Leeds United and the San Francisco 49ers looking to lay down crucial foundations this weekend

By Ed Mackey

At 6pm this evening, certain members of the Leeds United board will be forced to split their attention between goings-on on both sides of the Atlantic.

Business at Elland Road is somewhat intertwined with business at the Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Ever since 2018, the American football team have been part owners of the Whites and as of January this year, they hold a 37% stake in the football club.

Sunday is a huge day for both teams as Leeds look for their first win of the Premier League season against Liverpool while the 49ers kick off their campaign against the Detroit Lions.

There will be plenty of people with a keen interest in both of those matches, none more so than Paraag Marathe who is the President of Enterprises for the NFL team as well as the vice-chairman of the Premier League club.

There were contrasting fortunes for the two clubs last season.

Leeds were brilliant on their return to the top flight, finishing ninth and gaining plaudits from up and down the country for the way they played under Marcelo Bielsa.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the injury-ravaged 49ers were far less successful as they finished bottom of the NFC Western division below the Seattle Seahawks, the LA Rams and the Arizona Cardinals, just a season after losing Super LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Californians will be hoping for improved injury luck this time out, while the team also traded up to take exciting quarterback Trey Lance with the number three overall selection in this year's draft, adding a raw, but highly promising talent to their ranks.

Their season will kick off as Leeds and Liverpool's Elland Road clash this afternoon reaches its climax, with the 49ers heavy favourites to start with a win when they visit the unfancied Detroit Lions.

As for Bielsa’s side, they are yet to get a Premier League win this season and would be more than happy to claim their first as they face the Reds at Elland Road.

A Sunday evening victory for both teams would not only be fantastic for both sets of supporters but also for those board members who have feet in both camps.

A video involving a selection of Leeds players was posted to the club’s Twitter account wishing the 49ers the best of luck ahead of their season opener.

Those players will be hoping that they will benefit from some of those well wishes ahead of their biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

Hopefully, for Marathe’s sake, both of the teams that currently mean so much to him are able to get off the mark with wins this afternoon as the building blocks for a pair of successful seasons are put in place.


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