By Ben Dixon
Well it’s Friday the 21st December 2012, and surprise surprise, the world hasn’t ended. Instead, something even more unbelievable has happened. Leeds United has finally been bought by GFH Capital. The longest takeover completed on the shortest day. Ironic. A press conference was announced for 11.30am to give confirmation that GFH Capital had bought 100% of Leeds United off Ken Bates. It’s the moment that anyone to do with the club has been waiting with baited breath for many a long and tedious month.
The impact has been immediate, with David Haigh and Salem Patel already introducing half-season tickets to boost the attendances and atmosphere during the push for promotion. This was the first major sign of change post Bates, as Ken had never endorsed the idea of half season tickets. Another minor difference is the setting up of an official twitter account which allows the fans to give their opinions on the club. Haigh and Patel have already outlined that communication with the fans is going to play a key role is the running of the club, which could not be more different to the old regime under Ken Bates, where the club was run his way, and his way only.
Promotion is the goal, but there is a lot of work needed before that can be achieved, the most obvious of which is the January transfer window. In the press conference today Salem Patel said ‘We won’t be spending crazy money’. That may be the case, but some money is definitely needed to get the squad to a promotion challenging level. Warnock’s main priority must be strikers. Tying down Jerome Thomas on a permanent deal should also be up there on Warnock’s to-do list. He has provided the spark that we were lacking in the opening 2 months of the season, and the pace. There are a few potential targets I’d like to see arrive in January, and top of that list is Craig Mackail-Smith. Every time I’ve seen him play in the last 2 years he’s torn defences apart with his pace and finishing, and he seems to be exactly the type of player that could do a very good job for Leeds.
Another popular choice to get in January is Maxi Gradel. With his curious tweeting, apparent desire to return to Elland Road and the prospect of money I see very little preventing Neil Warnock bringing him home. Doing this would show the fans just how much their opinions are being taken into account, and provide a huge morale-boost heading into the final few months of the season.
Away from transfers, the fans want a change in the way the club is run, with lower ticket prices being mentioned again and again. The half-season ticket is a big step in the right direction, but at 30 odd pounds a ticket it prices a lot of potential fans out of being able to watch the games. Knocking £5 off a ticket would generate more money due to the higher attendances gained from lower prices. More good news was announced today when David Haigh said that ken Bates’ role as president wouldn’t involve day to day involvement with the club, which can only be a good thing.
So a new era begins for Leeds United, much to the joy of everyone associated with the club. It’s onwards and upwards from now on, and who knows what’s going to happen in the next few months. Only one thing is for sure. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.