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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried