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Last Updated: Monday, 31 March, 2003, 07:10 GMT 08:10 UK
Ridsdale quits Leeds role
Former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
Ridsdale dreamt of making Leeds a European force
Peter Ridsdale has quit as Leeds chairman after nearly six years at the helm.

The resignation was revealed to the London Stock Exchange early on Monday.

However, Ridsdale will continue as a non-executive director of the Elland Road club.

Leeds confirmed that fellow director Professor John McKenzie will take over from Ridsdale.

The priority for the club is to focus on avoiding relegation
Leeds chairman John McKenzie

"This has been a very tough six months for the company and our performance both on and off the pitch has been unsatisfactory," said Ridsdale in a statement.

"This means that tough action has had to be taken to generate funds from player sales and to reduce costs both on and off the pitch.

"The intensity of personal criticism has led me to conclude that the best decision for myself, my family and the company is that I step down as chairman of the plc and football club.

"When this criticism becomes so intense that it affects your family and health it requires clear reflection on the right way forward," added Ridsdale.


The club's Plc announced on Monday that losses had increased to 17.2m for the six months to 31 December from 13.8m in the comparative period last year.

Ridsdale came under heavy criticism from supporters after Leeds' torrid season, which has seen them slump to 16th in the Premiership.

The club sacked Terry Venables 10 days ago after just nine months in charge and replaced him with former Sunderland boss Peter Reid.

Former manager David O'Leary's high-spending spell in charge came to an end last summer when he was sacked - just a few months after topping the Premiership table.

Venables was brought in but he was forced to accept that Rio Ferdinand would be sold to Manchester United for 30m.

That was part of an attempt to recoup some of the 100m spent by O'Leary in the pursuit of regular Champions League football.

Rio Ferdinand: Man Utd, 30m
Jonathan Woodgate: Newcastle, 8m
Robbie Keane: Tottenham, 7m
Robbie Fowler: Man City, 6m
Lee Bowyer: West Ham, 100,000

But the sales did not stop and soon Robbie Keane, Lee Bowyer and Robbie Fowler left Elland Road.

Shareholders nevertheless re-elected Ridsdale as Leeds chairman by a record majority in November, as he pledged to bring stability to the club.

But negotiations over O'Leary's severance settlement - believed to be a seven-figure sum - rumbled on for several months before the final straw came in the shape of the 8m sale of Jonathan Woodgate to Newcastle.

Venables had received assurances from Ridsdale that no other star players would be sold so when Woodgate - considered Leeds' crown jewel - was offloaded supporters vented their anger at Ridsdale.

Leeds United chairman Professor John McKenzie
"It will be a tough challenge"

Leeds legend Peter Lorimer
"Ridsdale has bowed to the pressure"


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