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  • For ten years from the mid 1960's, Leeds United were a power in football, built by their manager

  • Don Revie into one of the strongest clubs in England and Europe. A team of internationals,

  • led by their fiery captain Billy Bremner, won the football league championship in 1969

  • and the FA Cup in '72. Leeds won the league again two years later and their supporters

  • always believe they only lost the '75 European Cup final to German Champions Bayern Munich due

  • to highly controversial refereeing decisions. Leeds declined in the 1980's but recovered

  • again to win the final football league championship in 1992, just before the Premier League was

  • formed. As recently as 2001, a young, exciting Leeds team under David O'leary was competing

  • with Manchester United in the Premier League, and reached the semi finals of the Champions

  • League, losing 3-0 on aggregate to Valencia. Yet within two years, the modern, re-built

  • Leeds United suffered a profound collapse, from which the club has still not recovered.

  • The Chariman, Peter Ridsdale, admitted the club had borrowed heavily to by star players,

  • and famously said of the dry success, we lived the dream. Leeds had to sell the star players,

  • including Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United, but they were still relegated in 2004 with

  • debts of more than £100m. A group of local businessman took over, settled much of the

  • debts, sold more players, and even the Elland Road stadium and training ground to a landlord,

  • but could not keep the club steady financially. In January 2005, they announced a takeover

  • by Ken Bates, who two years earlier had sold Chelsea to the Russian olligark Roman Abramovic,

  • and retired to the tax haven of Monaco. Bates said he was representing a consortium of owners

  • whose identity was never revealed, through funds registered in off-shore tax havens including

  • the British Virgin Islands. But on his return to football, Bates too could not make the

  • finances at Leeds work. Wages paid to players had increased throughout the 2000's, but the

  • huge gap in income with the multi millions of pounds paid for television rights in the

  • Premier League, means that clubs in the Championship struggle to balance the books. Leeds were

  • relegated to League One, the old third division, in 2007, for the first time in their history,

  • and Bates cut Leeds debts by putting the club into administration. They stayed in League

  • One for three seasons before winning promotion in 2010 and the following year, Bates announced

  • that he had bought the club from the unidentified investors. He then sold Leeds in 2012 to a

  • bank based in Bahrain, gulf finance house, and they in turn sold in 2014 to an Italian-American

  • businessman, Massimo Cellino. He had been convicted of tax fraud in Italy, making him

  • unfit to be the owner or Director of a Football League club, but he returned after a year

  • when his criminal conviction was considered "spent" in English law. Cellino has sacked

  • six managers in just two years, but his abbrasive methods have not reclaimed success on the

  • pitch. So Leeds United, still a big city football club of great traditions, play on in the Championship.

  • In the Elland Road ground that they do not own, their large body of long suffering supporters

  • wondering how it all went so wrong, but still singing the glory days of old.

For ten years from the mid 1960's, Leeds United were a power in football, built by their manager

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