YEP Says: A sorry saga with Leeds United as the biggest loser

PIC: Mark Bickerdike
PIC: Mark Bickerdike
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The YEP’s extensive interview with former Leeds United director David Haigh shines a light on the appalling treatment he says he suffered while in custody in Dubai.

At the same time, it lays bare the bitter breakdown in the relationship between Haigh and Leeds United’s former owner, GFH.

But crucially, it also highlights a problem at the heart of the club’s decade-long struggle – a chronic lack of effective management in the boardroom at Elland Road.

Haigh’s comments and recollections of the GFH era paint the picture of an investment bank from Bahrain with neither the expertise nor the commitment to make a success of a famous, historic football team.

It suggests a group more concerned with its own interests and values, rather than those of the club it bought.

It should not be forgotten, however, that Haigh was at the centre of GFH’s reign. He, along with Salem Patel, helped to drive the original buy-out of Ken Bates. He was a board member throughout GFH’s time in charge and managing director for much of it. He is also a convicted fraudster with all his assets subject to a world-wide freezing order.

Amid the disagreement over who was to blame for the shambles that ensued, both sides should be able to agree that GFH’s takeover did Leeds United no favours at all.

A club like Leeds need firm direction and firm leadership.

They need an owner who is in touch with the supporters, in touch with the ethos and history of Elland Road and in touch with United’s expectations. The club lost sight of all that in GFH’s hands.

Haigh’s story is a sorry one in many respects, not least because of the abuses he says he was subjected to.

But it is equally sad that Leeds United had to be part of it.