Russell Crowe: Leeds United fan & actor 'would consider' offer for club

Crowe travelled to England to watch South Sydney in action
Crowe travelled to England to watch South Sydney in action

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has asked his Twitter followers whether it would be a good idea to buy Championship club Leeds United.

The English club are owned by Eleonora Sport Limited but banned president Massimo Cellino has sold his personal stake in both the company and Leeds.

BBC Sport has learned New Zealand-born Crowe, who is a Leeds supporter, would consider buying the club if he was approached and had the backing of fans.

Leeds are currently 14th in the table.

Crowe, 50, is already the co-owner of rugby league club South Sydney Rabbitohs, who play in Australia's National Rugby League.

His affection for Leeds dates back to his schooldays, when he used to watch editions of the BBC's Match of the Day.

Russell Crowe Sam Burgess
Russell Crowe with England's Sam Burgess after South Sydney won the 2014 NRL Grand Final

While his brother, Terry, adopted Liverpool as his favourite team, Crowe went for Leeds, who were enjoying the greatest period in their history under manager Don Revie.

As recently as Saturday, Crowe tweeted his support for the club following a surprise win at Middlesbrough.

Leeds have been dogged by off-field problems in recent seasons and have had a succession of managers since Cellino became involved with the former Champions League semi-finalists last April.

The 58-year-old Italian, who was found guilty of tax evasion in an Italian court last year, is currently barred from running the club until 10 April after failing the Football League's "fit and proper person's test".

Responding to a message on Twitter imploring him to buy Leeds United, Crowe, who has around 1.67m followers on the social media site, replied: "Anybody else think this is a good idea?"

Russell Crowe

The reaction from Leeds fans was overwhelmingly positive.

Leeds Fans LLP, a group supporting fan ownership of the Championship club, told Crowe they wanted a "fan voice on the board" and they "would love to have" him involved.

That prompted Crowe, who has an estimated net worth of $75m (£48m), to lay out his management "vision".

"There has to be one voice that sets the tone," he wrote. "Every thought and every decision has to be about success on the field."

Leeds told BBC Sport they had not received an approach from Crowe.

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"In football you need a good friend"

Paul Keat, chairman of the Leeds United supporter's trust, told BBC Radio 5 live that news of Russell Crowe's interest in the club was "the latest round" in the Leeds United "circus" and that all the fans want is "consistency and stability".

"If he is serious, let him come forward," said Keats. "But whether he has the time and resources has yet to be determined.

"His net worth probably does not merit him buying it outright. But in football you need to have a good friend, so whether he buys it himself or uses the friendships he's got.

"There are people in Yorkshire who have money so whether he comes as part of consortium is up to him.

"If he wants to come to Elland Road and sit next to me and my children he is more than welcome. I will even buy him a pint."

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BBC Radio Leeds' Adam Pope

"Cellino says he's going to stay away until his appeal against the Football League is heard, but does he return victorious to take over the reins? Or will there be a seemingly endless processions of court cases which could see him banned for at least another year?

Massimo Cellino
Massimo Cellino is banned from holding a directorship in the Football League

"At what point does Cellino wonder if this is worth it and the club is sold on, whether that be to Russell Crowe or someone else?"

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