Leeds United have endured a strong start to their 2020 Premier League campaign. They find themselves in at number eight in the league table after four games. They’ve won two, lost one, and drawn one game with seven points to their name. Italian businessman and club owner, Andrea Radrizzani, will be happy with how the team has performed thus far. Besides that, San Francisco 49ers executive VP Parag Marathe will also be delighted to see that their offseason investment is bearing fruit already.
San Francisco 49ers led by VP Parag Marathe purchased a 10% stake for £11million at Leeds United in 2018. Argentinian coach, Marcelo Bielsa, led the team to the English top-flight after a gap of 16 years. However, Marathe insists that ‘The Niners’ are looking to increase their ownership stake in the coming months.
“The sky is the limit for Leeds. This is not a club where we made it to the Premier League and we are barely trying to hang on by the laces of our shoes. No. This is a club which can become a big contender year in, year out in the Premier League,” Marathe said via NBC Sports.
Marathe also spoke about the conversation he had with Radrizzani two years ago, which convinced him to invest in the ‘Leeds United project’.
“It was actually three ownership groups prior to Andrea that I reached out, I want to say about 2012, about sharing business practices and doing the sort of partnership. We even announced it. We didn’t invest any money but we even announced it publicly and had a press release. Nothing materialized and fortunately because that would not have ended up well. I met Andrea in 2015 through a personal friend and he had a day here and we spent the day at Levi’s Stadium with dinner and drinks. Fast-forward six months and he purchased Leeds.”
“I said, ‘hang on a minute, this is a club I’ve been looking at’ and I saw so many similarities wit the 49ers a decade ago or 15 years ago. We have a global fanbase and are one of the top brands in the world in any sport but the 49ers were falling on hard times. We rebuilt the franchise and that’s sort of where I saw Leeds the growth opportunity and direction they were heading in,” Marathe said earlier this week.
Apart from the 49ers, American businessman and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is also involved in English football. He owns the English Premier League side, Fulham, who also gained promotion to the top-flight this season. Los Angeles Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, is also a majority stakeholder at North London outfit Arsenal.