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Leeds hope for stay of execution

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Leeds United could still be saved from administration by a consortium put together by former deputy chairman Allan Leighton.

The Elland Road club has until 19 January to find a buyer as they wrestle with a crippling debt of around £100m.

But Dr Bill Gerrard, professor of sport management and finance at Leeds University Business School, believes Leighton offers the best hope of survival.

Leighton stepped down as deputy chairman in December and has since been working on putting together a deal to save Leeds.

Dr Gerrard played down a potential takeover bid from Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, and believes former chairman Professor John McKenzie never had any hope of putting together his proposed Far East consortium.

He told BBC Sport: "I think there has been one consortium being put together that had enough credibility to get Leeds a 'standstill agreement' until 19 January, and that is Allan Leighton's consortium.

"I have said since September 2002 that the one person with the experience and the ability to sort this out is Allan Leighton."

And Dr Gerrard believes Leeds' financial position is so parlous, and the threat of relegation from the Premiership so real, that creditors may now accept payment of £25m rather than the £100m debt.

He said: "I think administration is now seen by both investors and creditors as a worst-case scenario. If it was any other business I would say put it into administration immediately, but not here.

"Here, the court-appointed administrator's first duty would be to keep the business afloat and ensure there is enough cash in the interim, which would mean the sale of players.

"You are then putting the future into the hands of 19 Premiership chairman, who would rightly show no inclination towards the future prosperity of Leeds United."

Leeds could face the threat of a damaging points deduction if they go into adminstation, which could seal their fate as they already face a battle to avoid relegation.

Dr Gerrard added: "The Sheikh is a genuine Leeds fan, but there is nothing on the table and no evidence to suggest he has been able to broker a deal.

"But he is a genuine fan, and if he could put something together and maybe work with Allan Leighton, even better.

"Professor McKenzie's Far Eastern consortium was, in my opinion, only a cover story for his exit from the club.

"But I also do not think Trevor Birch would have taken the position of chief executive unless there was a clear indication that Allan Leighton had a reasonable chance of putting together a rescue package.

"I'm expecting an announcement in the next few days that negotiations with a particular consortium have progressed to such an extent that the creditors are prepared to extend the standstill agreement beyond 19 January, to allow negotiations to reach a conclusion.

"This would be a stay of execution based on the Allan Leighton package, with hard negotiations then continuing as to what the creditors could expect for their debt."

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Discussion Starter #2
PFA holds Leeds talks


The Professional Footballers Association has held talks with Leeds players to discuss the threat of administration.
Leeds are believed to be close to finalising a short-term rescue package designed to stave off administration.

The Premiership club have five days to find a buyer, with major creditors owed a combined £82m.

The deferral of players' wages was suggested as a way to keep the club afloat.

The PFA's deputy chief executive, Mick McGuire, and newly-appointed executive Richard Jobson spoke at length with the squad after David Batty approached them.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "We are just keeping the players fully informed and keeping them in the loop.

"They were apparently excellent in their response. They want to hold the club together and they want to stay together to keep Leeds in the Premiership because they know that would be the best way for somebody to come in and save them.


"A number of options were discussed with a view to keeping the club alive and to avoid administration, with one of those options being a deferral of wages.

"The players were very responsive, which was to be expected because that's what we have encountered at other clubs in the past.

"Sometimes people do not appreciate just what players want to do for their club in terms of staying solid and together and doing it for the fans."

Leeds confirmed on Monday to the Stock Exchange they were in "continuing, constructive discussions with a number of parties."

Former deputy plc chairman Allan Leighton seemingly remains a front-runner to step with a consortium understood to include billionaire Philip Green.

Lifelong fan Sheikh Abdularhan Bin Mubarak al-Khalifa claims to have held talks with potential investors in recent weeks and is optimistic of a solution.

The crux to Leeds' problem has been finding a buyer.

No-one is willing to put money into a club one off the bottom of the Premiership, five points adrift of safety, and staring at the reality of losing £20-25m in revenue if relegated.

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What about that Arab?
 

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That's still going on, but I haven't heard anything new. Still, he may be investing in the club. We will just have to wait and see...
 

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Leeds confident on D-Day


Leeds are near to securing an extension to a deadline which would enable them to receive a £5m cash injection to keep the club afloat until the season's end.
Leeds had until 19 January to find a rescue package, but that deadline may yet be extended with their creditors, to whom they owe a combined £82m.

Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch said: "We're close to an agreement with the principle creditors.

"It will give us an extension of at least a week.

"And that will enable us to put the funds in place to fund the club for the rest of the season.

"We have some certainty then, we are either still in the Premier league or relegated and both scenarios provide different solutions."

Chairman Professor John McKenzie and deputy chairman Allan Leighton stepped down from their executive roles last month in order to concentrate on securing rescue packages for the club but so far their efforts have been fruitless.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa has also been touted as a possible saviour for the cash-strapped club,.

But Birch said the Bahrain-based lifelong Leeds fan had yet to come up with a realistic proposal.

"I'm certainly getting fed up of reading what he's about to do in the papers, it's really a time to show us the colour of his money, to put up or shut up.

"I think it's done nobody any favours. It just raises expectations and leads to people being upset when those deadlines aren't reached.

"It's quite clear that nobody is out there wanting to take the risk on relegation because it brings with it a big trading loss.

"Anybody buying at this stage is taking a risk they will be on the hook for that next year," Birch told Sky Sports News.

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Just to make you happier...

If Leeds do get relegated this season, and are in administration at the start of next season, if you are not out of administration by the end of the season you get automatically relegated no matter where you finish.
 

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sometimes I think administration would be a good thing for leeds - it would get rid of the clowns who are only there for the money and don't have so much passion for the club.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Leeds get new reprieve


Leeds have been granted another seven days to come up with a rescue package to safeguard their financial future.
Club chief executive Trevor Birch made a statement on Monday confirming a week-long extension had been agreed with creditors.

Leeds face the prospect of going into administration if they fail to reach agreement on their £83m debts.

Birch has also managed to agree the possibility of a further two-week extension up to 6 February.

However, that extension will only be allowed on certain financial conditions being met.

Leeds have confirmed talks have been held with "interested parties" in the last seven weeks, but a saviour for the club has yet to be found.

Potential investors are likely to be jittery over the club's precarious Premiership position - bottom of the table and five points away from safety.

Leeds would expect to suffer a £20-25m loss if they are relegated.

Former deputy plc chairman Allan Leighton has long been mooted as a potential saviour, but has yet to show his hand.

Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak al-Khalifa's credentials were discredited by Leeds on Friday amid speculation he was due to save the club with a £35m cash injection, with #15m supposedly available for new players.

Leeds claimed they had "not received any satisfactory evidence from Sheikh al-Khalifa that funds exist to fulfil any proposal currently under discussion between him and the company."

Birch needs to find £5m to see Leeds through the closing months of the season, meaning either a player will have to be sold before the end of this month's transfer window or the playing squad will be asked to take a wage deferral.

Skipper Dominic Matteo has taken the lead and stated he will do so, and is understood to be backed by striker Alan Smith and midfielder Eirik Bakke.

But whether every player will agree to such a proposal remains to be seen.

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Discussion Starter #9
Some good news considering the financial status:


Leeds takeover talks 'serious'

Takeover talks at Leeds are at an advanced stage, says a representative of the consortium hoping to save them from administration.
Gerald Krasner, speaking on behalf of the consortium, said talks are in progress.

"I can state we are in serious negotiations with both the club and the bondholders which will be ongoing throughout Tuesday," said Krasner.

Leeds have until 1700 GMT on Friday to raise to raise enough money to satisfy their principle creditors and stave off administration.


Krasner continued: "Our objective is to avoid administration at all costs. I don't think the public realise just what administration would mean for Leeds United."



Krasner specialises in corporate recovery, restructuring and insolvency for Bartfields Chartered Accountants in Leeds.

But he confirmed the consortium "would not be looking to do anything on the insolvency front with Leeds".

The consortium looking to take over was rumoured to include former Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond, but he has denied any involvement.

The names of Property developer Simon Morris, entrepreneur Melvyn Levy and Terry Fisher, a staunch Leeds supporter, who last year failed to take control of Huddersfield when they were in administration, have also been mentioned.

The group of Leeds United bondholders are MetLife and Teachers in the United States as well as British firm M&G, along with the player-leasing agents Registered European Football Finance Ltd.

They are said to be key to any deal and appear to be taking these talks seriously after granting the extension until Friday.

Leeds chairman Trevor Birch is exploring every possible way of raising the £3.5m-£5m needed to see the club through to the end of the season.

If talks collapse, asking the players to take a wage deferral may be the only option.

The Elland Road squad declined the request of a £35% wage deferral, but said they would consider a lesser amount as a last resort.

"We did promise the players last week we would go back in," said Professional Footballer's Association deputy chief executive Mick McGuire.

"A week later we need to look again at the situation because things are happening. It would just really be an update and to re-evaluate.

"We will certainly be looking to speak to the club, and if we've got anything then we will be looking to speak to the players.

"If there's a need to help then we'll be looking to see what the players' response will be, although they've already said in a statement if it's absolutely necessary, they will support the club."
 

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I know they've been given another extension by their creditors until 6th Feb, but a Leeds supporting mate of mine suggested an interesting (well, I think so) theory about their present situation/actions.

I've been wondering for weeks why they don't just go into
administration. Much as I'd deplore it....
* they could have wiped the slate clean, getting rid of most of their debts at a stroke
* they wouldn't have lost points because the points penalty doesn't kick in yet
* they'd have attracted a buyer at a good price

However, my mate pointed out that if they'd gone into administration before the premier league window closes, the administrators would probably have had a duty to organise a 'fire' sale and sold their best players dirt cheap. Once the window closes, who would/could buy say Alan Smith? Given that they don't want to lose their best players in an effort to stay up........

The premier league transfer window closes next Monday. What odds they'll go into administration next week?

If true, they'll have crapped on their creditors big style
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Balis-of-Steel said:
I know they've been given another extension by their creditors until 6th Feb, but a Leeds supporting mate of mine suggested an interesting (well, I think so) theory about their present situation/actions.

I've been wondering for weeks why they don't just go into
administration. Much as I'd deplore it....
* they could have wiped the slate clean, getting rid of most of their debts at a stroke
* they wouldn't have lost points because the points penalty doesn't kick in yet
* they'd have attracted a buyer at a good price

However, my mate pointed out that if they'd gone into administration before the premier league window closes, the administrators would probably have had a duty to organise a 'fire' sale and sold their best players dirt cheap. Once the window closes, who would/could buy say Alan Smith? Given that they don't want to lose their best players in an effort to stay up........

The premier league transfer window closes next Monday. What odds they'll go into administration next week?

If true, they'll have crapped on their creditors big style
This theory is quite believable.By holding on until Monday we would ensure that our best players remain at the club until the end of the season thus increasing our chances to escape relegation.I wouldn't be surprised a bit if LUFC should declare administration in couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Leeds extend takeover deadline



Leeds have had the deadline to secure an Elland Road takeover extended by another seven days.
Negotiations with a Yorkshire-based consortium are at an "advanced stage" after detailed talks with both Leeds, who have debts of £83m, and creditors.

And creditors have agreed to extend the so-called "standstill agreement" in a bid to ensure the takover is completed.

The consortium's first offer was reportedly rejected, but it has apparently come back with a larger bid.


A statement to the Stock Exchange said the deadline had been extended "pending the outcome of negotiations with interested parties and further discussions concerning the longer term restructuring of the group."

Consortium representative Gerald Krasner said: "I can confirm that negotiations are at a more advanced stage."

The club have been given a number of deadlines concerning their financial responsibilities and have been given a further extension, with provision to carry through to the end of the season.

Birch managed to raise £5m by 30 January to prevent the club going into administration, with much of the money coming from a 25% wage deferral by the players.

The consortium is reportedly looking to pay £20m to gain control of the club.

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