Former Leeds United defender Dominic Matteo has today called for the off-the-field uncertainty at Elland Road to be resolved – with confusion raging over the club’s future.
The appeal comes after owners GFH Capital yesterday moved to quash reports that they are ready to sell United, despite counter statements from their parent company Gulf Finance House (GFH) saying they are actively pursuing a deal.
In their financial statement for the year to December 31, 2012 issued last month, GFH state: “The group has an active plan to sell its stake in LUFC Holdings Limited, and accordingly, the asset and liabilities acquired were classified as held-for-sale and presented in the consolidated statement of financial position. Subsequent to the year end, the group has commenced negotiations relating to the sale of its stake in LUFC Holdings Limited.”
Reports last night even suggested that GFH had all-but completed the sale of the club – with the new bidders, led by Yorkshire business tycoon Steve Parkin, understood to be working with Middle-Eastern businessman on the deal.
Lifelong fan Parkin tried and failed to purchase United in 2004, but has maintained his interest in the club and is believed to have been at the forefront of a further bid which was rejected by GFH Capital last month.
Fans are awaiting further developments today and former skipper Matteo – mindful of the fraught off-the-field uncertainty at the club which consumed the final few years of his Whites career – is anxious United find some lasting stability following another difficult chapter in their recent history.
Matteo, also calling for some clarity regarding the managerial issue from the club owners, said: “You have just got to feel sorry for the fans. They are entitled to think: ‘Why is it always us, what is going on?’ and that their football club continues to be a joke.
“Every time I meet a Leeds fan, the one thing they ask me is: ‘What is going on?’ I don’t think many people know what is going to happen next and it has been another funny year for the club.
“The fans want to know what is the manager situation and the takeover situation, sooner rather later.
“It is what they deserve as they are the ones who pay the wages.
“We did not know too much about GFH. I have met them a few times and they are good guys; you could tell that straight away when you spoke to them.
“But I think maybe that they will need someone else to come in who maybe either has had experience of a football club before or are local Leeds businessmen who can fund what they want.”
A confusing day yesterday saw owners GFH Capital reaffirm their commitment in a statement not to sell the club, while reiterating their desire for ‘strategic investors’ to come forward and offer financial support.
Part of a club statement read: “In March 2013, Gulf Finance House (GFH), parent company of Leeds United FC owner GFH Capital, published its financial audited report that stated it was looking to sell its stake in the club.
“To clarify and as previously stated, GFH Capital is looking for investment in part of its share in the club, not its entirety.”
But the statement has failed to quell uncertainty about the future of United, while clearly conflicting with comments made by its Bahrain-based parent GFH in their annual accounts.