GFHDear Shaun,

As a long-serving employee of a tyrannical dictator whose ethics and financial competence made a mockery of the Football League Owners’ & Directors’ test, you must surely recognise the insanity of allowing you the power to determine what constitutes a fit and proper owner?

The three administrations of football clubs you’ve personally been involved in should disqualify you from a position on the Football League board, but when you factor in your involvement in the rigged administration process which allowed Ken Bates to hold Leeds United to ransom and retain control of the club, the whole thing seems destined for a Parliamentary select committee.

I understand that you’re between a rock and a hard place with the media breathing down your neck, constantly highlighting Massimo Cellino’s history while demanding the Owners’ & Directors’ test be properly enforced, but you and the rest of The Football League have no one else to blame. Systematic incompetence led to this situation.

The test itself was nothing but a distraction introduced to relieve political pressure. Since the test has been in place, The Football League has largely ignored it’s requirements, allowing owners to simply tick a few boxes so the League can argue they properly consider each takeover attempt. It was only a matter of time before a situation like the one at Birmingham City arose and the effectiveness of this pointless box-ticking exercise was brought into question.

While The Football League’s attempts to tighten up the testing process are necessary if the test is to be of any use whatsoever, it appears you hesitated to make a decision on Massimo Cellino, dragging the whole process out for weeks because you had no valid reasons to fail him and feared the media backlash. Then came the court case in Italy which has left you all flustered, unsure whether the conviction should apply, whether you’ll be challenged from a legal standpoint if you do fail him and giving the media plenty of ammunition to ridicule your organisation no matter what the outcome.

The whole situation has been a farce. You yourself, as CEO of Leeds United, played a pivotal role in our own takeover, would we have received the same treatment as Cellino if you were in this position then and Ken Bates still owned Leeds United? No one expected you to check the information provided, far less consider the financial means of the potential owner and the club’s activities these last few months.

It’s the inconsistency of it all which beggars belief. It seems The Football League only act when the media pressures you to do so and even then, you’re too scared to make a decision because you fear one option will lead to a legal challenge and the second will have the press tearing you to pieces. You’re too cowardly to face the outcome.

But while you try to find a way to cover your own backs, I hope someone at The Football League stops to consider how paralysing this has been for Leeds United. So far, the only thing the Owners’ & Directors’ test has protected Leeds United from is the chance to move forwards. 

I find it almost criminal that someone with your background in football has been given the power to determine the future of Leeds United Football Club, but this is the situation we’re in. No one has been fooled by the continued stalling of The Football League, the test has been too inconsistently applied for anyone to believe you’re acting in the best interests of the club, this has been nothing but a face-saving exercise for The Football League. The future of Leeds United has never been your concern.

If the media hadn’t exerted pressure on The Football League, Massimo Cellino would have ticked a few boxes and passed the test weeks ago. Whatever decision you make, no one is going to think The Football League is any less incompetent, your own inconsistencies and ludicrous hiring policies will see to that. So instead of delaying further and leaving Leeds United to suffer from the uncertainty of it all, please put your back-covering policies to one side for a minute and make a god-damn decision.

Regards,
GFH Capital

  • stretch4leeds

    Well after all, the Football League have completely ballsed up their very raison d’etre by rolling over on a member of the Football League in the name of face saving and xenophobia towards our club. Hyprocrites and Procrastinators you know your names.
    (I used big words because I know they are only capable of reading their favourite book Janet and John buy a Football Club).

  • Zomoniac

    Quite brilliant.

  • Man in the know

    Harvey is meeting in Kuala Lumpur with potential alternative investors to Cellino including Lim Kok WIng and parties close to Lucas Radebe. I hope the Chief does get involved in the club but Harvey is a disgrace.

    • JD606

      Who’s Lim Kok Wing and what are your sources?

    • Irving08

      Don’t be silly, the FL would then be blown out of the water by Cellino’s legal team. It is not the FL’s job to broker ownerships.

  • Q’bury White

    Brilliant Post, be it one way or another the club requires an answer to move on

  • Thommohawk

    If politics and money do run football then Cellino will be passed by the FL, make no mistake the only pause for concern here is with the FL themselves saving face and it’s not because Cellino is so dodgy how can we ever let him near a football club. Hence the article above.

    I just think it’s the best thing for football to have clubs like LUFC coming into enough money and be able to start competing again.

    When we were in League One did anyone believe we weren’t good enough to get promoted honestly? But in the Championship who really believes we are good enough for promotion with our current squad…nobody. That squad is doing all they can they’re just not up to it.

  • brisho

    The letter is spot on, the FL delaying tactics have been a disgrace.If no decision
    is forthcoming they should go to the Courts

  • Mersey-White

    WOW!

  • Bentleg

    Great post as always

  • Geir Olafsen

    Well Written! Come On Harvey!! Give an answer to this letter, and Give Leeds United An Answer Of The Outcome for Christ Sake! But How Can You. You Don’t Even Got The Balls, Or You Don’t Care At All……!?

  • Bluesman

    This mocks the mocked! Total ineptitude and cowardice on the part of the FL. It would be too kind to call them absolutely useless twats, but that is all they can aspire to be. Grey suits who don’t know anything about football and their bollocks are so tightly drawn up into their abdomen that a ferret couldn’t find them!

  • Bunga Bening

    I don’t know where the Lim Kok Wing rumour comes from but he is described as an entrepreneur/philanthropist (on his own Web site).
    “Lim Kok Wing devotes 40% of his working time helping the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged.” Sounds like he’d be perfect for Leeds United!

  • Matthew

    One way or another, right or wrong decision, one needs to be made. Keeping the club in limbo over this is a disgrace. Russia invaded Crimea quicker than the FL is taking to approve us lol.

  • whistleforit

    Excellent article, well reasoned and we should all print it out and pop it in the post to Mr Harvey.

  • manic white

    superbly articulate article defining exactly the approach Harvey and the rest at the FL have taken, cowardly backstabbers the lot of em .
    It beggars belief that this protracted process is not subject to legal scrutiny, as you state this has without doubt damaged the club from moving on , let alone up … super Leeds

  • Irving08

    Great letter. It is not just the media that have been pressurising the FL: local politicians have been seeking to exert influence too. The Leader of Leeds City Council, Keith Wakefield, has written to the FL, while the NW Leeds constituency MP has even had a meeting with Sean Harvey to discuss the takeover. My understanding is that the political interference does not stop there. Should Cellino fail the FL test, he must mount a legal challenge, based on these procedural irregularities.

  • annoyed leeds fan

    what gets me

    how the hell does someone like Shaun Harvey get to decide who is a fit and proper owner of ANY football club.

    This is a man who’s friends and business acquaintances include such paragons of virtue as Geoffrey “3 and a half million tax fraud” Richmond, Simon “break yer legs” Morris and Ken “buy it off myself for a quid” Bates.

  • Mick444

    TSS that is without doubt the best post I have read in ages. Brilliant, succinct and so true.

  • Helen LUFC

    No one knows the first thing about Cellino. He could be the worst thing that has ever happened in British football, he might be a con artist, possibly even someone that doesn’t have a football clubs best interests at heat at heart…If others couldn’t make a financial go of Leeds then why is an Italian so desperate to have a go? His life long love of Leeds Utd? No. His desire to make moneys that will be bad news for Leeds in the long term. I think Leeds fans desire to appoint ‘anyone’ is sad, as we deserve better. I think there must be alternatives, but GFH won’t consider them. Sound like Ken Bates, dictatorship routine?

  • mrbigwheels

    The FL self imposed timeline of 10 days expires on sunday. SH is returning to base today. Perhaps a verdict will be given by sunday evening seeing Shaun works nights (as reported by Haigh). I applaud your letter TSS but the actual plea from GFH speaks volumes of where this Club sits with them and the pretty awful future we face within the ownership platform complimented with…where and whom we play football in the future.

  • notlaw

    Its all frustrating and sad. The whole business of football appears to play on our desires as supporters, and what can be extracted for our weekly fix of football. Its strange but it has taken me a long time to work this out, and this from what I think I, am a rational reasonable supporter.
    The letter is a great way to over the point of who controls football, its certainly not us the paying supporters.

  • Paul

    Fact is the football leagues are full of crooks running teams. The only way someone can afford to spend 100″s of millions is with “bad” money. at least Cellino has access to the “bad” money – So many people have got their hands on LUFC money, steeling everyday.

  • Irving08

    My hunch is that FL will approve Cellino yet reserve the right to disqualify, at a later date, if ‘yachtgate’ should eventually sink him.