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GFH conclude Leeds takeover

21 December 2012

Leeds started a fresh era on Friday morning as GFH Capital were unveiled as their new owners, with directors David Haigh and Salem Patel outlining their vision for the future.

The duo have been the frontmen for the Dubai-based investment company, who started talking to Leeds and outgoing owner Ken Bates about a takeover 206 days ago. That long journey was officially ended on Friday morning, with Haigh and Patel presented to the media.

"What we want to do is create a successful but sustainable club and I think every fan will be with us," Patel said. "English football is one of the most successful exports that England has at the moment. People are watching world over and being part of that is very exciting to us."

United were relegated from the top flight in 2004 and have endured a largely miserable existence since, slipping as far down as -15 points in League One as financial problems took their toll.

Patel, though, wants to take the club, currently fighting for promotion from the Championship, back up, adding: "We are both fans of English football and this is really interesting for us. We want to take Leeds back where they belong."

Haigh, a Leeds fan, excitedly claimed they had bought "the best club in the world" before going through his plans. He stood down the rumour that he will replace Bates as chairman when the veteran leaves the post at the end of the season, while also revealing that manager Neil Warnock staying on board was part of the criteria for the purchase.

"He is our man and one of the reasons we decided to buy this club in the first place. The guy is a legend in English football and it was a requirement of the contract," Haigh said.

Warnock is chasing a record eighth promotion and Haigh added: "We don`t want to put a timescale on our investment but we want to make this club as successful as we can in the shortest time possible.

"We`ve been speaking to Neil and we will try our best to meet whatever needs he has and to be fair to us, we have already invested in the team. We`ve been speaking to him on and off since the summer to be honest. We very much assisted him with his plans in the summer and hope to continue to do so."

Haigh and Patel also outlined their long-term plans to buy back the club`s Elland Road ground.

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