Ken Bates’ reign as owner of Leeds United came to an end today as GFH Capital completed a deal to purchase the club outright. The deal is subject to Football League approval, though this is usually nothing more than a formality and shouldn’t cause any issues.

The deal involves a transitional period which will see Ken Bates remain as Leeds United chairman until the end of the season, after which point, GFH will appoint a chairman from their own staff while Ken Bates takes a position as Club President – a honorary role previously filled by Lord Harewood before his death in July last year.

In a joint statement on Leeds United’s official website, Ken Bates and David Haigh confirmed GFH had been supporting the club financially for the last few months and that a cash injection has now been made which will allow Neil Warnock to strengthen his squad.

David Haigh, the man expected to takeover as Leeds United chairman at the end of the season said;

 “After a long process of negotiations, spanning Leeds, London, Monaco, Dubai and Bahrain, it gives us great pride today, to have completed the deal for Leeds United.

“A brief but important transitional period now begins in terms of the changeover of ownership: we have today injected further funds into the club and now we look to the future and start the exciting journey to take Leeds United FC back into a prime position in English football once again.

“From a Leeds family myself and a supporter of The Whites since childhood, I know that football is at the very heart of the people of Leeds and the wider community. We want to thank all the fans in UK and around the world for their patience and support while the negotiations have been taking place. Lets now march on together, taking the club back to the Premier League as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, GFH’s Head Of Investment Management, Salem Patel added that it is an “absolute honour to be involved with this great club and a real blessing to give so many people so much joy today.”

As Leeds United fans, The Scratching Shed is pleased to see the protracted takeover negotiations finally reach a conclusion. The last six months has been a difficult and frustrating period for supporters of the club, made worse by an underfunded team performing badly and poor communication from the club.

Low attendances stand testament to how disillusioned many of our fans feel. It is our hope that under new ownership Leeds United will seek to reengage with fans on all levels and address the concerns that have been ignored for far too long.

As with any club, Leeds United is stronger when the fans and the board are in-sync and pulling in the same direction. Our fans are not unreasonable and do not expect success to happen overnight, we understand the challenges involved in turning a football club around and are more than happy to do our part so long as we can see visible progress and don’t feel as though we’re being lied to at every turn.

To Leeds United fans, this takeover is the shining light at the end of a road we’d started to think was perpetual. Many more challenges lie ahead; challenges which the supporters of this club are ready to confront head-on, standing side-by-side with the owners, players and manager. But for Leeds to once again be United, the new ownership must learn from the mistakes of their predecessor. Secrets, lies and poor communication cannot coexist with a Marching On Together philosophy, there has to be mutual respect and trust, along with an openness and willingness to engage on both sides.

These are all challenges which can wait until tomorrow however. For today, we’d like to welcome GFH to the club and wish them every success as the new owners of Leeds United FC.