Championship: Consortium that lost out to Massimo Cellino wants Leeds talks
Last Updated: 28/03/14 11:56pm
The consortium that lost out to Massimo Cellino in the battle to buy Leeds United wants its bid to be reconsidered.
The Together Leeds group, which includes businessmen Mike Farnan, Gary Verity and Adam Pearson - the former Leeds commercial director - among its number, claims it has the progressive vision to lift the troubled club from its current plight.
Leeds' players on Friday morning agreed to defer 50 per cent of their wages for March after owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFHC) failed to pay them the full amount.
That came amid what appears to be another full-on financial meltdown at Elland Road, with GFHC understood to be unwilling to finance the club at all, believing that is the duty of Italian Cellino, the Italian they agreed a 75 per cent sale to in February. It is understood GFHC believes he agreed to finance the club for six months as part of that deal.
The 57-year-old was this week told by the Football League, however, that he could not complete the transaction because of a conviction of a tax offence meted out in Italy last week. He has formally appealed to the league and that is set to be heard next week.
The Leeds United Supporters' Trust has written to the Football League to encourage it to do "everything in its power to honour the duty of care" of the Championship crisis club.
Together Leeds insist it can provide the answer to the problems at Leeds, and is adamant the Championship club's plight should not be allowed to worsen.
We believe we have the ability, the money, the will and the strategy to take the club from the starting line next year, equal terms to everybody else in the Championship, to give us a good shot at Premier League.
Farnan said: "We are a very sound group. We are a very experienced group. We have the interests of the football club at heart. We do not want to the see the club going into administration.
"If Massimo Cellino fails with the appeal, we want to be the alternative choice to take this football club forwards.
"We believe we have the ability, the money, the will and the strategy to take the club from the starting line next year, equal terms to everybody else in the Championship, to give us a good shot at Premier League."
He added on Sky Sports News: "We have enough (money). We have a clean, clear strategy. We have the funds available. The money we put in has to help this club back to where it belongs, and that's the Premier League. This is a big club; it needs a group of people, like-minded people, people from Yorkshire, people who actually care about the football club, belong to the football club, and are fans of the football club, to take it forward.
"We've been asking for a meeting with the owners for some time now and we are insisting we should have that meeting and we are prepared to sit down, show those owners proof of funds, show them we have the ability to take the club forwards, show them we have a vision, show them we have a strategy and show them we have the will, the way and the know-how to take the club forward."
Farnan would not commit to keeping manager Brian McDermott at the club, were Together Leeds to take over.
"I think that's a slightly unfair question at the moment. Brian has done a very good job in very difficult circumstances and you have to feel sorry for him at times," Farnan said.
In the meantime the club appears to be living hand-to-mouth and the Trust has written to the League in order to ask for care and attention to be shown.
A letter written to Andy Williamson, chief operating officer of the Football League, by Trust chairman Gary Cooper, reads: "We urgently call upon them to ensure that they will do everything within its power to honour the duty of care to Leeds United as one of their member clubs."
The letter calls on the League to keep the club financial stable "in order to avert a major crisis".
Non-playing staff received their full salaries as expected on Friday, but following a meeting with the club's hierarchy and Professional Footballers' Association officials the players accepted part payment.
The other 50 per cent is due to come after Cellino's appeal, but who pays it remains unconfirmed.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor told Press Association Sport: "At the moment the plan is that prospective owner Massimo Cellino will contribute towards the wages for this month, with the players agreeing to wait for the rest until the outcome of the appeal."
Cellino was disqualified from taking control at Elland Road this week under the league's owners' and directors' test after being convicted of a tax offence by an Italian court.
There were suggestions on Friday afternoon that Showsec - the company which supplies some of the club's matchday security - would remove staff from Saturday's game against Doncaster because of non-payment.
There was no comment from Showsec when contacted by the Press Association and GFHC could not be contacted.