Italian businessman Massimo Cellino’s bid to take control of Leeds appears to be in danger after it emerged yesterday that his legal representatives had been escorted from the club’s Elland Road premises.
The fast-moving soap opera that unfolded last week showed no sign of slowing down on the day manager Brian McDermott reported for duties as normal following Cellino’s failed attempts to sack him on Friday.
Leeds’ current owners Gulf Finance House Capital had earlier on Friday agreed a deal to sell 75% of the club’s shares to Cellino’s company, Eleonora Sport Ltd.
But following reports that the same solicitor who told McDermott he was sacked, had been led out of Elland Road by the club’s managing director David Haigh, it seems a second takeover bid is heading for the rocks.
GFH Capital agreed a similar deal with Yorkshire-based consortium Sport Capital in November, but after a two-month exclusivity period that deal collapsed last Thursday.
These latest events have led to mounting speculation that Sport Capital and another consortium, Together Leeds, are ready to join forces to mount a joint takeover bid for the Sky Bet Championship club.
Together Leeds, which includes former Manchester United director Mike Farnan and former Hull chairman Adam Pearson, who left his position as commercial director at Elland Road in 2001, had been hoping to enter into talks with GFH Capital.
It is now understood that representatives of Sport Capital, headed by Haigh and businessman Andrew Flowers, the owner of club sponsors Enterprise Insurance, and Together Leeds will begin talks with GFH Capital today.
This latest twist occurred soon after McDermott had appeared at a press conference to announce it was business as usual, on the training field at least.
The 52-year-old former Reading boss said he could not walk away from the club following the support shown by fans during Saturday’s 5-1 win over derby rivals Huddersfield despite receiving advice from “big people in the game” to do so.
He said he had been given written assurances by GFH Capital, but still had no idea who the club’s owners would be when his side face Yeovil in a league fixture on Saturday.
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