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'Leeds fans will look at the 49ers and hope success breeds success'

Leeds fan voice
Leeds fan voice

Adonis Storr, The Roaring Peacock

As the San Francisco 49ers won the NFC Championship – punching their ticket to this year's Super Bowl – a familiar face was pitchside. Leeds United's Paarag Marathe is a chairman like none in recent memory at Elland Road.

Leeds ownership troubles date back to 1996. Caspian Group was a media production company with no experience in football when they bought United. Peter Risdale's subsequent Icarus impersonation left the club ruined.

The decades that followed brought owners who proved almost entirely incompetent and often loudly unprofessional.

"The best chairmen and owners are the ones who don’t have to talk too much," Marathe said last July after the 49ers takeover was announced. "The most important thing for me is hiring people who are very good at their job."

Technical director Gretar Steinsson and transfer specialist Nick Hammond were brought in. Daniel Farke followed, along with Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon and, in January, their Welsh compatriot Connor Roberts on loan.

So far, hiring people "very good at their job" seems to be working.

Leeds fans will look at the 49ers and hope success breeds success, but looking back at past ownership, it already feels very different at Elland Road.