Leeds stall on appointment of Blackwell

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Kevin Blackwell's appointment as the next manager of Leeds United was blocked yesterday by one of the groups that is attempting to take control of the club. Blackwell was due to be named manager at a meeting only to find he had been vetoed by Steve Parkin, who is trying to buy the Elland Road outfit and whose proposed takeover advanced over the weekend.

Kevin Blackwell's appointment as the next manager of Leeds United was blocked yesterday by one of the groups that is attempting to take control of the club. Blackwell was due to be named manager at a meeting only to find he had been vetoed by Steve Parkin, who is trying to buy the Elland Road outfit and whose proposed takeover advanced over the weekend.

Blackwell, who spent last season as head coach at Elland Road under former managers Peter Reid and Eddie Gray, wanted assurances about his future before taking the post. But instead Blackwell was told that other candidates would be interviewed for the post in the next few days.

Parkin, chief executive of the Brighouse-based Clipper Group of companies involved in haulage, warehousing and security, is a known admirer of Iain Dowie, whose Crystal Palace side are in a First Division play-off final on Saturday. However, the businessman may also be keen to speak officially to Peter Jackson once Huddersfield are clear of their play-off commitments.

But it would appear Parkin's "takeover" may yet become a "merger" in some capacity as it is believed one or two members of the current board are proving an obstacle, and in an attempt to pacify them they are being asked to stay on to ensure a deal can be struck.

Astonishingly, the current Leeds board, headed by Gerald Krasner, are not able to appoint Blackwell for any length of time in the latest farcical episode at the relegated club. While Leeds have challenged Parkin to show them the money, his influence has played a part in the stalling on the Blackwell decision.

"We are getting there," said the club's football director Peter Lorimer, who had also been led to believe both he and Blackwell would be available for interview yesterday following the confirmation of the appointment. "Whatever happens and whoever gets put in charge has a mega job on their hands and we want to make sure every angle is covered. We have to look at other options should the one everybody thought it was going to be not turn out to be the right one. We are talking to one candidate, but the board have to look at other people.

"But Kevin's had a meeting with the board and is very impressive and it's up to them to make sure this is the right decision for everybody concerned."

Meanwhile, Alan Smith will anger many Leeds fans when he completes a £7m move to Manchester United within the next 48 hours. The deal is a package which will see the left-back Danny Pugh arrive at Leeds.

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