Another false dawn or start of the rise at Leeds United?

What does the latest ownership shake-up mean for the future of Leeds United?

One look at Southampton can give the fans at Leeds United hope. The south coast club were on the precipice of financial liquidation just a few years ago. At the foot of League One after points deductions for entering administration times were tough at the club.

But the investment of Markus Liebherr saved the club. The likes of Rickie Lambert and Jose Fonte arrived and the rest is history - as Southampton could finish today second in the Premier League table.

When GFH Capital took over as the main stakeholders at Elland Road last year hope was high that major investment would arrive at the club - that the return of the recent glory days, of Champions League semi-finals and star players, could someday return to one of England’s most illustrious and celebrated sides.

Instead they have solidified the clubs finances behind closed doors. Football fans hear the word Dubai and Bahrain and expect their owners to throw oil at clubs for star players - but GFH have boxed a little cleverer.

Those glory days I referred to earlier were bought on borrowed money - borrowed money that sees them in this current predicament.

But now the fans can finally hope, after a year of solidity and stabilisation that Brian McDermott will be given the funds to apply the final pieces of the jigsaw to the Leeds United puzzle.

Managing director David Haigh is leading a buyout of the club, which does not involve any ex-players such as Lucas Radebe, from a consortium of major businessmen collated over the past 12 months to take the majority share in the historic club.

The deal is expected to give McDermott opportunities to spend in the January window - and considering that they are currently seventh in the table - a couple of astute additions might just do the job.

McDermott is a fantastic manager, he has proven that at Reading and with what does not look a brilliant Leeds team on paper, has taken them into the playoff contention.

GFH are looking to make profit, of course. They are not charitably going about getting investment for a Yorkshire team just for the sake of it. They will move on some of their shares but still maintain a ‘significant stake’ at the club.

But GFH know that a healthy club is what breeds investment - which is good news for Leeds. Their interests are the fans interests, and with investment arriving, funds will be available in January.

It might provide the final boost Leeds need to push on for promotion.

The fans at Elland Road have seen enough false dawns to last a lifetime recently to let themselves get carried away with this recent development. But as a fan of English football it would be great to see Leeds back in the big-time.

So hopefully this latest boardroom shake-up can be the catalyst toward Leeds’ return to the top.

image: © Chris Robertshaw

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