Leeds plan summer fire sale of key men

Leeds United have hired a leading agent to sell their best players ­ and set up deals before the end of the season.

The club's new managing director, David Richmond, has instructed Philip Morrison to find buyers for players as the club's new official negotiator. The decision is likely to puzzle and infuriate supporters, and leave leading players such as Alan Smith, Paul Robinson and Mark Viduka wondering what is going on at Elland Road.

News that an agent has been brought in to sell them has already been conveyed to Smith, Robinson and Viduka. Richmond has signed the letter of approval that allows Morrison to find buyers for their most valuable assets in case there is a need to raise money quickly.

It is the latest panic move by Leeds, who had previously put Geoffrey Richmond, David's father, in the role of football consultant until he left last week.

In the fax, sent to clubs and fellow agents, Leeds reveal that Morrison's arrangement with them runs until 16 May, the day after the end of the Premiership season. So, for Morrison to do his job, he will have to have transfers in place while Leeds are still fighting for Premiership survival. The players cannot be transferred before that date, but deals could be set up by Morrison who would be paid his commission from the moves.

Morrison did a similar job at Sunderland when they were relegated from the Premiership last season, and he helped find new clubs for a number of players. There should be no shortage of takers for the Leeds stars Smith, Robinson and Viduka. Robinson's move to Tottenham is in place and it only needs final agreement on the fee, while Newcastle United head the hunt for Smith.

Leeds must also consider the demands of Richmond, who wants a pay-off from the club after helping them avoid administration.

The former "consultant" to the new chairman, Gerald Krasner, wants a golden handshake in the latest twist to his controversial career. Richmond's solicitors revealed that he expected a pay-off after helping the club through their troubles before he left last week.

The former Bradford City chairman was declared bankrupt with debts of around £3.3m, but he argued that the money he wanted from Leeds would help pay off some of that sum. Richmond's role at Elland Road was only made official on 15 April when Leeds informed clubs and agents that he was now their football consultant in charge of transfers and contracts. A few days later, however, Richmond left for "health and personal reasons" ­ an excuse that covered up rows within the club about his role.

Richmond claimed at his bankruptcy hearing that he is due a severance payment. The solicitor Hugh Jory said his employment had only recently been terminated "and there are now discussions about the package that will ensue from that".

Leeds fans may be perplexed that Richmond, who claimed to be in an unpaid advisor's role, is now looking for a pay-day at a time when the club is still in debt and facing the loss of their best players.

Ray Fell, the chairman of the Leeds United supporters club, struck a forgiving note, however, saying: "There was a tone of resentment among fans about him coming after what had happened at Bradford, a fear of lightning striking twice.

"A large number of fans were unhappy, the chairman tried to allay that by saying he is putting nothing into the club and taking nothing out, so all we can do now is thank him for his services and wish him all the best with his private life."

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence