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Leeds United takeover rolling blog: Ken Bates confirms GFH Capital takeover

Ken Bates.

Ken Bates.

Dubai-based investment bank GFH Capital Limited has today signed the deal for the acquisition of Leeds United, Ken Bates has confirmed. Follow the events of the day as it unfolds with our rolling blog.

Headlines

* First phase of GFH Capital takeover completed last night, November 20

* 100% takeover in full to be completed by December 21

* Ken Bates to stay on as chairman during transitional phase, until end of season. Bates will then become president

* Neil Warnock to stay as manager and funds are being made available for him now

* Full story, breakdown and reaction in tomorrow’s Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post

2.25pm: Simon Concannon, a partner at Leeds-based Walker Morris, the lawyers who worked on the takeover deal, said: “It is a fantastic day for the club. It has been a well-publicised transaction that has been some time to get to completion.

“We have a team here who have been able to stick with it for the last five months, while the negotiations have been going on, covering quite a range of different areas.”

1.55pm: Former Leeds United goalkeeper Nigel Martyn has tweeted: “Right takeover complete good news, chairman staying for transition period makes sense, but president I don’t get lord Harewood you’re not.”

1.15pm: Whites legend and Evening Post columnist Eddie Gray said: “It is something that people have been waiting to happen for a long time. It’s important news to the football club.”

12.30pm: Legendary Leeds striker Mick Jones said: “Fans have been waiting for it. They expected something quicker and things have been going on and on. Now there’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”

12.20pm: The LUFC Trust have tweeted: “Relieved T/O is complete Will be consulting with members shortly Our Vision remains & hope new owners support it now is a time for unity”

12.05pm: Gary Cooper, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, said: “It’s great that the deal’s done and a lot of expectation has been realised.

“GFH Capital have spoken a really good game and all I hope is that their actions are as impressive. But I do fear that a lot of supporters are going to have a problem with Ken Bates remaining as chairman and then becoming president. That could make things difficult.”

11.45am: Former Leeds captain and Evening Post columnist Dominic Matteo said: “It’s not before time but isn’t that true of everything at Leeds United?

“The takeover needed to happen and it’ll be a big relief for a lot of people. You can see that the team are struggling and the new owners are going to have to deliver on the promises they’ve made. Of course they need patience but the club needs help too.”

11.20am: Ray Fell, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Club, said: “Time will tell how this takes its course but we’ll all be hoping for a new beginning. The fans will be delighted to see this go through and I sincerely hope that it signals a change in fortunes for the team and the manager.”

11.00am: Hisham Alrayes, Managing Director of GFH Capital, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the signing of this historic deal with one of the best supported football clubs in England. We would like to thank Ken Bates for his substantial contributions to the club as Chairman.

“He has decades of experience in running football clubs and we will work with him to ensure a smooth transition in ownership in the interests of the club’s immediate and longer term future. This is a fantastic opportunity to put an amazing club back where it belongs as well as to help bridge national and international borders with football.”

10.45am: David Haigh, Deputy CEO, GFH Capital Limited said: “After a long process of negotiations, spanning Leeds, London, Monaco, Dubai and Bahrain, it gives us great pride today, to have completed the deal for Leeds United.

“A brief but important transitional period now begins in terms of the changeover of ownership: we have today injected further funds into the club and now we look to the future and start the exciting journey to take Leeds United FC back into a prime position in English football once again.

“From a Leeds family myself and a supporter of The Whites since childhood, I know that football is at the very heart of the people of Leeds and the wider community. We want to thank all the fans in UK and around the world for their patience and support while the negotiations have been taking place. Lets now march on together, taking the club back to the Premier League as soon as possible.”

10.30am: Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says on Yorkshire Radio: “I can confirm we have now completed all the negotiations with GFH Capital.

“We have completed the first part of the purchase and they will be taking over 100 per cent of the club. Meanwhile, there is a transitional period while they get to know more about the club.

“I will continue as chairman until the end of the season when I will take over as president and I look forward to sitting back and taking more time off. Neil Warnock will continue as manager with more support than the present owners have been able to give and we look forward to a smooth transition.

“One thing I can say that has benefited from the negotiations is that this six-month courtship has given GFH Capital the opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be supported. You can look forward to a smoother transition than we’ve seen at a lot of clubs.

“I’d like to thank, on behalf of Suzannah and myself, the tremendous support we have received over the years, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months which hasn’t been easy, but has made us more determined to see the job through.”

 

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