Takeover Team Move in at Leeds, but Ruthless Cull Will Follow; New Leeds Team Plan Wages Cull
Byline: PETER FERGUSON
LEEDS UNITED'S struggling Premiership stars will go back on to full pay in the wake of the crisis club's [pounds sterling]22million rescue package - but some of them will not be around too long to collect their bumper pay cheques.
The consortium that finally took over the troubled Elland Road club yesterday expect to offload the big earners, including strikers Mark Viduka and Alan Smith, even if rock bottom Leeds can escape relegation.
Meanwhile, an insolvency expert will launch an unprecedented investigation into the conduct of Leeds' former directors - including Peter Ridsdale, Allan Leighton and John McKenzie - before making an official report.
Brendan Guilfoyle can insist on full co-operation f rom those three key figures and others before making recommendations to the Department of Trade and Industry, who have the power to disqualify directors.
The club's new chairman Gerald Krasner confirmed yesterday that the club's total debt had spiralled beyond [pounds sterling]100m despite a ruthless cost-cutting exercise launched by chief executive Trevor Birch in January to stay afloat.
Senior players who reluctantlyaccepted a record 27 per cent wage deferral to help stave off the threat of administration will have their pay restored and have been promised the cash they are now owed.
But Viduka, who earns [pounds sterling]50,000a-week, and Smith, on [pounds sterling]40,000, help keep the club's wage bill hovering around [pounds sterling]40m, despite the fire sale that claimed Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Fowler and Harry Kewell. …