Pending EFL approval, 49ers Enterprises will become the new outright owners of Leeds United, who were recently relegated from the Premier League.
Having initially invested in Leeds in 2018 as part owners, the American group already owned a 44% stake, but have now made an agreement to acquire the remaining 56% share in the club from chairman Andrea Radrizzani and his company Aser Ventures.
49ers Enterprises, headed by the wealthy York family, are a group of investors who also own the San Francisco 49ers NFL team. The investment group could also seek to bring people in with further sporting expertise as owners of the club, with golfers Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth being two of the names that could reportedly join them. Also rumoured to be part of the deal to become owners of the Championship club, are Larry Nance Jr and T.J. McConell from the NBA.
Rickie Fowler has publicly stated his thoughts towards the Leeds deal, telling Sky Sports News, “I know we’re looking into it, and it would be fun if we get to be a part of it.”
After a poor season for Leeds United, the club finished 19th in the Premier League and their relegation to the EFL Championship was confirmed on the final day. With many relegation clauses being activated in the playing squad and without a manager at present, Leeds will need to rebuild quickly ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. The club could be set to lose key players such as Rodrigo, Wilfried Gnonto, Illan Melier and Tyler Adams potentially heading for an exit from Elland Road.
With new owners, Leeds could have a good cash injection into the club, meaning the new manager would be able to strengthen their playing squad ahead of an action-packed and lengthy Championship season. Leeds will be aiming to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and with ambitious owners who seem ready to put the club first, they could be in a strong position. The York Family, who own 49ers Enterprises, are said to be billionaires, according to Forbes.
With a huge season dawning on Leeds United, their new owners will want to hit the ground running and make the best impression on the fans as possible. How do you do that in soccer? Simply get the football club winning games.
Despite Leeds being relegated, taking one step back could help them take two steps forward and potentially be even stronger for the experience if they are able to gain immediate promotion back to the Premier League.
However, the Championship is a notoriously difficult division to escape, with 24 teams desperately scrapping for the chance to make it to the promised land of the Premier League with all the riches that entails.
After a period of instability and a tough time in the lower divisions, Leeds’ initial return to the Premier League in 2020-21 went well, with the club finishing in ninth place. That season they amassed a total of 59 points, the highest total for a promoted club in the Premier League since Ipswich Town in 2000-01 (66 points).
However the last two seasons were much tougher for Leeds, as they struggled at the bottom of the table and went through four managers in just over a year: Marcelo Bielsa, Jesse Marsch, Javi Gracia and Sam Allardyce.