Written by Staff Writer
It might not be easy to work with Leeds United co-owner Andrea Radrizzani, who has said in the past that management was the “fourth most important priority” behind attracting and keeping top players, the infrastructure, and the club’s iconic heritage.
Radrizzani, who is currently leasing Leeds’ Elland Road ground to the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns (before converting it into a football stadium), discusses why he was attracted to the club, the challenges ahead, and what life as a football owner is like in the age of social media
What was the attraction for you to become a part of Leeds?
When (current Leeds owner) Massimo Cellino chose me to buy Leeds, he explained that I saw it as the golden dream, the present, and the future. I saw Leeds as a different kind of club that needed to reinvent itself but that remained part of the game.
For me it was an opportunity to do something new and not always look back and see what others are doing. The club itself is an extension of the spirit of the city — not only the club but everything that goes with it — and I wanted to give the club the spark that it needs and create a new vision that would be the basis of the club’s future.
Where was the “you can trust me” element that would transform Leeds?
I don’t think it is a secret. The club’s previous management was not the best, as it was dragging down the ambition and not supporting the players’ dreams.
I wanted to restore the importance of the football club, as every football club that has grown from the beginning feels good, wins trophies, and becomes famous in the world. The new identity of the club is actually the new stadium project — whether it is here or somewhere else — a building for the years to come, a project that could be a part of the sport’s history.
How do you compare being a football owner now to when you first became part of the club?
The different moments of life are equally unforgettable. The intense, dreamlike feeling during my first meeting with the supporters when I was introduced was the first experience that I know I want to repeat at every club I’m part of. Those emotions are still there, and even stronger today!
When I said “then and now,” I want to be re-emphasized that the same joy was there even before we were planning the stadium. That is why I’m here. The stadium is a very important project for the club, but it is only the first thing in the new project.
We have tried very hard to improve and build something that is the second base of the project, but the new stadium is the starting point.
Football is almost 100 years old, have you grown as a fan since you joined Leeds?
I started with the club because of the wonderful people that I met and the incredible opportunity I felt. I wanted to be part of the history.
Then, after my first year, when we gave an official press conference and I said: “Listen, the dream is still alive.” It was the moment where the new life started. Everything was much more alive.
And now! The club is starting to progress again. The project is moving forward with confidence, stability, and success. Football clubs are more valuable when they are young.
Some people have expressed concern that the club’s financial stability might be threatened by the stadium project.
One of the main values of Leeds United was to keep the first team together. Now that the stadium is built, we want to sign the best players in the world. We want to win the Premier League, and also the FA Cup. I’m passionate about that. We want to be recognized as the best club in the world.
We want to do it with style, a unique project, and go for more trophies. We want to compete for Europe.
What advice would you give to the other 20 Premier League managers who have come up against you?
Life goes by, but the dream remains. Your dreams will come true eventually, even if some might not happen in your first years.