The Dubai-based firm leading the proposed takeover of Leeds United has spoken out for the first time, promising to guide the club back to the Premier League “as quickly as possible.”
In a statement released to the YEP, three members of senior management at GFH Capital Limited – the company heading up the proposed buy-out of Leeds – underlined their commitment to reaching a deal to acquire a majority stake from current chairman and owner Ken Bates.
Their comments came less than 48 hours after Gulf Finance House – the Bahraini investment bank which owns GFH Capital – confirmed that GFH Capital was fronting takeover negotiations with Bates and United.
Discussions between the two parties have been ongoing since May and talks appear to be entering a decisive stage following a flurry of disclosure from Leeds and their would-be buyers in the past week.
The employees of GFH Capital involved in last night’s announcement – directors Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes and deputy chief executive officer David Haigh – were all in attendance at last Saturday’s game between Leeds and Nottingham Forest.
The statement issued by them offered no exact details of how their takeover – thought to be costing around £52million – would be funded or who was ultimately behind the bid, but they gave their backing to manager Neil Warnock and said the repurchase of United’s Elland Road stadium from its private owners would be part of their future plan.
“(GFH Capital’s) intentions, if successful in its acquisition, is to move the club back to the Premier League as quickly as possible and help to build a sustainable future for the club, both on and off the field,” read the statement.
Haigh said: “As a club, Leeds United has it all – passionate fans, a great heritage and masses of potential to return to the Premier League with the right, sustainable investment.
“From a business perspective, ownership of an English football club, notably Leeds United, is a great opportunity if the right strategies are in place.”
Patel added: “We are keen on waking this sleeping giant and forging a sustainable long term future for the club –both on and off the pitch. We also hope to take back ownership of Elland Road and continue to work closely with Neil Warnock and the team.”
Alrayes said: “Following a successful recapitilisation that continues to bring new funds for us to invest, we find ourselves in a position of great strength; we can make use of such funds and an enviable market position to lead on fantastic deals such as this.”