billy bremner  statue at Elland Road (Large)Andrew Flowers has tonight dropped out of the race to buy Leeds United Football Club, clearing the way for Massimo Cellino to complete his takeover.

The move comes following a (hastily edited) statement on the club’s official website last night condemned the actions of Flowers for launching a winding-up petition against the club for unpaid debts his company – and the club’s main sponsor, Enterprise Insurance – are owed.

Leeds United insist they’ve met every repayment date for the money Flowers borrowed them which added to suggestions that the winding-up petition was nothing more than a stalling tactic designed to give the newly formed consortium, of which Flowers was a key member, the necessary time and leverage to get their offer heard.

The winding-up petition succeeded insofar as it got GFH Capital to the table with Flowers’ consortium, but talks appear to have broken down last night just hours before the club published their statement.

There is some speculation that Mike Farnan and the remaining members of the consortium will continue to pursue their interest in Leeds United Football Club, but if Football League approval is given to Massimo Cellino, the race for control of the club looks to be over.

A statement issued by Andrew Flowers tonight reads;

I entered discussions in good faith to buy this club for the simple reason that I am a lifelong supporter and sincerely believed that I could make a real contribution towards the goal of promotion to the Premier League and at the same time provide the stability and sound financial governance the club desperately needs.

However, the emergence of Mr Cellino’s bid, and the nature of the transaction, seems to have crystallised the attitudes of both GFH and the Leeds United board, enabling them to dispose of the club with no consideration for its ultimate security and wellbeing.

In effect, it is a ‘fire sale’ transaction which is not in the interests of Leeds United, its players, staff or loyal supporters.

Both myself and my company, Enterprise Insurance, have been enormous financial supporters of the club for the last few years and while we may understand the commercial expediency which leads the owners to accept the superficially attractive Cellino offer, we remain firmly convinced this deal will not give the club the stability or investor commitment it badly needs.

Despite our serious misgivings, we wish the team, the manager and fans well for the future and I remain a very enthusiastic Leeds supporter.

I have no other comment to make at this time about outstanding financial and legal issues between us and the current owners.