Leeds fans welcome Crowe interest


Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The working group that is supporting fan ownership of Leeds has welcomed apparent interest from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe in the club.

New Zealand-born Crowe caused a stir amongst Leeds fans on Wednesday when he asked his 1.6million Twitter followers whether or not he should buy the club.

The 50-year-old is a lifelong fan of the West Yorkshire club and has recently reiterated that, tweeting a message of support when they beat Middlesbrough 1-0 on Saturday.

He caused further ripples on Wednesday when he replied to a tweet from a supporter, asking him if he would consider buying Leeds.

United fan @Samwild90 wrote to Crowe saying: “Please buy Leeds. In need of help!!” Crowe retweeted the message and added the comment “Anybody else think this is a good idea?”

The message was retweeted over a thousand times with numerous hopeful and positive responses, one of them coming from the recently-formed group Leeds Fans LLP, a working party of supporters which is trying to get a seat on the Elland Road club’s board.

The group immediately asked Crowe to make contact with it and he did, replying with some advice over three messages.

LLP has been aware of Crowe’s interest for some time and a spokesperson told Press Association Sport: “Russell’s a big Leeds supporter, he has a background in fan ownership and we’d love for him to work with us on fan ownership at Leeds United.”

Crowe was in England over the weekend promoting his latest film, the Water Diviner, as well as being with the Australian rugby league side he co-owns.

The star of the likes of Gladiator and Robin Hood bought a 75 per cent stake of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2006 in partnership with Peter Holmes a Court, and on Sunday watched them be crowned the best team in the world as they beat St Helens 39-0 in the World Club Challenge.

Crowe replied to LLP’s messages, referring to his ownership of the Rabbitohs.

Writing about the club he took from the bottom of the Australian league to the NRL title in 2014, he said: “Look at a show called South Side Story you’ll see how we handled this at South Sydney. It’s up on you tube, 6 episodes.

“We set up a member company that has its own board and seats on the football club board. There has to be a singular vision.

“There has to be one voice that sets the tone. Every thought and every decision has to be about success on the field.”

Press Association Sport understands that Wednesday’s apparent expression of interest is not the first time Crowe has made positive noises about being involved with investment in Leeds.

Were Crowe, the man who played Maximus in Gladiator, to actively pursue involvement with an investment, he could use the LLP group as a vehicle.

LLP is limited liability partnership which will invite Leeds supporters to become partners by buying stakes worth £100. A maximum of 100,000 stakes are to be made available with fans able to buy up to 1,000, with each stake worth one vote.

Regardless, his comments have caused further commotion amongst Leeds’ long-suffering supporters, who are currently waiting to see what banned president Massimo Cellino decides to do.

The 58-year-old Italian has sold his personal stake in Eleonora Sport – the company he set-up to buy Leeds a year ago – in order to independently appeal his Football League disqualification after failing its owners’ and directors’ test following a tax evasion conviction.

His ban expires on April 10 but Cellino said on Tuesday that he would not be returning to office while he tries to clear his name, giving rise to speculation he could be about to sell up.

Crowe dates his support of Leeds back to watching them on television in the 1970s when they enjoyed a period of success under Don Revie.

In a 2011 interview he said: “I started following Leeds in the early 70s. They can be heartbreakers, but that’s the joy of sport.”

He tweeted in 2013 that: “I don’t currently have a premiership team. Faithfully waiting for Leeds United to rise again.”

Leeds were unavailable for comment on Wednesday, while Press Association Sport was awaiting a response from Crowe’s representatives.

Published: Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The News Editor

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