Thurs Feb 27th. McDermott the optimist. United manager Brian McDermott insists that exciting times lay ahead following the double loan arrivals of Jack Butland and Connor Wickham. Butland, a signing late last week and Wickham, who arrived on Wednesday, are both available for selection at QPR this weekend and the boss is delighted to have the duo at the club. “Jack and Connor coming in is great news for the club,” said the boss. “They are both England Under-21 internationals and we are delighted to have them. “We are looking forward to working with Connor. He is hungry, like Jack, and they are both good additions to the squad. “We are trying to go to QPR to get the right result. There are still 45 points to play for. This is the right thing for Leeds United. These are exciting times here with the calibre of players we have brought in.” The boss is wanting optimism to surround the club as United head into the final 15 games of the season and he says that a Play-Off spot is still achievable. “We need that sense of optimism,” added the manager. “I think that is really important. “From our point of view we want that optimistic situation and we want to win as many games as we possibly can. “Sixth is achievable but we need to get on a run of results. We want to play a certain way and we are working with the team to get to that way of playing. “We worked again on that on Thursday morning and we’ll  on it again on Friday before we set of for QPR.”

Thursday Feb 27th. Cellino counting the days to ownership Phil Hay YEP – DONE DEAL: Well, that’s how Massimo Cellino appears to view his Leeds United takeover even without football league approval. Phil Hay reports. The Football League stands between Massimo Cellino and ownership of Leeds United but in spite of delays and a strict administrative process, he still acts like a man who thinks his £25million takeover is done. Doubt was cast over his acquisition of Leeds when the Football League stated on Tuesday that the process of approving him could run to March 13, but Cellino remains in England and remains intent. He was due to spend part of this week house-hunting in north Leeds. At Elland Road, a fresh payment from the Italian has provided the money needed to meet the staff wage bill for February tomorrow. He loaned £1.5m to the club for the same purpose last month and, on top of an initial sum paid to United owner Gulf Finance House as part of his 75 per cent takeover, Cellino appears happy to fund operating costs for the second time in the space of four weeks.Money has also come the way of manager Brian McDermott who signed goalkeeper Jack Butland from Stoke last Friday and has spent the past few days sealing the arrival of Sunderland striker Connor Wickham. Leeds have not explained how transfers are being funded – their wage bill was lowered recently by the departure of Luke Varney and Paul Green on loan – but McDermott has been more active in the transfer market in the past seven days than at any stage since the 24 hours when he brought in Cameron Stewart and Jimmy Kebe. There have been other developments too. The YEP understands that a loan given to Leeds by shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance in 2012 – resulting in a winding-up petition which the High Court is due to hear on March 17 – has now been repaid. The petition, filed on January 29, remains in place while Leeds and Enterprise resolve all legal issues related to the £1.5m debt but it is likely to be withdrawn before the hearing date. Cellino, nevertheless, is powerless to officially complete his takeover until he fulfils the Football League’s request for full disclosure about his purchase of United. The League opened discussions with his legal team at the end of January, around the time that GFH agreed in principle to sell him a majority stake, and he and the Bahraini bank have been supplying documentation since the governing body met with Cellino at his request in London on February 12. Cellino, 57, is expected to pass the Owners and Directors Test but the League’s examination of him is concentrating on his wealth and his ability to fund a suitable business plan at Elland Road in the 12 months ahead. A statement from the League published on Tuesday afternoon said: “The board of the Football League is next scheduled to meet on March 13 where it will receive an update on the matter from the League’s executive, unless all the remaining issues can be resolved satisfactorily in advance of this date.” The League is not required to wait until next month’s board meeting to officially sanction Cellino’s buy-out and it is likely to act sooner if he and GFH meet the organisation’s demands before then. But repeated statements from the League – an unusual feature of lower-league takeovers – have done little to foster the belief that Cellino’s takeover is a formality. Charlton’s new owner, Roland Duchatelet, shed some light on the approval process yesterday, describing it as “quite straightforward”. The Belgian, who also controls Standard Liege, bought the South London club around the turn of the year and was approved by the League around a month after first making a serious approach to Charlton. “The process was actually quite straightforward, as long as you have the answers to the League’s questions,” Duchatelet said. “None of them were particularly difficult. “They (the League) just want to understand whether you’ve got the money to finance the club’s business plan as they don’t want their clubs to end up in administration a few months after they’ve approved a takeover. “Nearly all Championship clubs need extra funding to help them balance their books. So the League doesn’t sign off any takeovers unless you can show them that you have got enough money to meet the club’s financial commitments as well as showing them where that money has come from. “We also had to provide letters showing that we could call upon that funding as and when the club needed it.” It is not known whether GFH has contingencies in place to cope with a scenario where the Football League rejects Cellino’s takeover outright. The Islamic bank has owned Leeds since December 2012 but is no longer financing day-to-day costs at Elland Road and is anxious to sell a majority stake in the club. Together Leeds, a consortium fronted by ex-Manchester United International managing director Mike Farnan, have voiced their interest in buying Leeds for the past four months but are waiting in the background having written to the Football League two weeks ago to request that the governing body force GFH to negotiate with them. GFH is unwilling to discuss a takeover with Farnan’s group after rejecting what it said was a “derisory” offer from Together Leeds in November. The bank subsequently reached a deal with Cellino, a deal which the Cagliari president has already begun paying for. Details of Together Leeds’ proposals are scarce beyond an admission that Farnan’s group are backed by “institutional funding”. They are thought to be planning to buy back Elland Road from the stadium’s private owners, though the consortium intend to do so through a mortgage deal rather than an outright purchase. Among Cellino’s promises was a vow to use his personal wealth to immediately activate Elland Road’s £15m buy-back clause once his takeover goes through.


Weds Feb 26th. Wickham signs in. Leeds United have landed Sunderland striker Connor Wickham on loan until the end of the season. The 20-year-old, who scored against Leeds while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last month, has been be allowed to go as Steven Fletcher has returned to the Sunderland first team fold after injury The England Under 21 striker, who has scored eight goals in 11 league appearances for Wednesday, returned to Wearside in January. But Wickham has struggled to make an impact in the north east since his £8.1million switch from Ipswich during the summer of 2011. However, he has impressed during his loan spell at Hillsborough and Leeds see him as the sort of target man they need until the end of the campaign. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet kept tabs on Wickham’s progress at Hillsborough. But he has his own problems with summer signing Jozy Altidore in poor form and Fletcher having scored only three goals all season. Leeds are currently 11th in the Championship and have an outside chance of making the play-offs but are seven points off sixth place Reading. We are delighted to have signed Connor until the end of the season,” said United manager Brian McDermott.There was a lot of competition for his signature, but he was very keen to come and play at Leeds United. He is another young English player who has everything in front of him.” Elland Road managing director David Haigh said: “We’re delighted to bring another quality player into the club. Jack showed why we were so keen to sign him with a terrific performance at Middlesbrough on Saturday, and Connor is another young player with a similar pedigree.“Brian has made no secret of the fact that he has been looking to strengthen, and we’re delighted we’ve been able to support him with two key acquisitions to the squad.” Wickham will wear the number nine shirt. Really good player. It’s a pity we didn’t get him back in January, but we are still short in midfield and at the back. Who knows. Maybe we can outscore our defence. Wickham : “I need to be playing football,” said the striker, who scored eight goals in 11 games while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday earlier this seaosn. “I’d been playing at Wednesday and I knew there was some interest in me, but I just needed to focus on playing football. “Once I heard Leeds were interested in signing me there were no other choices and no doubt I wanted to come. “I played against Leeds earlier this season with Sheffield Wednesday. The potential here is big. There are some players here that I know already, and the team is looking to push towards the Play-Offs. Hopefully I can help with that. “I just want to play football and do the best I can, and hopefully push the team into the promotion picture.”


Tues Feb 25th. Football league look for more details on Cellino takeover. The Football League said today that it was still to resolve “a number of outstanding matters” relating to Massimo Cellino’s takeover of Leeds United as the wait for a change of ownership at Elland Road goes on.  Cellino’s 75 per cent purchase of United through a firm called Eleonora Sport Ltd remains up in the air with the League yet to approve his £25million deal. The Italian businessman agreed terms with current Leeds owner Gulf Finance House on February 7 but the League is refusing to sanction the takeover until Cellino and GFH satisfy its demands for information relating to his buy-out. The League is understood to be focusing its examination on the funding behind Cellino, an agricultural mangate who has run Serie A side Cagliari since 1992. “The Football League remains in discussions with both the owners and proposed purchasers of Leeds United, regarding the planned change of ownership. To date, a significant amount of the requested information has been supplied by GFH and Eleonora Sport, but there are still a number of outstanding matters that will require further submissions from the two parties. “The Board of The Football League is next scheduled to meet on March 13 where it will receive an update on the matter from the League’s executive, unless all the remaining issues can be resolved satisfactorily in advance of this date.”

Sat. 22nd of Feb. BORO 0, UNITED 0 United: Butland, Peltier, Pearce, Wootton, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Stewart, Kebe, Hunt (Smith 82), McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Zaliukas, Brown, Tonge, Mowatt, Poleon, Smith. Referee: A Taylor Booked: Leadbitter (Boro), Wootton (Leeds). Att: 20,424 (3,211 Leeds) (Report from Official website)United manager Brian McDermott made a total of five changes to his side for the lunchtime kick off at Middlesbrough. The changes saw United’s new loan signing Jack Butland make his debut for the club in the place of the injured Paddy Kenny, also Sam Byram was unable to recover from a hamstring strain so Lee Peltier came into the starting line-up. Two further changes were the inclusion of Scott Wootton, replacing Tom Lees who missed out for family reasons, and Noel Hunt came in from the start. Cameron Stewart also returned to the starting eleven having missed the trip to Brighton last time out. The opening 15 minutes belonged to the home side as United struggled to gain a hold on proceedings. The home side threatened on several occasions without causing Butland any trouble. United managed to create an opening just minutes later after Jimmy Kebe worked the ball well in midfield. Kebe played in his fellow winger Stewart who played a great ball across the box, but the ball had too much pace and it evaded the onrushing Hunt. There was little in the way of quality shown by either side as the game edged towards half time. With five minutes of the half remaining Luke Murphy sent a shot just wide of the upright after some good pressure in the Middlesbrough box. It was the closest either side had come to a goal. There was still time for the home side to test Butland before the half was up when Jacob Butterfield tried his luck from distance. The England international goalkeeper showed his qualities by palming the strike over his crossbar. At the start of the second half United almost handed the lead to the home side. Following a cross from Kei Kamara there was a mix-up between Stephen Warnock and Butland, but the United keeper did well to keep the defender’s touch from crossing the line. Moments later United had a half chance to take the lead themselves. An advnaced Peltier crossed into the box but Kebe’s glancing header went wide of the mark. The lively opening to the half continued when Middlesbrough’s Danny Graham went for the spectacular. Following a Kamara miss-hit the striker went for an overhead kick, but Butland was equal to his effort and saved well. On the hour-mark the United defence came under pressure from the Middlesbrough attackers. The ball found its way to the feet of Graham but the forward’s strike from an angle flew over the bar. The following minutes offered little in the way of action but United mounted an attack with 20 minutes of the game remaining. Great attacking play from Stewart opened up the home defence and his deflected cross fell to Murphy but his strike was blocked. Moments later Ross McCormack tried his luck but his powerful strike went just wide. In the 78th minute Butland was called into action when Middlesbrough substitue Albert Adomah broke the offside trap. The forward broke the defensive lines and looked certain to score but United’s loan man pulled off a fantastic save to keep the game goalless. With the game drawing to a close it was United that looked the more likely as the away side pilled the pressure on Middlesbrough. The only thing missing for United was the final killer ball. With United’s pressing forward the home side looked to break with a counter-attack. United were let off as Grant Leadbitter blazed his effort over the bar as Jason Pearce rushed to pressure the midfielder. With three minutes added on after the 90 it was the home side who had a great chance to win the game but Adomah’s strike flew passed Butland’s near post and the game ended in a stalemate. Brian McDermott ; “That’s a positive point for us,” . “Middlesbrough made it difficult for us and had some good chances. “But Jack Butland was outstanding, the back four were excellent and the whole team put in a good shift.” 

Thursday February 20th 2014. Butland signs on until season end A deal has been agreed for England international goalkeeper Jack Butland to join Leeds United on loan until the end of the season. The 22-year-old, who has represented England at all age groups including the senior side, and was a part of the Great Britain team at the 2012 Olympics, will arrive from Premier League side Stoke City. The signing is seen as a real coup for the club, and manager Brian McDermott said:We’re delighted to agree a deal to secure the services of Jack until the end of the season. “Obviously he has high ambitions. He has already been involved in the England squad and I know he is very much looking forward to coming in and being part of the group we have here.” Jack, who cost Stoke £3.5m from Birmingham City in January 2013, has made 87 career appearances, including three in the Premier League. He was Birmingham’s Young Player of the Year in 2012/13, and this season he has made 13 appearances for Barnsley during a loan spell at Oakwell, including a terrific performance in a 0-0 draw at Elland Road in December. Jack also became the youngest goalkeeper to play for England when he made his senior international debut in a 2-1 win against Italy in 2012. United managing director David Haigh said: “We’re delighted we’ve been able agree a deal to bring in a player of Jack’s quality and pedigree. He is a young player who has played at the very highest level, and we’re looking forward to him joining us.” The goalkeeper is expected to complete the formalities of his move ahead of Saturday’s trip to Middlesbrough.

Weds Feb 19th 2014. McDaid on way to Leeds from Glenavan.  Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton says Leeds United are still in talks with young striker Robbie McDaid about a move to Elland Road. Hamilton says the club and player are in talks with Leeds at the moment about a deal to bring McDaid to Elland Road and he is confident of a positive outcome. Speaking in the Lurgan Mail , Hamilton said, They`re in talks at the minute so we`ll have to wait and see if everyone agrees. The two clubs have to agree before anything can happen. Robbie has to agree with the club involved as well. “We don`t see any problems from our side. What we have requested has to be agreed and Robbie has to agree his terms. There are still a couple of things that have to happen. “For Robbie`s sake, we hope they do but recently I had a player sign on a piece of paper and the deal still didn`t go through. “That`s why you don`t talk too much about these things because it`s the player we are protecting until it all happens. “Yes, the progress is very positive and hopefully it will be done soon, but Leeds are in the middle of a takeover and you never know what way things go.”  The Northern Ireland under-18 international has been training with Leeds this week and he scored twice in the under-17s 4-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday. The 17-year-old was also on target twice for Glenavon last weekend as they beat near neighbours Portadown and his form has earned him a call-up this week for the Northern Ireland under-19 side for their friendly with Switzerland in March. He has made 12 appearances for Glenavon since making his first team debut last season and he has netted three times. Weds Feb 19th. Gómez of Spurs to Leeds ? Gomez to Leeds from Clubcall. enigmatic Brazilian stopper Heurelho Gomes could finally be on his way out of White Hart Lane, with Championship side Leeds keen to tie up a short-term deal for the former international. Gomes joined the North Londoners from PSV back n 2008 in a deal worth a reported £7.8m, but has since struggled to ever establish himself fully. or many that have watched the Brazilian this is no great surprise; Gomes is a man able to pull off the sublime, only to tarnish himself with the damn right farcical. Painful flashbacks of goalkeeping howlers against Fulham and Inter Milan are punctuated by world class performances such as his dazzling display in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal which helped the Lilywhites into the Champions League. At Spurs few have any great qualms with Heurelho Gomes, he seems a nice enough bloke and one that had he showed any real consistency could have been a Spurs legend. Yet the club have moved on and Hugo Lloris is now the established number 1, with the likes of Friedel and Archer proving to be adequate understudies. So what of Gomes? For those familiar with the ins and outs of Tottenham Hotspur, you will be quick to note that the Brazilian has fast become the face of Spurs’ charitable side and all round training ground good guy. The sight of Gomes larking around Hotspur Way is a pleasant one, but for someone like Daniel Levy it has to be viewed as a bit of a waste. Having just turned 33 Gomes still has a lot to offer, and it is a little bizarre that he hasn’t made a permanent switch up until now. Levy appears intent on loaning his fourth choice stopper, with Hoffenheim the destination last year and Leeds potentially this season. As strange as it may sound, Gomes still has an outside chance of making the World Cup this year. For all the Brazilian talent on offer, their pool of keepers is relatively small and with a decent few months behind him the 11-time international could find himself back in the reckoning. For Gomes a move to Leeds United could represent his last real opportunity of salvaging something from a career that has up until now never really reached the heights it should have done. Given the state of crisis that so often surrounds Leeds United, you would think a bit of experience at the back would go down nicely. The likes of Paddy Kenny and Jamie Ashdown don’t quite seem cut out for the rigours of a Premier League shootout, and for Leeds this signing could help bolster their bid to return to the top flight. It is easy to write Gomes off as a bit of a clown, when in reality he is still a world-class stopper. He was never going to recover after the early setbacks at Spurs, and a fresh start could be what is needed to turn his fortunes around once more. Levy’s reluctance to sell was perhaps the only reason a permanent move to Hoffenheim didn’t become a reality, because his spell there was impressive to say the least. This deal makes a lot of sense for everyone concerned. For Spurs it means getting the burden of the players wages off their books for a few months at least, with the potential for a permanent deal in the summer. For the player himself, another opportunity to make a new start and the potential for a final crack at making the World Cup, and all this at a club with a reputation to rival any. If Leeds United can recapture the form that made Gomes such an asset at PSV they will be onto an absolute winner here. Could the Brazilian help fire Leeds back to the Premier League? Only time will tell.

Weds Feb 19th. Cellino and GFH posed fresh questiuons bt Football league – HAY YEP The Football League has asked Massimo Cellino and Gulf Finance House to answer a fresh list of questions relating to his Leeds United takeover with a decision on the Cellino2Italian’s buy-out set to run beyond the end this week.  Lawyers acting for the Football League submitted a request for further information after meeting with Cellino at a hearing in London last Wednesday and receiving documentation from both sides involved in the sale of the Elland Road club. Cellino and GFH have exchanged contracts for a £25million deal which will see Cellino acquire a 75 per cent stake in United through Eleonora Sport Limited, a company established in England last month. The 57-year-old has made the first in a series of staged payments to GFH but their agreement is subject to Football League approval and has been in the hands of the governing body since Cellino’s takeover was finalised 10 days ago. The League granted a request from the Italian businessman for a meeting seven days ago – a hearing at which Cellino, the existing owner of Cagliari, hoped the organisation would sanction his purchase – but the submission of documents by both his legal team and lawyers representing GFH prompted a demand for additional clarification from the League. The questions posed to Cellino and GFH are still to be answered in full and sources close to the deal do not expect the League to deliver a final decision on Cellino’s buy-out until next week at the earliest. The Football League was contacted by the YEP last night but made no comment. Officials at the League are working under intense scrutiny as Cellino and GFH push for a swift end to the approval process. Cellino and other new directors of Leeds are required to comply with the League’s Owners and Directors Test – an examination which he is likely to pass – but a key part of the League’s inquiries is believed to be focusing on Cellino’s ability to fund both his £25m buy-out of United and the future running of the club. Football League rules state that “the executive shall have the power to require the person who proposes to acquire or has acquired control to appear before it and to provide evidence of the source and sufficiency of any funds which that person proposes to invest in or otherwise make available to the Championship club. It also requires clubs to supply “future financial information” regarding any planned buy-out. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, whose organisation applies near-identical ownership regulations to those put in place by the Football League, told a parliamentary select committee in 2011: “There are stringent tests. “We require absolute proof of funding, we engage directly with (prospective owners’) banks and their banking organisations, we make sure that they can fund and sustain the club for the short to medium term.” Cellino is a Sardinian agricultural magnate whose family are said to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. He bought Serie A club Cagliari in 1992 and took up permanent residence in Miami in 2005. 

Weds Feb 19th. Leeds burying the hatchet ahead of takeover – Hay YEP. Phil Hay detects a warming in relations between leeds united chief Brian McDermott and prospective new owner Massimo Cellino. Cagliari Calcio have been on the brink of another change of manager for the past 48 hours but in Leeds and at Elland Road, Massimo Cellino and Brian McDermott are slowly finding common ground. Cellino’s tally of sacked coaches in 22 years as Cagliari owner is threatening to climb to 37 with Diego Lopez, the club’s Uruguayan boss, reportedly on his last legs and no longer in favour at Stadio Sant’Elia. Cagliari are 15th in the Serie A table and too close to relegation for Cellino’s comfort. Ivo Pulga, Lopez’s assistant, was seen as his obvious successor but in an unforeseen turn of events last night, Cellino fired Pulga instead. Some in Italy think Cellino intends to hand the job to Gianluca Festa – a man who could yet figure in his grand plan for Leeds United – but the situation is unclear amid claims of a revolt among a Cagliari squad unhappy with Lopez’s mooted departure. Lopez took training as usual yesterday. The Italian club have said nothing official about him and are, seemingly, in the process of a sale from Cellino to Qatar’s Al Thani family. A deal between them would end his reign at Cagliari, covering more than two decades. As that situation plays out, his focus in Leeds has been fixed in part on establishing a healthy relationship with McDermott and curing the friction caused by the events of transfer deadline day. The pair met last week along with United managing director David Haigh for the first time since Cellino instructed his legal representative, Chris Farnell, to sack McDermott on the final day of January. Cellino and McDermott had spoken once before, prior to the Italian agreeing a deal to buy 75 per cent of Leeds from current owner Gulf Finance House, but their latest talks were more pivotal – a chance for them to establish whether working together would be possible, in spite of what had gone before. Cellino appeared satisfied with their exchange, telling a national newspaper: “Brian has a big heart and gives 100 per cent. We get on well. There was a lot of misunderstanding early on and we’ve put that behind us.” He spoke of their shared love of music and guitars – Cellino, 57 is in a band called Maurilios – and said doubts about each other had passed. McDermott is yet to comment on their meeting but is thought to have been satisfied with what was discussed. The former Reading coach saw his job threatened twice in January, once when Cellino attempted to place Festa on United’s bench for a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town and again three days later when Cellino instructed Farnell, a lawyer with Manchester-based IPS Law, to sack McDermott within hours of him and GFH striking a £25m deal for Leeds. In the fortnight since GFH pulled ranked and reversed that decision, Cellino has given the impression of a man warming to McDermott. McDermott, too, is making the effort to be receptive to Cellino, saying he would involve Festa – a close friend of Cellino’s – in his backroom team if the takeover required it and talking more than once of the need for “mutual respect” between him and Cellino. Cellino, meanwhile, is believed to have appointed new legal representatives with a source telling the YEP that his affairs are now being handled by Mishcon de Reya. The firm, which has offices in London and New York, declined to comment. Last week’s discussions between Cellino and McDermott came in advance of a decision from the Football League over whether or not to approve his purchase of Leeds. Preliminary talks between the governing body and Cellino’s legal team began on the weekend of McDermott’s sacking and a hearing between the two sides was held in London last Wednesday. Cellino was informed of the documentation required by the Football League’s board and has spent the past week submitting it. Since that hearing, however, the Football League is understood to have submitted a fresh list of questions to Cellino and GFH, requesting further information to help it reach a decision. The process will not move forward until those questions are answered. None of the parties involved have discussed the timescale involved in approving Cellino’s buy-out but a verdict from the Football League is not expected before the end of this week. Cellino remains convinced that the governing body will allow his buy-out of GFH to go ahead, and he spoke again yesterday of his intention to pay more than £15m to exercise a buy-back option on Elland Road as soon as his takeover is complete. Elland Road has been under private ownership since 2004 and was transferred to a company in the British Virgin Islands, Teak Commercial Limited, the following year. Leeds pay around £1.4m annually to rent the stadium, a cost which rises by three per cent every 12 months. “There is an agreement that we can buy back Elland Road for £15.7m,” said Cellino. I would do that as soon as a takeover went through.” Leeds, in the meantime, resume their season away to Middlesbrough this weekend, a match which neither side can afford to lose with a sizeable gap to the Championship play-offs above them. United will have winger Cameron Stewart available after suspending his loan ahead of last week’s defeat to Brighton to ensure that his 93-day deal from Hull City takes in all but United’s final game of the season. Despite the wait for a decision on Cellino’s buy-out, the club are continuing to be linked with Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland. JackButlandThe 20-year-old is in Dubai with Stoke for warm-weather training but the Premier League club are willing to allow him to leave the Britannia Stadium on loan with two other keepers, Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen, fit again after injury. Barnsley took Butland on a temporary basis during the first half of the season, with Stoke agreeing to pay around two-thirds of his £17,000-a-week salary to make the transfer happen. Butland, a full England international, turned in an impressive performance against Leeds during a 0-0 draw at Elland Road shortly before Christmas and could provide experienced competition for United first-choice Paddy Kenny with Jamie Ashdown continuing his comeback from toe surgery.


Weds Feb 19th. Massimo Cellino may not be best pleased with his daughter Eleonora after she posted an eye-catching selfie at Elland Road. Cellino, the Italian-born Miami based own of Cagliari who has previous been in prison for two weeks on embezzlement and fraudulent misrepresentation charges, is still waiting for the Football League to ratify his takeover of the Yorkshire club.His 23 year-old daughter has brought some more unwanted publicity to the club, if that is possible after the farcical ‘sacking’ of manager Brian McDermott recently, after posting a picture at an empty Elland Road. The Instagram account misscmiami has not surprisingly been deleted this afternoon after the picture went viral. Even if Cellino does not get the seal of approval to take over the club, there is little doubt his family are leaving their mark on Leeds United.

Feb 18th 2014. Why Cellino is the only option for Leeds United – by Ralph Cooke Sabotage Times (good article) For Leeds United beggars can’t be choosers when the choice is a wealthy but erratic Italian guitar player or a return to administration and another player fire sale. So, it seems like we are in the home straight waiting for Football League approval. I appreciate that this episode has yet again caused  divide amongst our supporters but in the words of BMD we all need to be moving in the same direction to take this club forward. With Farnan and his Consortium of Consortiums waiting in the wings a number of fans are still crying out for FL to refuse Massimo Cellino the opportunity of buying the club. I’ll tell you why I’m in favour of Cellino. The events of late January were awful for Leeds United. I personally blame GFH more than anyone for what happened. The truth is, in my opinion,  that it doesn’t really make any difference what happened. It also doesn’t make any difference if he sacks BMD or wants a more ‘hands on’ role with the club. Before you stop reading let me explain why. Sources suggest we are losing £1m a month and have practically no assets. We also owe a lot of money to a great many creditors and under GFH’s stewardship cannot even afford to pay the wages. Cellino even had to pay the wage bill last month! People say we have to give Farnan a chance. He has been looking at Leeds for a long time. GFH have a responsibility only to their shareholders and they were always going to sell to the highest bidder. Even if Farnan could match his offer,and thats still an if,  I simply don’t think Farnan has enough backing to do what is required (i.e. buy back Elland Road, Thorpe Arch, pay off debts  and invest in the team). If they did , they wouldn’t have had to join together and they would have closed the deal already. Farnan has had ample opportunity to say he has the money, not just to buy the club but also the above but he has not. So the most likely thing his consortium will do is tread water like GFH and hope that by drip feeding some cash here or there we just luckily go up and they hit the jackpot. Indeed, he has said there were some institutional investors ie more like GFH! Cellino is the only guy who COULD afford to wipe our debts and buy ER,TA and take us to next level. Maybe he won’t, maybe he’ll interfere too much, maybe he’ll sack BMD, but my point is the others simply don’t have the money – if they did have we wouldn’t be here. If Farnan and his consortium of consortiums had the money they would have closed the deal as quick as Cellino did a long time ago. It’s like Farnans consortium don’t even have any lottery tickets – but Cellino  has bought a truck load. He’s our only chance of winning the lottery. Peoples main argument for Farnan is ‘Farnan has not been given a chance as GFH wont speak to him’. Please, this is one of the most ridiculous arguments I have ever heard. In business, money talks, and Farnan and his lot had ample time to get this sorted before Cellino had ever been heard of. Farnan could have very easily said ‘We not only can match the bid but we have the funds available to immediately buy back Elland Road, pay off our debts and invest in the team’ – but he didn’t. We are no Calgari, he had issues there that he wont get at Leeds – a tiny crowd for example, and Italian Politics to deal with. He has also pledged to take us up in his first full season.  People say ‘Money does not guarantee success’ – of course it doesn’t. However, lets be very clear about something. No money, in this day and age, almost guarantees no success.  Money is a pre-requisite for success – necessary but not sufficient. It is a sad reality of todays game. Indeed, even Jose Mourinho could not take up a side as bereft of quality such as our current team. We have been starved of on the pitch investment for years. It is the missing piece to the great jigsaw that is leeds. Cellino can see that we are a sleeping giant and he put his money where others have failed to do so for years. Of course, I’d rather see an honest billionaire Leeds fan from Leeds investing in the club – but I live in the real world. Not worried about FFP. If we pay off our debts and stop spending money on interest payments our profits will increase and we will have more money to invest in the team. I would also bet Cellino will attract some big money sponsors. More Italians? Some flair? Better football? It can’t get much worse than the inconsistent lot we have right now. You can only get consistency from quality players and we have very few. I truly believe we have the greatest fans in the world and more potential than teams like Citeh and Chelski ever had. It seems Cellino sees that too and didn’t need to quibble about a million or two here or there or do vast amounts of due diligence like we’ve seen by GFH before him. He may be in it for ego – but our goals are aligned so I don’t care – I do believe he is our best bet to get back to the Premiership next season. I hope the FL hurry up and approve him because the club are haemorrhaging money – who will pay this months wages? I don’t want admin and another protracted take over could take us over the edge. Im sick and tired of watching average footballers play average football week in week out. I want the premiership and I want it yesterday. As  premiership teams get richer with every season, parachute payments increasing I can only see going up will only get harder and harder. The arguments against Cellino are as follows – with my response: 1) He’s twice convicted fraudster – My opinion is Id love a squeaky clean Leeds owner – but there are not that many out there. In any case, its not as if he’s killed anyone and the politics in Italy are very different to the politics in this country. As I said before, the critical thing for me is what better option than Cellino is there out there. I don’t see any. (Note – one conviction was later overturned) 2) He has current legal issues – Again, not a big deal, see above. 3) He sacked BM and lied about it – As I said earlier this was a mess from start to finish but I do feel we don’t know the whole story and GFH must take a lot of the blame for that night. He was told he already owned the club – his legal team and GFH have to be at fault there. Also, very few takeovers happen where the man investing millions doesn’t bring his own man in. Don’t get me wrong, what happened was a disgrace and BMD did not deserve to be treated like that. Cellino at least tried to put things right. Remember also, if it wasn’t for Cellino we would surely have accepted a bid of around 6 million that came in for McCormack on the final day. Cellino insisted he stay and he did. 4) He has forced players on BMD – Just don’t see this as a show stopper. He has been always looked to bring players in. I’d rather him leave the managing to the manager but it really doesn’t outweigh the arguments for us needing the investment. Would a bit a flair and passing ability really be so terrible? 5) He is still trying to get Festa into the club – Again, why is this a big deal. By his own admission he does not see Festa as long term manager. He is entitled to have one of his own men around if he puts up his money. 6) He has hired 36 managers in 20 years – Not a great headline. But many wealthy owners hungry for success go through managers if they aren’t happy. My understanding is a number of those managers were only ever going to be short term/ caretakers so the headline is somewhat skewed. In any case – as described before my biggest reason for wanting Cellino is that there are no better options – so this argument simply doesn’t hold any weight for me. So I support Cellino 100% for the reason that we need someone quick and there are no better answers out there given our dire financial state. He has his faults but they are not that relevant – the only relevant argument is who else is there? Who is more likely to succeed? It may not work out, Its gonna be a bumpy ride so buckle up – BUT he is our only real option. I have two boys aged 9 and 5. They of course support Leeds, but I would love them to have a chance of seeing some of the football our once great team used to play in the Champions League. I was there at Bournemouth away, Valencia away, Deportivo Away, Barcelona … the list goes on. They deserve some great Leeds moments too… Hopefully in my lifetime! This really could be it – the end of our 10 years in the wilderness! In any case, it looks like only the FL stand in his way, so all being well this goes through soon and we, as fans, can do what we we do best – get behind the team, support the club and go Marching On Together.



Tues Feb 18th. McDermott and Cellino at last meet up PROSPECTIVE new Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has held talks with manager Brian McDermott over the Italian’s plans for the club, the Yorkshire Post understands. The pair were due to meet after United’s 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion a week ago, but the get-together had to be shelved. Cellino was unable to attend the game because of illness so the meeting was rearranged for last Thursday in Yorkshire when United managing director David Haigh is also believed to have been present. All manner of subjects are understood to have been discussed as Cellino edges closer to his planned £25m buyout of the club. The 57-year-old businessman, who has been spotted several times at both Elland Road and the club’s Thorp Arch training ground in the past few days, met Football League officials last Wednesday as the criteria required to pass the Fit and Proper Persons’ Test were outlined. As part of those talks, the League also specified what documentation they will require before being able to decide on whether Cellino is allowed to complete his takeover. League approval is the only hurdle that the would-be owner has to negotiate after exchanging contracts with Gulf Finance House over a proposed 75 per cent buyout earlier this month. Cellino, who is expected to 
attend Saturday’s game at Middlesbrough, has already proved to be a controversial figure since arriving on the Elland Road scene. He tried to sack McDermott on January 31 and instal his associate – and former Middlesbrough defender – Gianluca Festa as head coach. The move was blocked by GFH. Celliono later said : ” Brian has a big heart and gives 100 per cent, we get on well.” “There was a lot of misunderstanding early on and we’ve put that behind us. He loves the guitar and I want to help him get even better. “I’m getting two guitars sent over for him from Cagliari. Maybe we could even play a concert at Elland Road one day. “I love music. I have been lucky to play with Deep Purple, the Scorpions, Cream, Clapton and even George Harrison.”  

Tuesday Feb 18th. Star linked with Leeds switch. Leeds United are believed to be closing in on a loan move for Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, who is in need of game time. Asmir Begovic continues to dominate the number one jersey at the Britannia Stadium and with Thomas Sorensen continuing to act as deputy, Butland is not getting a look in. The England international has already had one loan spell at Barnsley this season, and that is where he caught the eye of Leeds boss Brian McDermott, who is keen to swoop. Butland is wanted to put pressure on Leeds keeper Paddy Kenny, but Mark Hughes will want assurances over the amount of football he will play before sanctioning a deal. The youngster will one day be Stoke’s number one, but for now he needs games and a loan move away for the remainder of the season, will benefit all parties.


Mon Feb 17th. Who is Massimo Cellino (Interview with Cagliari fan by Phil Hay YEP)  Who is Massimo Cellino? And what is life like with him in charge of your club? With the Italian closing in on a takeover of Leeds United, the YEP asked supporters of Cagliari – the club he bought in 1992 – and members of the online forum Quelli Del Sito to reflect on 22 years in Cellino’s hands. This is their collective response. Q: What is Massimo Cellino’s reputation like among the supporters of Cagliari? Is he popular and is he respected? A: Historically there has always been division among supporters of Cagliari. Even the Ultras were divided about Cellino’s reputation. Back when there were two groups of Ultras (there is only one now) their different positions resulted in episodes of violence inside and outside the stadium. Overall you hate him or love him. You can’t be indifferent about him. But among the supporters there was a certainty that Cellino could be the only owner of the club. This is because of general indifference among Italians about buying Cagliari. Bearing that in mind, all-in-all we were satisfied with the ‘inevitable’ management we had. As the recent news about possible new Qatari owners came out, the attitude among the fans changed quickly. During a match between Cagliari and Milan, for the first time at the stadium some fans ‘invited’ Cellino to leave Cagliari.


Now, after the ‘Fiat 500’ statement [Cellino’s comment that he was “running a Fiat 500 in Italy, now I have the chance to run a Ferrari” at Leeds], the majority of supporters can’t stand him and want him to quit the club. He’s had to bear insults and criticism on websites and social networks. This never happened before. As a person he’s very particular and a good poker player. He loves impossible challenges. He also loves to do things alone, and he often says the opposite to what he really thinks or does. He changes ideas repeatedly (36 coaches at Cagliari in 22 years!) and he’s stubborn, hard-headed. For sure, he’s not a diplomat. Q: As a club, what have been Cellino’s main successes during his time as owner of Cagliari? Has it been a happy, stable period? A: As a businessman, his main achievement is his financial strategy. He’s always got the maximum output with minimum effort. Of course that’s not a satisfaction for supporters but along with it I would mention the positives: the regular payment of footballers’ wages (not so usual in Italian football), a lot of seasons in the Italian premiership (17 out of 22 years in Serie A) and the ability to make the best of every transfer – always gaining a lot of money despite very low costs. He has done this through selling players like David Suazo, Alessandro Matri, Radja Nainggolan and Alessandro Budel. Q: As a team, what have been Cagliari’s biggest achievements since 1992? A: The race to semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup in 1994 and the excellent placement in that competition (we lost to Inter Milan having beaten Juventus in the previous stage). But that was a legacy from the previous owners (the Orrù family) rather than a Cellino achievement. Also, the historical 2007-2008 stay in Serie A [Cagliari escaped relegation despite an awful first half of the season]. We call that ‘salvation history’. Q: Do you think that since 1992, Cagliari as a team have achieved more or less than they should have done? Do you consider the past 22 years to have been a success? A: You can’t be absolutely sure but a defeat against Udinese during the 2009-10 season with Massimiliano Allegri managing Cagliari is probably the best example of the many chances we’ve lost during these years. Cagliari were very close to reaching fourth place and consequently the Champions League. Considering the environment of Cagliari and club’s budget, you couldn’t say that we should have done better than finishing every year with a modest performance in the major league. Cellino never spent much on improving the team (on the contrary, he always spent very little) so because of that the achievements have been very good. With a bigger effort, things could have been better. But this is all based on ‘what-ifs’ and ‘buts’. Q: In the past two decades, what would you say have been Cellino’s biggest mistakes? What has he got wrong? 1) Awful management because of his difficult character. People working with him or near him seem to find it a hard situation. He has a strong, single-minded personality – a very moody kind of person. Here are two examples. After coach Roberto Donadoni was sacked, he told the press that when he was relieved of his job, it was never explained to him why. “Not only that, since that day we have not even had a chance to speak,” he said. Even the fans did not understand why Donadoni was sacked. The other example is David Suazo. In August 2011, Cellino said “Suazo is like a son”, “a prodigal son”, “the icing on the cake” [Suazo was set to rejoin Cagliari from Inter Milan]. In the last minutes of the transfer window, his profile was removed from the Cagliari website. We weren’t told why.


2) He had very bad relationships with the mayors of Cagliari, Elmas and Quartu Sant’Elena, in addition to problems with the administrative district, police headquarters, the judiciary, Roma, Napoli, Juventus and other examples too many to list. He also had difficult relationships with certain coaches and relationships with some players ended badly. 3) Stadium issues. Playing home games in Trieste, 1000km away, and at the Is Arenas is probably going to remain the worst experience in the recent history of Cagliari. The sadness caused from the loss of our side (considering that Cagliari is really representing an entire region, Sardinia) won’t ever be repaired, not even with a Scudetto. Stadio Sant’Elia [Cagliari’s traditional home] is now a bunch of rubble and we don’t know when or if this situation will be settled. For economical convenience the stadium has never had proper maintenance and this caused a distressing scenario which, all-in-all, is forcing Cellino to sell Cagliari. We are waiting for confirmation of the sale. Several times Cellino told the press that “Cagliari was going to despair without a new stadium.” Cellino’s leaving Cagliari without a new stadium but the club will not disappear. The fans will always be here. Q: With Cagliari leaving their stadium before returning and playing games at two other venues, exactly how big a problem has the situation been for Cellino? A: A giant problem. There was no more income from ticket sales and we had no idea for months about where we were going to play matches. We played for an incredibly long period in Trieste, far away from Cagliari in north-east Italy, and it cost nine million euros to build the Is Arenas stadium – which was then taken apart nine months later. This has caused big trouble for Cellino and he was imprisoned one year ago. Wherever he planned to build a new stadium, he’s always had problems with Italian judges. Now there are several trials he’s involved in. Q: Cellino is facing an embezzlement trial over matters relating to the construction of the temporary Is Arenas. How much attention is paid by the fans to that or his previous criminal convictions? A: In Italy the legal process is very, very long. We also give a different weight to criminal convictions than in England, and we react in a different way – in a more distant way. Sure, what happened around Is Arenas is important because after all it’s connected with public money, public authorities and complicated laws. But who knows how many years it will take to get the truth? It doesn’t help anyone – not the club, Cellino or the supporters – to have so little idea of what really happened. Q: How does Cellino treat the supporters of Cagliari? Does he listen to their opinions or does he ignore them? A: Basically, he doesn’t care about supporters issues or their points of view. We used to laugh about trying to predict the crazy new action of our unpredictable owner. He’s a smart and brainy man and in Italy the most important thing for a football club owner is the relationship with the local press. Some say even with the Ultras (they are the only ones in Cagliari who have the strength to challenge someone like him). He’s always been skilled with them. But in Leeds he’s been heavily criticized by the fans, mostly for trying to sack McDermott. When he figured out that situation, he quickly changed his mind. As one Italian journalist wrote: “The man is so talented: he understood the importance of making connections with supporters and local press – neither soft nor tender ones in (Leeds).” Another iconic case about the supporters’ relationship with Cagliari is referred to as the ‘black list’, created by Cagliari in 2012. It was used to ban from the stadium a bunch of supporters who were asking others not to go in Trieste for the last four games of the season. It was the first time ever that Cagliari played games in another region – the most important matches, 1000km away. Q: Over the years Cellino has earned a reputation for selling good players at a very good price. Does it anger the supporters to see players sold like that or do you support his financial strategy? A: In general for a small side as Cagliari is, this is not the wrong strategy. However, it depends how you act, when you act, and which player you sell. We agree in selling players at a convenient price (Cellino has been able to trade players for a price higher than what they are worth) but only if you then invest a significant part of the income in improving the team. This has happened very rarely in the Cellino era. A quite recent example is the forward, Matri, sold in January 2011 to Juventus for 18m Euro. They needed Matri and with Cagliari in a comfortable position in Serie A, Cellino did a very good deal without risking relegation. But Matri was never replaced with another forward. Cagliari’s bank balance is still thanking Cellino for this. But the supporters…? Q: Do you believe that Cagliari are better off as a club now than they were when he became owner in 1992? What situation was the club in back then? A: You have to separate the economic and financial side from the sport side. From an economical point of view, Cagliari are better off than in 1992. The club has had 20 years of financial stability. Lots of clubs went out of business in the meantime but we didn’t. Talking about football, we should discuss the worst defeat ever. Cagliari over the years have lost the supporters’ faith. They are depressed. In 1992 there were 38,000 fans at all Cagliari games. Today, the attendance for home matches attendance is about 5,000. The capacity of the old Sant’Elia stadium has gone from 70k to 35k to 20k and so on. At the moment only two of four sectors are available for fans. Lot of fans say they’re not going anymore because of Cellino’s role and the way he’s managed Cagliari. They say they’ve lost their passion and thrill for the team. At the start of a season you can guess with a reasonable percentage of success the final league position. It makes things quite boring – following a club without ambition. Bear in mind that Cellino has never aimed to create a better team or a more competitive team. What he wanted was to have strong stability in Serie A, nothing more. But it’s true that in the 90s everything was different, and football too. In 1992 we were a very tough team, even though we were unbalanced. In fact, we saved our season in an incredible way against every prediction. The previous owner, the Orrù family, had no more money to invest in the team so they sold everything to Cellino. He was very young at the time with a lot of enthusiasm but a lack of experience. He’s compensated over the years. Q: Cellino has sacked 36 coaches during his time as Cagliari owner. Are the fans supportive of that strategy or would they have liked to see certain managers given more time? A: Sometimes he did the right thing, sometimes it was pure irrationality. Some decisions were questionable and some very wrong. Among the 36, we remember with love Bruno Giorgi, Giovanni Trapattoni, Oscar Tabarez and Massimiliano Allegri (sacked in 2010). But there were a lot of failures. Renzo Ulivieri was the only one in 22 years who made Cellino declare “I was wrong in sacking him, I should have listened to the supporters.” We’d have liked to have seen more time given to Edoardo Reja in 2004-05 season and Donadoni in 2011-12. Q: Overall, would you describe his 22 years as Cagliari owner as a success or a failure, and why? A: A great success but just for him. Nowadays he’s much richer than 20 years ago. In fact, he’s able to purchase Leeds United in an apparently easy way! Despite some great emotion for supporters (the UEFA cup semi-finals, heroic promotions), it won’t take much for us to forget this long period of 22 years. Two relegations, two promotions to Serie A and a lot of very low ranks in that league, with the only hope to stay in Serie A. No more, never – without praise or blame. Q: It appears that Cellino is about to sell Cagliari to a Qatari family. Would you be sorry to see him leave the club or do you think new owners would be good for Cagliari? A: We are going crazy for this. Because of these rumors, we feel happiness after a 20-year sleep! We’re ready to celebrate this change. It would represent a big event and we are looking forward to it – if it’s true. Cagliari is not such a big club or city, with quite moderate supporters. To bring back passion, the new management would not need to spend billions (but if they spent a lot of money we would be delighted). We just need a serious program for the future in order to improve what we actually have. In our opinion, Cellino is to blame for a lack of planning since we reached Serie A in 2004. Maybe it was his will – to keep things as they are without spending a Euro more than necessary. Q: Do you think Cellino is suited to owning an English football club? Do you believe that he and the supporters at Leeds United will be able to work together? A: He’s a top manager, no doubt about it. The man knows what he’s doing. Besides, if he’s investing his own resources he takes care of his money. He’s the man Leeds’ debts. He’ll be able to lessen or pay off their debts. The Premier League’s got a very big charm, especially the revenue it represents. That must be the first goal for him – to increase his revenue – so he’ll do everything he can to reach that result at a reasonable price. But who knows if he will be able to perform in a different environment? At Cagliari he decides everything on his own. Working together at Cagliari is a unknown concept. Everything was decided by his unquestionable will. In England it doesn’t work that way but it’s not so hard to imagine that he’ll be excited and convinced he’ll succeed. He likes to be the star. Thirty six sacked coaches are proof of this. Q: In your opinion, why do you think he wants to get involved in English football? A: Money. Only this. CELLINO’S CAGLIARI TIMELINE 1992: Buys Cagliari from the Orru brothers, Antonio and Ignazio. Becomes club president. 1993: Cagliari qualify for the UEFA Cup under coach Carlo Mazzone. 1994: The club’s UEFA Cup campaign ends in the semi-finals with defeat to Inter Milan. It is still seen as one of the highlights of Cellino’s time as owner. 1996: Cellino is charged and convicted of defrauding the European United and the Italian government. He receives a suspended prison sentence which is later expunged on appeal. 1997: Cagliari are relegated from Serie A after losing a play-off against Piacenza. 1998: The club win an immediate promotion from Serie B, finishing third in the division and maintaining an unbeaten home record. 2000: An horrendous season in which Cagliari win just three times sees the club relegated again with 22 points. 2001: Cellino is convicted of false accounting at Cagliari. He receives another suspended sentence. 2004: With Gianfranco Zola in their squad, the Rossoblu fight their way back into Serie A as Serie B runners-up. 2005: Cellino steps down as president for one year. He is replaced by Bruno Ghirardi. In this same year he moves to Miami. 2012: Cagliari are forced to leave their Stadio Sant’Elia due to safety concerns. They play a number of games in Trieste, some 800km away, and some at Stadio Is Arenas, a custom-built ground close to their traditional home. 2013: Cellino is arrested in Stadio Is Arenas on suspicion of embezzlement and false representation relating to the stadium’s construction. He is imprisoned and then placed under house arrest. He is currently awaiting trial. 2014: The 57-year-old bids for Leeds United and strikes a deal to buy 75 per cent of the club. At the same time, reports in Italy say he has agreed a deal to sell 98 per cent of Cagliari to Qatar’s Al Thani family. Sat

Feb 15th. Takeover of Leeds just has to happen – Hay YEP If the Cellino deal fails for whatever reason, Phil Hay says the fans will expect the Farnan group to step in and save United from ruin. The only certainty about the Football League’s assessment of Massimo Cellino was that it would turn over every stone around him. Between a rock and a hard place, the organisation has a duty to get its decision right: legally, financially and ethically. The prevailing view is that the governing body can’t win. In a strict legal sense, students of the Owners and Directors Test and the stated requirements of the Football League think Cellino’s takeover of Leeds United will gain approval. Nonetheless, the League has many voices in its ear arguing that the Italian has no business at Elland Road and no business in English football. So who does it please? At a hearing in London on Wednesday, a hearing attended by Cellino and Chris Farnell, the lawyer responsible for attempting to sack Brian McDermott, the 57-year-old was given a full outline of the documents the League requires to reach a verdict on whether his 75 per cent buy-out should proceed. The meeting was called at Cellino’s request and with an expectation on his part that approval would be granted by the end of it. The League was less impulsive and, minus certain information, less inclined to rush him through. It has said little about Cellino’s takeover while saying far more than it does about most. That alone demonstrates an awareness of outside attention and inevitable scrutiny however it acts. It was suggested to the YEP this week that the Football League and the Premier League had spoken amongst themselves to establish whether Cellino would comply with top-flight ownership rules were Leeds to be promoted with him in situ. The Football League played down that claim, saying the regulations of the two organisations were essentially identical and the Football League was acting alone, but officials there are covering every base – a methodical process which will produce a ruling on Cellino’s suitability in its own time. It might take another week. Delicate though the examination is, the League has a balance to strike between due care and laborious progress. Time is something that Leeds do not have a great deal of, and money even less. The club’s owner, Gulf Finance House, took a payment of around £1.5million from Cellino last month and used it to ensure that the January wage bill was paid on time and in full. It is not the first loan used by Leeds for that purpose and will not be the last unless Cellino’s buy-out is approved within the next fortnight. Staff wages for February are due in that period and Leeds have had no income from home games for two weeks. They do not have another match at Elland Road until March 8 and are still in debt to countless suppliers who await payment for services. Perhaps Cellino intends to cough up again. Or perhaps United can go cap-in-hand to someone else willing to offer them credit. The club are caught between stools while Cellino and the League look each other in the eye. The bottom line with the Italian and his takeover is that he and his plan either abide by Football League’s rules or they don’t. The League needed a wedge of documentation to reach a decision and time to sift through the paperwork but Cellino is being judged on specific parameters. There are, it seems, no sections of the regulations allowing the Football League to reserve the right to object to an individual they don’t trust or don’t like. Cellino is only obliged to demonstrate that his wealth is genuine, his convictions are spent and he bypasses the explicit factors disqualifying someone from buying a club. He was at Elland Road on Thursday, a day after his Football League hearing, and is said to be acting in the manner of a businessman who thinks his acquisition is a formality. Others hope that the Football League feel differently, particularly the consortium led by Mike Farnan who have clung to this vessel like a dog to a bone. The group, Together Leeds, made contact with the Football League earlier this week to propose a second way; in essence to inform the governing body that GFH had an alternative to Cellino’s takeover. Farnan’s consortium have told the League that they will pay the same price for the same deal. The problem, they claim, is that GFH will not negotiate with them. The Bahraini bank took umbrage with a first offer made by Together Leeds in November and is not prepared to go back to the start of the selling process with United in obvious trouble and part of Cellino’s £25m payment already received. Cellino’s deal is a good one for GFH – the bank takes the cash, it keeps a 10 per cent shareholding and David Haigh and Salah Nooruddin remain in senior management positions at Elland Road. It suits all concerned in that camp. Farnan says his group are supported by “institutional funding”, though blue-chip funding might be slightly more specific. He says they can afford to buy and run the club. And their appeal to the Football League was, however you cut it, an appeal to the League to turn Cellino down. It was a brave move which leaves no room for retreat. That is to say, if Cellino weakens when the river card turns, the public will expect Farnan and his colleagues to go all-in without delay or excuses. Because however good or bad an option Cellino is, the one thing Leeds cannot afford to be left with is no option at all.

Friday Feb 14th. Brian McDermott recall doesn’t help himself – From ‘Leeds all over’  I was one of the people who was thrilled with the appointment of McDermott and has liked him since. I was also furious when Cellino tried to illegally sack him. However its dawned on me recently that is Brian as good as we all seem to think he is? Is he a brilliant manager? Or just somebody we want to be our best mate? It’s a tough one. Looking at it, everything is much more positive than last season, not that that’s hard. We have occasional games when we play great football and everything is rosy, but these are becoming few and far between. How many times last season where I longed for Warnock to be sacked so I didn’t have to watch hoof-ball any more? I’m not sure, there were too many. This season all started off well on that front, even if we didn’t play particularly well we were passing the ball and it looked good for the future. Where has all that gone? We play about 5 minutes of passing a match and the rest we just launch it forwards, even when our striker is 5ft 9, mental. An extremely worrying thing is our plan B, bringing Matt Smith on as a sub and aiming at his head, if that doesn’t work then we lose. Leeds United finally have wingers, as amazing as that is, why don’t we use them? Get to the byline and get some good crosses in to Smith? Its worked before… I genuinely love McDermott, however some of his decisions baffle me. When he knows his job isn’t exactly secure, why set up to not lose against Brighton, rather than win? As bad as we have been at times this season we still have a chance of the play-offs. Why waste that opportunity by going for a draw at Brighton? Then when we go down a goal we look to the bench and who do we see? Matt Smith, Noel Hunt, Tonge, Brown, Peltier, Wootton and Cairns. Inspiring isn’t it? I mean I know we don’t have much strength in-depth no matter how many players we have. Poleon may not be the complete player but surely he’s worth a place on the bench? Some pace, energy. Maybe even Diouf for a bit of a spark? What is the actual point of Michael Brown and Michael Tonge on a bench? Fresh legs? Nah. I’m not usually one for stats, but at this stage last season we had the exact same record. So have we improved? Slightly, but not as much as hoped. His signings are an odd point as well. Hunt so far looks like the worst of the bunch, pointless. Wootton could well come good but looks nothing special so far. Matt Smith has been a decent addition, giving us something different. Zaliukas for me is a great signing and player, I don’t understand why he’s been dropped for one bad game. The big one in the summer, Luke Murphy for £1m. In my opinion he is a good player and will only get better, he has taken a while to adapt but is a really good passer of the ball, if played further forward in midfield we will see his best. Jimmy Kebe has had one good game so far, against Huddersfield. There is no doubt he has the talent but he is yet to show it consistently, let’s hope there’s more. Cameron Stewart has potential that’s for sure but as of yet is yet to show it. So overall is signings have been pretty average in my opinion.

Feb 14th. Green’s time at an end in Leeds Leeds United: Paul Green does not expect to return after Ipswich spell. Leeds United midfielder Paul Green does not expect to play for the club again after joining Ipswich Town on loan. The 30-year-old has played 10 times for United this season, but has not featured since October. “I’ve not been involved much this year and that’s probably a big factor in me not staying next year,” he told BBC Radio Suffolk. Green was born less than 20 miles south east of Leeds in Pontefract. He started his career at fellow Yorkshire club Doncaster before a spell at Derby LUFCPaulGreenCounty. He has four goals from 46 for United. It would be nice to get something sorted – if not here [at Ipswich] then somewhere else.” Green, who will be at Portman Road until the end of the season, is out of contract this summer after signing a two-year deal following his move from Derby County in 2012. The Republic of Ireland midfielder was signed by Neil Warnock and made 30 appearances under the former Sheffield United boss, but has found opportunities hard to come by under current manager Brian McDermott this season. “It’s my home town and I loved it there. Neil Warnock brought me in but this year I’ve been out of favour,” he said. I enjoyed it and it’s a shame I couldn’t stay. But it’s nice to be down at Ipswich and helping them get into the play-offs. “I’ve been down a week or so. It’s a lovely place. The lads are brilliant.” And Green is also keen to remain on the international scene, having played in Martin O’Neill’s first two games as Republic of Ireland manager in November. “Internationals are a big thing for me. To be playing games and to get into the squad for March [a friendly against Serbia] would be great, but we’ll see what happens when that comes around,” he said.

Friday Feb 14th. Q & A to Peter Beagrie Sky Sports MADNESS AT ELLAND ROAD Hi Peter, I’m on the big dipper here at Elland Road. One minute we will be marching towards the Premier League, the next minute we are about to financially implode and go into administration. What I would like to ask is whether you think the takeover will send us soaring back up the track or will we nose dive back into oblivion? Also, will Massimo Cellino’s continental organisational structure of making the manager the coach work with Brian at the helm? This approach has worked well for the likes of Juventus but to me this is signalling a new future of English football where managers no longer have a say on transfers or team selection. Ben BEAGS SAYS: The only difference between Leeds United and a circus is that a circus only has one clown! They appointed an excellent manager to take the club forward – a man who understands the importance of youth, and can man manage, coach, spot a player and deal with the media – yet starve him of resources and don’t allow him to operate at his best, even before they permit an egomaniac to sack him prior to him taking full control of the club. I have witnessed at close hand the mismanagement at Leeds and feel sadness and disbelief that the club’s strength – their army of fans – is also their weakness. Everybody will always see them as an opportunity to make money due to the size of their following and unfortunately instead of taking a long-term approach they take short cuts and hope to make a fast buck. Normality and stability are not words usually associated with Leeds United but just when you think common sense is prevailing the happenings of Freaky Friday thrust your club in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. GFH are haemorrhaging money and never had enough to sustain the running of your football club, Ben; people with real money don’t cry out for others to purchase 10-15 per cent of their investment. The fact Cellino was allowed to run roughshod over people stank of desperation form the club’s owners and poured scorn on the statements made in the infancy of their reign about transparency, honesty and keeping the fans informed. Call me old-fashioned but the manager is the only one who should decide which players are signed at a football club as his reputation is on the line. Yes, have people scouting and putting forward names of players who may have the attributes to fit into your style of play, but I have spoken to many managers who are frustrated at, having identified a player, not entering the negotiations and see the deal fall through. All managers like to look a player in the eye and sell the club to them to make them feel wanted. In my experience, that is always the best method, especially with British players. (Peter Beagrie is here every week on answering YOUR Football League questions. The former winger, who played over 770 games, representing clubs in all four tiers of the English footballing pyramid, including Manchester City, Everton, Bradford, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby, forms part of the Sky Sports punditry team for all the big matches in the Championship, League One and League Two)

Friday. Feb 14th. Cellino is wealthy man with long term plan for Leeds United – Lorimer YEP However you feel about the way football works these days, you can’t deny that money makes the world go round. The most successful clubs in this country and across the globe are the clubs with the most cash to spend, and teams who thrive without it are exceptions to the rule. It might take time, as it has with Leicester City, but if you’ve got strong and consistent financial backing then success will come your way eventually. And in Massimo Cellino I see a man with the sort of wealth that a lot of people at Leeds United have been yearning for. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked why a club as big and famous as Leeds can’t find the rich owners who’ve invested in Manchester City, Chelsea and quite a few other clubs. It’s always been a bit of a mystery. But Cellino is a wealthy man and when I read what he’s saying about his takeover at Leeds, he sounds like someone who is looking at us as a real long-term project. He’s talking about buying the ground back and involving his sons in the running of the club. You don’t do that if you’re planning to be in and out in a couple of years. It makes sense when you think about it. He’s owned Cagliari since 1992 and a fair few Italian people I’ve spoken to say he’s done very good things there. He’s kept them in the top league for a long time and the supporters seem to like him. With a passion for football like his, he could make the same impact here. Obviously a lot has been said about his background but I’m not really sure that’s for us to talk about. The Football League has measures and tests in place to make sure that anyone who shouldn’t be buying a club doesn’t, and that’s the only judgement that matters. I know that a lot of fans will be very concerned about the events of the night when Brian McDermott was ‘sacked’, and it was certainly a big cause for concern. You could almost call it Mad Friday and it didn’t reflect at all well on anyone. But it would be wrong to judge Cellino purely on that evening. Yes, things went haywire and chaos broke out but I’m going to give Cellino the benefit of the doubt and hope that what we saw was the result of miscommunication and misunderstandings. He and Brian seem to be willing to work together as owner and manager and I have a feeling that when Cellino gets to know him, he’ll like the way Brian works and he’ll like the effort Brian puts in. As with anyone who buys into our club, Cellino needs to be given a chance. I do feel that over the years there’s been a tendency in some quarters to be negative about every takeover that happens here. If Cellino does get the deal done, it’s important that we all get behind him and give him the opportunity to show what he can do; to show what his plans are. The one trait rich individuals share is that everything they do they strive to do well. Cellino’s made millions of pounds over the years and he’s seen as very successful in business so he won’t want to buy Leeds and then make a mess of the club.He’ll want to drive us forward and raise his profile again. That’s how men like him work. Whenever I speak to anyone about Leeds, they tell me that we should be a Premier League side. I agree with them. They tell me that we have a terrific fanbase. I agree with that too. They tell me that Leeds are a big club with massive potential. Once again, I can’t argue. But what Leeds have never had, or not for a long time, is the money to make the most of all of the assets here. Maybe this is our chance to finally secure the backing we need to make that step up from the Championship.  Takeovers are never guaranteed to bring success but I’ll be giving Cellino my support and I hope everyone else will too. It sounds like Cut hoor Peter is angling for another cosy up beside the latest chairman. Something tells me our new Italian will not be as easy to win over as our previous Monaco based chairman.

Thurs Feb 14th. Break is ideal time to recharge batteries – McDermott – PHil Hay YEP. Charlton’s involvement in the fa cup has come at just about the right time for leeds united and brian mcdermott. Phil Hay reports.  Brian McDermott has welcomed the opportunity to draw breath and “recharge batteries” this weekend, admitting the strain of the uncertainty at Leeds United is taking its toll on him. McDermott said the postponement of United’s game at home to Charlton Athletic – moved from Saturday due to Charlton’s involvement in the FA Cup – had come at a good time as he and his squad waited for news of Massimo Cellino’s takeover. The former Reading manager has experienced a gruelling and unprecedented month at Elland Road, sacked illegally by Cellino two weeks ago and forced to contend with confusion and problems caused by the protracted change of ownership at Leeds. Cellino, the Italian president of Serie A club Cagliari, reached an agreement with United owner Gulf Finance House on January 31 and exchanged contracts with the Bahraini bank last week after making the first of several staggered payments due as part of a £25m buy-out. The 57-year-old agricultural magnate is awaiting Football League approval of his deal and spoke with officials from the governing body in London yesterday. As yet the League has made no decision on whether to sanction his 75 per cent takeover and is believed to be waiting for all the necessary paperwork from Cellino and GFH. Yesterday’s meeting – described by one source as “exploratory” rather than definitive – will be seen by Cellino as another step towards his acquisition of a majority stake in Leeds but McDermott revealed after United’s 1-0 defeat to Oscar Garcia’s Brighton on Tuesday that he had been given no timescale or likely date for completion of Cellino’s purchase. He and Cellino have not spoken since the Italian attempted to dismiss him without authority on transfer deadline day – a decision GFH hastily revoked – but Cellino has talked about United’s boss with increasing positivity since trying to force a sacking which GFH subsequently described as a “misunderstanding”. McDermott, however, has received no firm guarantee that he will remain as manager once Cellino’s takeover proceeds, and his uncertainty was evident again following a narrow but uninspired loss at The Amex Stadium. Leeds do not play again until a week on Saturday when they make the short journey to Middlesbrough – the third of four straight away fixtures – and McDermott said: “The players need a bit of a rest. We’ll get them away from each other after everything that’s been going on. “I need that too. I certainly feel that I do after everything that’s gone on. I need to recharge my batteries but I’ll come back re-energised and ready for Middlesbrough. “It’s been difficult enough as you can imagine. As a football manager what you want to do is concentrate on football matters. That would be the same for any manager at any club. In the last 10 days or so – longer than that really – it hasn’t been the case for me. That hasn’t been the case in the last few weeks.” Cellino did not attend United’s match at Brighton, despite flying in from his home from Miami in time to watch the game. McDermott said the Italian was unwell and Cellino remained in London overnight with his meeting with the Football League planned for yesterday. One of his sons was present at The Amex, alongside managing director David Haigh and club ambassador Peter Lorimer. McDermott has spoken previously about the need for he and Cellino to talk openly and at length about their respective thoughts for the future at Elland Road but he indicated that those discussions could wait until Cellino is formally granted Football League approval and given permission to complete his buy-out of Leeds. GFH effectively sold the club to Cellino six days ago but the bank is still officially the outright owner of United and McDermott is continuing to answer to the Bahraini firm as Cellino and the Football League work towards a resolution. A rival group led by ex-Manchester United International managing director Mike Farnan, meanwhile, are continuing to hold out hope of forcing GFH into a sale of shares to them after asking the Football League to mediate between them. The Together Leeds consortium made an unorthodox approach to the League for assistance after claiming that GFH was refusing to engage them in serious conversation or accept proof of funds. Farnan’s group have made few comments in public about the precise details of their proposal but claim they will match Cellino’s price. McDermott said he was unclear about when he and Cellino might meet, saying: “I haven’t scheduled anything with him yet. He needed to meet the Football League. “I think the most important thing is to know for certain who the new owner’s going to be. If you actually think about it, if the approval hasn’t come through then we need to wait and see who the new owner’s going to be. As it stands, it’s still GFH. But you know as much as I do. It’s all in the hands of the Football League and Mr Cellino and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned. At the moment I’m just doing my job and doing what I’ve got to do – the training, the games. My future will take care of itself I’m sure.” McDermott, who has allowed young midfielder Simon Lenighan to join non-league Halifax Town on a month’s loan, revealed that the situation at Elland Road and the anticipated change of ownership had prevented him from pursuing targets in the Football League’s emergency market. “I would have wanted to sign two or three players that I’d earmarked,” he said. “Unfortunately they’ve gone.”

Weds Feb 12th. Sacking McDermott: Did Cellino Do The Right Thing In The Wrong Way? – Sabotage Times – P 12 February 2014 U James Brown – Leeds: Dump Brian McDermott & Give A Proper Manager A Go

Quite a lot of Leeds United fans aren’t going to like this. The guy who stood four seats along from me at the 1-0 defeat away to Brighton tonight singing ‘Woah Bryan McDermott’ won’t like it. The bloke with 5 ‘O’s in the ‘OOOOOHHH BRIAN MCDERMOTT’ on the back of his replica shirt won’t like it.

I’ve thought about this a lot since it happened ten days ago and I’m starting to think Massimo Cellino was right to try and sack BMD. He just went about it the wrong way. To paraphrase Eric Morecambe, “He was making the right moves but not necessarily in the right order.”

Cellino was hasty and foolish and ahead of the game and short sighted and didn’t have a suitable replacement to hand and had under-estimated how much Leeds fans love BMD but do you know what? Maybe because he was on the verge of dropping £25,000,000 maybe he didn’t want a manager who’d only secured three points out of the preceding 21. Maybe he fancied having a crack at scraping into the play-offs. Maybe he was just being realistic and anyone who has watched Leeds play at all in the last three months – Leicester and Huddersfield aside – might be forgiven for thinking it’s about time we took a reality check.

In the last ten league games Leeds have taken 9 points out of a possible 30. Three of those points, the only resounding victory, the only victory that wasn’t wind assisted, were won the day after BMD appeared to have been dismissed.

It’s a pity he can’t inspire such a victory by being in charge in quite the same way when he was no longer in charge. If Brian McDermott wasn’t a good bloke who has said all the right things since he’s taken over managing our club I wouldn’t be writing this now. If he hadn’t been humble and friendly and respectful and encouraging to the fans we wouldn’t be here he would have been hounded out of the job by the mob weeks ago. As it is a bit of good will goes a long way when you’ve had Ken Bates and Neil Warnock running things.

If he’d been mean spirited and never took the blame and hauled off young under-performing players to make scapegoats of them as defeats mounted up well, well if he’d done this he wouldn’t be Brian McDermott he’d be Neil Warnock. He doesn’t p*** and whinge, he’s tolerant, he’s bought young players through and into the first team and all those other things we always wish a manager would.

But you know what? There’s only so much on-pitch dogs*** you can take before you’ve just got to stand up say ‘F*** this, it’s dire..”

On the back of two wins, a draw and a near-miss draw – a seven out of 12 point run – Leeds took to the field against a team competing for a possible play off place fielding five defenders – one on the left of a five man midfield – a new signing on the other wing who blows hot and cold each game he plays and no attacking central midfield option. The league’s leading striker was left isolated between two massive centre backs without a decent pass all night.

Leeds tactical performance – as it was two Tuesdays ago against Ipswich – was woeful. Ball after ball was hoofed upwards, Kebe not only didn’t show for balls he actually hid away from areas he could have made a difference in, the defence and central midfield areas all worked hard but what’s the point when the side lacks any guile and Ross McCormack lacks any true support until the last fifteen minutes.

The Leeds first team squad has eight players BMD has bought to the club and only one started tonight, the young midfielder signed for a fee of £1million is the first player to have that price tag since we bough Rob Hulse many years before, you’d think that even in cash-strapped circumstances more than of your signings would be starting a game.

How can you not have a strong young striker Dominic Poleon or an old warhorse with a bit of invention like Djiouf on the bench? Why does it take a goal against before you change the line-up that clearly wasn’t working? Brighton had changed their line-up and the sub promptly sprinted off down their left wing and created a goal that had never looked like coming.

I know what a lot of you will stay, get behind him, terrible off-field going ons, fearing for his job, board room idiots f*****g things up, not much money to buy quality players and they’re all reasonable observations but the reality is this. It’s almost three quarters of the way through the season and we’re playing like we did under Neil Warnock. If a man can’t inspire a team to do better than that why bother? McDermot was quite possibly applying for his job again tonight and frankly his line-up and tactics wouldn’t have got him a second interview in my books. As my Brighton supporting mate said “I thought Leeds would have been much better than that, Bryan McDermott was probably putting them off pacing up and down like that.”

I don’t expect anyone to agree with this and ideally we’ll come out of the slump but after watching tonight’s game I can’t imagine Cellino is itching to keep BMD in the job. I just hope to hell MC gives a proper manager with experience in the English leagues .

This is a very strong article and here are some of the replies which seem to be gathering momentum. But remember, many who blog are those who never attend a match but consider themselves keyboard warriors. Simon Grayson was sacked and in came Neil Warnock. Hardly progress there then. Cellino will eventually bring in his own man, although few could argue that Festa would improve matters. Good article and one that will promote debate.

Steve Finally some sense. the only manager to be considered bomb proof from Leeds fans because he’s a nice guy. Too many dodgy signings (would you give him cash to spend?) and no tactical nous whatsoever! Not good enough. The man is a scout, not a Manager, and at Leeds his ability to spot a player is under review. t take us up.

 StevieDee ve been saying the same for months. s a nice bloke but not up to the task at ER.

Ohaussiekid Totally agree with sacking BM….the club needs someone with more managerial experience. BM has only ever managed two clubs. One he took up to EPL and then doomed it back to Championship. So lets get BM out of LUFC

  • retter666 as always leeds have taken 1 step forward and 2 steps back we will get nowhere with bmc-danny pugh -come on why not play dawson or try the young winger we have(Although I have never seen him even on the bench)

    Ken Taylor Good article. I like BM but your points are valid, 8 signings, only one playing and a recent track record (including a record defeat and dumped out of the cup by a league 2 side) that would have had any manager sacked at any club (with the exception of Man U and Arsenal) We continue to play hoofball and BM’s tactics recently (five at the back, 2 wingers and a dwarf centre forward to cross to) leave a lot to be desired. Lets hope Celino will make a difference before the likes of McCormack,Byram and Mowatt give us up as a bad job and move on.

    Leeds Mick ve had long enough. Go do some charity work.

    GA OZ ve followed LUFC for 50 years and we lack propper leadership. I have no faith in our new Fraudster owner. Sack BMD get it over with. Is there a Manager who wants to drink from the poison challace. GA OZ

    retter666 I would bring martin o neil in the same day I bought back elland road

    leeds man Iagree hes worse yhan warnick ihope celleno brings over a load of italians were going to need them

    mikefor Malky Mac..?? season is over we staying up so ring the changes and try enjoy remainder of season so sake of sanity and LUFC.

    Mark England t travel away too often and have had to put up with Rochdale , Sheffield , and for me notts forest wAs the low point. His signings have been poor and the long ball game since smith found his way into the side embarrassing. Up the Italian revelation. Mot.

    Byron Waughman I was at the game and just behind the bloke with the oooohhhh Brian McDermott shirt! This article sums it up well, McDermott is a nice guy but once again his tactics fell way short. He went for a draw and it showed. First half I thought we were solid just lacked going forward. Second half sat way too deep and cost us. Brighton were there for the taking had we been abit more Adventourous! A few points that really were poor. 1. Jimmy Kebe should never be in a Leeds shirt, just awful. Pulled out of every 50 50 Challenge, gave the ball away numerous occasions. 2. This constant kicking up by Kenny to McCormack who is up again 2 Cb’s towering over him will win nothing! 3. BMD’s failure to change tactics when things are not working. Long ball, out of 25 crosses the ball only found a Leeds player 3 times!!! KEEP IT ON THE DECK MCDERMOTT!!! Hopefully Cellino will takeover today, and the new era can begin. McDermott is nice bloke but nice blokes don’t win football matches. Time to get an attacking minded manager in. Sorry McDermott your taxi awaits!

    Dennis thirkell  t thing so you all run when there is a sign of trouble

    Tim Fairley t agree more. Have been saying as much myself for weeks.

    geffa  t seen much of that lately!

    Byron Waughman  t play last night but he was on loan at charlton early 1million not even starting, average centre back with poor distribution! Noel Hunt = free but been poor. t trust this man with my money. He would have been out the door after the disgraceful Rochdale showing.

    peter  bloody awful football, tactics..what tactics? the tock is ticking fast.

    William  re proud of it. always till i die.

    Scarcroft, Leeds  one thing I have noticed this season, is that we never seem to win second balls! Lack of motivation and passion!!!!

    Craig Rumens  Great article. Makes complete sense to me. I also like BM, he says just the right things! Ipswich was the last strw for me. I was shouting all game for BM to stop Paddy Kicking the ball back to Ipswich. Ross is not going to be able win the vast majority of those long balls, and if he does who is going to pick up the knock on? We are just giving the ball back to the oposition!!!! sooner or later even the poorer sides are going to do something with the ball we continually give back. I am sorry but its time for him to go.

    Brian T I think Brian is concerned for his position as manager.He probably knows he hasnt done enough to impress Cellino.

    Simon Hart s a very nice man. 2 or 3 half decent performances in 2/3 of a season is not good enough.

    JT  d like Malky Mackay.

    Jason Thornton  I agree. Brian Mc is a nice guy, but being a nice guy doesn’t give you success. The guy I sit next to at the matches summed it up for me after his sacking. Right result, but the wrong way to go about it. Off the field activities have been an issue, but weren’t they an issue when McCallister, Grayson & Warnock were in change? The signings have been poor. We’ve even sent Stewart back so we can prolong the time he stays with us. For me I would send him back full stop!!

     Chip d like the new Manager to have a decent hairdo. #MOT

    Andy  the modern Wilko

    Jim  s be honest, if a new guy comes in and wins a few games, it will be Brian Who?

    John  except he did get reading up and he did turn our season around last year. He does have a strange approach to tactics and his signings dont look good. He plays a warhorse like Smith who looks clueless. I would give him the benefit of the doubt as we are not for the play offs this year so let him have a go while we get ready for a better manager if he fails.

    LUFCSte  re a mid table team who over achieved in the first half of the season.

    Leeds For Now  Ive lost count of how many games ive sat there, home and away fully expecting the opposition to score first,We’re never first out of the blocks, we seem to be playing full of fear.Even the games we have won nobody can accuse us of playing well, apart from the second half against the Dog Botherers, and that in part has got to down to McDermotts lack of motivational nous, we dont want a nice guy we want some one who will bawl them out when they f**k up, get them wound up before the game so they want to kill for the shirt. Oh, and Kebe , man up ffs.

    David  SENSE AT LAST!!  I totally agree with the view that Brian McDermott should leave our club. The tactics deployed firstly with the 5 at the back and of late the return to a 4.4.2 did not/are not working. The reason as I see it is clearly due to a propensity to deploy long ball tactics! The long ball looses posession time after time and then we allow the opposition far too much time to dictate play. The team hardly ever double up on wide players seeking to cross the ball and therefore our weak ( very weak!) defence is put under almost constant pressure. On McDermotts signings.. Not one single one has been successful. Wooton and Murphy alone were 1million pound players! Were they worth it? Hunt? Dreadful, Kebe, not interested. Would you give our manager money to spend bearing in mind how he has spent it so far?  Football is best played on grass and not in the air! Nice man and total respect for his stoical support however it’s time to leave and deploy the LONG BALL GAME ELSEWHERE !

     Graham There’ll be lot’s of top class managers queuing up to work 6 months for Cellino. t been able to put together the squad he wants yet, much less get them ingrained into his playing style. Give him two years and then judge. I doubt it!

    Max s not counting Blackstock who would probably have stayed if not for injury. 1m player, not Hulse) ve been disappointed by, on the expectation he was brought in, is Hunt.  – The senior squad left by Warnock was abysmal, and lucky to stay up.  – And to add to this, you start to get rumours within the squad that Leeds were having problems with payroll, which is guaranteed to hit performance. t leave us with a sinking feeling when we see him on the selection list. s found out, fire him. As regards Cellino, I think he heard Al Rayes and Nooruddin badmouthing McDermott, plus he wanted (for the right reasons) to bring in a bunch of reinforcements from Italy very late in the transfer window, expected resistance from McDermott and fired him for that reason. Bad PR in the end and the usual spinelessness from GFH. s had.

     Byron Waughman Totally agree David! Someone that shares a similar view to me! I also would not have someone in like Martin O Neill, good for stability but is an old school manager. We Need new school! Foreign manager with an exciting adventurous mind. Likes to play football and keep it on the deck. Cellino is gonna be the best thing once this takeover goes ahead!!! MOT

     Dave Unfortunately we need to face up to reality – we are currently a mid-table championship side. Until someone invests heavily in the squad and the supporting infrastructure (i.e. youth setup) it doesn’t matter whether we have BMac or Mourinho in charge. The problem is over-expectation at the start of every season “because we’re leeds united”. Considering the woeful squad he has at his disposal, I think BMac is doing a pretty decent job!

     Byron Waughman  s a hell of a lot! You can also add Stewart  To that as McDermott agreed a million pound future buy for him too! And what a terrible t in charge!!! He has got to go!

     ian t necessarily disagree with it. s tactics, team selection and signings are questionable I do believe the way he has built bridges with the acadamy and starting to address the poor scouting set up we have are his forte. Maybe an approach where BMD moves upstairs to continue this good work, and a proven first team coach is the answer?

    James Brown  s signings. Oversight, whether Kebe actually ever started is another discussions altogether. careful we may end up with Barry Venison come back through the medium of Time Travel.

    Tim S s still not too late to have a complete change. 0 draw. s get some fight, tactical sense and proper winning mentality at ER, oh and some real excitement.  I am fed up with hearing about exploits at Reading. This is Leeds for Christs sake.

    VikingTor i.e. replace that Gwyn Williams buddy?

    James Brown s just not coming up with the best formation.

    Will’e Well spoken.  Look at what the club did when HW got us promoted. Money and class players were brought in. Its as simple as money talks.  And a manager who knows what it takes to be a top european football club. Have my doubts about Festa, but in Cellino I trust

    Michael Lynn we are LEEDS and fight injustice regardless of consequences. but really we need Cellino even more!

    Dennis thirkell t think so

    Jason s no xavi, id still have him in team instead of any of our current crop, plays with a bit of bite at least and likes a tackle. Get some1 in who likes to play football on d deck, sorry big mac, times up

    Henryv What we really need are some good players! Brian follows in the footsteps of Gary Mac & Simon, whom the fans loved. They took the jobs based on promises that were broken, and a certain hope that they could work a miracle. Look at Harry at QPR.  He went there because he had a lot of money to spend on transfers and wages. All the top managers want top players.  leeds have been abysmal for years, and this current squad is as bad as any in recent times.  Brian needed to bring in several players, on the cheap. He was told he had 3 years to build, looking the the players we have and the lack of funds, it was going to take time.  There are at least half a dozen clubs spending big in our league and most are at thee top. The others will be making a charge soon, and we will sink to our true position. s days are numbered, but we will never get success with these players, even if I was manager!! LOL

    Foz  Sacking McDermott: Did Cellino Do The Right Thing In The Wrong Way? No, the wrong thing in the wrong way! LUFC should stick to the long term plan. Bringing a new manager in now or even at the end of the season would have a very detrimental effect on the dressing room, especially if Gianluca Festa got the job.

    Thedone Agree with majority of what is said but I would give him until the end of the season. We can’t buy anyone until then anyway. Get to the end of season, see where we are, then let the mad italian do his thing.

    Joe  mSeen enough football under Brian to be sure that he will never get us promoted. He lacks the tactical expertise, classic example was the car crash performance against Wednesday, where we persisted with the ridiculous 3-4-3 system (I say ridiculous because he was trying to play four wingers at once). ve ever had, but not sure many managers will want to work under Cellino, given that he hires and fires managers for fun.

    Dowse Waller ve heard from some other halfwit prats! or would ever be capable of. apart from lose their home ground. And get himself a few convictions. If you want to look at the facts look at those. The only person to acheive anything in football out of all of you, McDermot, Festa & Celino is McDermot and you farts are slagging him off!  They say that people get the governments they deserve. Lets hope Celino has had sometime to think about things & change his ways because if not Leeds will end up like Caliari and nowhere near the premier league. Caliari are the sixth biggest city in Italy (similar I think to Leeds who are the sixth biggest city in England) and has about 1.5 million people calling it home. It should be a massive club! wits!

    James Brown Over last ten games Dennis our form is down with Yeovil, appreciate your passion, at what point do you think enough is enough? In previous ten games he got 19 points out of 30 with same squad. My article was pretty constructive about BMD, said a lot of nice things about him, how many more games would you tolerate like last night before you thought we should change manager?

    Rusty  t Murphy and Kebe start? Oh and the bloke he has brought up from the academy: Mowatt.  Already you have allied yourself to falsification and poor analysis so the rest I read with astonishment.  All Leeds fans have wanted is good stability and getting the club running right this season. To ask for play-offs, well, that was as ridiculous at the start of the season as it is now. The knee-jerk reactions after a few bad performances are even more ridiculous. Your article is as incensing as it is inaccurate. Poor and shoddy analysis and the inference just panders to a few poor results which we were expecting with the lack of squad depth thanks to Colin. ah, another place where your argument falls down. .

    James Brown up?

    Rusty  s useless.

    Chris re in the minority, thankfuly IMHO. Changing manager every few weeks is not the solution, even though Cellino seems to think it is and that might well be the path we take. I think we are lucky to have a manager that speaks sense whether we win or lose. Somebody who genuinely seems to see the big picture of the club as a whole rather than Warnocks self-centered drivel.

    Sweeny t the greatest but was imo good enough to get us promoted with a bit of backing. Kebe is rubbish, a make shift mid slot for byram would be a better shot. manager worthy of managing this once great club

    johnny lufc  we dont want nice we want a winner totally agree

     Sweeny Signings bar murphy, who i think could come good given time and in a better passing side

    carl  i agree i like bmc but his signings are woeful to say the least,and as already said who out of those signings are playing.glad stewart as gone back he is truly sure cellino has someone in mind i just hope its not festa,no please,get a well travelled manager who has good tactical awareness and lets get playing football not hoofball.give the new manager the transfer funds get some of the academy players in the squad and lets move forward.forget this season its gone build from now for next season with players in mind and give it a go.

    Paolo Maldini  ve gone backwards from that night and look what Burnley have done! re not performing e.g Hunt, Wootton, Murphy for example. re any good they go on to win. If Cellino does take over, the dilemma is do you give BMcD to the end of the season, see if performances improve, see where we finish and if there seems to be improvements back him in the summer or cause more embarrassment by sacking him again now! s already had one crazy owner to deal with, would he even consider a mad Italian? Over to you Massimo Cellino, just make sure you get it right, if you do, you can have the freedom of Bibis!!

    Byron Waughman   fed up with the poor tactics, poor excuses. He will not take us anywhere but mid table! Think you should realise who the proper Leeds fans are!

    mick Kelly I think BM is a very poor manager and to give him money to spend would be mad.

    Claude Absolutely agree. I said this straight from the beginning, MD is a scout, he is tactically nowhere and if we want to make the playoffs, we need to be able to fight like Brown does and also keep the ball low. Even against Yeovil we were playing like a fourth division team with high balls (in the strong wind?), how poor. unfortunately, he is a nice guy.

     ax round goalie and a second striker, and then backups for positions where we only have one decent player (the wingers). And btw as someone who has sat through the bloody games (and I live in Hampshire, btw) I would like to see how McDermott performs without a range of (in my opinion justified) excuses and if still rubbish sack him then. I like him personally but I also liked Grayson, McCallister and Eddie Gray and none of them were treated properly either. 30m overspends. Leeds on the other hand have a cashflow issue due to Bates forward selling much of the current revenue. 1m over 3 years. I think the site developers here should have spent less time thinking about putting a little bomb icon in the comments section and more making it large enough to type in and also capable of honouring formatting.  Leeds For Now t think so.

    Chris Chapman s something we can all agree on?

    Byron Waughman  Max: yes to be fair I agree with that. Do feel he has been a bit wasteful with purchases. I am undecided on Stewart needs a few more games and I do believe Murphy will improve. I would like to see him swap roles with Austin. It appeared last night Austin was playing a lot further up trying to support McCormack. I would have Austin DMC and Murphy supplying balls to McCormack something that was drastically missing from our game last night.

    Byron Waughman   Chris: Spot on the end there! We are all LEEDS and will stick with this club no matter the weather! It’s great hearing everyone’s opinions as everybody’s varies! Would do anything for Leeds to be back in the top division and I believe Cellino will be the man! Yes he has had a bad past but we all deserve a chance. He is saying all the right things especially if he buys back the mighty Elland Road!!! ALL OF US MARCHING ON TOGETHER!!!      I agree the guy who talked about martin o Neil a true leader break the bank not bothered about owning the ground get in martin

    Aussie Leeds  Agree McD’s tactics are woeful, and hi signings certainly not making us a better team, but worse still the young talent we have is going backwards, Byram is coming back from injury I admit but nowhere near the player he was, Tom Lees is hiding and has to be replaced, Poleon hasn’t been given a run to support the only class we have in McCormack and poor Mowatt is having to carry the midfield !!!! …. On another note will someone stop feeding Paddy Kenny pies he’s one fat slow git now !!!!

     Dowse Waller  By Caliari I mean Cagliari my fellow halfwits. MOT!

    alan murray  at last someone talking sense, couldn’t agree with you more.

     Colin   “I just hope to hell MC gives a proper manager with experience in the English leagues a go.”

    It was Neil Warnock. Personally, I think it shows a real lack of football knowledge to want to sack a manager who was signed on a 3 year contract, after just 10 months in charge. Remember when Leicester fans wanted Nigel Pearson out when they had their lean spells? But the Board stuck with him and backed him financially. How are they getting on?

    Max re relative sizes of Cagliari and Leeds, I take the following numbers from Wikipedia. Leeds population (2011) 758k, 3rd largest city in UK, West Yorkshire Urban Area 1.8m, entirety of Yorkshire+Humber 5.3m. Cagliari population 150k, 23rd largest city in Italy, Cagliari metropolitan area 480k, entirety of Sardinia 1.6m. At any rate Cagliari are in Serie A and Leeds are not in the PL. d rather have McDermott than Festa, and McD needs more of a chance.

    simon he just went about it in the wrong way. MOT

    Jezaldinho s what happens when you write an article immediately after a bad performance on the road), you also make some very valid points. s Defence: s had practically nothing baring two incidents where GFH have buckled under pressure and gone and borrowed some money to bring in Murphy and Wooton. Yes these two cost money, but not when you compare the spending of other clubs around us. about the whole club and not just the results. Warnock and Bates left the club in a right old mess and he deserves a lot of respect for sorting it all out. s brought on some younger players also shows his commitment to the future rather than just the present. s statements on Deadline day. In criticism of Brian: t good enough. My overall view: I think given time and resources he’s still capable of turning things round and getting us promoted. Its just that for some reason he’s not getting anywhere near enough out of this squad and he’s rapidly running out of time. While he’s been great for the club overall, everything boils down to the club moving forward on the pitch. He’d be forgiven for not getting us promoted, but no manager would be forgiven for dreadful football and poor tactics. if not sooner.

    Craig m joining in.

    Cheesewire t give a toss how nice and humble he is. Until we have something other than a mid table squad then im afraid we will stay mid table.

    charlotte Russell It’s hard to know what to think. Why did the team play so well when they thought he was sacked? Do they have that much respect for him that they pulled it out of the bag? Does he inspire them to play like that? But why not every week? I thought Hudds might’ve been a turning point, but last night proved not. The fans like him, and that counts for a lot, but he probably thinks it’s all over now anyway. I think probably overall get shut, bring in someone new who knows the score from the start, who wants to come despite the new owners, and then STICK WITH THEM because we need stability. But it’s got to be the right choice. Bring back Grayson? I would. But I’m sad it’s not working out for BMD. Great article btw. Good to have an intelligent debate about LUFC.

     Exiled Fevrover Totally agree with this article, 100 per cent. BM not up to it, wootton, Hunt and Kebe all terrible. Do not give this man anymore money nor authority to sign more trash. M1,M25 and M4 back to oblivion.

    Clive t think he should have been appointed in the first place, but because of the nice guy thing. People in the media and in football have to be careful what they say, so you can understand them holding back, although with us being ten years out of the top flight it would have been nice to see someone have the balls to tell it like it is. re just nobodies on the internet so we really can tell it like it is, and McDermott is far from being a nice guy. is the stock description for someone with a lack of personality. Simon Grayson was termed a nice guy and he cheated on his wife with a lass from the ticket office. t make you a nice guy, it makes you a weasel. McDermott never takes the blame and he does make scapegoats of players, look what he did to Varney. s why everybody gives him it and why he was sacked! s eyes. It was fair to criticise him for it. And how was he made a scapegoat when everybody took his side? Brien were out of favour so with them it was picking on the weak.

    john palmer  totally agree iwas ahead of you calling for a change ,every thing from BMD has been total garbage,headlined by picking a lumbering oaf Austin in the vital position behind Ross as I said 10 games ago any one who selects that idiot doesn’t know anything ,nice bloke but what else? oh yes he bought a drink Notfamousanymore Uncomfortable reading…but a very good and welcome article. It reminded me a bit of Henry Winter in the Telegraph last week – Brian clearly isn’t the best manager but he’s a really nice bloke who doesnt deserve to be badly treated. So what? I don’t pretend to understand the tactics, or the substitution policy. I know Sheff Weds was seen as a nadir, but for me Rochdale was worse – an exhausted and dispirited team needed a weekend off and let the second team and juniors impress and play for a place, but we got the same players rolled out again. As someone said – a definition of insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting differing outcomes. The one piece of imagination this year was 3-5-2 v Birmingham, which I thought was smart and bold. Shape up or ship out? I think shaping up may be beyond him. I think it’s proved too much (bit like Moyes; and the excuses about bad luck sound similarly weak). I’m expecting Zola in the summer (with Del Piero?! Yes please!) and we might actually get some imagination and variety. sorry, Brian, but it is maybe better to leave on good terms and be applauded when you come back to the Peroni Stadium sometime as manager of Birmingham or Donny. well said notfamous its sad that v Birmingham, 2nd half v Huddersfield &,Watford 1st half v Leicester isall that’s been above negative tripe all season,but for Ross who had to plee to get a game up front we would be bottom 3 James, by your logic Don Revie would have been sacked in his second season if not sooner. Check his record. It was far worse than mcDermott’s. Thankfully the Leeds Board at the time had patience and were rewarded. Seems a lot of people on here want instant results or else. Who honestly looks at this squad and sees it as anything other than a mid table team. If you do you are clueless.

 Tues Feb 12th. Leeds go down to Brighton. BRIGHTON 1 (Ulloa 64), UNITED 0.United: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Lees, Warnock, Murphy, Mowatt (Hunt 77), Austin, Pugh (Smith 68), Kebe, McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Peltier, Wootton, Brown, Tonge. Referee: D Deadman Booked: Calderon (Brighton), Murphy, Warnock, Hunt (Leeds). Att: 27,700 (1,960 Leeds) (Report from LUFC) United boss Brian McDermott made one change to the side that won away at Yeovil Town four days earlier, by bringing Danny Pugh into the starting line-up for Cameron Stewart. The United winger missed the trip to Brighton due to a break in his loan spell at the club. Just one point separated the two teams at kick off but it was the home side who started the game the brighter. Brighton pressured the United defence and saw three shots blocked in the opening minutes. The home side had a good opportunity on the 10-minute mark when Andrea Orlandi stood over a free-kick just outside the United penalty area. The midfielder didn’t trouble Paddy Kenny with his effort as he blasted the ball into the crowd behind the goal. The tie evened up as a contest in the following minutes as United came into the game and enjoying a good spell of possession without really creating any goalscoring chances. The opening 20 minutes saw United look to hit the home side on break, and the best chance came when Ross McCormack was released by Luke Murphy. The United striker was held up well and with no further options arriving McCormack struck for goal, but his effort was saved. Both sides were guilty of losing possession as the game progressed and following a good move by the home side Leonardo Ulloa struck for goal. The home crowd rose like it had hit the back of the net but it was the side netting that rippled as the half-hour mark passed. Orlandi had one further chance before the interval, but his shot at goal missed the target. With the half running into added time it was United that looked the stronger but the game remained goalless at the break. United started the second half on the front foot and applied some early pressure. Alex Mowatt tried his luck with a shot which was saved by Kuszczak and McCormack whipped in a free-kick which the Brighton goalkeeper had to punch clear. The hosts wasted little time in signalling their intentions, though, and they took the lead on 64 minutes when Ulloa stabbed the ball home after a Kazenga LuaLua cross was deflected into his path. Moments later, Kenny was called upon to save well when a Solly March shot took a deflection. March also fired into the side-netting, but United responded with a Mowatt effort which Kuszczak had to get down well to smother. United were struggling to retain possession, though, as the game headed towards its conclusion, and it was the home side who were untroubled as they collected the victory. Terry McQuaid : “Another poor result. Bring on Cellino and Festa”. A slight exaggeration, but United should be doing a lot better down by the seaside and barely raised a gallop. Not good enough for the play offs by a long shot with or without Stewart. Tues Feb 11th. Leeds break up Stewart loan spell. Leeds have broken up Cameron Stewart’s loan spell by sending him back to Hull City (and not considering him for the Brighton match). With no match until February 22nd, it means that Stewart’s 93 loan from Hull to Leeds will free him to Leeds for more games at the back end of the season by taking advantage of the ridiculous emergency loan rule.



Tues Feb 11th. Last throw of the dice for Farnan. Massimo Cellino’s takeover of Leeds United is facing a final challenge from a competing group of buyers who want the Football League to force Gulf Finance House to seriously consider their own bid for the club. In what appears to be a last throw of the dice, the Mike Farnan-led Together Leeds consortium are to submit an offer direct to the Football League in the hope that the governing body will instruct GFH to open formal talks with them. GFH, the Bahraini bank which has owned United since 2012, is ready to sell a majority stake in Leeds and has committed itself to a deal with Cellino, the Italian businessman who controls Serie A club Cagliari. Cellino and GFH exchanged contracts on Friday, 24 hours after he made the first of a series of staged payments agreed as part of his 75 per cent buy-out, and Cellino is expected to attend United’s game at Brighton tonight with he and his associates confident of sealing their takeover before the end of this week. The Miami-based 57-year-old is due at a Football League hearing tomorrow where the governing body’s board will consider whether or not to sanction his £25m purchase of Leeds. A past conviction for fraud and the chaos seen at Elland Road on the night when GFH and Cellino first shook hands on a deal – a night on which manager Brian McDermott was illegally sacked by Cellino – have put pressure on the League’s approval process, though the Italian is not expected to breach its Owners and Directors Test. Farnan’s group, however, hope an offer for United which matches Cellino’s purchase price will force the Football League to pressure GFH into discussing a deal directly with Together Leeds, particularly if the League uncovers problems with Cellino’s takeover. Contact between Together Leeds and GFH was unproductive in the weeks leading up to the announcement of Cellino’s deal, with Farnan claiming that the bank had refused to engage in meaningful discussions with them. Club chairman Salah Nooruddin – a shareholder with both GFH and Leeds and a man who stands to retain his position at Elland Road under Cellino – dismissed Together Leeds’ interest in an interview with the YEP last week, saying: “Their first offer (made in November) was ridiculous. “When they saw we were going to complete a deal with someone serious they made more noise. “But it was too late. At GFH we didn’t feel it would be good to get into another long round of negotiations.” Sources involved with Together Leeds said they planned to supply the Football League with proof of funding alongside full details of their offer. Farnan, who revealed last week that the group were backed by “institutional funding”, vowed to fight on against Cellino’s offer on Friday night, saying: “Until the ink is dry and Football League approval is given, the club’s still not sold. “(GFH) have made life very difficult for us for whatever reason. No-one knows. We’ve got strong funding behind this, institutional funding, and we’re talking to the Football League. We’re going to do everything we can to be heard. “I’m doing this in the interests of the club because we can bring stability.”

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Who is Massimo Cellino?  Born: 1956, Cagliari (Age 57) Business: Agricultural entrepreneur known as the “King of Corn” Chairman: Italian club Cagliari Calcio for more than 20 years . Cellino says he completed a deal to buy 75% of Leeds on Friday lunchtime, but the Football League have yet to decide  whether he is a “fit and proper person” to own the Yorkshire outfit. Fans of the Italian’s “other club”, Cagliari Calcio, can nod knowingly at all of this, because the 57-year-old is one of the most colourful, controversial and charismatic owners in Italian football. Cellino looks like an ageing rocker and still plays rhythm guitar and drums in a band called Maurilos. Last year, he sported a ponytail and intricate goatee, but now opts for a slightly more sober look, with greying hair to the collar. Still, he often has stubble, a leather jacket, aviator sunglasses and, more often than not, a cigarette in his hand. His superstitions include a fear of the number 17, which  has posed the Sardinian a few problems. Cagliari’s stadium doesn’t have any seats numbered 17 for a start. Instead, they are labelled 16b. And when a league game against Novara was rearranged for 17 September, 2011, the press office was ordered to hastily release a statement on the club website. Unlucky for some? One anagram of the Roman numeral for 17, XVII, is VIXI, which in Latin translates as “I have lived”, with the inference “My life is over” In a bid to counteract any ill fortune that might come Cagliari’s way, fans were asked to turn up for the match wearing purple, a colour Cellino believes is unlucky. His rationale? That one negative cancels out another. Many of the club’s fans obliged and the team won 2-1. Cellino made his fortune from the commercial agriculture business started by his father, Ercole, and is known as Italy’s “King of Corn”. He originally studied accountancy but left midway through his course to take over the business. In 1992, he bought his hometown club, Cagliari, who have been in Italian’s top flight most of the time since. There have been some great highs – like reaching the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup in 1994 and the last four of the Coppa Italia – and some lows, mostly in recent years and relating to the stadium. In 21 years at the club, he has sacked 35 managers. Cellino, who has a deep, gravelly voice and tends to speak in an urgent, impassioned manner, is clearly very persuasive. Cellino talks to Atalanta president Antonio Percassi He talked Gianfranco Zola, one of Sardinia’s favourite sons, into a return to the club in 2003, despite Roman Abramovich offering the striker far more money to stay at Chelsea. And the results were impressive, with the forward helping Cagliari to return immediately to Serie A, where they have remained ever since. The past few years have been tarnished by problems with the club’s stadium and Cellino’s personal life, though. The owner has long wanted a new home for the club and has plans in Cellina2place to build the Karalis Arena. Work has been delayed by problems with planning and funding, though, and there are big doubts as to whether a move will ever happen. For the last few games of the 2011-12 season, Cagliari played their home games in Trieste, a seaport some 500 miles from Cagliari. Then they moved to the nearby Is Arena, which Cellino intended to redevelop, but it was deemed unusable and unfit for spectators, resulting in some games taking place behind closed doors. For one match, against Roma, Cellino urged the fans to turn up anyway, which meant the game had to be abandoned. The league authorities weren’t too pleased. Now Cagliari are back at their Stadio Sant’Elia  ground, which hosted England at the 1990 World Cup. The whole episode seems to have diminished Cellino’s passion for the club, though. He recently allowed star player Radja Nainggolan to join rivals Roma, explaining wearily: “It’s not an issue of money. “We play in a stadium worthy of Serie C and the players had to travel all around Italy for two years because we weren’t allowed a home stadium. I can’t keep Radja in these conditions.” Cellino still faces court action. Last February, he and the mayor of Quartu Sant’Elena, Mauro Contini, were arrested on suspicion of attempted embezzlement and false representations regarding the development of the Is Arena. The arrest warrant described Cellino as a man “of marked criminal tendencies… capable of using every kind of deception to achieve his ends”. He was held in custody at Buoncammino Prison for 16 days, during which time a group of Cagliari fans stood vigil outside, singing his name and displaying messages of support. The players dedicated subsequent wins over Pescara and Torino to the owner. Cellino already has two criminal convictions, making it questionable whether he will pass the Football League’s ownership test. In 1996, he was given a suspended 14-month sentence after being convicted of deceiving the European Union and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m. In 2001, he received a 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at Cagliari. Frustrated in his ambitions for his beloved hometown club, Cellino has been looking to buy an English team for the past few years. In 2010, he tried to buy West Ham and told me his first move would be to sack their manager – his former darling at Cagliari, Zola. This tells you a lot about his mercurial and unpredictable nature. David Gold and David Sullivan were eventually preferred bidders, leaving Cellino outraged. He turned his attentions to Crystal Palace, a move which did not reach fruition, and is now close to buying Leeds, having claimed two weeks ago he was just an adviser to another consortium. Leeds fans have been angered by the turmoil at Elland Road. Asked why he performed an apparent U-turn over McDermott, Cellino claims it is current owners GFH who did not want him. “GFH are still running Leeds United,” he said. “They did not want Brian as manager but didn’t have the courage to sack him.”. The Italian will spend the coming days in Miami, waiting anxiously for the Football League to decide whether he is fit and proper to buy one of English football’s most famous clubs. Life under him would probably be chaotic and controversial. But never, ever, dull.

Elland Road

Sun Feb 9th. United fans and people of Leeds won’t forget guilty men of GFH – Hay YEP. For better or worse, the Football League will deal with Massimo Cellino. He has polarised opinion, the eccentric Italian, but the integrity of his money and the depth of his moral fibre are matters for the governing body to consider. If approval comes the inevitable debate will not centre around him. It will focus on the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test and the question of whether its examination is anything more than a box-ticking exercise with narrow legal requirements. But even that is for another day. Against the grain, resistance to Cellino has softened marginally this past week; not because his dismissal of Brian McDermott feels any less vindictive or because he has sold himself in a coherent, convincing way but because Leeds United as a club are destitute. They owe money to creditors large and small and have an owner, Gulf Finance House, which is building up liabilities to a level where anyone buying the Bahraini bank out requires some level of insanity. The cost of Cellino’s takeover is estimated at £25m, of which a sizeable sum will be used to deal with pressing debts. In the circumstances, Leeds need a buyer willing to sink that sort of cash into a black hole before the fun and games begin. Vision and planning would be appreciated but at present, United cannot even afford to finish an AstroTurf pitch at their training ground. That’s where GFH’s sustainability leaves the club – down a desperate alley. So Cellino is the Football League’s responsibility. Closer to home, questions about fit and proper ownership should be aimed at GFH and United’s board. Take any event of the week to 10 days just gone and the underlying story is one of bankrupt leadership, non-existent management and cheap, political maneuvering.


But absence is a trend when trouble flares in Leeds. Staff at Elland Road have told the YEP that when Enterprise Insurance served its winding-up petition on Leeds last Thursday – a petition delivered direct to the stadium – no representative of the board would come downstairs to sign for it. Too far away, too busy, too spineless. Take your pick. It was left with security and became public knowledge before long. There is also the matter of non-payment to suppliers, an embarrassing problem which has been dumped in the laps of the rank and file. Emails detailing correspondence between United and certain local companies make for uncomfortable reading: oridinary staff apologising for a situation which is not of their making and trying in vain to explain that they’re only passing on the bad news while receiving threats of legal proceedings in return. “This is the only answer I have,” read one. I spoke to a number of suppliers this week and got much the same message: that the club have been taking liberties with them. “Leeds United are a business with a financial approach that seems to rely wholly on suppliers being Leeds fans,” said one. Most of them are losing patience. The installation of a 3G AstroTurf pitch at Thorp Arch, meanwhile, lies incomplete and won’t be finished until someone decides to pay what’s due. GFH doesn’t intend to. That stalled project is a more serious problem than it seems. United’s attempt to have their academy classed as category two under the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) is dependent on the state-of-the-art AstroTurf surface being laid and usuable. It was part of the audit through which Leeds expected to qualify. As it happens, they will lose more money in funding than the pitch costs to install if their academy is ranked as category three. “It was a no brainer,” a source told the YEP. Or not. Somebody must be culpable for this and the buck stops with GFH and the board, the supposed conduit between Leeds and Bahrain. First you have Patel, a man who once told me that an article I’d written would start riots across the Muslim world (it didn’t). Then you have Nooruddin, a man whose nephew was seemingly trying to sell shares in United to the Leeds United Supporters Trust two days before Cellino did his deal. A man whose message of congratulations to Cellino last Friday set the demolition ball in motion. A man who tried to force an unwanted player into Leeds’ academy many moons ago. And Haigh; a man who appears to have spent the past week positioning himself closest to whichever buyer was nearest the finishing line. Last Saturday he was telling people of his plan to pull a new consortium together; by Wednesday he was heard talking up Cellino’s credentials. Poisoned darts have rightly been thrown at Hisham Alrayes, the ex-Leeds director who calls the shots at GFH in Bahrain, but to give Alrayes his due, at least he knows where his loyalty lies. There are various interests being served here but very few are Leeds United’s. It’s a case of priorities and the club haven’t figured. Nor have their suppliers. And on that basis, the reputation of this three-man board is shot. They have one way of exiting the madness with some dignity – by refusing to cling on to position or rank and accepting that there is little left for them here. The people of Leeds do not forget.



Sun 9th. McDemott holds talks with Festa. Gianluca Festa could be added to Leeds United’s backroom team with Brian McDermott’s blessing after a clear-the-air conversation between the pair. McDermott contacted Festa on Friday with Leeds on the brink of a takeover by Massimo Cellino and Festa is likely to figure in Cellino’s strategy for the Elland Road club. The former Middlesbrough player is a trusted ally of Cellino’s having played for the 57-year-old’s Italian club Cagliari but he was seen as a direct threat to McDermott after making his presence felt at United’s training ground a fortnight ago. Festa, 44, watched a number of first-team sessions and Cellino asked for him to be given a seat on Leeds’ bench for a Championship game against Ipswich Town last month. The club refused the request amid concerns that McDermott was being undermined. Cellino placed Festa in charge of United’s squad following the brief sacking of McDermott on January 31, though that plan was abandoned at late notice and assistant manager Nigel Gibbs eventually took the team for their 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town 24 hours later. Festa was understood to be Cellino’s preferred choice of coach at Elland Road but the furore over McDermott’s dismissal and his subsequent reinstatement has seen a change of tone from Cellino who insisted over the weekend that he would not be looking for a new manager when his £25m takeover goes through. Football League approval of that deal could arrive before the end of this week and McDermott took the first step towards establishing a working relationship with Festa by speaking directly to him ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Yeovil Town. “I spoke to him on Friday and had a really good conversation with him,” McDermott said. “We spoke for 20 minutes. He’s a good man. “He’s a football man and if he’s involved, he wants to help the club. Whatever happens at our club, everybody has to be going in the same direction and that’s exactly how he feels. “There have possibly been misunderstandings or miscommunication, whatever you want to call it. But at any club everyone has to be going in the right direction.” Asked if he expected Festa to feature in his coaching staff when Cellino completes his takeover, McDermott said: “Possibly. I don’t know. But if he is then I’ve got no problem. “I thought it was important that we talked. It was a good conversation, he was pleased I made the phone call, and I’m sure he’ll be delighted we’ve won the game (at Yeovil).” Second-half goals from Ross McCormack – his 23rd of the season – and Stephen Warnock earned Leeds three points in brutal conditions at Huish Park. The game survived heavy rain but was dominated by forceful gales throughout. United’s victory placed them five points behind sixth-placed Reading with a game in hand. “It’s a really good end to an interesting week,” said McDermott, who was reinstated as manage  on Monday after Leeds reversed Cellino’s bid to sack him. “But this has been us for the last four games with the shape of the team. We got beaten 1-0 by Leicester but should have got a result. We drew 1-1 with Ipswich and beat Huddersfield 5-1, and this (at Yeovil) is a fantastic result in the conditions. “There’s still 17 games to go this season but the bigger picture is the stability of this club.”

 Feb 9th.

Leeds United chairman: ‘We’re sorry for all we put you through’ – Phil Hay. 

Leeds United chairman Salah Nooruddin speaks to Phil Hay about the turmoil of the last week and new owner Massimo Cellino. According to Salah Nooruddin there is an Arabic proverb which translates as: “Those who go absent for a long time, come back with goodies.” For the purposes of a Leeds United chairman, the following might suffice: mess a club like this around as badly and he and others have and the compensation had better be worth it. “We’re bringing goodies to the fans,” he said last night. They’ll be the judge of that. He, United’s board and Gulf Finance House have brought the club Massimo Cellino – an Italian businessmen who caught GFH’s attention by paying a deposit for negotiations in no time at all and signing a share acquisition agreement 10 days later. His money for a deal worth around £25m cleared on Thursday and the sides exchanged contracts yesterday. Cellino has cash, that much is known, but the colour of it and the man who controls it are not so certain. He has past convictions for fraud – one spent under UK law, the other overturned on appeal – and he was the architect of the scenes at Elland Road last week when Brian McDermott’s job as manager was taken from him without authority. Cellino, the owner of Cagliari since 1992, sanctioned that dismissal.

Taking his cash is a gamble on United’s part, regardless of the promises made by Cellino to buy back their stadium from Teak Commercial Limited and make Leeds a Premier League club again. Every would-be owner says the same. The obstacle for Cellino now is Football League approval, something he hopes will be his on Wednesday. Those who know the regulations expect him to get it. Nooruddin is equally optimistic. In my opinion he has 22 years experience as owner of a football club in Italy,” he said. “He is well recognised in the Italian market. His lawyer, his team, are very confident that the Football League will say yes.” I ask Nooruddin if his past convictions worry him or cast doubt on Cellino’s suitability. “I don’t judge him,” he said.That really rests with the Football League. If they say he’s approved then he’s the right person, that is very clear.” There is an argument to the contrary, based on the chaos seen at Elland Road on transfer deadline day when McDermott temporarily lost his job and acting chief executive Paul Hunt was fired by a lawyer working for Cellino. Two major club sponsors withdrew their support in protest as GFH watched and then scrambled to convince a militant fanbase that Cellino had acted without authority. Until his payment for shares arrived, control of the club resided with GFH. McDermott was rapidly reinstated. Cellino said at first that he sacked McDermott because the former Reading boss “started an argument with everyone.” Then he denied responsibility, saying GFH was the party trying to evict McDermott from his post. “It was a big misunderstanding,” Nooruddin said. “Action was taken by a member of his team which we had to quickly rectify. It was an over-reaction on his side.” In the middle of the confusion was McDermott, a manager employed by Leeds for less than a year and made to feel that Cellino’s vision for the club did not include him. McDermott appeared to pre-empt yesterday’s announcement that contracts had been exchanged by talking at length in his press conference on Thursday of the need to have a “tight” relationship with Cellino; for the pair to show each other “mutual respect”.I spoke to Massimo and told him that I believe in McDermott, that he’s still the right guy to take the club forward,” Nooruddin said. “What has to happen is talks between them. “It’s like Brian said, they need to agree on a new strategy for the team and work together. “It will happen. Brian is the right person and he wants to be here. “I think Massimo will continue with him and they will evolve. “The situation with Brian (last Friday) was a misunderstanding with a member of Massimo’s team. Massimo believes McDermott should stay. They will talk about things – technical matters, players.” The obvious question is whether McDermott will retain full control of the club’s footballing operations when Cellino’s control spreads throughout the club. It was a key assurance given to him when he allowed GFH to reverse his dismissal by Cellino and reinstate him on Monday. “During the transitional period Brian will be in full control of the squad and everything,” Nooruddin says. “It’s like before. He and Massimo then have to agree on a strategy. I’m sure they will.” In the meantime, the club will attempt to restore credibility damaged by three months of takeover chatter and the financial shambles which resulted in delayed payments to numerous suppliers and required the receipt of a £1.5million loan from Cellino to pay the January wage bill. Nooruddin denied that Leeds were on the brink, describing the suggestion as “ridiculous”. All the talk of a storm, there’s no basis for it,” he said. “We would never let that happen. It will all be sorted out.” As for Cellino, Nooruddin said he was the “strategic investor” GFH was looking for. “He has football experience and financial capacity,” Nooruddin said. “He’s the right man in terms of football and the right man in terms of money.” So much so that GFH steadfastly refused to engage with an alternative takeover group led by Mike Farnan. “Their first offer (made in November) was ridiculous,” Nooruddin said. “When they saw we were going to complete a deal with someone serious they made more noise. But it was too late. At GFH we didn’t feel it would be good to get into another long round of negotiations.” Nooruddin is staying as chairman under Cellino. David Haigh, the club’s managing director, is to become chief executive. GFH, which bought Leeds from Ken Bates in 2012, will retain 10 per cent of shares and Nooruddin and Bahrain’s International Investment Bank (IIB) will split 15 per cent between them. Cellino is believed to have a future option to buy more equity. I ask Nooruddin whether, in light of a shambolic month, either he or Haigh thought it might be right to resign. “No,” he says. “We are not here to give up. But I do apologise to the supporters, sincerely. What’s gone on has not been easy. We’ve put the fans through a difficult situation. I owe them an apology. But something drastic had to happen and I think it has. This is good.” The Football League will take a view on that next week, provided GFH and Cellino supply it with the necessary documentation. With the governing body’s approval this will, truly, be the start of a brave new world for Leeds United. Don’t blink.


Thurs Feb 6th. Diouf on Leeds chaos. confusion over manager Brian McDermott’s position worried the players. The former Reading boss was informed that he had been relieved of his duties on Friday evening, only to be later told that the solicitor who spoke to him didn’t have power to sack him.  In his absence, the Whites responded in impressive manner by beating Huddersfield 5-1 at home on Saturday and McDermott returned to training this week determined to fight on.  Despite the perceived harmony at Elland Road, the club are still in the midst of takeover talks and Diouf admits that nobody in the squad truly understood what was going on at the weekend but says all the players are fully behind the boss.  “There was two days, no-one understand, no-one tell us, we don’t understand,” said the veteran winger. “They change the squad two times Friday till Saturday, change the team three times as well.  “We don’t understand until right now, but I think the good thing is the team winning and now everything is okay and it looks like normal days.  “We work hard with the gaffer and he came to training on Monday. We’re still working with him, we like to work with him.”


Yorkshire Evening Post

Sat 8th.  YEOVIL 1 (Miller 32), UNITED 2 (McCormack 46, Warnock 62).  United: Kenny, Byram, Pearce, Lees, Warnock, Murphy, Austin, Mowatt (Smith 46), Kebe, Stewart, McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Peltier, Wootton, Tonge, Brown, Hunt. Referee: P Tierney Booked: Edwards (Yeovil), Austin (Leeds). Att: 7,986 (2,100 Leeds) Report from LUFC United manager Brian McDermott named an unchanged side following last weekend’s Yorkshire derby victory over Huddersfield Town. There was a return to the matchday squad for United striker Matt Smith after the forward served his three match suspension. United’s in-form striker Ross McCormack tried his luck from distance in the opening minutes but his strike went over the crossbar. Blustery conditions limited United with the away side playing into the wind in the first half. Paddy Kenny struglled with his goal-kicks as the wind halted any progression going forward. Before the 10 minutes were up the Somerset weather set in and the rain came down. On the quarter hour both sides saw good chances go missing. First United broke well when Alex Mowatt released McCormack, the Scot was tackled but Cameron Stewart picked up the loose ball. The winger made his way into the box and teed up McCormack, whose shot went wide of the mark. The home side respond by using the wind to their advantage and attacked on the break. The attack ended with a Kieffer Moore shot going just wide of Kenny’s post. The conditions at Huish Park were affecting both sides with the ball outrunning the Yeovil forwards and United struggling to get the ball in advanced positions. Although when United played the ball on the floor they looked dangerous and were cutting the home side open. But it was Yeovil that broke the deadlock on 32 minutes. The goal came about from a corner for the home side and it was Ishmael Miller that rose highest in the United area to powerfully head the ball past Kenny. Just minutes later the home were almost in again when Miller broke the outside trap, but to United’s relief the wind carried the ball through to Kenny. Then, moments later Joel Grant timed his run to perfection and Kenny’s clearance rebounded off Grant and the ball just went over the bar. With five minutes of the half remaining United had a great chance to level the contest. Sam Byram charged down the Yeovil defence and the ball turned into the path of McCormack, the striker went to chip Marek Stech but the ball didn’t go high enough to beat him. But, Yeovil were given the chance to double their lead before the interval when Byram brought Kevin Dawson down in the box. Miller was the man that stepped up for the home side but the big striker smashed the ball in the United fans behind the goal, with the ball clipping the top of crossbar on it’s way through. Brian McDermott made one change at the interval with Smith being introduced in the place of Mowatt. United were level within 40 second half seconds. McCormack picked up the ball on the edge of the Yeovil penalty area and the Scot placed a stunning strike into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance. United were unlucky not to be ahead on 50 minutes. Rudy Austin smashed a powerful drive goalwards and the home side had their keeper to thank after Stech made a fantastic save. The second half continued in the same fashion for United as Stewart had the next chance. The winger broke forward, he had options in the box but chose to go alone and his shot was deflected behind for a corner. United had turned the game round in the opening 17 minutes of the half when Stephen Warnock put United ahead. The full-back used the conditions to his advantage when he struck a 35-yard free-kick goalwards. The wind carried the ball over the head of the onrushing Stech to give United the lead. The home side had their first real chance of the half minutes later when they attacked in numbers. United’s second goalscorer Warnock was on hand to take the ball away from Joel Grant’s feet and clear the ball to safety. Following the home side’s chance United began to camp in their half of the field. United kept the pressure on the home side and saw four corners in quick succession. With 10 minutes remaining Austin struck from distance but his strike went wide. Moments later Jimmy Kebe was played in by McCormack but the winger rushed his effort and blasted the ball over the bar. Just minutes later Smith and McCormack combined well for the Scotland international to strike for goal but Stech pulled off a good save to thwart the league’s top marksman. McCormack’s strike proved to be the final meaningful effort on goal for either side, with United’s two second half strikes securing the away victory in Somerset. Brian McDermott :“The owner and I both want to take Leeds back where they belong,” McDermott said. “Hopefully this week we will sit down and have a meal and a conversation. He loves his football and I think he has seen what an important club Leeds United is. Until you are amongst it, you just don’t know. I think as long as everybody’s got the club at heart, that’s the only thing that matters. “First and foremost we need to get stability. If we’ve got common ground, we have a major chance of being a force again.” He accepts, however, that his fate is not in his hands. “I’ve got a real desire and hunger to be Leeds manager but I lost my job at Reading and it’s out of your hands. What is in your hands is to try and get results.”

Sat 8th. Green goes to Ipswich and Varney goes to Blackburn Rvs. Paul Green has joined Ipswich on loan for three months. Blackburn Rovers manager Gary Bowyer has expressed his delight after signing Leeds United forward Luke Varney on loan. The 31-year-old has moved to Ewood Park for the rest of the season, with Blackburn having the option to make the move permanent at the end of the campaign. The deal was finalised in time for Varney to make the bench for Saturday’s game against Middlesbrough. Blackburn are chasing a play-off place in the Championship and Bowyer believes Varney will boost his side’s promotion hopes. “He is a great addition to the squad and a great lad,” Bowyer told the club’s official website. “He has been very keen to join us. “He works really hard, he is a great team player and gives us further options in our attacking areas. He is an aggressive forward who will give defenders a real handful.” Varney joined Leeds from Portsmouth in 2012.

Friday 7th. Italian edges closer as contracts are exchanged . Massimo Cellino, the Italian businessman and convicted fraudster, is on the verge of becoming Leeds United‘s new owner after agreeing to buy a 75% stake in the club on Friday. The current owners, Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, who say they have spent £20m subsidising Leeds’ losses in the Championship since they took over in December 2012, have been seeking a buyer for months. Hisham Alrayes, managing director of GFH Capital, said in a statement: “We understand that the speculation has been unsettling for the fans and, even though it was not of our making, we apologise to them for that.” GFH will retain a 25% stake with another shareholder, Salah Nooruddin, who is to stay as the club’s chairman. David Haigh, the GFH executive who had been working on his own takeover bid in alliance with Andrew Flowers, owner of the club’s sponsor Enterprise Insurance, will be the club’s chief executive under Cellino’s ownership. It is not clear where the takeover will leave the manager Brian McDermott, who was sacked by Cellino’s lawyer, Chris Farnell, last Friday only to be reinstated on Monday. The takeover by Cellino, who has owned the Italian club Cagliari, now in Serie A, since 1992, is subject to Football League approval, meaning he must be passed as “fit and proper” despite his past convictions for fraud offences. An agriculture magnate nicknamed the “king of corn” now living in Miami, Cellino was convicted of false accounting in 2001 relating to affairs at Cagliari, and given a 15-month suspended sentence. His lawyer in Sardinia, Giovanni Cocco, told the Guardian that after a long appeal process, in 2012 Cellino finally had overturned a previous, 1996 conviction for profiting from EU agricultural subsidies. Last year Cellino was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged embezzlement and spent a reported 16 days in custody, before being released under house arrest which was lifted in May. Cocco described the accusations against Cellino as “completely baseless”. The league’s “owners and directors test”, formerly the “fit and proper persons test”, bars people from owning a substantial stake in a club if they have “unspent convictions” including “for offences of dishonesty”. As Cellino’s convictions were approaching 13 and 18 years ago (the earlier one has been expunged according to Cocco), they are expected to be “spent” in English law, which considers offenders receiving sentences of less than 30 months rehabilitated after ten years. GFH, who bought Leeds from the previous owner, Monaco-based Ken Bates, for an undisclosed sum, said after they took over that they would seek “strategic investors” to share the cost of restoring success to one of football’s fallen giants. Bates, with Shaun Harvey as chief executive, had mortgaged season tickets for last season and this one in return for £5m up front to pay for building work on the Elland Road east stand. They had also sold the catering rights for five years in return for £2m, and borrowed £1.5m from Enterprise Insurance, which Flowers has now issued a winding up petition to demand back. GFH said last year they were grappling with a “cashflow shortfall”. GFH spent months negotiating with Flowers and other local businessmen, but said only Cellino had ultimately come up with the money required. GFH sought to present the deal as positive, saying Cellino “will enable the club to achieve promotion in the shortest realistic time possible”. Cellino is reported to be planning to buy back Elland Road, which was sold by the owners previous to Bates, to cope with Leeds’ post-2001 financial crisis.Harvey, who left Leeds in July, is now the league’s chief executive. For six years, with Bates as chairman, Harvey said he did not know who Leeds United’s owners, operating via companies in offshore tax havens, were. Now he is responsible for applying the “owners and directors test” to Cellino

Thurs Feb 6th. Cellino to buy back Elland Road. Prospective Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has vowed to “work together” with manager Brian McDermott and to buy back their Elland Road ground. A lawyer acting on behalf of Cellino sacked McDermott on January 31, before he was reinstated two days later by the club. The controversial Italian has since struck a deal to buy a 75 per cent stake in the Sky Bet Championship outfit, subject to Football League approval. The convicted fraudster, who is also fighting allegations of embezzlement, must pass the League’s ‘owners and directors test’ before his stake is rubber-stamped. He is convinced he will be accepted by the League, and appears to now see a future working alongside McDermott. He said: “I want to get to know the manager and help him. I hope he can help me as well. We are going to work together. “When I am approved by the Football League I will go to the bank the next day and buy Elland Road.” According to reports, the ground is currently owned by Teak Commercial Limited – a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The club is reported to pay £2million a year to lease the stadium. Cellino owns Italian club Cagliari but says he intends to sell the Sardinian team in order to focus his energies on Leeds. “If I was running a Fiat 500 in Italy, now I have the chance to run a Ferrari,” he added. I want to forget about Cagliari now. My heart is with Leeds.”

Thurs Feb 6th McDermott on the new Italian he didn’t sign. Leeds United manager Brian McDermott says he still doesn`t know if Andrea Tabanelli is available for the first team squad. The Italian joined Leeds on loan from Cagliari last Friday but Leeds are still waiting for ratification from the Football League. Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, McDermott said, “We still don`t know if he will be available but we are hoping it will be resolved today (Thursday). I think they have made a decision but we still do not know.” The player was actually brought in by prospective new owner Massimo Cellino with McDermott having no knowledge of the player. “He has been put in a situation that is tough. If he gets clearance then he will be given respect and opportunity. I have seen clips and he looks like a good lad and he works hard so if he does eventually sign for us, he will get full respect,” continued McDermott. The 23-year-old only joined Cagliari last week from Cesena before quickly being loaned out to Leeds for the remainder of the season subject to Football League approval. Tabanelli could bring some strange goal celebrations to the club, as you can see here from a goal scored during his time with Cesena

Weds Feb 5th Flowers ends interest in Leeds but Farnan retains interest. Andrew Flowers has confirmed he has ended his bid to buy troubled Championship club Leeds United. Flowers, who served a winding-up petition against the club on Tuesday, released a statement claiming his interest in buying United from Gulf Finance House Capital was over. And Flowers’ decision now leaves the way clear for Massimo Cellino to take control at Elland Road. Flowers, who runs Leeds’ principal sponsor Enterprise Insurance, claimed the bid from Cagliari owner Cellino, which has been accepted and he was hoping to topple, represented a “fire sale” and was “superficially attractive”. His statement read: “I entered discussions in good faith to buy this club for the simple reason that I am a lifelong supporter and sincerely believed that I could make a real contribution towards the goal of promotion to the Premier League and at the same time provide the stability and sound financial governance the club desperately needs. “However, the emergence of Mr Cellino’s bid, and the nature of the transaction, seems to have crystallised the attitudes of both GFH and the Leeds United board, enabling them to dispose of the club with no consideration for its ultimate security and wellbeing. “In effect, it is a “fire sale” transaction which is not in the interests of Leeds United, its players, staff or loyal supporters.” Meanwhile, Mike Farnan, of Together Leeds, are still continuing with their bid for the club. This released a statement that read: “We have watched the events of the last week with considerable interest. “We remain committed to delivering a fully-funded, sustainable, long-term plan, to rebuild Leeds United FC and restore it to its rightful place in English football. We have assembled a team of highly regarded individuals and advisors who have substantial reputations in football and are ready to move quickly to resolve all outstanding issues. “We have reached out to GFH with every intention of demonstrating that this is a bid backed by credible Leeds, Yorkshire and footballing people that offers them an acceptable solution and the club and its supporters a dynamic future. The commitment and determination shown by Andrew Flowers has made us more determined not to walk away. Together our group can and will deliver a vision that has at its heart the club we all cherish. “In the best interests of Leeds United, our offer of constructive dialogue will remain open. We now await GFH’s response and will look forward to finding a constructive, embracing solution to ensure that the distractions of this prolonged uncertainty can be put behind the club and the focus return to football.”

Tues Feb 4th. Statement from GFH Capital. The winding up petition issued by Enterprise Insurance, a sponsor whose managing director, Andrew Flowers, claims to support the club, is misconceived and an abuse of legal process.  It is being vigorously contested by the club’s lawyers and there are no valid grounds to issue the petition. Under the ownership of GFH Capital Leeds United has always met its financial obligations, and it will continue to do so. Mon

Feb 3rd. McDermott holds no grudges over short lived sacking. Brian McDermott holds “no grudges” over his short-lived acking as Leeds United boss with the re-instated Whites manager saying he has more drive than ever to see the club succeed. McDermott was informed on Friday night that he had been sacked amidst the takeover by Italian Massimo Cellino but was spectacularly reinstated the next day. There had been fears that given his harsh treatment McDermnott might now walk away altogether but the former Reading boss says ditching the Whites was never an option with the re-instated Leeds manager saying his return was for United’s “class act” fans. “I don’t hold grudges and I don’t go around being disappointed,” said McDermott at a Thorp Arch press conference today. “You can be disappointed every day if you like but that’s not my style. “The most important thing for me is the fans and Leeds United and being the manager. That’s the only thing I was thinking of. “It would have been very, very easy for me to walk away and that would have been the advice of an awful lot of people but in my mind there was no way I was ever going to be walking away from this job. “Why would you walk away from being Leeds United manager? It just doesn’t make any sense. “All it’s done for me is it’s given me more drive, the staff more drive, the players more drive and all of this coming together with the fans. “The fans have proved that they are a class act and it’s their football club – that’s the most important thing. “This club doesn’t belong to anyone but the fans and it has to be said that whoever eventually takes this club on has to have those people first and foremost in their minds. Nothing else matters.”


Sun Feb 2nd. Cellino admists he doesn’t have the “power to sack Brian” (yet) Massimo Cellino admits he doesn’t have the authority to make any changes at Leeds United, and wouldn’t want to sack Brian McDermott anyway. The Italian, who owns Cagliari in his homeland, is keen to buy the Elland Road club from Gulf Finance House, and hopes to progress his bid in the coming days. So it was something of a surprise on Friday evening when it emerged that he had already taken a decision to sack McDermott, just hours before their clash with Huddersfield Town. This was met with a fierce reaction from the fans, whilst Ross McCormack called Sky Sports to express his disappointment. McDermott was, naturally, not in attendance to watch the Whites win 5-1 on Saturday, but it has since been revealed that he is in fact still the manager, as the solicitor who supposedly sacked him didn’t have the authority to do so. Cellino has now admitted that he too doesn’t have the authority to make such decisions, and will not be granted such until he completes his takeover of the club. And besides, the 57-year-old also claims that when he does take control of the Championship side, he has no intention of dismissing the former Reading manager. “I want the coach back and have been trying to call him,” Cellino told the Sunday Telegraph. I don’t mind this coach. How can I sack anyone anyway? I need the approval of the Football League before I own the club. GFH are still running Leeds United. They did not want Brian as manager but didn’t have the courage to sack him.”

Sat Feb 1st. McDermott reinstated – YEP. Leeds United have performed an astonishing u-turn by announcing that Brian McDermott had not been sacked and remained their first-team manager.  McDermott was on Friday told by a lawyer working on the instruction of Leeds’ prospective owner Massimo Cellino that he had been dismissed following a series of bizarre off-the-field incidents. The 52-year-old was consequently absent from Saturday’s 5-1 win over Huddersfield which was watched by Gianluca Festa, the man it appeared Cellino had lined up to replace McDermott. But to add more confusion it emerged McDermott had been invited to the game and declined, before the League Managers Association said on Saturday afternoon that McDermott had been sacked by someone who had no authority to do so. Leeds duly responded by saying the ex-Reading man remained in charge. “The club would like to make it clear that Brian McDermott remains our first team manager,” a statement on the club website read. “He has not been dismissed from his post as has been suggested and we look forward to him continuing in his role with us in taking Leeds United forwards.” The statement caught everyone by surprise but should not have done after a farcical 24 hours at Elland Road. Earlier, the LMA said it was waiting for clarification, with the 75 per cent takeover of Cagliari owner Cellino still subject to Football League approval. An LMA statement said: “Brian received a call last night from a solicitor informing him that Leeds United were terminating his contract as manager. “This morning Brian received a further phone call from a director of the football club stating the company on whose behalf the solicitor had contacted Brian are not the owners of Leeds United. “In the circumstances, Brian was asked by the directors of the club not to take the match today and we are awaiting clarification of the situation over the weekend.” Nigel Gibbs, McDermott’s long-standing number two, answered the call to lead the team against Huddersfield in his place before facing the media afterwards.“It’s a difficult period for us all and I’m sorry that it’s not Brian standing here as this is his team,” Gibbs said. “I just spoke to Brian, he’s delighted with the result and the players. I’m aware of the statement but I haven’t had a chance to read it.” It had looked as though Festa, a lifelong friend of Cellino, would be a controversial figure in the dugout after Leeds confirmed the Italian takeover was close. Current owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFH Capital) confirmed the news in a statement ahead of the Huddersfield game, although Cellino had already made his presence felt before then by attempting to remove McDermott on Friday night. McDermott had refused to allow Festa to sit with him in the dugout during the midweek draw with Ipswich, and also refused to take a number of Italian players given to him by Cellino. The mayhem continued as two of the club’s main sponsors, Enterprise Insurance and Flamingo Land, said they would be withdrawing their backing. And police were called to Elland Road on Friday as fans did their best to barricade Cellino inside the ground after some late- night talks. Those protests continued outside the ground ahead of kick-off. None of that has stopped GFH Capital from choosing Cellino’s bid over one from rival consortium Together Leeds, though. A statement read: “Following recent media reports and speculation, GFH Capital would like to confirm that it has agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, a company owned by the Cellino family who have many years’ experience in football and who plan to invest substantially in the club including the re-acquisition of Elland Road. “Eleonora will be working on completing the required Football League approval. “The Cellino family is a well known Italian sports family, who have owned Serie A side Cagliari since 1992. They come to English football with an ambition to support Leeds United financially to take it to the Premier League and a belief that the club can sustain top-flight status. “Since the agreement, Leeds United is in discussion with Eleonora Sport Ltd on a number of issues concerning club matters, including the structure of the management of the first team.” Cellino became the number one bidder when on Thursday, a consortium of club managing director David Haigh and Enterprise Insurance boss Andrew Flowers collapsed after two months of exclusivity to buy the club under the guise of Sport Capital. Cellino could still face opposition from the Football League – he has a previous conviction for fraud – while a consortium headed up by former Manchester United director Mike Farnan says it is refusing to go away despite the statement. The Italian influence at Elland Road continues to grow despite that, though, with Cagliari confirming that Leeds had signed midfielder Andrea Tabanelli on loan from them, with Leeds later adding him to the squad list on their website. He was not named to face Town, though. Cellino, 57, is an agricultural entrepreneur and is known in Cagliari as ‘The King of Corn’. He has owned Cagliari for 20 years and had 36 managers in that time.



Sat Feb 1st. Leeds win it for Brian.UNITED 5 (McCormack 45+2, 62, 73, Kebe 50, Mowatt 82), HUDDERSFIELD 1 (Ward 25). United: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin (Brown 90), Mowatt (Tonge 87), Stewart, Kebe, McCormack. Subs. Cairns, Peltier, Wootton, Poleon, Hunt. . Referee: G Salisbury. Booked: Austin (Leeds), Gerrard (Huddersfield). Att: 31,103 (Report from LUFC website) There was one change to the side that faced off against Ipswich Town in midweek with Luke Murphy coming in from the start for Michael Brown. Caretaker boss Nigel Gibbs was without the services of Matt Smith as the United striker served the final match of his suspension. In true Yorkshire derby fashion the game started with a high tempo. The first chance of the match came in the opening five minutes after superb build-up play from Ross McCormack, Jimmy Kebe and Rudy Austin. Austin played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Cameron Stewart but the winger’s shot went wide of the post. With the quarter-hour mark approaching United were on the attack once again, and after a defence splitting pass from Luke Murphy McCormack was unleashed. The striker then played the ball across the penalty area but the cross was just inches too high for Stewart to connect. Moments later the away side drove forward and it took a great last-ditch Sam Byram tackle to prevent Danny Ward striking for goal. United were given a warning sign midway through the half when Oliver Norwood picked the ball up 20-yards out from the goal. The midfielder shot for goal, Paddy Kenny looked to have the strike covered but the ball rebounded back off the post. The away side kept coming at United and in a matter of minutes Byram intercepted a certain goalscoring pass and they also hit the side netting. But on 25 minutes the away side took the lead when Ward was alone at the back post. He was found with a looping pass and he struck for goal to give his side the lead. Following the games opening goal the away side continued to look dangerous going forward with an adventurous overhead kick needed to be cleared off the line as the 30-mark past. United responded well to the away side’s pressure and had a great chance to level the contest with five first half minutes remaining. The battling Austin made a crossing position for himself and found McCormack in the box, the Scot rose well but his headed effort missed the target. As the half went into added time there were goalscoring chances for both sides. First, Nakhi Wells went through on goal but his poked effort went wide of Kenny’s post after great pressure from the United stopper. Then, McCormack struck for goal from just outside the box but his attempt went wide of the mark. But the striker made no mistake as he levelled the tie seconds before the interval. Following a scramble in the penalty area the striker reacted the quickest and nicked the ball to slam it into the back of the net. Within five second half minutes United had turned the game on its head and had taken the lead. Following a good start to the half United came forward and a clever back-heel from McCormack led to some brilliance from Kebe. The winger took the ball round one defender and smashed the ball past Alex Smithies, the keeper had no chance with Kebe’s strike. Moments later United had a half chance to go further ahead but McCormack’s cross just evaded the onrushing Stewart. The away side had a chance of their own minutes later when Wells was found in the box, but the striker’s air-shot get Kenny no trouble. Huddersfield saw another chance go begging as the hour mark approached when, their goalscorer Ward put a shot wide from just eight yards out. Moments later Wells put one over the bar after getting into a good shooting position. The away side were made to pay for their missed chances in the 62nd minute when United got their third of the afternoon. Austin broke forward with a powerful run and played in Byram down the right hand side. The full-back played a perfect ball across the area cutting out the Huddersfield defender and McCormack was there to turn the ball home. United were close to getting their fourth moments later but Austin’s shot brought a great save from Smithies to turn the ball round his post. But, United didn’t need to wait to much longer for their fourth when McCormack completed his hat-trick on 73 minutes. United’s continued pressure told on Huddersfield and Stewart’s trickery and pace created the chance. The winger beat his marked, got into the box and crossed to the back post where McCormack was waiting and he drilled the ball past Smithies to make it 4-1. United weren’t finised there though, and nine minutes later there was a special moment inside Elland Road for Alex Mowatt. The young midfield kept his composure to lob Smithies at the Kop end to score his first senior goal for the club. With five minutes remaining and with nothing to lose the away side broke. Former United midfielder Adam Clayton struck for goal and his deflected effort bounced back of the crossbar. Clayton’s effort didn’t dampen the mood inside Elland Road as United went on to take the spoils with a 5-1 victory.