Radebe interview: My dream of owning Leeds Utd

Lucas Radebe
Lucas Radebe
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Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe last night confirmed that he was backing a bid to buy shares in the club, describing the chance to join the board at Elland Road as “my dream scenario”.

Radebe intensified talk of major investment in Leeds by announcing that he was part of a consortium who are working to acquire a stake in the club he served for 10 years as a player.

United are again at the centre of intense speculation over a possible buy-out of the club after current owner GFH Capital rejected a £7m offer from a UK-based group last weekend.

The bid, which was for a majority share in Leeds, was dismissed as “risible” by United’s board, who also played down strong claims that Radebe was supporting the proposal.

In a statement last night, the 44-year-old South African said: “Following recent speculation, I can confirm I am part of a consortium which has submitted a preliminary indication of interest regarding the acquisition of a stake in Leeds United.

“We hope to continue our recent discussions confidentially with the current shareholders and the board. We would like the opportunity to explain both the substance of our proposal and our strategy for working with GFH Capital to continue the re-building process at the club.

“Leeds United has a special place in my heart. Ever since I retired I have been considering ways to get involved at the club – working at board level with an equity interest would be the pinnacle. It is my dream scenario.”

Radebe holds hero status among United’s supporters and remains a hugely popular figure at Elland Road, nine years after his retirement as a player.

He flew in from South Africa to attend last month’s league game against Birmingham City and his announcement last night came a year to the day after GFH Capital agreed the purchase of a 100% stake from former Leeds chairman Ken Bates.

United stated over the weekend that they were already involved in long-standing discussions with their former captain about opportunities for him to buy shares in the club.

GFH Capital said the £7m bid made on Saturday was neither serious nor credible, with Leeds director Salem Patel tweeting: “Silly season is upon us.”

Radebe’s statement indicated a willingness to work with GFH Capital and also attempted to address questions about the credibility of the consortium he is supporting. “I would not have become involved if I didn’t think our consortium would be able to help give the club a chance to go back up to the Premier League where it belongs, and to keep it there,” he said.

“I am hopeful we can find a way forward and make progress.”

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