Krasner wins support of fans after 'surreal' day

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The Independent Online

The new Leeds chairman, Gerald Krasner, was yesterday brought back down to earth as the hardship of running a Premier League club finally kicked in. Krasner officially started his tenure on Monday, after completing a £22m takeover of Leeds on Friday, and the 55-year-old concedes it was a "surreal" day.

The new Leeds chairman, Gerald Krasner, was yesterday brought back down to earth as the hardship of running a Premier League club finally kicked in. Krasner officially started his tenure on Monday, after completing a £22m takeover of Leeds on Friday, and the 55-year-old concedes it was a "surreal" day.

It culminated in dinner with the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, prior to taking his seat in the Elland Road directors' box for the first time where he watched a vital 2-1 win over Manchester City.

"I think it's safe to say that just a few days ago I never anticipated having dinner with Mr Eriksson," Krasner said. "We had a few words, as we did in the directors' box, and he is a very nice gentleman. It was an interesting evening.

"It was made for me by seeing all the fans with smiles on their faces after we got the three points. So as you can imagine, I'm trying to keep my feet on the floor. Yesterday was the surreal world of everything that surrounds a football match, and today is the real world of running a football club.

"We have saved the club, but now it's up to us to prove our strategy works."

That remains to be seen, but at least Krasner has the initial support of the fans, who appreciate his efforts in hauling Leeds back from administration, potential liquidation and extinction.

"Everybody who came up to me, from the corporate members to the ordinary fan, was very supportive," Krasner added.

Despite being a lifelong Leeds fan, Krasner felt no nerves as he watched the game in which Mark Viduka scored a contentious 76th-minute penalty to lift his side off the bottom of the Premiership.

"It [the game] was not nerve-racking. Nerve-racking is going into a clothing factory to face 100 women, all with scissors in their hands, to tell them they're not going to be paid and they will lose their jobs."

Meanwhile, the referee Alan Wiley is unlikely to rescind the red card he handed out to the Manchester City defender Daniel van Buyten in Monday night's defeat at Elland Road.

Wiley was criticised by City's manager, Kevin Keegan, for awarding a penalty when Alan Smith tumbled in the area after being caught by Van Buyten.

The initial contact was just outside the area. However, Wiley felt there was also a trip by the Belgian on the Leeds forward, allowing Viduka to score the winner from the spot. As last man Van Buyten was also dismissed, with both decisions enraging Keegan, who saw Wiley after the 2-1 defeat to ask him to review the incident and overturn the sending-off.

Wiley is known to have watched a video tape of the challenge before passing on his comments and is adamant his decision was correct.

"I saw Smith go past Van Buyten and although there was initial contact just outside the area, I felt the actual foul happens on the line or fractionally inside," Wiley said. "The rules of the game say on the line is in the area and that becomes a penalty."

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