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Live Coverage: Leeds United complete takeover

Live Coverage: Leeds complete takeover
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the news that GFH Capital have completed their takeover of Leeds United.

GFH Capital finally completed their takeover of Leeds United earlier today after months of negotiations.

The Dubai-based investment bank took 100% control over the club in a £52m deal today.

Current chairman Ken Bates will stay on until the end of the season before being appointed club president.

You can see how the story unfolded with Sports Mole below.

Good morning! Let's get straight down to bringing you more details from this breaking story at Elland Road.

As stated above, the deal for the club is thought to be for around £52m, but Ken Bates will stay in charge until the end of the season.

So who are GFH Capital? Well, they are a Bahrain investment bank who have been in talks with the club since May.

Their deputy chief executive, David Haigh, became a director at Elland Road a month ago today and he will be joined on the board by Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes.

So what does this mean for manager Neil Warnock? Takeovers are often troubling times for managers as, no matter who you are, new owners bring new ideas.

However, GFH Capital have already given their full backing to Warnock, and have already transferred money into the club so that he can spend in January.

Warnock will be all too aware of the perils of overspending though, and will be keen to avoid a second financial meltdown at Leeds. I don't think many of the fans would tolerate that!

Let's have some quotes from one of the men of the moment, shall we? Salem Patel, one of the club's new board members, has been speaking about the takeover...

Salem Patel: "Leeds United is a great football club. It has history, pedigree and a fantastic base from which to build the club up. We want to create a sustainable, successful future.

"It will take investment but we wouldn't have bought a club like this if we were not willing to make that investment. We are not going to be spending crazy money but make the investment sustainable and make the club successful."

Salem Patel: "January is not a great time to do business. We already have quite a good squad and others coming back from injury. Neil [Warnock] has already stated what he wants and we will try and help him to do that."

Patel seems to be warning fans not to expect too much business to be done in January, but at the same time reassuring them that Warnock will be given everything he deems necessary.

Patel also seems to be telling fans that they wouldn't risk another financial disaster at the club, which the fans will be delighted to hear. Initial investment might bring short-term success, but if the club is relegated to League One again as a long-term result, I'm sure the supporters would not be happy!

David Haigh believes it is a good thing that the takeover has taken so long. He claims that it has given the company a chance to get to know the club.

Patel is eager to press the point that they are not going to spend "hundreds of millions of pounds" at the club. He also says that the club is debt free at the moment, and seems keen to keep it that way.

It is interesting to listen to the language used by Patel. He says "if" the club get to the Premier League rather than "when" they do. An intriguing change from the usual gung-ho attitude of wealthy foreign owners!

Haigh, meanwhile, looks delighted with the deal. He was brought up in the city and is a Leeds fan so has fulfilled every fan's dream of owning the team they support! He claims that they aren't buying just a football club but a "brand" in Leeds United.

Patel adds to this point by saying that they see cars in the Middle East with Leeds stickers on the back of them!

Optimism is high at Elland Road now that the club is out of Ken Bates's grasp. Can they recapture their former glories?

Well, step number one on the road to doing so is gaining promotion, and they have the right man for the job in Neil Warnock. He has achieved no fewer than seven promotion in his time as manager, three of which were into the top tier of English football.

He even took Notts County into the First Division, which was then the top division in England!

The new owners seem to have their feet on the ground, but secretly I'm sure fans will be envisioning a return to the glory days of the 1970s and early 2000s.

This could be good for the Premier League as a whole, too. It is fair to say that Leeds aren't the most popular club in football, but they belong in the top division. It was a shame to see them fall so dramatically from grace and they could, finally, be back on their way up now.

GFH Capital take control of the club just a couple of days after they were thrashed 5-1 by Chelsea in the League Cup, but let's have a look at what is coming up over the Christmas period for the new owners shall we?

Next up is a home tie against Middlesbrough before an away trip to face Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day. They then travel to high-flying Hull the following Saturday before celebrating the New Year by hosting Bolton Wanderers.

So where do Leeds sit in the Championship table? Well, the club is currently slap bang in the middle of it! They are 12th, just five points off the playoff places.

An air of pessimism surrounded the club with Ken Bates in charge, but the fans will now be looking up the table at what they can achieve rather than down the table looking at what they want to avoid.

GFH Capital insist that their financial details are "very transparent" as they are a "Dubai-based regulated bank owned by a Bahrain-based regulated bank listed on four stock exchanges including London".

To summarise, GFH Capital have finally completed their takeover of Leeds United in a £52m deal. However, the new owners have warned against spending "crazy money" and seem keen to keep the club on an even keel financially.

Right, that's just about it from me! Thanks for joining Sports Mole's coverage of this news from Elland Road and good luck to the new owners of Leeds United!

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