By Sean Fisher

7th Oct, 2022 | 9:10am

Leeds United vice-chairman Paraag Marathe 'very respectful and appreciative' of English football culture

Leeds United chief Paraag Marathe ensures he wants to “protect” English football culture despite US investment being labelled a “danger”.

US investment has been a major talking point in recent years, with exactly half of the 20 Premier League clubs now owned or part-owned by Americans.

Leeds United are involved in that list, with Marathe part-owning the Whites while also running as San Francisco 49ers president.

But while Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville labelled US investors on Twitter “a clear and present danger” to football, Martahe has expressed his appreciation of English culture.

Speaking on the BBC’s The Sports Desk Podcast, Marathe said: “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t proclaim to know all of the history and cultural things about what makes English football special and different and unique.

“However, I’m learning a lot about it and most importantly, I’m very respectful and appreciative of the current set-up as it is.

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“The English football pyramid and with promotion and relegation and everything that exists with that, even to call fans ‘fans’ or even ‘supporters’, it’s almost a misnomer because these are clubs that are part of people’s families.

“These are clubs that are part of cities and communities the same way you would talk about a little brother, a little sister, a mum or a dad, you talk about your club. You can make fun of your club inside your home, but outside your home if someone talks bad about your club, you’re going to protect it at all costs.

“That is just different, and I’m so respectful of that and want to protect what that is.”

Understanding Leeds

While many fans have raised issues regarding US owners and investors, The 49ers have so far built a very good reputation with Leeds fans since they became involved with the club.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all held protests over their US ownership in recent seasons, with the Glazers, FSG Group and Stan Kroenke all participating in the disastrous launch of the European Super League.

As a result, American owners have been tarnished with the same brush, but Marathe and the 49ers are showing that a successful partnership with US investors can take place, with the club still sticking to all of its old values and traditions.

In fact, the 49ers have arguably embraced Leeds’ culture and tradition and emphasised it since becoming investors.

It’s probably best to look at who the owners are as opposed to where they come from. There are many British owners that have been appalling when it comes to respecting English football – just look at Mike Ashley at Newcastle.

It’s inevitable that more US investment will land on the Premier League’s shores in the coming years, but it’s down to them and the FA to properly investigate owners and verify their reasons.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites will fight AC Milan again to sign RB Salzburg striker Noah Okafor