Leeds thrown seven more days by financial lifeline

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The Independent Football

As Leeds United were granted another one-week stay of execution yesterday, their goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, said the club's players were still hopeful of a turnaround in their fortunes on the pitch. He also revealed he would only have agreed to join Tottenham Hotspur if an immediate loan back to Leeds had been part of the deal. The proposed transfer fell through last Monday.

"I stipulated right from the beginning that I wanted to come right back here and help Leeds out of the situation they are in, no matter what," he said. "I've been here since I was 14 and didn't feel it right to turn my back and say: 'Get on with it, I'm out of it.'"

Talking about the 25 per cent wage deferral that the Leeds players agreed last week, he added: "It's not that bad an investment if we start winning a few games, so hopefully we can turn things round."

Trevor Birch, the Leeds chief executive and acting chairman, requested the deferral as a last resort to raise the £5m that should keep Leeds afloat until the end of the season. The club has gross debts of more than £100m.

Yesterday the club's major creditors agreed to extend their "standstill agreement" until next Friday, "pending the outcome of negotiations with interested parties and further discussions concerning the longer-term restructuring of the group".

Leeds have been in talks with a consortium of Yorkshire-based businessmen about a possible takeover. Gerald Krasner, a representative of the group, said last week that an "eight-figure sum" was available for a deal to save the club. However, it is thought that Birch is not keen to rush into any deal unless he is convinced about the long-term benefits to Leeds.

The creditors apparently want as swift a resolution as possible. That is why yesterday's extension was for only a week, to maintain the pressure on Birch. It had been anticipated Leeds might announce an extension until May. It now seems likely that the creditors will make weekly extensions until either the club is sold or Birch is forced to apply for administration.

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