Many fans get excited whenever there are rumours of a takeover, but with the current ownership at Leeds unpopular and divisive to say the least, the discussion around the takeover at the club has everyone talking. A new era may just be around the corner for Leeds United as Italian media mogul Andrea Radrizzani attended the game on Sunday afternoon at Elland Road.
However, within the excitement, there is a feeling of the unknown because, as Leeds fans, we know little or nothing about the man we hope to become chairman of our great club in the not so distant future. So, here at Through It All Together, we felt it was worth having an in-depth look at Andrea Radrizzani.
To start, Andrea Radrizzani is an Italian media mogul and the founding partner of MP & Silva.
Radrizzani and two other men - Riccardo Silva, who is president of the American soccer team Miami FC, and Carlo Pozzali - formed MP & Silva and acquired the global distribution rights to a number of Serie A teams in 2004. That was the start of MP & Silva’s rise to powerhouse status in the sports distribution world.
MP & Silva are now a market leader in the distribution of broadcasting right for sports and sporting events, and the company boasts on its website to supply over 200 broadcasters in 215 countries various major sports including all the major European football leagues, the French open, boxing and the National Football League, to name a few. They also have 20 offices in numerous corners of the globe.
Within that, MP & Silva have the rights to distribute the Premier League for the next three years across South East Asia.
They already have a strong business relationship with Arsenal Football Club and are also involved in promoting the Arsenal brand around the world.
Radrizzani has strong connections in China and, if reports are to be believed, his Chinese connections could be a major player if he acquires Leeds United. Boafeng Sports, a Chinese online entertainment company, recently acquired a major stake in MP & Silva, and in June, they appointed Radrizzani as President of Boafeng Sports International.
Radrizzani himself was born in the Rho district of Milan in 1974 and was only 30 when he formed the MP & Silva empire, alongside Silva and Pozzali. The man has connections around the world and is well respected in his field. On face value, his portfolio speaks volumes, and the correlation between business and football has never been so important. If Radrizzani can replicate half of what he has achieved in the business world at Leeds United, then we’re heading to the Premier League in short order.
Some skeptics have commented on similarities between Andrea Radrizzani and Massimo Cellino. However, the only similarity you could fairly apply is the fact they are successful Italian businessmen. That’s really it.
There aren’t any questions about the nature of his business deals. He hasn’t been investigated for fraud or had family members go off on social media or anything else.
He has achieved monumental success in his career and you can see through his various interactions with the Leeds faithful that he has a desire to see Leeds United succeed. This is something that was missing when Cellino and Bates bought into the club.
Radrizzani is a ‘football fan’ in the truest sense of the word and this is evident with his interaction on social media. This is of fundamental importance if you are to be a successful owner of a football club. You need to be able to relate to every person who pays their money and gives their lives to support their team.
Alongside the above, Radrizzani has “liked” and “re-tweeted” multiple Leeds-related tweets online and made himself quietly familiar with several fan groups. He’s a fan, but he’s a smart businessman too. He knows what he’s doing when he “taps the heart icon” or tweets “one step closer.” He’s letting us know he’s working on it.
The recent fortunes on the pitch have highlighted and given impetus to a positive change off the pitch as well. We all have a mixture of pessimism and intrigue regarding Andrea Radrizzani and the takeover, as well we should. The pessimism stems from who and what has come before, but there’s intrigue for exactly the same reasons. We need to keep both these burning emotions in check, as none us of know what will happen.
The future of Leeds United is unwritten and it’s hard to say today if Radrizzani will be our knight in shining armour, but the club has had so much turmoil in the past decade that we’re really prepared for whatever is coming.
Real sustained change could make all the difference to the club. Maybe, soon, that change will be Mr. Andrea Radrizzani. MOT.