In an interview with Portsmouth chairman, Sulaiman Al-Fahim was asked which three clubs would represent the best value for money for someone looking to move into the English game and he put Leeds United third behind Portsmouth and West Ham.

To quote directly from the interview it reads;

For someone looking to buy into a football club, which three represent the best value for money?

Looking at football clubs now, with £100m, it would be Portsmouth, Portsmouth and Portsmouth! They would be first. Second would be West Ham United, third Leeds United. Newcastle United are good for investors looking for history, image, but it is a long, long-term investment. In the Italian league there are one or two very good opportunities, such as Bologna. In the Spanish league, Levante. Opening a new club in India or a professional club in the US would be perfect.

Al Fahim came into the public eye after his involvement with mega-bucks Manchester City where he says his job was to buy a good club for the Sheikh and he moved on happy that he’d done so, dismissing claims he was pushed out thereafter.  

With billionaires seeing a Premier League club as the ultimate accessory, Leeds United would be a shrewd move for any prospective buyer. A massive fanbase, one-club city and vast amounts of potential for development. Leeds United should be seen as an ideal investment for any billionaires in search of a football club as it would be an investment with a lot more chance of turning a profit than most clubs given the smaller price it could be purchased for and the huge fanbase.

I think this should be seen as good news for Leeds. Al-Fahim mentions the amount of phone calls he receives from people looking to buy or invest in a club and his influence may send a few people our way. In the Arabian Business magazine, Al Fahim was voted the fourth most influencial Arab in the world, so this is a massive nod from a region full of bored oil-rich billionaires.

At the moment, investors may be slightly deterred by our current status as a third tier side, but if we achieve promotion this season, it’s a much more worthwhile investment. It wouldn’t take much to get Leeds United into the Premier League from the Championship and with a bit of investment once we’re there, the world is most definitely our oyster.

The future seems brighter every day for the Whites!

Massive thanks to Andy from the Middle East who emailed me with the link to this interview.

Confidence in Leeds United achieving promotion?

  • 5 - Total confidence (2%, 70 Votes)
  • 4 (11%, 359 Votes)
  • 3 (38%, 1,209 Votes)
  • 2 (28%, 889 Votes)
  • 1 (13%, 423 Votes)
  • 0 - No confidence (7%, 210 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,158

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51 Responses

  1. Teeth

    Given the monthly news on pompy,and with our recent financial record- I would rather stick with uncle ken ,for all his faults. At least Leeds feels secure short and long term now.

    • paul(leeds)

      yes ken is ok, but we are ok in l1 this is not good enough for LEEDS UNITED we are a massive club, one of the top 6 in england we need more ambition than being ok with ken. ken is happy where we are if he was to be honest, making plenty of money in l1 and selling on a prize asset every now and then, small wage bill and an ave home gate of 25000. we need to be a TESCO and not a corner shop M.O.T

  2. Pattaya Rag

    TSS – I’m walking on egg shells here but doesn’t the wealthy Jewish community in Leeds control the city. They may not welcome Arab ownership of the club.

  3. Grumpy Older Man

    You can tell its a Tuesday can’t you ;-). I may not be a fan of IGWT but TOMA (take over my arse) has longevity, especially as long as Bates lives.

    • Woodpeggers

      I’m sure that the “Wealthy Jewish Community” wouldn’t mind a billionaire arab invester or owner, nor would the poor, low income and medium income parts of the Jewish community! We all want Leeds United to prosper! What a ridiculous comment saying they “control the city,” I think you’ll find that’s Leeds City Council and Jewish business leaders are part of the rich diversity of this great city. Wonder what the Wealthy Christian Community of Leeds will think of Arab investment? Putz.

  4. Squelch

    As a Pompey fan all I can say is, stay way clear. We’ve got more Arabs and Jews, including Mr Fahim in the article, than the Middle East and it hasn’t done us any good.

    • Pattaya Rag

      TSS – Don’t think I said anything politically incorrect, just aired an opinion. A bit like IGWT. Maybe it’s politically incorrect to have an opinion these days. I leave the field with colours flying proudly….

  5. Colin

    Errr. No thanks. This sort of character is exactly what a club like Leeds doesn’t need. Was involved at Man City, but not anymore. Was involved at Portsmouth, but not anymore. I don’t have a problem with investors with huge amounts of money but they have to have their feet firmly planted on the ground and understand the business of football. Far too many of these investors don’t understand real football and real fans.

    “I’ve always said that I’ll retire at 35. I am 32 now. My other project is a film that I’m investing in [The Road to Darfur]. I play myself, a philanthropist. I want people to see the real me, not what people have written about me.”

    Don’t forget to make sure that the director gets across your humble side :)

    • TSS

      Haha! To be fair though, you’re missing my point. This bloke is massively influential to rich billionaire yanks and Arabs and Leeds needs cash to compete once we’re back in the Prem. You just have to cross your fingers and hope we get a City-type owner if/when it does happen.

  6. Matt

    This is the numpty that bought Portsmouth with a promise of £50M investment which he then could not deliver. He gave away 90% of the shares to another guy who also cannot seem to put any money in except short term loans from various characters around the world. I hope Papa Smurf sticks to his “show us the money first” principle.

  7. Mikelufc

    Lets stick with our arseole Bates thank you.
    At least we know where we stand with him.
    He will milk us dry
    He will invest nothing
    he will keep us financial stable as we are his cash cow.

    better than the situation manure,pool and many others are in.

    • TSS

      When did we develop such low expectations? Spending nothing will get us nowhere once we reach the Prem. I’m all for building long-term, but at some point we’re going to need investment (to buy TA – massive Bates failure – and ER back for a start!)

      Manure and Pool are the bad ones (although they’re never going to go under and have hardly struggled for honours) but it’s easy to forget the better ones like Chelski and City. You just have to hope we land one of the good ones.

  8. Steven Crabb

    We are better of the way we are a nicley run club,i totally understand the motives in not buying thorp arch etc.our club is running itself no debt no loans etc .i believe under the current reign we will achieve greatness again .If this is tabloid stuff it;ll cause more trouble than good

    • TSS

      The motives in not buying TA back? What motives? Bates wanted it back but fucked up royally. I simply refuse to accept any explanation for that other than that it was a total failure. TA is part of our long-term future and should have been secured. The rent we’ll pay on it (and have done so far) more than the covers the value of re-buying it. Economically it’s an obsurd situation to be in.

      • paull

        Couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe all the hasn’t KB done well club. The only thing he’s done is get us points deducted twice, relegation, and milked the fans for every penny. Our excellent position now is down to SG and no one else.

      • Harry

        Paull, unfortunately the points deductions were inevitable following the financial position post Risdale. Bates is a dodgy bastard, but in wiping out the debt he did the club a massive favour, if we were still servicing that debt then Beckford, Snodgrass, Howson & Becchio would all probably have been sold by now.

        I don’t think Bates has got the financial backing to take us further than the top half of the CCC, realistically we would need to spend at least £15m+ next season to get a squad capable of challenging for automatic promotion – and he doesn’t appear to have it. But I also don’t want to see a Man City type investment where we are overpaying massively for average players and end up with a crippling wage bill should the investor decide to walk away.

        Also, I don’t think our current position is all down to Grayson, some credit must go to McAllister (or his scouts) for bringing in the likes of Snodgrass And Becchio. Grayson has done a fantastic job with the defence but his big test will be in replacing Beckford. So far he has bought in Dickinson, Vokes and nearly Feeney – doesn’t fill me with huge confidence. I’m a big Grayson fan but as TSS said on another blog on this site we have a habit at Leeds of building people up too quickly. Grayson inherited a great L1 squad last season and would have expected to either get promotion last season via the play-offs or automatically this season, so far so good. His big test will come over the next 4 months and in the CCC next year.

  9. Matt bb

    That’s the only thing ken does right. You can be sure that whomever buys leeds in the next 1-2 years will a- pay well over the odds to do it, and b- therefore be wealthy enought not to care! I would welcome some chinese or indian investment, the market would be huge for leeds to reach.

  10. Ryan Vidor

    I think this is fantstic news for Leeds United! Ken has done well to steady the ship, but we could be the next Manchester City! Leeds is a massive club with great fans. Leeds taught Manchester United a lesson in the Cup, with the right backers they could be gdoing that in the league!

  11. Lee S

    Does anybody else wince when they see Ken Bates in the headlines…the first thing I think of is “How many points are we being deducted now?” I fear for the club everyday he is in charge. Id thank him for stabilising the club, but TA is a royal F*** Up. He hides his figures and uses his forked tongue all to often. Once promoted this season, I hope to god we get a sensible investor who can fund the repurchase of TA and a squad worthy of taking us into and keeping us in the Prem.

  12. Harry

    What has never been made clear is who footed the estimated £1.5m bill for the Levi court case. There’s no way it should have been Leeds as it was a personal attack but if it was did this come out of any potential TA funds?

  13. Neil

    The money is coming out of the club. I spoke to the chairman on the phone about this (he called me after I wrote him a letter) and he confirmed this was the case.

    As for Arab investors, have we not learned anything this past six years. I would imagine those amongst us who kept going to games through this dark period are rather more scepticle (and rightly so) than some of the people who post on here.

    Lets keep to running a tight ship and get out of League one for starters. I’ve got no time for Bates but this clown you’re quoting on here is a joke and should be avoided like the plague !

    • TSS

      He probably should, you’re right, but what about the people he knows? After all, he was the one who introduced the Sheikh to City. That’s the kind of investment any club with half a chance of honours will need sooner or later, so at least he’s raised awareness of us a little.

    • TBG

      I never want to see this frontman for fuck-knows-what’s name mentioned alongside Leeds United’s ever again. And as for Sulaiman Al-Fahim…

      Seriously though, the legal bill’s an outrage. That a man with TV and radio stations at his disposal would rather discuss certain matters with fans only by phone tells us whatever the opposite of news is, it’s broadcasting right now on Lowfields Road.

      It’s often the case when you attempt to pull the club up on something: call me or I’ll call you back. It’s like being in The Wire or something.

  14. Tony Currie's Curler

    I look at the kind of money being banded around for average players as obscene. And to be honest I’m pleased we’re not part of that crazy merry go round! It seems that all the PM clubs have learned nothing from our demise!

    I for one like the idea of is building slowly and carefully, picking up good players and making them better and putting young talent from the academy that we’ve developed from raw prospects.

    It’s always nice to be given the kind of limelight that this headline has given us but. Look at the mess all the top clubs are in. Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea all the way down to Portsmouth. They’re all in debt and all have a very good chance of ‘doing a leeds’. Even Man City could find themselves in trouble if the guy pulls the plug out of bordum!

    All bar Arsenal it seems who under Wenger has built his squad slowly and carefully, picking up good players and making them better and putting young talent from the academy that they’ve developed from raw prospects.

    We should win promotion, and with only a minor investment in players we’re more than capable of holding our own in the CCC. Over a couple of seasons we develop a squad to win promotion and then we hold our own in the middle of the table for a season or two.

    By this time Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and the rest may find themselves in so much debt and trouble that they’ll be calling in the administrators and become also rans themselves which will even up the playing field.

    Ambition should be measured and thought through not rushed – that’s what screwed us up in the first place!

    • Pete

      There are some players that you can’t put a price on – it’s what you get, not what you pay. Ask Liverpool if they want their £20 million midfielder in the team to replace the bloke that came through the academy…

  15. Jonny

    Whats the situation with who actually owns the club currently? As such can we truly believe that Bates has the power to sell the club to a wealthy arab when he doesn’t actually own it?

    • Colin

      You’re spot on. Forward Sports Fund own Leeds United – there’s 10,000 shares in FSF and we don’t know who owns any of them. All we do know is that Ken Bates doesn’t own a single share.

      FSF are the real owners of Leeds and whether they let Ken make decisions on their behalf – well who knows.

      And to some earlier posters – Bates never invested his own money in Leeds. He may have acted as a front with the money men behind him. In the Jersey court case, it came out that Bates doesn’t have any cash or if he does, it’s not invested in Leeds. Though personally I reckon he’s got some investment in one of the peripheral outlets (like Astor or LUTV) that has in the past or does get some money from Leeds United.

      Whoever’s in charge is making a tidy sum out of Leeds (probably one of the few football investments returning a profit) which is why Leeds won’t be sold anytime soon.

      FSF have however been passed as ‘fit and proper’ so in a backhanded compliment sort of way, we’re probably best with what we’ve got.

  16. Dje

    ‘Fourth Most Influential Arab’?! What, according to Sulaiman Al-Fahim? Surely the Middle East can offer more influential men (not women of course!) than this bull-shiter and chancer.

    For a longtime I’ve felt English fans (and Mike Ashley) have been cow-eyed to the bling of these Sheiks. Seriously, the more you look into where, how, and what wealth they have the more suspicious you grow about how they can be seen as a good thing for the game. Sulaiman Al-Fahim’s own wealth is “made” largely from real estate speculation in Dubai. Mmm, bet he’s going to be worth knowing as a football owner in twelve months time when the desert sandstorms blow in and swallow up his ‘real’ estate.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against the foreign owners of British clubs, in theory (and Bates is hardly an advert for British-born chairmen). After a shaky start I think Abramovich has become a decent chairman at Chelsea – especially since he turned his loans to Chelsea into assets (ie. he personally absorbed the club’s £700m debt, instantly binding together the longevity of Chelsea FC plc and Mr Abramovich plc.). But I see him as the exception to the rule.

    The global economic prospects for the world are still uncertain, the economic certainties of Great Britain plc are bleak to say the least, as are the prospects for sterling (and how it could deter the appeal of the Premiership to top players, owners, and TV bids outside the UK), and there’s much speculation whether the price of oil will rise or fall – pretty important when whoring after Sheiks. And yet with such uncertainties English fans, the FA, the Premier League and that utter-asshole of a Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, seem not to question the assumption that all foreign billionaires are good for their word, that they will stand by their obligations to their clubs come-what-may, and the Premiership will continue to grow in appeal and its potential to collect greater global revenue. The only certainty I see is uncertainty.

  17. Richard Naef

    No No and again no. Nothing to do with the ethnicity of the any billionaire, its the fact that the descent of Football into the realms of very rich man’s playthings and junk bond leverage buyouts has destroyed football IMHO.

    For me the best option would be for those clubs owned by billionaires/junk bond dealers to feck off with their investment vehicles into the “supereurosuperleague LLC” where they can fiddle with the rules to their black hearts content, end relegation and meet the requirements of a Worldwide audience of the man on the shanghi omnibus. meanwhile proper locally based football teams in England can revert to a sensible fair balanced playing field with salary caps, proper transparency of club ownership and committed players and fans. Who knows we could also have football at 3pm on a saturday (oh and beer at 2 and 6).

    • Danny the Loser

      Richard Naef’s got it bang ON!

      “we could be the next Man City” ….I read above….and slowly shook my head…..
      I know the average football fan has an IQ lower than average but come ON….

      Can’t we….LEEDS UTD do better than that…
      This great catchment area for young players…Maybe if we’re in the Premiership we can persuade them to STAY!!
      I enjoy nothing more than watching real passion on offer from the local lads with Grayson at the helm…..

  18. TheReaper08

    This guy is a fraud, reportedly in financial difficulty himself and I doubt if he is the 4th most influential Arab in his own house let alone all of the Arabic states.

    I warned my Pompey loving friend right at the very start he was a fraud and sadly for him I was spot on. Notorious for doing things as a front to give the perception of wealth and influence we could well dowithout his recommendation.

    • Dje

      You have to feel some pity for the Portsmouth fans. They weren’t given any say in whether their club was sold or not. They were promised the sun and made out that the future was going to be a lot brighter now. They began to buy into it all and started talking up the chances of competing for Europe. Then it all starts to go wrong – with as much chaos of uncertainty that only football and its dim view of transparency can muster. They now look like complete and utter idiots, and their club could be wiped out of professional football within the next six months. They must be wondering what did they do wrong to have the devil come calling – “Couldn’t he have stayed at Southampton?”

      Likewise at little Notts County, where the Supporters Trust were blinded by the frankly fraudulent promises of ‘Munto Finance’, and sold their club for a £1 on the sexed-up top-shelf cover of a smiling Sven Goren Eriksson, glinting sparkle in the eye and all. The Swedish harlot.

      Even Man City – once the proud poor man of Manchester – now has its fans buying into the bling. These once humble folk, with an understandable mighty Red Devil chip on their shoulder, are now gulping down quaffs of their SugarDaddy’s sweet promises of Champions League success and eternal Premierships and are frequently heard demanding success on the pitch, calling for the head of the next hapless manager who isn’t blessed with overnight success, and instant billionaire five-star replacements for billionaire four-star flops.

      We’ve been here once before ourselves. Personally I found the emotional outpouring of our fans after beating Man Utd – complete with ‘Look North’ doing a Cup Final special and being front page of the Red Tops – was the final end to the humiliation that we’ve silently mulled over since our disgraceful End in the Premiership however many years ago it was now. I think the professional sissies call it ‘catharsis’.

      I’d prefer to spend just a little time re-familiarizing myself with what exactly pride-in-your-club feels like again before I find myself in bed with a Peter Risdale dressed up as a Sheik.

      • Tony Currie's Curler

        Well written mate. You can’t be a journalist because that all made perfect sense!

      • Dje

        Ta. You can tell I’m not a journalist because I’m not slouched in an office somewhere, with my feet up on the desk, rolling dice to ascertain which Premiership club I’m going to associate with an amaranthine determination to snap up Jermaine Beckford in tomorrow morning’s sports headlines.

        For some reason Fulham keeps coming up – just don’t put money on it.

      • Yorkshrman

        Great post, Dje!

        I know I’m not supposed to say this kind of thing, but I get just as big a buzz when we win a L1 game as when we won a Prem game. And losing to Carlisle last season was just as painful as getting thumped 4-0 by the Arse, as we seemed to do with depressing regularity …..

        As long as the Prem remains a league for billionaires’ playthings (which is in itself obscene, in the middle of the worst recession since WW2) I’d rather not be a part of it ……

  19. Keith

    Feel some pity for Pompey? Why exactly is that? Before I (and probably most posters) was born Pompey were a relatively large club. Then years in the wilderness. A brief glimpse of glory again and all of a sudden they feel hard done by because they are headed back to where they have spent the post war era. Is it not, to quote, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved”?

    Leeds however enjoyed much success, lost it for too long, then returned proud winning the old D1, dazzling the European stage and bamm, Mr Grimsdale (PR) fcked it all up on the famous fish tank and stupid wages for the likes of Seth Johnson. That’s what money does, it makes most blind to mediocrity.

    Stick with Papa Smurf. I don’t trust him but at least you know what you’re getting.

  20. macadamia_man

    From the always-accurate-balanced-and-and-fair Mirror last year

    Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim profile: 10 Things you need to know about the new Portsmouth chairman

    Published 11:28 21/07/09 By By Ann Gripper,

    Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim has today been named Portsmouth chairman after passing the Premier League’s fit and proper person test.

    So who is he? Here is your guide to the essentials …

    1 Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, now 31, has a family background in real estate and went into the industry himself aged 18.

    2 He has studied at American business schools, receiving his PhD in Real Estate Investment and an MBA in Finance and Real Estate from Kogod School of Business from the American Universtity in Washington DC.
    Click here to find out more!

    3 He founded Hydra Properties in 2005 promising ‘to be different’ – the policy paid off as his company signed $2billion worth of projects in the first two years to become one of the region’s fastest growing property companies.

    4 They have projects underway in Mexico, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including a Golf Walk complex near Al Raha Beach – could be a nice retreat for City’s stars to spend their summers when it is completed in 2010.

    5 Other sporting interests for Hydra Properties include sponsoring Dubai sports television, a Costa Rican soccer team and the German Bundesliga. And they are building a football academy in Abu Dhabi with Italian giants Inter Milan. Al Fahim himself already has one big role in the sporting world – he is President of the UAE Chess Association.

    6 Dr Al Fahim is a rising star in the Arab World, moving up 61 places on Arabian Power’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Arabs this year to be ranked 16th this year.

    7 TV show ‘The Hydra Executives’ is behind Al Fahim’s leap up the rankings as he is the show’s founder and host. He plays the Sir Alan Sugar figure in an Apprentice style show which pitches eight Americans against eight Brits in the UAE property business. The winner receives $1million backing for their business venture. See him in action here:

    8 He is not shy of publicity and has been snapped at premieres alongside the likes of Pamela Anderson and Demi Moore, and he discussed green issues over lunch with Leonardo Di Caprio.

    9 Al Fahim’s approach to business: “You have to do what you believe is right, even if everyone else tells you it is wrong. I said that as a company we would be unique, and everyone said you can’t be unique in property development. If you try, you will fail. Well, we are unique and we are successful.”

    10 He won the Visionary Award at the Middle East CEO 2007 Awards and will surely have a vision for his latest Premier League football club.

  21. Virginia

    Excellent Article!

    If I could write like this I would be well chuffed ;-)

    The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there might be a future for the Web. Keep it up, as it were.


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