Former Leeds United captain Radebe wanted to give fans hope of a better future

The ex-Bafana Bafana defender was part of a consortium that intended to buy a stake in the club

Former Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe says they wanted to give their fans “hope that the club is at least on the right track” had they managed to acquire a stake in the club in 2013.

Following the club’s relegation to the Championship from the Premier League in 2004, financially-troubled Leeds ended up further dropping down to League One in 2008, before returning to the second-tier in 2010.

Attempts by Radebe and his business partners to buy part of the club and speed up a Premier League comeback drew blanks after Italian investor Massimo Cellino beat them to the stake.

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While admitting that they did not have the kind of money that Cellino had, and Andrea Radrizzani, who later on took over control of the club, Radebe acknowledged they could have failed on their top-flight league return mission, but they would have at least restored the fans’ confidence in the club.

“That’s one of the things [buying a stake in the club] we were looking into. We were wondering why such a massive club has to go down that route, where everybody has lost confidence in them,” Radebe told New Frame.

“Obviously, it needed a cash injection to make sure that they came back. We had a strong team, but obviously Andrea and Cellino had the money. They had deeper pockets than us and look at where the club is today.

“As a former player, I know the club and I know what the club needs. And obviously, maybe we would not have been able to get it to where it is now.

“But at least we were going to get them back into a respectable position in the Championship, to give the club that little boost and give confidence to the fans and give them hope to know that the club is at least on the right track.”

Under Radrizzani, Leeds recently gained promotion back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Radebe, who spent 11 years at Leeds and captained them, has paid tribute to the Italian for orchestrating a return to the top-flight through his investment.

“Andrea came in and took over the club and he was very passionate. And that passion filtered through everybody who worked at the club, which was absolutely brilliant for us,” said Radebe.

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“We saw the rise, the investment and it paid dividends in a short space of time, because it’s been two or three years since he took over the club. He is there for the love of the club and hopefully, the team can play in Europe in the long run.

“It’s going to be tough for us in the top flight, but I think he has to make sure that he beefs up the squad with quality players that will keep us there for a long time.”

Leeds’ relegation from the Premier League came not long after they reached the 2000/01 Uefa Champions League semi-finals.

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