The desperation is growing amongst Leeds fans as tweets to board members David Haigh and Salem Patel are increasing. What started out as a positive outlook on the impending transfer window has quickly turned to panic, and with communication between owners GFH and the Leeds faithful at an all-time low the worry is justified.
It’s been a year since we first learned of GFH-Capital, a Dubai based investment bank who have expressed nothing more than to take our club back to the delights of the English Premier League, and since then very little has changed in terms of ambition and promotion prospects. We’ve managed to acquire a good manager with Brian McDermott, a man who continues to give us a glimmer of hope with his ability to get the best football out of our players and can find able footballers at a decent price. He needs to be financially supported though.
McDermott has made it known that he has several new faces lined up to join the mighty whites, and attended a meeting six days ago with GFH representatives to discuss finalising the deals. Fans were expecting Brian to be given the go ahead during these talks, with signings sure to follow over the coming days. Sadly, nearly a week on and no new additions have been made to the dithering squad, suggesting a lack of funds available to the manager and a lack of ambition from the owners.
Although no official word has come from the meeting, certain occurrences have made it clear that talks didn’t go as McDermott would have liked. The first being that we’ve not signed any of the players who have agreed to come to the club, everything is settled other than the transfer fee and wages; aspects that only GFH can complete. Brian McDermott has done all he can, he’s tied up deals before the team is due to return for pre-season as promised, all he’s waiting on now is the money to conclude the transaction.
Bolton centre back Matt Mills has been linked with a move to Yorkshire since the beginning of the summer, Bolton have attached a 1 million pound price tag on the defender. It was heavily reported that we were set to buy Mills, but Leeds haven’t spent a seven-figure-sum on a player since 2006. After the high profile meeting to discuss budget the reports soon shifted from a buy to a loan, further indicating McDermott hasn’t received the backing he was initially promised.
GFH have never promised to spend big on players, but they have promised to do what it takes to launch a promotion push, and signing steady players should be the top priority. Since completing their buy out from Chairman Ken Bates, they’ve stressed that they are looking for ‘strategic investors’ to help solidify Leeds as a top Premier League team. With their accounts available to the general public it didn’t take long for fans to realise that the company isn’t as wealthy as first thought, and investment would be key for the club to improve. It’s now 6 months down the line and with only 13.3% of the club sold and investment talks quickly drying up, a spending spree is looking more and more unlikely.
This isn’t a surprise to me. What kind of business man would be willing to invest their money into a project like Leeds, where the only way they’ll get a return on their investment is promotion to the Premier League? Especially when not even the owners will take that risk, why would an investor take all the risks for GFH to share the rewards? It’s apparent that GFH are looking to make the money they spent on the club back as soon as possible, whilst still retaining some shares in the club. If their business plan works, and enough shares are bought to cover the cost of buying the club, they’ll end up with free shares, the value of these shares will dramatically increase if Leeds are successful with promotion to the Premier League. However, this won’t happen unless ambition is shown in the transfer market and without money to spend how can ambition be shown? It’s a vicious circle that can only be ended with investment.
Rumours of another take over have emerged, but the legitimacy of these rumours is unknown. A quick take-over would be the best scenario, we’d get rid of GFH who don’t seem to know anything about running a football club and manage to keep some fans quiet with empty promises and £90 off a season ticket and we could have an owner who has the financial ability to finally take us back to the top flight. Sadly, after years of disappointment and despair, the ‘best scenario’ seems impossible.