Sheikh set to save Leeds with £35m bid

While Eddie Gray was expressing his confidence yesterday in the loyalty at Elland Road, Leeds United looked to have avoided the prospect of administration after it was reported last night that Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa has raised £35m to save the club.

Al-Khalifa was putting the final touches to his offer yesterday after frantic efforts to find the money needed to buy shares, pay creditors and bills and put up around £15m for new players.

In an astonishing act of faith in Leeds' future, it is believed the Bahraini has persuaded friends and business partners to back his rescue package in just over a month.

The offer will be put to Leeds United's board today and, with the deadline, they are under huge pressure to accept and allow the sheikh and his team to take over. The move comes as Leeds try to find ways to pay bills by Monday, with the only options being the sale of either Alan Smith or Paul Robinson.

Mark Viduka's compassionate leave in Australia means it would be hard to sell the striker before the end of the month. But the cash injection will prop up Leeds for the rest of the season, with the sheikh determined to keep them from administration. However, the plan is also to release funds for signings, although it may mean that a new manager is brought in.

The sheikh's bid to save Leeds United began two months ago when the former plc chairman Allan Leighton asked him to come up with £2.2m for a relaunch. But before he could raise those funds by the 14 December deadline Leeds announced they might have to go into administration. Because of that change of plan the sheikh had to find even more money quickly to make a takeover bid instead.

Leeds dismissed his offer of 5p a share - or £17m altogether - at the end of December. So he had to go away again and rethink his strategy. The member of the Bahrain royal family has spent the last three weeks looking for allies and investors. It has been hard because many financial experts thought it was mad to consider buying a club with such debts, but Al-Khalifa knew that was a price that had to be paid.

The breakthrough came a few days ago and the sheikh, who has been in London since Christmas, is in a position to make the formal offer. A close aide said: "The sheikh is happy with the way this package is put together. He has had to change direction in many ways, but his driving force was in saving the club.

"However, he did not want those who put Leeds United into this mess to profit. The money he has raised has to pay some debts but - above all - he wants a kitty for players."

Gray, meanwhile, speaking before news had broken of the renewed interest from the Middle East, said he cannot see a reason why anybody at the club would decline to help given the desperation of the situation. "It's up to the acting chairman and players and I'm sure they'll be in discussions together and we will wait and see what happens," he said.

"I don't know what will happen with regard to that situation," he added. "I will wait to see what the chairman wants to do, but I think everybody would help out."

For now, with Leeds one place off the bottom of the Premiership and five points adrift of safety, Gray is mainly concerned with trying to raise morale and win matches. Leeds head to Southampton tomorrow on the back of four successive defeats, and with a squad hampered by injuries, suspensions and international call-ups.

Currently unavailable are the midfielder David Batty (ankle) and the defenders Michael Duberry and Lucas Radebe (both hamstring) while the captain, Dominic Matteo, and Stephen McPhail serve one-match bans. Lamine Sakho and Salomon Olembe are both on African Nations Cup duty.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks