Russell Crowe fuels Leeds United takeover speculation UPDATED

Russell Crowe.
Russell Crowe.
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Russell Crowe, the Oscar-winning actor, says Leeds United’s 11-year exile from the Premier League has left him “impatient.”

The 50-year-old has spoken again of his “love” for the club three weeks after sparking rumours that he might be interested in investing at Elland Road.

Crowe, who is a lifelong Leeds supporter, caused a stir last month when he asked his Twitter followers if he should consider mounting a takeover of United. The New Zealander said the response to his tweet had been “quite an overwhelmingly positive thing” but did not comment on whether he was actively looking to involve himself in the running of the club.

Crowe is co-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the rugby league team he supported as a boy and who he bought control of in 2006.

In an interview with BBC Five Live, due to be broadcast next week, he said he had helped to turn the Rabbitohs from “perennial losers” into NRL champions last year. Crowe claimed it would give him “nothing but pleasure” to see Leeds regain the Premier League status they lost in 2004.

“I love the club. I want nothing but success for the club,” he said. “Like many Leeds fans, probably 99.9 per cent, I’m getting a little impatient.

“I own a rugby league team in Australia who, again, are my childhood team. They were a champion team when they were younger and they’d fallen into a state of disarray. They were perennial losers.

“Nine years ago I put my chequebook where my mouth is and bought the club. Step by step, changing the culture, changing the merchandise, changing the player roster, changing the coaching staff, changing the administrative staff, and changing our connection to our community, we’ve risen from being perennial losers to being competitive, to being dominant and now we’re champions.

“We currently hold every single trophy in the rugby league world that we’re allowed to compete for. That’s an incredible turnaround.

“So I know that when it comes to sport, it’s not necessarily about money. It’s about culture. I’ve learned a lot in nine years.

“It would give me nothing but pleasure to see that white army marching on together, being back in the (Premier League) and being where they should be.”

Leeds are 75 per cent owned by Eleonora Sport Ltd, the UK firm used by Massimo Cellino to buy the Championship club in April of last year.

Cellino is currently in the middle of an ownership ban imposed on him by the Football League, a disqualification which will end on May 3. His absence from Elland Road has fuelled rumours that another takeover at Elland Road could be around the corner.

Crowe used Twitter last month to interact with Leeds Fans LLP, a group which is working towards supporter investment at United and aims to raise £10m to buy the 25 per cent stake controlled by Gulf Finance House. GFH, the Bahraini investment bank, was owner of Leeds prior to Cellino’s buy-out.

Leeds Fans LLP welcomed the possibility of Crowe involving himself at Elland Road and had hoped to meet with the actor this month. Crowe has been in the UK promoting his latest film, The Water Diviner, but Leeds Fans LLP is understood to had had no further contact with him.

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