Leeds United: An Open Letter to GFH Capital 2

To whom it may concern,

You may remember me from my last letter, where I said you were doing alright, but you could be doing a lot better. You (you being GFH Capital or whichever PR company you’ve hired this week) have done some other things since, and they’ve mainly been alright, with a handful less than alright, and a couple that are better than alright. A summation of your time in charge of Leeds in one word: alright.

On that note, let me put forward what I think you should do next: sell the club. No ifs, no buts, no selling tiny cuts. Today’s sale of 10% to IIB is hopefully not the beginning of a continual sale of tiny percentages to a great swathe of purchasers, because it will create a club that, in the future, grinds to a halt as people without the knowledge play at being football club owners. As much as it seems a way to bring funds in, it will ultimately result in a club being run in a shambolic fashion. Too many cooks and all that.

On the other hand, everyone and their mother seems to be aware of this supposed takeover by Parkin and Pearson, with Phil Hay noting that that is seemingly not off the table after today’s announcement. Rather than selling segments off piecemeal, just give the whole megazord to the adults who have kindly come over to the kid’s table and put down the food you’ve been waiting for. It’ll save a lot of problems later.

The reality is that you’ve got a lot of good ideas, and these ideas are all an improvement on what went on during the previous regime. No one in their right mind would call for a return to the days of yore, where a tyrannical dictator sat on the throne, refusing to speak to anybody who couldn’t produce 47 individual charters that decreed them worthy of his presence. The reality is, however, that ideas are not money. Hell, I’d love ideas to be money, who wouldn’t? But they aren’t, and having the best intentions in the world doesn’t mean you can carry them out. We’d rather, as a group of fans, not see more mystery men buy pieces of the club in order to fund your ideas – by all accounts there are people out there who have both ideas and money. By all accounts they’ve been swimming around the good ship Leeds United for years, and it’s time to let them come aboard.

A few months back, shortly after I wrote the first letter to you lot, I sat with El-Hadji Diouf for about half an hour, and he said something very clever that I’ve been wanting to share for a while. He said that when he came, he could hear people singing “you Chelsea bastard, get out of our club”. Diouf was under no doubts about what the future of Leeds United needed. “For eight years, Leeds fans have been waiting for a Messiah”. I have thought about what he said often, and agree wholeheartedly that it is true. This Messiah is not necessarily a sheik or a billionaire, but merely one with the club at heart and the power to take us back where we belong. History is littered with false prophets GFH, and we’re on the cusp of a celebration of a man who claimed to be a messiah, whichever way you fall on your belief in that. You are not the coming of the Messiah we have waited years for, it is time to take the opportunity to leave.


Amitai Winehouse


P.S. Sell the club.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).


22 thoughts on “Leeds United: An Open Letter to GFH Capital 2”

  1. Actually, having a group of strategic investors, all with significant financial interests is a smart way of doing things. That way various individuals bring finance to the table and nothing ‘rash’ ever gets done on a person’s whim. Example of this model being Arsenal. Well run club, very wealthy, amazing stadium.

    The alternative, which seems to be what you’re suggesting is preferable, is the Chelsea model – i.e one person in charge who does as he pleases. Not a good idea. They’ve been through more managers than Blackburn and they’ve been operating at a loss for years.

    You might point out that Chelsea have won more than Arsenal recently and you’d be right, but I know which club i’d rather be supporting fifteen years from now.

  2. the previous comment is correct in my opinion, we have tried the 1 man at the helm who was in it for himself.
    this idea of multi owners can bring stability and prosperity due to being held accountable to other board members and their idea’s of how to run the club appropriately.
    gone is the dictator lets give this a chance, so far they have made improvements but some of the fans only listen to gossip and react stupidly by slagging ghf.

  3. Two points that unfortunately completely negate your article.

    Firstly GFH have said all along that they will retain a controlling interest, so regardless of how many strategic investors they entice on board, their 51% majority shareholding will always allow them to pull the strings and make the final decisions.

    The investors go in to this with eyes wide open, they put their money up front in the hope they make a substantial profit on their investment in the future, in return they will get a minority shareholding, place on the board and some input into the decision making process but, importantly, no overall influence or guarantees.

    Secondly, Parkin hasn’t got the financial clout to take us forward on his own, Leeds fan with the club at heart he may well be but, as wealthy as he may be as an individual in comparison to us ordinary folk, his wealth on its own is nowhere near enough to finance a gung ho charge at the Premier League so, guess what, just like GFH he will need investors to back him if he is indeed making an effort to buy the club outright which is yet to be confirmed with any degree of accuracy or reliability. In fact Parkin would probably be even more reliant on investors than GFH because I doubt whether he could even finance a takeover on its own never mind then pump in the additional funds required to take us forward.

  4. You show me where he has floated his company for several hundred million pounds, Clipper is worth nowhere near that amount, tens of millions quite possibly, hundreds? Not a chance.

    I work in the logistics industry and you have just announced something that no one else I know, or indeed the worldwide media if you Google it, knows anything about. You’ve got yourself a world exclusive, if it’s true…

    Where did I raise any accusation that he was a potless chancer? I simply said he would have to follow exactly the same route as GFH in attracting investors, something you seem to be opposed to in GFH’s case? One interesting thing to mention though is that he tried to buy Bradford City about 18 months ago and couldn’t meet the asking price…

    If you’re not going to bother reading responses in context, or reply to them accurately, then why bother?

    Just post your blog to a closed forum for your own entertainment if you don’t want anyone disagreeing with you or pointing out the weaknesses in your arguments.

    1. You know what, I apologise but someone told me that. I’ll look it up but it was a rapid response – never thought to check what they told me.

      To be fair, from what I’ve seen, clipper have a turnover of £200m annually, so they’re in an ideal position.

  5. Yeah the company is quite sizeable, and a £200 million turnover sounds about ball park, but you can’t equate turnover to the personal wealth of Steve Parkin. The company could have a revenue turnover of £200 million but not be making a bean in year end profit.

    As I said, in comparison to us ordinary folk, he is a very wealthy bloke, but nowhere near the level of wealth that it would take to buy Leeds and then pump funds in to finance a major spending spree without someone with serious clout backing him, which was my whole point…

  6. Not at all sure about this article. Everyone has a right to their view but there are too many assertions that don’t add up or ring true. What is wrong with having strategic investors, why can’t they have the best interests of the club at heart. Won’t they bring diverse skills and experience to the table? GFH seem to be doing the right thing to me. I just wish that they would get some football people in as well, like Parkin for example. Why not offer some of the shares to the supporters, so that they can buy a stake. I would like to see an olive branch offered to LUST and for them to be given the opportunity to raise money in trust, so that we can invest in our great club – why not! The days when you have a mega rich sugar daddy overspending on players to try to win trophies is going out of fashion! The new rules will ensure that clubs are run on a sound business principle, which is not before time!! So GFH are building a new business model to suit the future of football and Leeds United, They are shrews business people and are here for the long run – so I hope that they don’t twist as they say. They have the right ideas. A business model for Leeds United to take us forward and build the team, the brand and recreate the image of the once Mighty Whites!! MOT

  7. To be honest the only negativity surrounding GFH has been media led by the likes of Duncan Castles, who obviously has an agenda against them, and that then gets picked up on by fans and blown out of all proportion. The YEP don’t help either, they seem to be into hysteria inducing headlines and pulp fiction to attract the loonies these days rather than any attempt at investigative, accurate, or impartial journalism.

    GFH have been in charge for three month for christ sake. In that time we’ve permanently signed Premiership players, tied established, and also up and coming, players down to lengthy contracts, introduced ticket promotions to attract fans, particularly kids, back to ER, lowered season ticket prices and started to attract outside investment into the club, all things that have been fundamental differences between club and support for the last eight years but now the goal posts are being moved and that’s no longer good enough according to some, there’s even talk of reintroducing boycotts in some quarters, are these people insane?

    It’s about time some fans started looking forwards and putting the past behind them, judge GFH on what they do, not what’s gone on before and certainly not on the basis of totally unfounded internet rumour in most cases.

  8. Amitai, I thought that you were serious in your article, even though I didn’t wholeheartedly agree with the contents, but by some of the responses ypou have made it would seem that you haven’t actually researched this well at all? I don’t know how long you have actually supported Leeds, and I don’t mean anything by that, I am just curious to know. Having supported Leeds for over forty years myself I have watched various teams and various managers in our history, some good, some great and many not so good.

    For the first time in a decade I have felt optimistic that we are being taken on a different course, and I don’t have a problem with that, whereas it seems you do. As has already been seen at our own club, having a single person in charge has not worked, in fact it has almost killed the club?

    In the last ten years I have seen prices rise year in year out and for the first time ever I have now seen some investment INTO the club and prices falling, in fact the only thing that is still bad about the club is the fact that Bates remains here in any capacity. I am not judging him, I just want him out, completely.

    When that happens you will increase the gates, if only by one (me), and I think you ought to be campaigning to get Bates out of Leeds, not GFHC! You seem to have totally missed the real pearl of wisdom from Douif!

    1. Nothing I said in the article was false, I merely asserted something in the comments that I was stupid to say.

      I’ve been a Leeds fan for my entire life, attend regularly and will likely be buying a ST for the first time in years next year. They’ve done a good job with that, but as I say, anyone with half a brain could see that Bates’s policy was strangling the club in that regard.

  9. Amitai – Thanks for the reply, I have to now ask how many actual years have you been a supporter as I don’t actually know what ‘all my life’ in terms of years means? I just wanted to get a feel for which teams and managers you’d ‘been through’ so to speak? I feel many of the comments I’ve read lately (not including your or just those on this site) are probably from people not even old enough to have remembered Howard Wilkinson as manager, let alone the great Don?

  10. Ok that explains quite a lot to me, having been born in 1956 I obviously have seen those teams, and I can honestly say that for the first time in many years I feel that something positive is happening at Leeds. Much of the ‘deadwood’ is gone, more needs to be cleared out, but seeing many of the youngsters being tied down – willingly – to professional contracts is very heartening.

    We DO need change, but not change of ownership in my opinion. We need to completely rid ourselves of Bates to ‘clear the air’ and we need to get a manager who believes in Leeds United and not in himself. I cannot recall either Don Revie or Howard Wilkinson, or even more recently Simon Grayson EVER spouting off like Warnock does?

    I hope that you get the chance to watch Leeds play in the premiership and in Europe, Amitai, but you need to learn patience if you are to follow Leeds as long as I and so many others have done. GFH have been in charge just a few months, and have moved and are continuing to move things in the right direction in my opinion. I am quite happy to give them a couple of years to show their intentions with actions, not words…..

    Have faith, and patience…..

    …it’s the only way to survive being ‘LEEDS’……

    1. Look, I agree with all you say except for the need to give GFH time. By all accounts the Parkin and Pearson deal would be one of the best things to happen to Leeds…they should be encouraged to sell up for that reason.

  11. If you were watching when we went into administration you’d see that these sort of people were around then and never came through, which is why Bates took advantage or whatever, I don’t want to go into that here, or we would be here forever.

    GFHC are the only people who have actually put up the cash to buy Bates out and go through all the hoops and hurdles (due dilligence) and we all know what that entailed?

    We owe them some time for the effort and the money that cost them alone, I seriously doubt anyone will realise what the legal fees alone were?

    I think one of the preconditions they were accepted was to allow Bates to stay on, and even become president despite him having no right to that position whatsoever. A small token gesture, perhaps, but untill Bates has gone I won’t be returning, he’s had his pound of flesh, sold all our best players to Norwich and DOES NOT have our interests at heart, only his own.

    Warnock simply has to go, how the f**K he could drive Becchio out of our team I don’t know? Moving to Norwich in a swap for Morrison simply defies belief! However, we are still in with a chance of promotion so Warnock will remain in charge, and I would love to think we may just get into the playoff’s.

    If anyone could gurantee me that Pearson and Parkin and uncle Tom Cobbley and all are the best way forward then so be it.

    Till that happens, though, GFH put their money where there mouth is, went all the way through due dilligence and whatever, so be it, they have the right to run the club the way they want?

    At the end of the day, anything has got to be better than Bates selling off our best players to a crap premiership team, rather than having an ounce of sense and realising what a golden goose he has in Leeds.

    That is the one and only reason I want shot of Bates, He has NEVER had any real interest in Leeds, only his own pocket. And when you actually look at his life expectancy, you have to sit and wonder why he hates Leeds so much?

    Simple… Chelsea… who WE hate for every rightfull reason, and I hate to be patronising but you will never understand what that is about,…

    Live long, stick with Leeds….

  12. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
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    home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

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