New Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has shown precious little respect for recent dubious club traditions, having blatantly kept a promise to repurchase the Elland Road stadium.
This is despite modern precedents whereby owners have talked plenty about this issue – but have done, quite frankly, the square root of zero to make it reality.
Radrizzani has said little beyond a bald statement that he is here to make history, not money – preferring to let his actions speak for themselves.
And lo, we have now seen our spiritual home return to club ownership, relieving an onerous annual rent burden and restoring the pride of thousands of Leeds United fans who had felt the demoralising sense of being merely long-term tenants at an historic venue synonymous with the club for almost a century.
Andrea Radrizzani’s ‘alternative strategy’ already bearing fruit for Leeds United with purchase of Elland Road
This swift acquisition represents a stark contrast to the modus operandi of Radrizzani’s immediate predecessor, who had talked persuasively of buying back the ground on day one of his tenure.
A subsequent failure to honour that vow did not disturb the blind faith of a section of United’s support – but it is good to see decisive action and an intuitive feeling for what United’s fans really want, which Andrea Radrizzani has displayed in the short period of his sole ownership so far.
For this, I salute him – and acknowledge that the new owner’s intentions appear straightforward, ambitious and highly laudable. This seemingly applies to transfer policy just as it does to real estate.
A week or so ago, I wrote a rather pessimistic piece in my blog – Life, Leeds United, the Universe and Everything – bemoaning what sounded like the same old club line of ‘wanting players who desired a Leeds United future rather than concentrating on money’.
I was horrified that so many readers agreed with the sentiments behind the article, having rather hoped I’d be reassured by positive disagreement.
And, to be fair, the ‘let’s look for players who want to be here’ thing was a phrase we’d heard too often before. But in the days since that article appeared, the attitude of the club towards recruitment has departed from such complacency and caution.
Leeds United become owners of Elland Road once again
Consequently, there is a real buzz about the place, with credible reports of significant team investment.
The atmosphere around Elland Road has regained its positivity.
I ended that gloomy blog article expressing the earnest hope that I was wrong to be so pessimistic. Now, with the stadium repurchased and transfer moves afoot, it seems that I may well have been unjustified in my doubts, and nothing could give me greater pleasure than that. Keep up the good work, Mr Radrizzani.
That modern-day Leeds United trait of promising much and doing nowt to bring those promises to fruition, is one we’d all be delighted to see cast out of the nearest window. In breaking that particular unwanted tradition, our new owner will lift the hearts of the Leeds legions around the globe.
So now we’re owners of our own home turf and maybe even masters of our own destiny. There is real hope in the air, and some thrillingly eager anticipation of the approaching season. Leeds United, dare we suggest, might just be back.
There could even be a revival of that much older Leeds United tradition: Marching on Together towards glory and success.
Surely, that’s something we can all unite behind – now that the club appears at long last to be in safe hands.
Rob Atkinson is a local lad and lifelong Leeds fan.
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