Leeds United v Birmingham City: California contingent firmly behind Whites' promotion bid

HUGE SUPPORT: Jesse Lovejoy, front.
HUGE SUPPORT: Jesse Lovejoy, front.
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LEEDS UNITED'S promotion bid is being fervently followed in California with Jesse Lovejoy of the San Francisco 49ers admitting the partnership between the clubs has unearthed a new legion of Stateside support.

The investment arm of the American football giants became a minority shareholder in United back in May with 49ers Enterprises president Paraag Marathe appointed to the Whites board after the 49ers' acquisition of a ten per cent share.

The two clubs have also been working closely off the pitch with the 49ers and Leeds committed to using their sports and standing to help with local education which brought 49ers EDU Academy director Lovejoy to Elland Road this week.

Lovejoy was on hand to give sporting themed physics, geography and engineering lessons to pupils from Beeston High School alongside Whites striker Patrick Bamford and a 49ers contingent will now be present at Elland Road on Saturday for United's latest Championship assignment against Birmingham City.

Hailing the influence of the partnership between San Francisco 49ers and Leeds, Lovejoy says there will be plenty more roaring United on from California too.

"There are a lot of Leeds United fans in San Francisco, California, I can tell you that," Lovejoy told the YEP.

"I was telling Patrick Bamford that when I was sitting with him, keep it up.

"I know he has got to sit out for a few months but he told me it was good news that it was only a PCL and not anything else so I was very happy to hear that for him.

"We are going to be here for the match on Saturday which I am very excited for.

"I have never been to a professional soccer match in my life, at least not one in England, I have been to one in the States.

"There's a lot of energy, for the team's success but also just because of the partnership and I really can't understate that.

"You have to think about the fact that we have 300 full time employees in San Francisco 49ers, maybe a few more than that.

"So for our tickets sales people, our physios, our people who work in education, our marketing people, there is the opportunity to have a true business connection and relationship with a team in an another sport in an extremely amazing city with a great history like Leeds has. It's really cool and it's something that people are really attracted to.

"To the credit of our owners and to Paraag Marathe who is on the board here there has been a really good level of communication around why are we doing this and what are we trying to accomplish.

"It allows a lot of focus for people like me who just come to work every day to say that's cool and I like being a part of that.

"There's a lot of fans for Leeds and we are going to be there for hopefully the remainder of the year.

"There's a lot of us hoping for what I know everybody is hoping for here which is that you guys are playing in the EPL next year."