Leeds United takeover: Not too late to turn torrid season around - Matteo

Dominic Matteo.
Dominic Matteo.
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Leeds United legend Dominic Matteo has his say on the takeover.

This has felt like the longest takeover in history and if I’m being honest it’s done a lot of damage to Leeds United’s season.

I’m not blaming anyone in particular for that but it’s the way it is. Frustration built up, morale dropped and I’ve seen dejection everywhere – in the fans and the manager, Neil Warnock, most of all I know what it’s like to be a Leeds player in uncertain circumstances and it makes Elland Road a tough environment. For a long time I doubted that this takeover would ever happen. But it has – and my initial feeling is one of relief.

From speaking to people at the club I got the impression that this would be a big week for the takeover, one way or the other. Now that it’s over the line there’s work to be done. The team’s out of form and the manager needs money to spend.

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It’s a big ask to turn the season around but it’s not impossible. Maybe the new owners have arrived in the nick of time. Leeds have two big games coming up – Palace and Leicester – and I’d love to see a reaction from everyone, the players and the fans most of all.

I’ve sympathised with the supporters throughout this process, as I think my YEP column made clear. I speak to them regularly and I can’t explain how annoyed and demoralised they’ve been.

But they can look forward now with a bit of optimism and a bit of hope. It’s early days but they can ask themselves if this is Leeds United’s time. It would be nice to think that once the news sinks in and everything settles down again we can go back to thinking and talking about football. The problem with takeovers that take forever to go through is that they become all consuming. It’s all anyone speaks about.

GFH Capital must realise that they’ll be closely monitored as the club’s new owners – the fans here don’t give anyone a free ride – but if they do their bit then the be-all and end-all will be what happens on the pitch. That’s how the supporters prefer it. That’s how players and managers want it too.

The surprising thing was to hear that Ken Bates, pictured, is staying on as chairman and then president. To be frank I don’t think many people will be over the moon about that. But he knows the club, he knows football and maybe he can do something to make this deal work. Time will tell on that one.

What I’d like to see at Elland Road now is a bit more stability, a bit more ambition and a higher wage bill which lets the gaffer sign a better standard of player. That’s been a real problem. All I’m looking for is a couple of signings which make me sit up and say “wow”! It’s not too much to ask.

Chris Wood sandwiched between Gethin Jones and Marc Roberts during last season's encounter, which the hosts won 3-2.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

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