Russell Crowe fuels Leeds United takeover speculation

Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator.
Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator.
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HOLLYWOOD star Russell Crowe has done little to dampen speculation about his possible interest in buying Sky Bet Championship club Leeds.

The 50-year-old Oscar-winning actor and lifelong Leeds supporter sparked rumours he was keen to invest in the club last month when he asked a fan on his Twitter site whether it would be a good idea to buy them.

Crowe did not deny or confirm the speculation of potential investment during an interview on Simon Mayo’s BBC Five Live show on Thursday, but said that he wanted “nothing but success” for Leeds and was “getting a little impatient”.

Speaking ahead of the release of his latest film, The Water Diviner, Crowe also said he had learned a lot about owning a top sports club during his nine years as joint-owner of Australian rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs.

“I’ve followed Leeds since I was a little kid,” Crowe said.

“I used to come home from sport in the afternoon, me and my brother, and watch Match of the Day.

“I love the club. I want nothing but success for the club. But like many other Leeds fans - and probably in fact 99.9 per cent - I’m getting a little impatient, you know?”

“Some of your listeners may not know that I own a rugby league team in Australia which, again, is my childhood team and they were a champion team when I was younger.

“Then they’d fallen in to a state of disarray and they were perennial losers. So, nine years ago, I put my cheque book where my mouth is and bought the club.”

The Rabbitohs won the NRL Championship for the first time in 43 years in October and recently beat Super League side St Helens to become world champions.

“Step-by-step, by changing the culture, changing the merchandise, changing the player roster, changing the coaching staff, changing the administrative staff and changing our connection to our community - we have risen from being perennial losers to being competitive, to being dominant - and now we’re champions,” Crowe added.

“I have learnt a lot in nine years - it would give me nothing but pleasure to see that white army marching on together, getting back in the Premiership and being where they should be.”

Italian Massimo Cellino, who bought Leeds from Bahrain investment firm Gulf Finance House Capital in December 2013, is currently disqualified from running the club.

Cellino was disqualified by the Football League in January following his conviction in Italy for tax evasion and had his ban extended until May 3 earlier this month for withholding information about his conviction.

Cellino is currently appealing against the League’s punishment under the Football Association’s Rule K, which could result in an independent arbitration tribunal.

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