Elland Road buyback and the Mad Max homecoming TSS December 18, 2013 Leeds United 23 Comments If there’s one single moment in Leeds United’s fall from grace that highlights the levels of incompetence Whites fans have endured from the various owners who led our demise, it’s hard to look further than the sale of Elland Road. Sold to Jacob Adler for £8m, the sale of Elland Road was supposed to steady the ship at Leeds and prevent us plummeting further. Nine years, another relegation, administration and £11m in rent later, a consortium of businessman headed by Leeds United’s Managing Director David Haigh plan to repurchase the stadium for £15m, which combined with the rent paid over the last nine years means the club will have lost a total of £18m selling, renting and repurchasing our home ground. There’s nothing the new and current owners could have done to change the situation of course. Upon purchasing the club, GFH Capital inherited a buyback agreement and a hefty bill for our annual rent, the price of which increases annually, meaning the sooner Elland Road is bought back, the less it costs, and the less money the club loses in rent. This then, is good news for Leeds United. While a strong argument could be made for investing any and all money into the squad to gain promotion before splashing out eight figures to buyback Elland Road, there are no guarantees in football and with financial fair play rules forcing clubs to get their houses in order, the removal of a seven figure yearly sum from our expenses will give a bit boost to Leeds United’s spending power in all subsequent seasons. The original sale of Elland Road was intended to be a short-term fix. The idea was that Leeds United quickly steadied the ship with a much-needed injection of cash, won promotion from the Championship and quickly repurchased the ground before things spiralled out of control and an £18m blackhole was created. No one ever expected a club of Leeds United’s size to be outside the Premier League for this long, it was an unthinkable outcome when Leeds were relegated. But the promotion quest finally feels as though it’s entering an endgame for Leeds. A convincing 3-0 win over Doncaster Rovers at the weekend leaves Brian McDermott’s side sixth in the Championship ahead of a visit from struggling Barnsley this Saturday. All told, it’s been an impressive start for McDermott who has done everything he can to ensure Leeds United are in a strong position when the club gets chance to strengthen the squad in January. Top of McDermott’s wishlist appears to be Max Gradel, a homecoming which would surely delight fans across the world. “Mad Max” as he was dubbed following his reaction to a red card when Leeds were promoted from League One is exactly the kind of tricky winger Brian McDermott’s squad currently lacks. Gradel has had some pretty serious injury troubles since he moved to French side St Etienne, but with World Cup Brazil just around the corner, Max will be keen to make an impression on Ivory Coast’s head coach. Whether winning promotion with Leeds United would increase Gradel’s chances of securing a place in Ivory Coast’s World Cup squad is tough call, after all, he currently plays in the French top flight against arguably tougher competition. But with a very winnable group consisting of Colombia, Japan and Greece, Max will certainly have one eye on Brazil if he’s faced with the option of an Elland Road return in January. But whether he returns or not, McDermott has told the Yorkshire Evening Post today that his list is by no means limited to Max Gradel and with another takeover which promises investment due to be completed soon, the funds Leeds United’s manager needs to make us genuine promotion contenders should be available to him.