Promotion is the aim but not the only goal, reveals Leeds United director Paraag Marathe

0
Have your say

Leeds United director Paraag Marathe has revealed that promotion is high on the agenda at Elland Road this summer but won't be the only goal for the season ahead.

Marathe, who led the San Francisco 49ers’ purchase of a minority stake of 10 per cent in Leeds, joined the board of directors in West Yorkshire in May.

Marcelo Bielsa will spearhead Leeds' Championship assault this season.

Marcelo Bielsa will spearhead Leeds' Championship assault this season.

The NFL franchises investment arm, 49ers Enterprise, purchased the shareholding for a fee close to £10m which sealed Maarathe's place on the board. Now though, he has revealed that he and majority owner Andrea Radrizzani have some big plans for the club over the coming season beginning with the aim of a return to the Premier League after a 14-year absence.

"It's certainly the goal," Marathe told the Daily Mail over whether promotion was the aspiration this season.

"Although I should say the goal is not as simple as promotion. The goal is building something which will last. Going big on rebuilding the culture of the football side of the organisation - that's what the appointment of [Marcelo] Bielsa is. It's all about rebooting that football culture.

"The team have struggled. They have had ups and downs and yet the supporters are so passionate. You don't see that in a lot of places. It's a rare thing. It's in the people's blood."

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa (R) and owner Andrea Radrizzani (L).

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa (R) and owner Andrea Radrizzani (L).

Marathe also revealed that the potential at Leeds was a major factor, along with chairman Andrea Radrizzani, in drawing his attention to the investment in which he describes as a "huge" football club.

"It's an opportunity for a great resurrection," he continued.

"This was once one of the best teams in Europe. Even a casual fan will have heard of them - half of our players have heard of them. They have global brand recognition.

"He [Andrea Radrizzani] is the reason we got involved. The electricity by which he conducts his business is something we really admire."

The 41-year-old was at the forefront of the planning for the 49ers extraordinary Levi Stadium, which is one of the most advanced in the world after opening in 2014, and believes he has seen similar traits of opportunity at Elland Road.

"It's such an historic place," Marathe added.

"I watched the movie The Damned United and loved it. There's something special about it. When we came to our first game, Leeds were mid-table and yet 36,000 people were inside. It was neat to see how much they pour their passion into the club.

"Elland Road has a unique opportunity for more. There's a lot of space around the ground. That's absolutely where we can apply our expertise and help. We're not trying to take over.

"We are supporting Andrea. But this is not cosmetic. We are going to dive in and help where we can. On the football ops, on business ops, whether it's lending expertise on sales, marketing, PR - wherever we can help. This is not something we throw a cheque at and see if the tree grows. We're going to get our hands dirty."