The English Football League (EFL) has officially approved the £170m takeover of Leeds United by 49ers Enterprises, the investment branch of NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers. This pivotal shift signifies the end of Andrea Radrizzani’s ownership and the beginning of a new chapter for the Championship club.
A New Era for Leeds United
Leeds United has entered a new era with the complete acquisition of the club by 49ers Enterprises, finalizing a process that began when the American investment group purchased a 15% stake in 2018 and raised it to 44% by 2021. Now having full control, the investment firm is poised to reinvigorate the club after its recent relegation from the Premier League.
The new chairman, Paraag Marathe, expressed his commitment to reshaping the club’s trajectory, stating, “This transition is a necessary reset to chart a new course for the club. We are confident Leeds will field a competitive squad to contend for promotion next season.”
Key Leadership Stays On, New Faces Join
The shake-up will see current chief executive Angus Kinnear remain in his position, while Rudy Cline-Thomas, founder and managing partner of venture capital firm Mastry, will join the board as co-owner and vice chairman. Kinnear conveyed his confidence in the new owners and their commitment to keeping supporters at the heart of their plans.
Cline-Thomas expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunity, remarking, “The chance to reinvigorate the cherished Leeds culture, to create a platform that attracts the world’s finest players and build a truly global brand that celebrates diversity is a prospect that thrills me.”
End of the Radrizzani Era
The deal concludes Andrea Radrizzani’s six-year tenure as owner of Leeds United, during which he initially won favor with fans and achieved significant milestones, including the acquisition of Elland Road stadium and the successful appointment of Marcelo Bielsa. However, his popularity declined after Bielsa’s dismissal and the club’s subsequent relegation.
Reflecting on his tenure, Radrizzani said, “It has been an honor to guide Leeds United over the last six years and to spend so much time with the best fanbase in the world. 49ers Enterprises have been fantastic partners for years and I’m confident they will take Leeds to the next level.”
A Promising Future Ahead
While the club’s relegation has led to intense renegotiations and a reduction in valuation from an anticipated £400m to £170m, the overall outlook remains optimistic. The new owners have been praised for their financial clout, and it is expected that their investment will boost Leeds United’s prospects of an immediate return to the Premier League. With ambitious plans and a devoted fanbase, the future of Leeds United under 49ers Enterprises offers a thrilling prospect for players, staff, and supporters alike.