Ken Bates, Forward Sports Fund perhaps even Santa Claus (although St. Nick and Bates do look rather similar) owns Leeds United, your guess is as good as mine.
In January 2009 the Leeds chairman came forward and said he held one “management share” in the Cayman Islands registered company Forward Sports Fund that owns the League One club.
However later in the year Bates U-turned and claimed he in fact owns nothing and that the earlier comments delivered in court were “an error on my part”.
All that is known about Leeds’ owners is that they are as holders of 10,000 shares in a Cayman Islands company. To add to the ambiguity, the identities of these shareholders are not being revealed without a court order.
This then begs the question, how can the owners of Leeds United pass the “fit and proper persons” test if it is unknown who these people are?
Having had Notts County’s mysterious Munto Finance owners come under scrutiny, the Football League are now under serious pressure to look into Leeds’ unknown offshore owners.
As one of the biggest Football League sides in the country, the notion that Forward Sports Fund’s takeovers in 2005 and again in 2007 when they bought the club from administrators may have never been ratified by the Football League is a serious allegation.
However the real question is that do football fans really care?
Obviously “Dirty Leeds” are not in the hearts of many outside West Yorkshire however the takeover has not exactly turned the fortunes of the fallen giant around.
Little money has been spent on the squad despite heavy figures being received from the sales of youngsters such as Fabian Delph and Luke Garbutt to Premiership clubs. The deadline to purchase Thorp Arch, the clubs training ground passed and who owns Elland Road is anyone’s guess.
You can’t exactly say that these offshore owners are of the Sheikh Mansour mould.
For the first time this season the three times First Division champions have glimmers of hope with a settled squad and an ambitious and talented young manager in Simon Grayson.
Plus any team that has Jermaine Beckford firing on all cylinders are bound to be successful.
This is a team on the up, trying to get back to where they belong amongst the big boys, a spot even the most hardened critic of Leeds wouldn’t deny them.
Let’s just hope the owners come forward and put this long running mystery to bed and let Leeds’ on field actions hit the papers for a change.