and that was the time the club decided to act. I can’t believe over 20, 000 still turn up and still chant away for ‘ooooh Brian McDermott’. Why? He’s backed all this rubbish, turned out players that aren’t even motivated? Why should GFH worry when fans are as blind as Leeds fans?

    • FUBAR

      Emily, a large number of us, however depressed, angry, frustrated at what goes on behind the scenes at our club will never turn our backs or forego our alegience to the club. Too many years invested in the “ups and downs” of LUFC.
      Not at all questioning support of any other leeds fans by the way!

      We need someone with a bank full of money to come on board, and why the fcuk don’t they?

      • Matthew

        I’ll still be here even if we get relegated enough to qualify for the conference leagues. In it till the end, no doubts.

    • Matthew

      Name me one manager who would do better than McDermott and would speak with the same level of honesty and integrity as the man in interviews? How many genuinely good people are in the management game these days? Listen to the man speak, you can see why people have respect for him. This was always meant to be a long term rebuilding job, it wasn’t a quick fix and promoted, if McDermott had some proper backing we would of had a few more players by now. Now we have to wait and to be honest, I wouldn’t blame the man if he walked, he’s been treated like shit all things considered.

  11. fed up fan

    At least we wont be getting taken to the cleaners tomorrow trying to buy average players for a premium having been taken over with financial backing always bumps up the price of whoever mcd would like to buy.

    The players he has brought in have age on the side and not mercenaries like the past few seasons, maybe he needs to ride the rest of the season before setting fire to the dead wood at the end of the season and dumping it on someone else’s wage bill.

    support mcd as he’s doing well with what he has and maybe when smiths back we can see some joy with the wingers weve got working properly!

  12. David barker

    Lots of speculation based on what hasn’t yet come out.
    Whilst most fans are questioning Haigh’s business savvy – which is understandable based on what we know of this debacle so far. I would like to know more before suggesting he has no integrity and needs to resign. Hopefully, he isn’t another Risdale’esk dream chaser. There is no doubt there is more to come out and whilst this is a very emotional time for fans – I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt at this stage. He might well be out of his depth but then again he might be trying his best to get the investment this club needs. I don’t think this club is an easy sell to potential investor’s right now – the Bates era has cast a murky haze over the financial running of this club and the continuous lack of transparency would make me want to drill down into every aspect even if I won the euro millions on a triple roll over. I still believe Bates has got an interest somewhere – he definitely has savvy and would not have walked away without an ace up his sleeve.
    As for McD let’s support him, he is the guy in charge – no point sacking a guy ( who’s credentials I have always questioned – based on one good season at Reading) and creating more financial woe for the club. We are not relegation fodder this season. There are far worse teams in this division. Who knows Kebbie might just be pretending to have a club foot. His every second touch is in the tackle.
    Onwards and upwards ………..hopefully………eventually. MOT

    • Chareose

      Your bates theory has some merit, it could well be the aspect that Andrew Flowers found so alarming

    • RoystonLUFC

      well said, David. We actually know very little about the ins-and-outs of what’s been going on with this take over, although some “fans” seem to know every intricate detail and – therefore – call for someone’s or some collection of someone’s resignation.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no time for any Tory and even less time for some New Labour piece of nastiness; but then again I never did have.

      Can you remember when we were standing (yes, standing!) in The Gelderd End in the 70’s, singing politically incorrect songs about what Scousers eat from their dustbins? Exciting times, and not one of those fanatics ever spoke about the directors, takeovers or other managerial shenanigans. We were Leeds and nothing else mattered.

      Fast-forward several years and all the Johnny-cum-lateley Leed “fans” have become expert financial analysts – but without any finance to back up their clout. So it’s “sack this”, “resign that”, “Mcdermott out” and all the usual, LUST-inspired nonsense.

      What really galls me about all this is that we’re still paying the price for Ridsdale’s recklessness – yet every man and his dog is being blamed for our parlous situation.

      Haigh is a businessman and he wants to make money (woo, amazing bit of insight – that!) but so does every other businessman, including Ridsdale, Bates and those in charge during the Revie era. So blaming Haigh for all this is just utter rubbish. As for the parochial types who seem to think that being owned by Arabs or Italians (or any other nationality for that matter) is in some way a disgrace, how about bulldozing Billy Bremner’s statue, or closing the Radebe bar, or writing Gary Speed from our illustrious history? Bloody foreigners!

      I suggest we try something rather quaint and old-fashioned – supporting the team. MOT (with the emphasis on “together”)

    • Ian

      Your forgetting the fact David that it was a certain (Called himself a life-long Leeds fan), the chief executive of KPMG and Former Chairman Leeds United Gerald (The Krook) Krasner, He completely messed things up, He Acquistioned Thorp Arch and Elland Road, To six off-shore companies and two property development franchises(Thats who was doing that stupid Hotel and shopping centre on Lowfields Road By Ken Bates),

      Who ever invests in Leeds United even if they had £800bn pounds they would have not have full purchase of Elland Road and Thorp Arch!

  13. PMH

    Here is the scenario: you ordered several pizzas for the lads, and then you come to collect up the money. There’s not enough! There never is. Here’s a thought – collect the money first and buy the pizza afterwards. Haigh clearly hasn’t bought enough pizza to figure this one out. Maybe he’ll know better next time.

  14. normanstan

    Flowers and Co Found out by tyre kicking exercise I think and then GFH called their bluff. Bates was never going to go that easy having been sacked on top of a 30 yr hatred of LUFC over a scaffold poll in a vision on type light bulb scoreboard.

  15. Flippin-Pop-It-Bruva

    Can anyone explain how we are still making a loss as we have the highest get receipts, sell the most amount of merchandise and we sell our best players every year, I can only think its that Warnock put his ex Sheffield United boys [Brown & co] on ridiculously high wages? Anyway im hoping for Farnan and Radebe to bring their A game otherwise we will all witness the exotic Bunga bunga half time parties at Elland Road……………Oh yeah i found out that Cellino demanded that Festa sat in the dug out! I mean WTF! He doesn’t even own the club!!!! why would he do this???????????

  16. Even more fed up fan

    Distraught is not the word back to square one it would surprise me if mccormack goes tonight too, on the plus maybe festa can teach us how to defend ? ? ?


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