Leeds United have this afternoon confirmed the departure of Ben Mansford, the club’s Chief Executive, ending his one year stay at the club.
Mansford began his role as Chief Executive in June 2016 after joining the club from fellow Yorkshire side Barnsley, where he was carrying out a similar role. The news comes ahead of the proposed 100% take over from current partial owner Andrea Radrizzani, who is looking to bring in his own backroom staff to help the club progress.
It is expected that Mansford’s previous role will be filled by current West Ham and former Arsenal managing director Angus Kinnear. Kinnear joined West Ham from Arsenal in 2013 and was instrumental in both clubs’ recent rebranding; as well as playing vital roles in helping both London clubs relocate to their current state-of-the-art stadiums. He spent 10 years at the Gunners, and prior to working in football worked for Coca-Cola – helping them to set up global sporting properties.
This may be an indication that one of Radrizzani’s aims is to buy back Leeds’ Elland Road stadium, using Kinnear’s previous experience to help him do so. United’s home was sold to businessman Jacob Adler for a reduced price of £8 million in 2004 by previous owner Ken Bates to raise some funds to help drag Leeds out of the huge debt they were once in.
The club currently rent the stadium from Adler for around £1.5million per year, with the rate increasing per annum. It is expected that Elland Road would now cost around £15 million to purchase; with the club spending more than that in rent over the last 13 years.
Mansford was thanked for his time, and help, during the Italian’s first five months at the club. However, maybe the hope is that Kinnear, his replacement, will help to provide more of an assistance than Mansford could in returning Elland Road to Leeds United using his advanced background and previous experience in such cases.