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Dream start for David in Leeds role

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

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A FORMER Cornishman reporter has become a director of Leeds United after fronting the bid for a Middle Eastern bank to take full control of the Championship side.

David Haigh, who grew up in Sancreed, is the chief executive of Dubai-based GFH Capital, which finalised a deal for buying the club last week, after months of negotiations.

The investment bank has now started a one-month transitional period and, following Football League approval, will become 100 per cent shareholder of the club.

In the interim period, Mr Haigh has joined the board of Leeds United as a director as well as joining the boards of parent company, Leeds City Holding's other businesses including Yorkshire Radio, while his fellow bank executives are expected to join next month.

Mr Haigh, a former Cape Cornwall school pupil, worked on The Cornishman's Down Your Way reporting team from the age of 13 – a job he continued to do for about seven years.

He said the company was proud to have completed the deal, which involved a long process of international negotiations and was thrilled with the result of Saturday's clash against Crystal Palace.

United scored a 2-1 victory over the team that is at the top of the league.

"You could see the affect the takeover has had in the performance of the team on Saturday," said Mr Haigh.

"In 14 games Crystal Palace had not been beaten and we thrashed them. You could see the energy in the stadium and the atmosphere. The players were re-energised."

Mr Haigh said that GFH Capital hoped to take full control of the club by the end of the year.

Decisions

"The idea being there is a steady, clear, well thought out take over process, which is in the good of the club," he said.

He added that he was not able to talk about possible future signings but that decisions about players would be made by the side's manager Neil Warnock, who he described as "fantastic".

"There is a lot that we can bring with our board members and our expertise but the club has got a good (management) team as it is."

Mr Haigh is now thinking of ways he can build stronger connections between youngsters in west Cornwall and football in Leeds and has offered to give a talk at his old school, Cape Cornwall.

"I am very glad I went to that school. They were fantastic teachers and I learned a lot not just in the classroom but with things like Duke of Edinburgh," he said.

Mr Haigh said he is passionate about showing young people in Cornwall that they have a world of opportunities available to them.

Local football round-up, page 91.

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