Friday’s revelation that Leeds Fans United (LFU) had reached an agreement with Massimo Cellino to buy Leeds United brought with it an understandable wave of confusion.
Despite having been in operation since the summer, the fans’ group has kept a relatively low public profile, avoiding one of the pitfalls faced by other people who have tried to buy the club.
There had also been little indication that Cellino was willing to sell the club prior to Friday.
This has led to a situation by which many Leeds fans do not know the who’s who of LFU - below, we talk you through the executive team:
Dylan Thwaites - Chief Executive
Thwaites, 49, sold his internet marketing business Latitude in 2007 for £55m.
Given what Thwaites said to me earlier this year, it is little surprise that LFU managed to capitalise on Cellino’s sudden desire to sell the club: “I truly believe that success comes when preparation meets opportunity.
“We’ve got to get that preparation done as quickly as possible, because we don’t know when the opportunity will arise. We need to manufacture our luck.”
He also seemed aware of the situation at Elland Road, and the need to get fans involved with the club: “I think it is a last chance, I really do, especially for my generation, which is a really powerful part of our fanbase. We have an older fanbase than a lot of clubs. Increasing numbers of them go ‘I think this might be my last season’.
“I think they’ll find it really difficult to rescue the club without losing this next batch of fans, unless they engage with those fans.
“There’s this feeling that supporting Leeds United isn’t as fun as it used to be, and there is this sense that if we can grab it back, we’ll be one of few clubs with a fan base that enjoys watching football in a watching football kind of way.”
Thwaites’ Leeds supporting credentials were also clear - there are few people that would describe any story that involved an injury to their son as one of their better moments: “When Leeds beat Manchester United in 2010, I was actually in America, and my boy had just suffered multiple fractures in his arm while snowboarding.
“We’d had to get him taken to the children’s hospital in Salt Lake City. They operated on him at around midnight.
“He was groggy, and I said to the staff, ‘Look, at 6 o’clock your time, there’s this incredibly important match on, is there any way we can watch it?’ When Jermaine Beckford scored, we couldn’t believe it, we were going absolutely wild at six in the morning.
“Despite my boy being hurt, it’s still one of my best memories.”
Sharon Reid - Marketing, PR & Infrastructure Executive
Former Executive Director, Creative and Chief Operating Officer at PR agency Edelman.
Season ticket holder in the South Stand. Says on the group’s website: “There’s no place in the world like Elland Road at 3pm on a Saturday.”
Steve Hanson - Fundraising Executive
Currently managing director of Callidus, a Beeston based health and safety firm that turns over £1.3m annually. Favourite player of all time is Eddie Gray, and sees Leeds Fans United as important to preserving the club for future generations.
Tweeted on Friday that it’s “very early days. Much work to do but it’s a massive step. We can’t go into fine details until we get our heads round the next step.
As with any deal of this kind we are bound by confidentiality and professional conduct. Please give us space and time to do this.”
Howard Nelson - Negotiation Executive
Background in employment law and has held executive positions at the likes of BP and IBM. Will play key role over the coming months in any takeover that does occur.
First game was a 3-1 victory against Manchester in 1966.
David Allanson - Finance and Legal Executive
Worked for the likes of Goldman Sachs and the Tudor hedge fund. Allan Clarke is his favourite player, and his favourite Leeds moment is his goal to win the FA Cup in 1972.
His aims are stability at Leeds, a focus on the academy and success in the top flight.
Brendan Meehan - non-executive director
An accountant who spent his career in life assurance. Previously a CFO, COO, and a partner at KPMG.