billy bremner  statue at Elland Road (Large)We should have known better really. A seamless transition from GFH Capital to David Haigh et al’s Sports Capital was never all that likely, becauses things are rarely so simple for Leeds United.

Originally expected to be completed early this month, the takeover was initially delayed by Football League bureaucracy (or so we were led to believe, at least). But assurances were offered that the delay in proceedings would not inhibit Brian McDermott’s January transfer plans, the takeover was a mere formality and as such, funds were put in place by the new owners to ensure progress wasn’t held up while they crossed the t’s and dotted some i’s.

But as the days dragged on without confirmation of a completed deal and despite assurances from the powers-that-be, the alarm bells started ringing. When a planned £500,000 swoop for Ashley Barnes fell through because GFH had blocked the deal, despite Sports Capital fronting the cash, it became clear things weren’t quite as rosy as the club has led us to believe.

The last statement provided by those involved said things had taken longer than expected but both parties continued to work towards a successful completion “sooner rather than later.” There’s no indication as to what may be holding things up, but as the close of the January transfer window nears and the takeover continues to drag on, this all feels a little too familiar and has Leeds United fans understandably concerned.

Those concerns are compounded by reports of a rival bid from Massimo Cellino, owner of Italian side Cagliari, who has been linked with takeovers of other English clubs in the past. Cellino has twice been convicted of fraud, once for false accounting at Cagliari and a second charge for defrauding the EU of £7.5m. He’s also gone through 36 managers in the last two decades, none of which will appeal to a Leeds United who’ve had more than our fair share of dodgy owners and are desperately in need of stability.

But while the reports of Cellino’s interest aren’t particularly encouraging, they do make sense. A rival bid explains why the transfer for Ashley Barnes was blocked by GFH despite the money being provided by Sports Capital. It’s understood that David Haigh et al have been financing the club for some time now and this doesn’t seem to have caused any issues previously, so something has clearly changed over the last couple of weeks which has led to the precarious situation the club now finds itself in.

For Brian McDermott, this all must be incredibly frustrating. The Whites responded well to the 6-0 hammering at Hillsborough, losing 1-0 to Leicester City last time out but his Leeds United side made the league leaders look second best for much of the game and were desperately unlucky to lose. A couple more signings and Leeds United could still be genuine contenders for a play-off spot, but just like in the summer, Brian McDermott finds his hands tied by yet another Elland Road takeover drama.

  • Goldisco

    i’ll start it off by saying Billy Sharp to Doncaster says it all. Feel sorry Big Mac.

    • TSS

      Yeah, we obviously need a striker and it’s hard to imagine there’ll be many better options out there.

      • Irving08

        But is he the type of striker we need ? Don’t we most need a striker who can run the channels, creating space and taking the weight off McCormack ? Waghorn of Leicester would interest me, likewise the M’boro lad, Jukowicz, (is that how you spell it ?). Right ages too.

    • mrbigwheels

      He’s on £30+ a week so a non starter for LUFC even with a support.
      The present structure at Leeds will allow nothing, not even a tip for the tea lady.
      Loans will not even happen until someone leaves. McD has said it all… if you listen to him. Warnock even in one of his sensible moments was in the same position in both the windows and made exactly the same comments as McD did, Saturday, post match.. Where are all the genuine potential buyers for this Club. Mini Me Bates….. the lot of them…

      • Matthew

        He isn’t on £30k a week. Pretty sure it was closer to 16k at Southampton. He wasn’t a high earner there.

  • Lufc forever

    This football club is insane. How many times do we go through the same situation. I’d be very surprised if we even manage to get one more new signing through the door before the window shuts. We might as well stop thinking of going up this year and just support the team as we fans know how, then hopefully from now until the end of the season some sort of takeover happens and we can get some stability in this club. We also need to hope Mcdermott doesn’t just think f*** this, and jumps ship. Would have loved to have seen us sign Le Fondre or Wells before he went to one of them smaller clubs in Yorkshire.

  • Emily

    It’s all rubbish from GFH. They deliberately spun out last years takeover to ridiculous length from when it began in April, taking until December to complete. Then last January it was a case of wait until summer, then the targets were missed because the deals were too complicated and now we have a new takeover conveniently in time for the January window again. Connected to this is a spineless manager who seems to sing the owners praises for providing him with garbage. Either McDermott is part of this smoke screen, or he is stupid, or hasn’t the footballing principles to stand upto GFH and demand they put money up. I can’t imagine many managers putting up with constant upheaval, McKay hasn’t at Cardiff, and others wouldn’t accept it. McDermott has shown his lack of ability dealing with players and is equally inept at dealing with fans and the people who brought him in, presumably to be a ‘critical friend’ and give them advice. All he does is say how amazing they are, hardly the advice they need.

    • JDC

      The only rubbish around here is the diatribe you spout Emily … OK, I understand the criticisms of GFH but the personal attack you make on Brian McDermott is uncalled for and totally unjustified … no doubt you’ve never had to be diplomatic in your career, but the majority of us have and we have had to chose our time to make criticisms, perhaps when the time is right.
      Having met the guy and felt the passion he already feels for LUFC, I will suggest that everything he does, he believes to be in the best interests of the club … I wonder if that’s the case of the minority who call for his head. BMcD didn’t miss “the sitters” that Ross McCormack and Tom Lees made against Leicester, or the tackle missed by Tom lees which led to the Leicester goal.

      • Emily

        The players are disorganised, some of the defending wouldn’t be out of place in an under 7s match; players that he’s brought in that he has no faith in; his own ex-player at Reading stating he hadn’t the tactical know how whilst in charge there; and no progress in nearly a year in charge? I suppose you believed Warnock was the messiah? McDermott’s supposed to have a history as a scout, so how come he can’t find players? And the ones he does find he doesn’t play?

        • JDC

          You suppose wrong … I posted on several occasions, and before he was appointed that Neil Warnock should have a restraining order banning him from entering Yorkshire, never mind ER … the guy is / was jointly responsible for the situation we are now in. As far as the comment from an alleged ex Reading player is concerned, I will only say that Reading FC achieved promotion to The Premiership on BMcD’s watch and rest my case. However, on a different note, I do not believe that changing the manager again will achieve anything, LUFC is desperate for continuity and stability and I firmly believe that BMcD is the man to do just that … perhaps short termism is not the answer.

          • Ron

            Agreed. I have said before that Pep Guardiola could be managing us right now and we would still be mid-table. We have not invested or had the paparachute money of the top sides, so very few rational fans will blame BMAC. How Haigh has not wrapped up this takeover during the exclusivity period is astounding and very worrying. Look around at other takeovers – they were not this difficult. There is obviously way more to the oqnership structure and story at Leeds for I am sick and tired of other fans telling me “someone should buy Leeds”.

        • Matthew

          Managers fall out with players, that’s common in football, one players opinion may not be the opinion shared by the entire squad. It’s not a reflection on his ability as a manager, considering there are a lot of large egos in football, a manager has to put up with that shit.

    • Perryman

      Spot on Emily

  • john palmer

    lets not forget he has signed about 8 players and his judgement hasn’t been great so far no guarantee spending more will bring improvement

    • Dr Zen

      Yeah, I think that is getting ignored. Are we really two Noel Hunts from the Premiership?

    • Matthew

      But he hasn’t really had the budget to sign the high calibre of player that we need to build a solid promotion capable side. Yes he’s had a bit of money but he’s basically hunting around the same bargain bin managers under Bates were looking in, and you’ll get a few gems there sure but you’ll get a few duds too.

      • Irving08

        But why should we suppose that Brian wouldn’t get the same mixture of gems and duds if he had more money to spend ? Besides, what germs has he signed (and a million for Division 1 player is not peanuts, by the way)? His signings have not matched even Warnock’s – hence Saturday’s team selections. McCallister was out last Manager with a real eye for a footballer. Brian has spent most of his career coaching young players; this appears to be his forte and the sphere in which he seems to be happiest. He should now continue with Warnock’s team, plus previous talent, get the best out of them, bring on the best of our younger players, and then having assessed his real needs, just go into the market for the player(s) he cannot find within the club. Leeds fans (certainly the older ones), will always support a Manager who has a clear strategy AND isa master of logistics too (the hardest part). Most of us, I think, want Brian to be that man; I suspect Brian sees himself as that kind of Manager too.

  • mrbigwheels

    You definitely wouldn’t buy a car from any of them.

  • Craig

    Doesn’t take much for the Dingle Doom and Gloomers to come out. We’ve all had enough, most of us are lucky enough to have sampled a taste of top flight action under Wilko and O’Leary and I think we can all agree we are well over due another Glorious ride. I feel sorry for the youngster’s who only listen to their Dads past story’s of once upon a time we were Good. It’s too early to call for Macs head give the Man a chance, all Managers buy a couple of stinkers. He will get it right given time and as soon as the board sorts out the mess up stairs. Mot on on on.

  • Joedqf

    Why is every commenter here moaning about Brian or GFH. I’m sorry but shouldn’t we be more worried that a convicted fraudster is buying the club? Only at fucking Leeds could this happen…

  • dusty

    only LU can get in this mess. We’ll never get into the Premiership while this crap goes on.

  • bd

    sickness. Both potential owners are n’t rich enough.

    But the Italian something like 36 managers in 20 years.

    • Alberto

      Cellino is rich enough.

      Get used to players with big noses & pizza at half time

  • henrymouni

    It is hard to care about Leeds these days.
    We go from one balls up to the next.
    The usual January merry dance, with little progress.
    I assume the player Brian spoke to last week is on hold, or gone forever.
    Leeds have made an effort with the fans and the community but they are handling this badly.
    No statement from the Chairman or Mr Haigh.
    This is worrying, but there are more important things in life than being the owners punch bags.

    • Matthew

      Let’s hope if the Italian buys us, he leaves Bates a horse head(Well preferably one that has already died).. There’s a Godfather joke in there :)

  • Alberto

    Why are the English press so slow with the Cellino story? It has been reported for 3 days in Italy as a done deal.

    I can even tell you Cellino’s transfer targets (definitely no loan players);
    Midfielder Andrea Tabaneli from Cesena, Attacking midfielder Daniele Cacia from Verona, and Mario Sampirisi a defender from Genoa.

    He will sell Cagliari who actually have some valuable players.

    It’s a done deal.

    • henrymouni

      Should the owner/Chairman be selecting players Alberto???

      • Alberto

        He will likely choose better players than Kebe / Stewart / Bungknee / Pastit & co., so why not? He has his scouts

        • henrymouni

          The manager must choose the players, otherwise you won’t get a decent manager.
          If he chooses better players than his manager, why does his team struggle, and why did he sack 35 managers in 20 years?
          Even Bates kept out of team selection!

          • Alberto

            In some Italian clubs the recruiters choose the players after consulting the needs with the manager, clubs like Udinese have reaped tremendous success with this method regularly matching the big clubs even though they dont have the spending power.

            Leeds method of scouring the clearance bin & loan market won’t get us anywhere.

            The same recruiting method is used in many other sports too

        • henrymouni

          Looks like he won’t be choosing any players for us:-

          ‘After reports that he could be interested in purchasing English club Leeds United,Cagliari president Massimo Cellino has confirmed to the media that although he is talking with club officials he is purely an adviser to the interested buyers.

          With some past legal problems also making it difficult for the 56-year-old to purchase the club himself he remains in England while negotiations continue, insisting that he is proud that he has been asked to assistance the consortium with the takeover.

          “We are talking, checking the numbers, but I’m not a buyer, if anything, an adviser to the buyers,” Cellino told Tuttomercatoweb.

          “I’m proud that this consortium has contacted me, we talked with Leeds, and are like friends.

          “They have great fans, are looking to become a top team, no doubt.”

          • Irving08

            Why would this so-called ‘consortium’ need to turn to a minor player on the Italian football scene ? For advice on how to circumvent Leeds City Council planning regs ? Why would an aspiring Tory like Haigh have anything to do with him ? How does it square with the ‘positive’ image building lauded by the likes of TSB ?

          • henrymouni

            It could only happen at ‘string of beads’ Irv!
            Anything to delay the takeover until February?
            Will this torture ever end???

          • Matthew

            Speaking of which, I hope we don’t get Julio Cesar. As he’s on 90 odd grand a week, if this guy signs him to a long deal, and fucks off somewhere, we’re stuck paying his wages. I don’t want us to follow Bolton to administration hell.

          • Alberto

            Clearly Cesar is for Cagliari with QPR picking up a large part of his wages. Any news of him moving to Leeds is misreported.

    • Matthew

      Because it’s bullshit to believe something when it hasn’t even been announced publically. Just because the Italian press think its done, it doesn’t mean it actually is.

  • Matthew

    Personally I just want this transfer window to close. Nothing happens in January, just a whole lot of pissing and whining, we all know what we need, but it’s clear it won’t be an overnight fix, lots of players will be out of contract at the end of season, this is the best time to get people, we’ll have a lot of deadwood gone by then too. We’re severely lacking but I just don’t give a shit, I just want to see this team give its all and see where we end up. Anywhere in the top 10 this season is fine with me. Expectation is causing too much ill feeling among some. I care so little about this takeover it just doesn’t matter to me. I only care about the football(And the club of course). I can’t wait for Tuesdays game.