Andrea Radrizzani reveals plan to take Leeds United forward and sends message to club's loyal fans

Chairman Andrea Radrizzani has outlined how he plans to take Leeds United forward and paid a glowing tribute to the club's loyal fans.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 31st December 2021, 4:51 pm

Radrizzani purchased a 50 per cent share of Leeds as a Championship side in January 2017 , becoming a co-owner of the club alongside Massimo Cellino.

Radrizzani then bought out Cellino's remaining share the following May and the new chairman's first full season at the helm ended with a 13th-placed finish under Paul Heckingbottom who was brought in to replace the axed Thomas Christiansen in February 2018.

The 2018-19 campaign was United's ninth consecutive season in English football's second tier but the appointment of Argentine head coach Marcelo Bielsa in the summer of 2018 transformed the club's fortunes.

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VISION: Outlined by Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

After a heart-breaking defeat in the 2019 play-offs, Leeds stormed to promotion as Championship champions in the summer of 2020 and soared to a ninth-placed finish upon their first season back in the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Leeds now sit fifth-bottom after 18 games of the new season but United have had widescale injury problems to contend with on top of a small coronavirus outbreak and Radrizzani says there is a need for patience in building for the longer term.

Radrizzani's Aser Ventures group currently owns 56 per cent of the Whites, the remaining 44 per cent now owned by 49ers Enterprises who increased their stake in the club last month.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today programme to guest editor former Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter - who himself is a Leeds fan - Radrizzani said: "I know we need to grow gradually and this year is the most difficult because the second year in the Premier League in my opinion is the most difficult.

"We are also affected by a lot of injuries and Covid so it's not an easy year

"But my model is what Leicester has done but it's a marathon, it's not a sprint so we need to manage expectations.

"There are some fans who want everything but let's remember what happened to Leeds when they over-invested and then went bankrupt.

"The club was left without any assets so we need to remember everything.

"Sometimes memories are too short in football but I think we need to keep a clear mindset to achieve our goal as a marathon, not as a sprint.

"That's the only way to make it."

Asked about the loyalty of United's fans - and whether that was an important factor in being a fan - Radrizzani said: "Yes, absolutely.

"Loyalty for this club has been a sign that distinguishes our fans, especially living 16 years in the Championship

"You need to be loyal and committed and that's why I am very proud that I could deliver the team coming back to the Premier League and giving this joy to all of us."

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Thank you Laura Collins