Long had it been promised, long had Leeds United fans been waiting. The wait is over. Leeds United have a new owner in Andrea Radrizzani.
Radrizzani came on board at Elland Road with an initial 50% investment in January of this year, but even then the strong message was that his initial half-share in the club was only a staging post to a full takeover further down the line.
The news all along had been that Radrizzani would see the season out, content with his 50% share, before pushing on with a buyout of Massimo Cellino’s share that would see a more stable Italian owner take over the reins at the Whites.
That proved to be the case earlier when the club website announced the news that Radrizzani and Cellino had agreed a deal that sees Leeds start the 2017/18 campaign hoping to build on the positivity generated by the successes of last season.
On taking over, Radrizzani expressed his joy on the club website at becoming Leeds United owner saying: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to become a custodian of this great football club. The heritage and history of Leeds United attracted me to the club and having spent time at games and at Thorp Arch, I can see that we are ready to move forward to the next level.”
This enthusiasm is just the shot in the arm that Leeds fans need after the tumultuous two season ride under the steerage of Cellino, with last season’s efforts being somewhat calmer waters – encouraged by the presence of Radrizzani said many.
Radrizzani has assured Whites fans that this was not a quick fix buy-and-flip exercise, telling them: “This is a long-term commitment, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us and I am aware of my responsibilities as owner of Leeds United. I can assure all supporters that everyone at this club will be doing all we can to build a successful team at Elland Road.”
The transfer of ownership is something, that in truth, has been long overdue at a club that many neutrals say should be back in the Premier League. With Radrizzani on board and free of any power sharing decision-making, the hope of fans is that last season was an unexpected exercise in consolidation, with this season being the one where the Whites, under Radrizzani’s guidance really do kick on.
The fans at Elland Road have been waiting long enough for many reasons: for success, for stability and for a team that they can truly begin to believe in again. The latter began last season, the hope is that the prior two can be the start of Radrizzani’s legacy at Elland Road.
Leeds United fans comment on the Radrizzani takeover at Elland Road
As can be expected, the shaking off of what some see as the tyranny of Cellino has caused much merriment and jubilation on Twitter. Whatever side of the Love/Hate Cellino divide a fan comes down on, all that matters to the vast majority of fans is simply that they can now focus solely on supporting the team they both grew up with and fell deeper in love with.
First up is new club owner Radrizzani himself.
— Andrea Radrizzani (@andrearadri) May 23, 2017
Leeds fans are turning #lufc over at a prodigious rate and have been doing so since the news was announced earlier.
— Rory Steel (@rory_steel) May 23, 2017
Cellino has gone 😎 Long live Leeds United 👊🏼⚽️#LUFC
— Greg Stanley (Worm) (@GregStan83) May 23, 2017
— Spencer (@HybrisLeeds) May 23, 2017
I've always said massimo has not been good for us but he brought stability in a way and if Andrea is good then his legacy was him. #lufc
— jayjay82 (@jwh1982) May 23, 2017
Peace in our time. Now let's look forwards, save our energies and affect what we can affect #lufc ✊
— Jon Howe (@jonhowe1971) May 23, 2017
Cellino may not be remembered fondly, but IMO, he was nowhere near Bates or GFH level of bad owner. Can see why others may disagree #lufc
— Jordan Harris (@JordanHarris811) May 23, 2017
Okay Radrizzani, I'm pleased MC's gone but now it's time to walk the walk! Massive investm. in squad and extension for Monk critical! #lufc
— Emil Finvold (@NiceViolence) May 23, 2017
Doesn't feel like a day to celebrate but chuffed to bits with the #lufc news.
— Lisa & Jamie (@LisaJamie2602) May 23, 2017
In the light of day, Cellino did some good with #lufc and some bad. Business-wise we are healthy and we have Berardi 😉 Welcome Andrea!
— Daniel C. Young (@dcyshepard) May 23, 2017
— Rob Prescott (@2jagsprescott) May 23, 2017
Whatever the views, motivations and outlooks of these fans there seems to be one thing that they all have in common. Forget Massimo Cellino, he’s in the past. For Leeds United now it is all about looking forward under Andrea Radrizzani and the team that he assembles.