Nicked from Waccoe - Times interview with 49ers bloke Marathe:
The Leeds United vice-chairman Paraag Marathe has insisted that the club’s American shareholders are “different” from the Glazer family at Manchester United.
Marathe has also warned that, despite the collapse of the European Super League (ESL), there is still a threat that some elite clubs may make a future attempt to grab more power and money.
The San Francisco-based 49ers NFL team increased their stake in Leeds to 37 per cent this year and Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises, reacted with “gutted disappointment” when he learnt of the launch of the ESL last month.
The Glazer family, who own United as well as Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL, were one of the prime movers behind the ESL project, though Joel Glazer has since apologised to fans for their involvement.
Marathe said that he knows the Glazers via the NFL but has not spoken to them about the ESL, which collapsed 48 hours after its launch amid an outcry by supporters.
“Of course [I know them],” he told The Times. “My mindset is just generally different so it hasn’t been something I frankly really cared about asking. I just know for us it’s genuine and sincere. We get up at 4.30am to watch Leeds matches and we have WhatsApp groups with the 49ers executives and owners [saying], ‘Oh my gosh, did you see that by Raphinha,’ and our whole day is ruined if we lose and made if we win. It’s why we got into sports in the first place.
“It’s who we are. We’re different, you have to have a connection to what you are doing.”
Marathe said that even if the ESL had been killed off, football needed to remain aware that a similar threat may emerge.
He added: “I’m not sure if the Super League, per se, is a threat because it is a symptom of a deeper problem — and that is a mindset. What I think is a threat is that mindset, that mindset of feeling that your status is now royalty and it’s a birthright that you have in perpetuity. That mindset is a threat.
“Even the concept of the ‘big six’, who called them the ‘big six’? Themselves? Two or three of the big six were only the big 15 or 20 just 15 years ago. Why are they the big six for perpetuity just because in that one static point in time they achieved that status? If it was 20 years Leeds United could make that claim, Manchester City certainly couldn’t. It’s not for ever.
“We are the quintessential example of the ebbs and flows of English football. We went down and we had to fight, scratch and claw our way back and that struggle is what makes it special.”
Marathe believes that the biggest penalty for the rebels was that they lost the trust of their fans.
“When you lose that trust you don’t just repair that trust via a Twitter message the next day or a short-form video that says, ‘I’m sorry, let us pretend that yesterday never happened,’ ” he said. “It doesn’t work like that. From my perspective the penalty is already there because it is going to take a lot of time to win back.”
Marathe will attend the final Leeds match of the season, against West Bromwich Albion, along with a group of other 49ers executives. They will spend time planning for an expansion of Elland Road that aims to take the stadium’s capacity from 37,000 to above 50,000. There would also be an overhaul of its hospitality facilities.
“We want to expand the capacity of Elland Road and modernise the stadium, make the experience better for the supporters but at the same time you don’t want to make it a sterile ground,” the vice-chairman said.
“There’s something menacing about Elland Road [for visiting teams] and you don’t want to take that away because that’s a competitive advantage.
“We certainly have the supporter base to be able to sell out grounds at 50,000-plus, which is what we are looking at.”
Perhaps more importantly in the short term is persuading Marcelo Bielsa, the head coach, to sign a new contract and stay at Leeds for next season. The Leeds chairman, Andrea Radrizzani, is in talks with Bielsa, and Marathe added: “[Bielsa] has been tremendous. This year has been so exhilarating. Obviously we want coach Bielsa back next season and I hope that Andrea and the team can get that done.”
"Football is not so important that we can't have tolerance of incorrect evaluations."