Reality continues to be stranger than fiction at Elland Road as another story worthy of a Footballers’ Wives script leads to a Police investigation.

Covert surveillance equipment has been found in the Elland Road boardroom and toilets used by club officials, it was discovered following a security sweep arranged by new owner Massimo Cellino.

The Police were called to Elland Road yesterday to investigate misappropriation of funds after it emerged the surveillance equipment had been purchased using club money. 

The news was immediately followed by the resignation of Leeds United’s Managing Director, David Haigh, leading most people to conclude the two events must be connected.

A statement released by David Haigh following his resignation reads;

Owing to various statements made by and on behalf of the new majority owners of Leeds United FC, I am left with no alternative than to resign as Managing Director of the club.

This is a matter of particular regret to me since I was the person who first introduced Eleonora Sport to the club’s owners. I also gave them my full and constant support in the Football League’s lengthy approval process.

I am not yet, due to confidentiality obligations, in a position fully to respond to various statements which have been made about me over recent months. As soon as I am I will address the various issues – obviously a great deal has happened these past two years.

As is well known by those in or close to the club, my unstinting support of Leeds United throughout my time at the club has extended to loaning the club money to ensure that tax, players and staff were paid and to underpin its continuing viability – Loans which to this day remain in the club.

I also searched endlessly for suitable investors, whilst at the same time not taking any payment that was due. In addition to all this I had to deal with and manage what can only be described as the crazy situation of very limited support from those who should have supported the club and the management, whilst at the same time having little or no decision making ability. On occasions this resulted in my paying club running expenses on my personal cards and last minute dashes to wire personal money to the club to pay the HMRC.

Notwithstanding, I did everything which was in my very limited power to take the club forward, to engage with the fans and the community and to keep the promises which were made to its great fans.

I very much hope that the new owners will do the same and will deliver on the many promises and contractual commitments they have made to Leeds United, the players, the manager, the staff and fans and will run the club in the manner of the fit and proper owners they have been judged to be.

I have arranged for Sport Capital to convert some of the loans made to the club into shares and once complete, those shares will be given to the fans, so it truly will be the fans’ club.

Leeds is a fantastic club in a fantastic city and I wish Elenora Sports, Brian McDermott, The players, staff and fans all the very best for the future.


Future campaign poster for the Tories?

Haigh has come in for considerable criticism in recent months following the collapse of his own takeover attempts and rumours of a plot to put the club into administration to secure a takeover on-the-cheap should Massimo Cellino’s bid fail.

What most supporters viewed as “scheming” to land a role in whichever party gained control of Leeds United, Haigh would surely dismiss as the Managing Director of a football club attempting to secure new investment. However, his role in 4 months of debilitating chaos at the club left a sour taste in the mouths of many Leeds United fans.

Massimo Cellino had an unintentionally public fall-out with Haigh too, after a supporter recorded a phone conversation in which Cellino said Haigh had attempted to blackmail him, calling him “dangerous, a f***ing devil”.

Whatever the true story of the last few months at Elland Road is, all those involved appear to have been in way over their heads and have proven themselves totally unfit to run a football club. While David Haigh’s decision to convert some of the money owed to Sport Capital into shares he’ll then pass on to fans is a nice gesture, and he should be given some credit for using his own personal wealth to pay the bills, I don’t think that’ll ever excuse his role in the most chaotic series of events this club has ever seen.

Furthermore, if David Haigh was involved in the installation of covert surveillance equipment at Elland Road, I find it difficult to believe he was motivated by anything other than revenge and/or self-interest. It all paints a picture of some incredibly shady characters who’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, however disastrous their actions are for the club, and it begs the question; what use is The Football League Owners’ & Directors’ test if these are the kind of people who pass while a man whose first move was to pay an outstanding tax bill is deemed unworthy?