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Leeds United news: Views on Elland Road purchase

Leeds United news: Views on Elland Road purchase

  • Author, Adam Pope
  • Paper, BBC Radio Leeds Reporter

Image source, Getty Images

Ken Bates described his intention to buy Elland Road when he became chairman of the club in January 2005: “Our first task will be to put in place short, medium and long-term plans to secure the financial future of the club, and this will include the repurchase, in due course, of Elland Road and Thorp Arch.”

Two months earlier, the club’s ancestral home since 1919 was sold for £8m to Manchester property developer Jacob Adler by the Gerald Krasner-led board. When Bates left in 2013, he was unable to buy it back.

A decade ago, another president, Massimo Cellino, wanted to get out of the onerous lease on a place where he regretted not even owning the chairs.

“We want to buy Elland Road by December because it’s crazy to pay £1.5m a year to rent the stadium,” he said. “We want to own our own home.”

However, Cellino’s tumultuous three-year reign ended with the club still paying a landlord, with history repeating itself in what he called people “throwing money out of the window”.

Next up was Andrea Radrizzani. After taking full control of Cellino, there was some fanfare about the club finally buying the ground in 2017. True, it was bought back for around £20m, but it was in private hands again, namely Radrizzani’s company, Greenfield Investment Pte Ltd. The terms were much more benign, but when Radrizzani was almost gone, he was prepared to offer Elland Road as collateral in a deal to buy Sampdoria.

This generated a lot of anger from supporters.

49ers Enterprises stepped in, and early last season purchased the club and divested the Italian, increasing its ownership stake in a full and complete buyout.

A statement released on Wednesday confirmed that the original company used to buy Elland Road had transferred its entire share capital to Leeds United Football Club last March, where it is classed as a fixed asset worth £26.2m, according to Companies House records.

Current chairman Paraag Marathe recently said that despite missing out on promotion, development of the countryside is on the agenda.

“The money is earmarked, it’s committed, and we’re continuing down that path,” he said. “If you ask me that question a year from now, it might be a little more complicated because at that point I’d be ready with a shovel. But everything is greenlit now, as it would have been in either case.”

It seems that if the club throws money out the window, at least now it owns the frames!