More than just a gimmick? - Leeds United fans should want Russell Crowe as their new owner

Russell Crowe & Danielle Spencer Sept 14 2011

The Kiwi movie star has worked wonders with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australian Rugby League.

This week, the talk of Leeds United has been the apparent interest in buying the club of Hollywood actor Russell Crowe. It all stemmed from this innocent Tweet:

Then, after a few tongue in cheek stories, the BBC claimed they understood he would seriously consider a bid for the club - if it went up for sale.

With Massimo Cellino's current troubles at Elland Road, the story made for great fodder.

But why should Leeds fans want Crowe, the star of Gladiator, to take over the club?

The reason why is simple, he makes a fine owner of a sport club. Just ask fans of the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League team.

For years The Bunnies were the dominant force in Australian Rugby League. But until last year they had not won the National Rugby League title since 1971 - a vast chasm that Leeds fans can relate to.

Leeds have not won a major honour since the First Division title in 1992. For a club of the prestige Leeds possess, a 23-year wait is far too long.

Like Leeds, the Rabitohs struggled for many a year. They suffered with major financial troubles throughout the 90's. In 1999 they were excluded from the competition for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. They finished bottom of the National Rugby League three times in the next five seasons.

But in 2006, things began to change, when Russell Crowe and businessman Peter Holmes à Court took over the club.

Since then the Rabbitohs have been on an upward trend. They finished seventh in 2007 and went on to continue finishing out of the bottom pack for three of the next four seasons.

In 2012 they came third, 2013 second and last year they won the NRL title for the first time in 43 years.

Crowe took a hands on approach to owning the club. In a recent interview with the BBC he spoke about how he changed the 'way they played rugby'. He introduced a philosophy to the club which included bringing in some big names such as Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis.

In less than ten years under Crowe's part-ownership they have gone from the whipping boys of Australian Rugby League to beating St Helens earlier this month to be crowned the best Rugby League side on the planet. Crowe skipped the Oscars and the red carpet to attend the game at a cold and dank Langtree Park.

So while this remains just a fantasy for now, Leeds fans should not think Crowe as a gimmick. If he were to take over the club, he would want them at the level of his beloved Bunnies, and in the same timescale.

That is why Leeds' fans should be wishing for Russell Crowe to take over.

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