What now for Leeds? Three ownership options

Just as things were beginning to look up at Leeds, the Yorkshire club are back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Controversial owner Massimo Cellino was disqualified from owning the club yesterday by the Football League, who have barred him, pending an appeal, from being involved with the team until March of next year, and urged him to resign from his role, due to tax breaches in his homeland.

Although not orthodox in the way he does things, the Leeds chief has brought some financial stability to Elland Road, and is liked by large sections of the club’s loyal supporters. But what if he does have to step down? What could Leeds do? Here are THREE options…




Fan power

lland Road

Fan ownership is now a genuine option for English clubs. A host of teams through the various divisions of the game are now controlled by supporters, who have, typically, united after periods of difficulty. The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust is, perhaps, the most famous and successful example currently on offer, with fans of the South Wales club having helped their side from the brink of extinction a little over 10 year ago to Premier League safety and European action. Massimo Cellino doesn’t want to sell, but handing the club over to the fans for a fair price may be slightly more tempting for the Italian, who is known to have a great affection for the city of Leeds and the people who follow his club. Being in charge would give fans the chance to have a vital say in how the club is run, which has been a well-publicised issue for some time.

Join the Red Bull family

Red Bull

Leeds have been linked with ‘takeover’ talks with energy drink giants Red Bull, who have a firm foothold in the sporting market. Although the showpiece of their portfolio is their motorsport division – which they have dominated F1 with over the past seven years – the Asian-owned company have a real presence in football, with teams across the planet. MLS side New York Red Bulls are, perhaps, the most well-known of their outfits, but clubs based in Austria, Germany, Brazil and Ghana are also under their umbrella, and have all enjoyed varying levels of success since being bought out. Red Bull are believed to be looking to expand into English football, with a side they can build their preferred option.

Although financial security would be virtually guaranteed, a name such as ‘Red Bull Leeds’ may annoy fans, with the Whites possessing a proud history. But, success could sway some…

Wait for a ‘sugar daddy’

Cellino 2

Before long it’s likely that a wealthy businessman will take an interest in a club of Leeds’ stature. The Whites are one of the biggest names in English football, and despite their drop from the Premier League, fans still flock to Elland Road to watch their side. ‘Sugar daddies’ are always risky in football, but some overdue luck may see Leeds strike gold next time and land an owner with sound backing and a clear vision. But for every Roman Abramovic there is a Peter Ridsdale…