Russell Crowe shows interest in buying stake in struggling Championship side Leeds United.
THE tantalising possibility of Leeds United fan and Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe buying into the ailing English football giants is finding huge favour with the club’s supporters.
The 50-year-old New Zealand-born star — who won the best actor Oscar in 2000 for a mesmerising and combative performance in Gladiator — has received backing from an influential party in the form of the working group that is supporting fan ownership, of the second tier club, Leeds Fans LLP.
This comes after Crowe, who was also nominated for Best Actor Oscars for The Insider (1999) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), tweeted “Anybody else think this is a good idea?” in response to a Leeds fan’s plea for him to buy the club he has supported since their glory days in the 1970s under Don Revie.
Three-time English champions Leeds are presently 14th in The Championship and 18 points adrift of the playoff places which sees four teams contest the third and final promotion spot for the Premier League.
The LLP were one of many to reply to his tweet — most of them positive. LLP asked him for advice on fans taking over a club as he has previous experience having become co-owner of the freshly crowned world club champions South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Australian rugby league side who were bottom of the pile when he and an Australian businessman bought 75% of the club in 2006.
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, who has among other roles played Noah and Robin Hood, suggested the members of LLP watch a program on the takeover of the Rabbitohs and offered further advice.
“There has to be one voice that sets the tone,” said Crowe, who has sport running through his veins as cousins Martin and Jeff Crowe both captained the New Zealand cricket team.
“Every thought and every decision has to be about success on the field.”
Crowe missed Sunday’s Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, preferring instead to watch his Rabbitohs sweep aside St Helens 39-0 at the English champions.
In order for his or any other potential suitor’s interest to go any further, though, they have to contend with Leeds’ unpredictable Italian president Massimo Cellino.
The 58-year-old Italian has sold his personal stake in Eleonora Sport — the company he setup 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 — a notorious hirer and firer of managers who is already on his fourth at Leeds since he was originally cleared to buy the club in April — said on Tuesday 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.