Shortly after The Mirror printed the rumor that Papa Red Bull's long-suspected interest in Leeds United had advanced significantly, the rest of the UK press set about trying to
crush the impudent tabloid verify the claim.
And the Yorkshire Evening Post found the confirmation everyone was seeking:
That quote is from Massimo Cellino, owner of Leeds United but currently banned from being "a relevant person" in the affairs of the club. (Eleonora Sport is the company that owns a 75% stake in Leeds; Cellino has had to publicly disengage from the company as part of his suspension.)
He's doing a very good job of being irrelevant to Leeds: it was surely coincidence that a local paper covering the team thought to call him on the subject of a bid to takeover the club.
Cellino's initial reaction to the inquiry shows that he at least is mindful of the constraints he is supposed to be operating under:
Not true, it’s just another story.
But then he made a few calls and got the confirmation the press was seeking. Thoughtful gesture, Massimo.
Anyway, the Leeds ownership pantomime is of little interest to New York Red Bulls fans. What is of interest is the question of whether or not Papa Red Bull is really, truly getting ready to buy another soccer team. And to that question, Cellino, not-relevant to Leeds United but who still knows a few people who are relevant at the club, tells us the answer is yes.
It perhaps ought to be pointed out that Leeds is still recovering from the news that assistant coach Steve Thompson has been suspended, and head coach Neil Redfearn is not happy and considering his position. There is also a supporter-driven movement to buy a stake in the club, and Russell Crowe has mentioned his love of Leeds and experience in sports team ownership.
All of which is to say: a juicy rumor of this nature, that puts a price into the public domain ($90 million is said to be Papa's offer), is...convenient. LUFC's ownership could use a distraction. And it isn't necessarily harmed by the emergence of an alleged valuation of its asset.
There is surely more news to come (Papa Red Bull is going to have a lot of voicemails from English journalists by Monday if he doesn't get around to making a statement soon). OaM will keep you updated.