Leeds United wishlists delivered to 49ers Enterprises major players after Andrea Radrizzani deal

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United supporter groups have drawn up their initial wishlist for 49ers Enterprises with hopes and expectations around promotion, Elland Road development and communication.

The club confirmed on Friday night that after almost two weeks of post-relegation negotiations, a deal had been agreed by 49ers Enterprises and outgoing majority shareholder Andrea Radrizzani for a full takeover.

A brief statement read: "Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club. Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League."

The details that are being worked through include EFL ratification of the deal, the passing of Owners' and Directors' tests, and various formal legalities, but the hope is that within a short period of time 49ers Enterprises will have completed every aspect of their takeover.

In the meantime a managerial appointment process that had already begun through talks between CEO Angus Kinnear and various candidates, will be stepped up to identify and recruit the man the incoming owners believe can mastermind promotion at the first attempt. That, the appointment of a head of recruitment and a head of football operations, along with a summer squad rebuild, are the immediate tasks facing 49ers Enterprises.

The investment group includes major players like The Lowy Group, whose representative on the board is Whites supporter Peter Lowy, current Leeds vice chairman Paraag Marathe and Mark Wan, already a co-owner of the NFL's 49ers, and NBA franchise Boston Celtics.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But their not-so-silent partner in everything they do from here on in will be Leeds United supporters, whose passion and dedication will be vital to any goal, short-term or otherwise, set by the new ownership group and the board they put in place.

MAJOR PLAYER - The expectation is that Paraag Marathe of 49ers Enterprises will move from his vice chairman role at Leeds United to the chairman's seat. Pic: GettyMAJOR PLAYER - The expectation is that Paraag Marathe of 49ers Enterprises will move from his vice chairman role at Leeds United to the chairman's seat. Pic: Getty
MAJOR PLAYER - The expectation is that Paraag Marathe of 49ers Enterprises will move from his vice chairman role at Leeds United to the chairman's seat. Pic: Getty

What comes across immediately from the major fan groups is that although promotion and a better matchday experience are chief in their thoughts, a functional and positive relationship with the owners is a universal desire.

Leeds United Supporters Club are asking for ambition and promising full backing.

Chairman John Mann told the YEP: "We would like to see an ambitious plan, grounded in well run finances and a stadium that matches that aspiration. We would look forward to a good professional relationship with the owners, where our perspective is listened to and understood. They will have our full support, as will whoever is appointed as manager."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Gyp Walters, a board member of Leeds United Supporters Trust, believes Friday's news was of the good variety. The Trust wants to see a structure that promotes good decision making and clear communication of the trajectory 49ers Enterprises envisage for Leeds.

"First of all we welcome it, because it's a conclusion of this takeover saga," he said.

"We've got to look at it as a new and hopefully proud era. We as a Trust and as fans generally have always found it's difficult to understand the existing ownership model and structure, because we don't think it was bringing the right level of accountability to decision making that was needed, particularly last season. We're hoping the 49ers coming in will make things a lot clearer for everyone involved.

"We want to see the opportunity taken by the 49ers group to build a strong relationship directly between them and the supporters and supporter groups. We want a clear outline of what the strategy is going forward. Where is the club heading? What are the immediate plans to get the club back into the Premier League?"

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Trust also wants to see supporters given a substantial say in matters, particularly as the 'stakeholders' on whom decision-making can have such a profound impact.

"We want to see some form of commitment going forward to supporters being involved in key decision making, particularly around the heritage of the club, the ground, redevelopment and anything that impacts on fans," he told the YEP.

"That's a fair amount to ask at an early stage but we'd be looking to meet with them as soon as possible to help them understand things from our point of view. Communication and dialogue with fans needs to be right from the outset. It's a lot to ask but in return they get the support of a very passionate and loyal fanbase."

Steve Wade, chair of Leeds United Organisation, says his group are excited to see how the new owners change things for the better.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We are looking forward to 49s improving the team, the ground and hopefully working together in making Elland Road more accessible for all supporters," he said.

And Jacqui Greethurst, secretary of Leeds United Supporters Network, added an expectation that 49ers Enterprises acquaint themselves with the lot of fans.

"LUSN expect the new owners to recognise the financial and logistical issues facing supporters of Leeds United," she said.

"We look forward to continuing our discussions with CEO and other members of the board to help resolve some of these issues. Most importantly we would like to feel the pride in our club that we had recently and see passion and integrity on and off the pitch."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One of the quirks of Leeds United that made it such an attractive proposition for 49ers Enterprises was a well-established global appeal. Wherever you go, there will be Whites and nowhere is that more apparent than in Scandinavia.

Anders Palm, chairman of Leeds United Supporters Club of Scandinavia, is one of many who make a monthly or even weekly pilgrimage to West Yorkshire.

For LUSCOS, the relationship between the owners and the fans has to be built on communication.

"What is of real importance is stability and long-term plans, from owners who are open and have channels of communication with the fan groups," Palm told the YEP.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Leeds is no ordinary football club, the fanbase is so strong and demanding so it's vital to have a good connection with the fan groups. Perhaps having someone from the fanbase on the board, or just being closer with the groups through regular meetings and regular information. Over the years at times there has been a lack of information and misunderstandings, that's why the connection is so vital."

The immediate task of returning Leeds to the top flight is key and so is the long-term aim of redeveloping Elland Road stadium, but there are ground and matchday improvements LUSCOS would like to see as soon as possible.

"In the short-term, getting back to the Premier League as soon as possible is important but the most important part of it all is a long-term plan, so there are no rushed decisions or big mistakes," said Palm.

"Build a team for the future, with a head coach who can bring stability. That almost-four-year period with Marcelo Bielsa was good not only because it was Bielsa, but because we had a plan for developing talent and we were stable.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We would expect them to do something with regards to their Elland Road plans, with a better matchday experience, getting people to Elland Road, gathering them earlier with different activities and facilities to build up to the game. Of course the stadium will be a longer-term project for them but there are things they could do immediately in terms of the experience and facilities."