Leeds United supporters are planning to raise £10m in an audacious bid to buy Elland Road. Fears that the ground could fall into the wrong hands under plans being devised by the new Leeds board have prompted the fans to come up with their proposal.
The supporters' scheme would see Elland Road held by a limited liability partnership, with the fans as owners and the football club as occupiers paying rent, ensuring that football remains at the stadium for as long as Leeds United continues to exist.
Despite a £22m takeover 12 days ago, the new chairman, Gerald Krasner, and his fellow directors still need funds to pay off existing debts, as well as the £15m loan provided by the Aston Villa shareholder and former Watford chairman Jack Petchey.
Elland Road affords Krasner the opportunity to raise necessary finances, with the fans determined to ensure that Leeds' future at the ground is in safe hands.
"The club needs to raise cash in order to pay the club's outstanding tax bills and those who financed the rescue of the club," said the Leeds United Supporters Trust spokesman, John Boocock, who is involved in the plans. "One way to raise cash would be by a limited liability partnership.
"Given goodwill on the part of both supporters and the club's owners there is a realistic prospect of fans taking this forward. What better landlord to have than loyal Leeds United supporters?
"This would protect the club, supporters and the local community from any speculation as to the future use of the ground as well as raise much-needed cash for the new owners to meet their current commitments. It would also give supporters a chance to invest in their club's long-term future in a positive way.
"They would also control their investment through membership of the Supporters' Trust, which is democratic, transparent and independently regulated."
The Trust are hoping to speak soon with Krasner and, although he concedes it is an idea he would consider, he claims their offer falls short of the true valuation.
"It's in the books at £20m," Krasner said. "But if somebody has a serious proposal and can put a cheque in my hand, then I would be foolish not to consider it. There is not one idea I am not prepared to consider, but we will make the appropriate decisions when we have to."
Krasner has also spoken to several potential investors after a fan at last Thursday's Leeds Supporters' Forum claimed he knew of a number of people willing to assist the new board. As yet there have been no firm proposals according to Krasner, who added: "I have had some phone calls, but nobody has put any money on the table."
Meanwhile, the on-loan Leeds winger Lamine Sakho will learn soon whether he faces a lengthy spell out of the game after he appeared to suffer a serious knee injury on Tuesday night. Sakho will undergo a scan on his left knee, with fears that the Senegal international may have suffered cruciate ligament damage following a collision with the Liverpool goalkeeper Patrice Luzi just before half-time of a 3-1 reserve-team victory.
It is likely that the 26-year-old, who is coming towards the end of a season-long loan deal from the French club Marseilles, will miss the rest of the campaign, potentially scuppering his hopes of a summer move to another club.Reuse content