Plot thickens as second group make Elland Road offer

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The Independent Football

Sales of dry-ice machines and reflective devices must be booming in Leeds. The smoke and mirrors saga of who might save Leeds United took another twist yesterday when a second Yorkshire-based consortium claimed it was "not far off" making a bid for the debt-ridden club.

The group, which may or may not include the former Huddersfield chairman Terry Fisher, depending on which whisper is believed, has reportedly spent several weeks working with the corporate finance firm Zeus Capital to put together an offer.

But Leeds, whose chief executive Trevor Birch has been looking for a buyer for almost three months, is still trying to discover who is involved in another Yorkshire consortium with whom discussions have been ongoing for four weeks. There are still suspicions around Elland Road that Geoffrey Richmond, the former Bradford City chairman who oversaw a spectacular financial meltdown at Valley Parade, is involved in some capacity. Richmond has made a point-blank denial but the consortium's representatives have yet to make full disclosure to Leeds about the group's make-up. Its proposed £20m buyout is far from a done deal.

Consortium No 2 apparently involves several wealthy Leeds fans whose funding, also thought to be in the region of £20m, is "100 per cent equity and not repayable," according to Richard Hughes, a co-founder and director of Zeus Capital.

Again, those involved are not yet willing to identify themselves publicly, although it is understood that Trevor Cherry, a former Leeds favourite of the 1970s, is acting as an advisor.

"We are extremely serious about finding a solution that is in the best interests of the club," Hughes said. "We have the funding in place and we are not far off from making a bid."