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Sat 30th of May Betting for new Leeds manager. DAVID HOCKADAY is the shock candidate who has leapt to the front of the betting to be named as the next Leeds United manager. The former Forest Green Rovers boss, 56, is emerging as the surprise frontrunner in the odds f220px-DavidHockaday@FGRFCor the vacant United post following the exit of Brian McDermott late on Friday night. When contacted on Saturday afternoon, Hockaday declined to comment on being heavily linked with the Elland Road position. Surely Cellino us taking the piss here. No way can he be serious. Six leading bookmakers have made him the favourite or joint favourite for the position ahead of the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Benito Carbone and Gianluca Festa. The north-easterner spent four-and-a-years at the managerial helm at Forest Green from February 2009 to October 2013 before parting company with the west country outfit by mutual consent. He was previously part of the Watford coaching staff under Adie Boothroyd at Vicarage Road between 2005 and 2008. It represents his only previous managerial experience, although he was linked with the Swindon Town post after the departure of Paolo di Canio in February 2013, a season which saw Rovers narrowly miss out on the Conference Premier play-offs. As a player, Hockaday was a full-back with Blackpool, Swindon, Hull City and Shrewsbury Town before retiring in the mid-nineties. He favourite to replace McDermott early on Saturday morning was Carbone, currently in situ at Elland Road after recently arriving in West Yorkshire as a technical consultant. Comments from owner Massimo Cellino, however, have appeared to cast doubt over the possibility of the former Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday striker becoming the new United manager. Speaking late last night, Cellino implied that Carbone, despite recently speaking about his ultimate desire to be a manager one day, will be charge of United’s under-21s next season and have responsibility for that and not the first team. Cellino said: “I have always said that Carbone will be in charge of the under-21s next season and that doesn’t change now.” Another name figuring prominently in the betting is former West Ham and Watford manager Zola, out of work since leaving Vicarage Road in mid-December. The Sardinian was linked with the United post in April, although his agent Fulvio Marrucco rebuffed talk at the time of him potentially replacing McDermott. Speaking in April, Marrucco said: “Absolutely not. But I think we will see him back on a bench in England soon enough, rather than back in Italy. “The one thing I can tell you today is that Zola will not be Leeds’ coach for next season.” Cagliari-born Festa is also strongly in the betting with the former Middlesbrough and Inter Milan defender brought in as an advisor by Cellino in late January while he was in the process of attempting to finalise his move for the club. Festa, an observer at first-team training at Thorp Arch, had been earmarked for a place in the dug-out before the home game with Ipswich Town on January 28, but in the event, didn’t take his place there. One other Italian name in the betting is veteran coach Claudio Ranieri, who recently left Monaco having also had previous spells at many leading European clubs such as Roma, Juventus, Inter Milan and Chelsea. Another former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo – linked with Leeds once before – is also beleived to be in the frame. Other names mentioned in the betting include Neil Redfearn, who has managed the club twice on an interim basis, Tim Sherwood, Chris Hughton and former Whites boss Simon Grayson. Here are the current odds from Sky Bet. Add your own choices in the comments box below… Dave Hockaday 6/4  Benito Carbone 7/4 Gianfranco Zola 9/4 Gianluca Festa 8/1 Roberto Di Matteo 12/1 Paolo Di Canio 16/1 Claudio Ranieri 20/1 Nigel Gibbs 20/1 Massimiliano Allegri 20/1 Neil Lennon 20/1 Neil Redfearn 20/1 Tim Sherwood 20/1 Malky MacKay 20/1 Simon Grayson 20/1 David O’Leary 25/1 Chris Hughton 25/1 Alan Curbishley 25/1 Steve Clarke 33/1 Gary Megson 33/1 Mick McCarthy 33/1 Billy Davies 40/1 Paul Ince 40/1 Kenny Jackett 40/1 Gary McAllister 40/1 Steve Lomas 50/1 Gareth Southgate 50/1 Paul Jewell 50/1 Tony Mowbray 50/1 Stuart Pearce 50/1 Paul Dickov 50/1 Sven Goran Eriksson 50/1 Terry Connor 50/1 Phil Brown 50/1 Glenn Hoddle 50/1Dennis Wise 66/1

Sat 30th of May McDermott just not right fit for Cellino – Hay YP MASSIMO CELLINO’S first attempt to rid Leeds United of Brian McDermott was instant and ruthless.  Second time around, the process was painfully slow. Alongside regret and that sense of emptiness managers hate, McDermott must feel a touch of relief. His departure is closure if nothing else.Quite when he resigned himself to this fate is for him to say and the weeks between January and last night were like creeping death but McDermott knew the game was up when Cellino began communicating with him in writing last month. Their inability to speak said much about a relationship beyond repair, exposing a managerial charade at Elland Road. The job was McDermott’s for as long as Cellino allowed the game to continue.The letters they exchanged were formal, terse and defensive; most likely written with legal advice. The League Managers’ Association (LMA) assisted McDermott from January onwards and notes were kept detailing Cellino’s behaviour and comments; a dossier which would have been used to show an owner undermining his manager. That McDermott and Leeds parted company without the need for a tribunal does not change the fact that he prepared for one.From Cellino’s perspective, McDermott was never his man – not on January 31, when he tried to fire McDermott but lacked the authority to do so, or on April 7 when the Italian’s takeover of Leeds went through. In moments of amicable reflection, Cellino talked about giving him a chance but in context it looked like a marriage of convenience. A matter of finance rather than football.

United’s owner is known to have been shocked by McDermott’s salary – around £750,000 a year – and the implications of sacking him with two seasons left on his contract. Many at Leeds think McDermott would have left weeks ago had Cellino not walked into Elland Road to find an endless pile of unpaid bills on his desk. “The manager is the last of my problems,” Cellino told me at the end of April which, with the Championship season petering out, was probably true. But tomorrow is the first day of June and for all the focus on a crippling winding-up petition, football is climbing up the agenda again. McDermott’s position could no longer be ignored.

The sad realisation for McDermott is that he failed with one of his few stated aims as manager of Leeds: to break the club out of the cycle of sacking after sacking. McDermott saw United’s chronic instability – a trend which began long before his tenure – as the fundamental reason for 10 consecutive seasons in the Football League but after 14 months and 55 games he joins the list of casualties. In Italy Cellino is renowned for changing tact and giving coaches the bullet. Leeds in their own way are not so different.

Instability was all McDermott saw at Elland Road. In April 2013, he acquired a squad who were five games from relegation. At the time he received the usual promises and assurances from Gulf Finance House, United’s owner, but found many of them to be hollow.

Signings trickled into Leeds slowly during his first summer as manager and the expensive transfer of Luke Murphy from Crewe Alexandra came at the end of a week in which an increasingly anxious McDermott badgered his board for some support and some money. If he had not been pre-warned about GFH’s style of ownership, he saw soon enough that the Bahraini bank had a habit of looking after itself before anyone else.

The pre-season groundwork was patchy and incomplete and against that backdrop, the season that followed proved incoherent; a year in which McDermott was always grasping for answers and solutions. As Reading’s manager his style was established and effective. At Leeds, his team and his tactics were never nailed down. He set out with a diamond midfield but dispensed with it a month into the term. The employment of wing-backs took United into the play-off positions before Christmas – a stage at which McDermott believed the club would finish inside the top six – but a wobble around new year broke the facade and the air of confidence.

Rochdale away in early January was a severe aberration, an embarrassment which led the away crowd at Rochdale to tear McDermott’s players to shreds. The loss at Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend can be seen as the moment when United’s equilibrium went completely.

McDermott had spoken repeatedly about his need for out-and-out wingers and in the 48 hours before the derby at Hillsborough, he signed two – Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart. With those players at his disposal, there was no explanation for an untried and unfamiliar 3-4-3 system he adopted, minus the height and power of Matt Smith up front. Wednesday worked the formation out and annihilated Leeds with six unanswered goals, United’s worst defeat for more than half a century. It was two goals short of their heaviest ever.

McDermott never recovered from that. His squad were bullied mercilessly during the run-in, battered by Bolton, Reading and Bournemouth and beaten five times on the bounce in March and April. The supporters appreciated his effort and admired his decency, never turning on him as they did on Neil Warnock, but over time their faith was lost.

Few of his signings settled in and he found himself returning in desperation to players and tactics that had failed him before. He also believed that certain senior players began to doubt him. McDermott took the view that his authority in the dressing room had been severely weakened by his bizarre sacking and reinstatement in January. United’s spineless defeat at Watford, a day after Cellino’s takeover went through in April, was as far removed from a statement of intent as it was possible to get.

The defence of McDermott, his results and the football played under him is that for several months he worked to the sound of knives sharpening behind his back. A senior official at GFH attempted to persuade David Haigh, United’s former managing director, to dismiss McDermott at half-time during the 6-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, a demand Haigh ignored. In that same week, a move to sign Ashley Barnes from Brighton was blocked by GFH on tenuous grounds.

So chaotic has United’s recent existence been that it is easy to forget the attempt by Cellino to place Gianluca Festa – a close confidant of his – on the bench for a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town on January 28 or the demand from GFH that McDermott submit his line-ups for approval before each game.

For too long, McDermott worked for a club who operated at a base level of professionalism. When wages for the playing staff went unpaid in March, he and his squad read about the crisis in the press. They received no prior warning or communication from the club. When Benito Carbone, Leeds’ newly appointed technical advisor, appeared at Thorp Arch towards the end of April, McDermott was not told to expect him or informed of Carbone’s role. “I know as much as you know,” he told the media week after week. More often than not, he knew less than that.

Towards the bitter end there was a train of thought which said McDermott was there, hanging on for a pay-off. Those of us who saw the strain he was under would say he was hanging on to a job he coveted and hated the idea of losing. Cellino refused to back him but made no immediate move to replace him either. They barely spoke. The situation was stressful and humiliating, more than a seven-figure sum of compensation is worth and in the background McDermott had the personal worry of his mother in Stoke Mandeville hospital, suffering from cancer. Far from taking a holiday last month, he travelled down south to tend to her. Cellino’s infamous question – “where’s Brian?” - would have been easily answered by a phone call. Even yesterday, the two men did not talk directly. The mutual parting of ways prevented a highly awkward conversation at Elland Road on Monday.

McDermott is a traditional English manager who knows and likes the English way. For as long as John Madejski held the power at Reading, McDermott was in his element. Leeds took a different path with GFH and have done so again with Cellino, a volatile and single-minded boss. It will take a certain type of coach to work under the Italian and McDermott is not it. Some would say he failed at Elland Road. Many others would say he never had a chance. That argument will be settled by what McDermott does next.

Sat 30th of May. McDermott departs Leeds. Manager Brian McDermott exited Elland Road offering his heartfelt thanks to Leeds United’s supporters after a turbulent time at the helm. A statement published on the club’s official website late on Friday night confirmed that McDermott had left the club by mutual consent. McDermott’s future at Elland Road had looked increasingly uncertain following Massimo Cellino’s takeover earlier this year. Over one crazy weekend in early February, even before the Italian had bought the club, McDermott was instructed via a telephone call that he had been sacked, only to be reinstated within 24 hours, during which time his team romped to a 5-1 win over Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town at an Elland Road encounter which saw the 31,000 home crowd show vociferous support for their beleagured manager.But, overall, regardless of the off-the-field problems which have again beset the club, it has been another disappointing campaign, with CellinoandMacCellino clearly intent on stamping his own mark on the organisation since his takeover was eventually ratified by the Football League following a much-publicised appeal. McDermott, who was due back at the club next week along with his players and staff, said it had been a “great privilege” to work for Leeds but accepted the new owner wanted to implement structural changes to the footballing side of the operation. “It is clear that Massimo wishes to implement a new structure and feels he will work more successfully for Leeds with a coach rather than a manager,” said McDermott in Friday night’s club statement. “It has been my great privilege to manage this great club and I have enjoyed the challenge immensely. “I respect that Massimo must be fully supported in putting together his vision for the club so he can bring us the success we all want.“Massimo wants to bring a new energy to the club so that we can return to where we belong as a healthy football club.” McDermott, who guided Leeds to a 15th-place finish in the Championship, said that he was particuarly thankful to the efforts of his players and staff during his time at the club, while reserving a sxpecial mention for the club’s fans who he felt had largely stood by him through some difficult times. “To the incredible force that is the Leeds United supporters, I offer my heartfelt thanks,” said the former Reading boss, who replaced Neil Warnock as manager in April 2013 on a three-year deal. “Your support of me and the players was always an inspiration and I urge everyone to get behind the team and the new owner next season to get us back to where we need to be. “To my players for their efforts I say a MaccapostYeovilbig thank-you. To all the staff and especially my great assistant manager Nigel Gibbs and my great friend Patrick Dolan I am especially grateful for their support.” Cellino, who no doubt has a candidate in mind to replace McDermott, said the outgoing manager had been a “gentleman” to deal with ever since his arrival at the club. “Brian is a great manager and a great guy. He has been unfortunate to work in such difficult circumstances,” said Cellino in the same club statement. I did not fully understand the mess he had to work in, and the broken promises he had to deal with, until I have got involved trying to turn Leeds around. “He has been a gentleman to deal with in our discussions and has been very understanding of my wish to implement a new structure. His main concern and priority at all times has been the welfare and protection of Leeds United. “I wish him well for the future where I am sure he will continue to have more success and thank him for his efforts in being a stabilising and unifying figure behind the scenes in very difficult circumstances. “He will always be a friend of Leeds United.” We wish you well in the future Brian and thank you for your contribution.  A  true gentleman but probably the right decision for both parties. Now it’s time for Cellino to put his money where his mouth is and start rebuilding our great club. One promise of repurchasing Thorp Arch within seven days of ownership has already been broken. All eyes will be on him regarding the appointment of our new manager or coach but patience from some Leeds fans is already wearing thin.
Weds 28th of May. Cellino agrees sale of Cagliari eventually.  Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has struck a deal to sell Serie A club Cagliari to an unnamed American group fronted by Italian businessman Luca Silvestrone, reports BBC Radio Leeds. Cellino will receive an initial €10m (£8.12m) payment, followed by a further €67m (£54.4m) on approval of a project to develop the Italian club’s stadium. The 57-year-old, who bought Cagliari in 1992, hopes to sign the deal on Friday. Ex-Inter Milan director Tommaso Giulini had seen a €40m (£32.5m) bid rejected. The Football League cleared Cellino’s takeover at Elland Road in April after initially disqualifying him as a director when he was found guilty of failing to pay import duty on a yacht in Italy. Since then, the Miami-based Italian businessman has revealed Leeds are losing more than £1m per month, and he must focus on “making them healthy again.”
Mon 26th of May. Don Revie 25 years dead today from : Life, Leeds United the Universe and everything They say that great players don’t always make great managers, and Bobby Charlton is a stand-out example of that essential truth.  His brother Jack, by common consent not anything like the player Bobby was, but ten times the bloke, was by far the more successful manager.  Then again – he learned from the best.

And they will twist the argument around to show that average players can make great managers. We’re usually invited by a brainwashed and indoctrinated media to take Alex Ferguson as an example of this; my own choice would be Arsene Wenger, a deeply average player but a highly superior coach, tactician and innovator who made a significant dent in the Man U monopoly of the Premier League – despite the vast off-field advantages of the Salford club. Remember Wenger’s “Invincibles”?  There is also, of course, Jose Mourinho – and many others who pulled up no trees as players, but blossomed into legendary managers.

But there are a select few examples of truly great players who went on to be truly great managers – the likes of Busby and Dalglish, for instance – and I will argue passionately to my last breath that the best of the best was Donald George Revie, who died of Motor Neurone Disease 25 years ago today.

Don Revie was an innovative, thinking footballer, the pivot of the famous “Revie Plan” at Manchester City when he was the first to exploit deep-lying centre-forward play to great effect as City hit the heights in the mid to late fifties. He was instrumental in the Wembley defeat of Birmingham City in the FA Cup Final of 1956, and also helped restore English pride after two batterings by Hungary – the Magnificent Magyars having trounced England 6-3 at Wembley and 7-1 in Budapest. Revie’s adapted attacking role helped the National team annihilate Scotland 7-2 and his reputation was made as a selfless team player who was adept at making the ball do the work while team-mates found space as he dropped deep, baffling the defences of the time.

Revie was clearly a thinker, and developed very definite ideas about the game during his playing career, ideas he would later puDonRevieLeedst into practice to devastating effect as a club manager. It is undeniable that, during his thirteen years in charge at Leeds, he elevated them from simply nowhere in the game to its very pinnacle, preaching togetherness and the team ethic above all else. Respected judges within the game have described the football played by Leeds at their peak as unmatched, before or since. In the eyes of many, that Leeds United team were the finest English side ever, a unit of grisly efficiency and teak-hardness yet capable of football which was outstandingly, breathtakingly beautiful, intricate in its conception and build-up, devastating in its effect.

Here is the scale of Revie’s achievement: in an era before the advent of lavish sponsorship and advanced commercial operations, he built a club from the ground upwards – a club with an apathetic support, which had hardly two ha’pennies to rub together, and whose prime asset was a group of raw but promising youngsters. The way that Revie nurtured those youngsters, moulding them into a team of supreme talent and majestic ability, is the stuff of legend. In some cases, he had to ward off the threats of homesickness: a young Billy Bremner was determined to go home to his native Scotland and Revie arranged for his girlfriend to move to Leeds, helping the lad settle down. Sometimes he had to adapt a player from one position to another – Terry Cooper was an indifferent winger who was made into a world-class overlapping full-back. Examples of his inspirational and man-management skills are many; he wrote the modern managerial manual from scratch.

Revie raised almost an entire squad from the junior ranks through to full international status, but he also had an unerring eye for a transfer market bargain. He took Bobby Collins from Everton, and saw the diminutive veteran midfielder produce the best form of his career. He lured a disaffected John Giles from Old Trafford where he was an under-rated performer. Giles swore that he would “haunt” Matt Busby, the manager who let him go, and Revie enabled this vow to be realised, converting Giles to a more central role after the end of Collins’ first team career. Giles and Bremner would form an almost telepathic central midfield partnership for Leeds, carrying all before them over the muddy battlefields of Division One. Revie later described his recruitment of Giles from Man U as “robbery with violence”.

As the sixties wore on, the Don would add Mick Jones and Allan Clarke to his formidable squad while it grew up together in a family atmosphere at Elland Road. Rarely if ever before or since can a manager have been so involved in his team’s welfare and well-being, no mere tracksuit manager this. There would be flowers and chocolates when a girlfriend or wife celebrated a birthday, a listening ear and helping hand whenever problems threatened to affect a player’s form. Revie was a father figure to his players for over a decade, forming a bond of mutual loyalty and respect that still sets the standard for enlightened management today.

Don Revie has been described in scornful terms by the ignorant, as a dossier-obsessed and over-superstitious manager by some people of insight and judgement, and as simply the best by his players who still survive from that amazing period of Leeds United’s dominance at home and abroad. He was perhaps too reliant on lucky suits and the lifting of gypsy curses, and other such supernatural preoccupations. He could maybe have let his team “off the leash” a little earlier than he did – when given full rein, they were next door to unstoppable. But it’s hard to hold the caution and superstition of the man against him; this was a time unlike today when livelihoods depended on a bounce of the ball, when results mattered in a bread and butter way. There were no cossetted millionaires then, no examples of young men who could pack it all in tomorrow and live in luxury for the rest of their lives. It all meant so much more in those days and the word “pressure” had real resonance.

The modern coaches have greats among their number, there’s no doubt about that. It would be invidious to single out names; after all, the media in a misguided fit of uncritical and commercially-motivated hero-worship have been busily engaged for most of the last three decades in dubbing “S’ralex” as the greatest ever. But the legend that is Don Revie can sit comfortably on his laurels, the man who – more than any other – took a sow’s ear of a football club and made of it a purse of the very finest silk which yet concealed a core of Yorkshire steel.

Donald George Revie (1927 – 1989) – Simply The Best.

Mon 26th of May Three key players can make huge difference to Whites – Eddie Gray YP. DERBY County can probably count themselves a bit unlucky in Saturday’s play-off final against QPR. But QPR battled away, as they have done all season, and they showed resilience to get there in the end. And now the hardest thing for a team like Derby will be holding on to their players as they’ve got a lot of good young players. DerbyBut we now know the teams that are going to be in the Championship next year and it’s going to be the same as last season – competitive again. It’s going to be tough and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to our club.I think right now the president is just trying to sort the finances out and get the club on a level footing. Then we can start thinking about recruiting for next season. Brian McDermott has not come out and said much but I hear everyone is now meeting up on June 2 so that will be interesting. But the most important thing is that our club is ready to go next season. We are going to have the teams that are coming down from the Premier League and I think Norwich will have a right go to get back up there and then you’ve got other teams like Wigan who I think will be a different proposition. And if Derby keep their players they are going to be another team that’s in contention. But these are the types of teams that we have got to be able to compete with.I am told we are 22-1 to win next season’s Championship – 14th in the pecking order behind Cardiff and Fulham who are 10-1 joint favourites. But a lot can change in football and a lot depends on what happens at the football club and who we recruit. Those odds could come down drastically but I think the odds are about right just now – mid-table – and that’s where we finished – just below mid-table. Those odds reflect the season we had and how circumstances are at the club. But that could all change by the time we kick-off. Hopefully, there will be progress made, everything will be sorted and then we can move forward and be in a position where we can challenge for the top six. Because a healthy Leeds United and a strong Leeds United is good for the division. We take plenty of supporters everywhere, we get big crowds and it’s always a good atmosphere so it’s important we get things sorted out.You’ve got to look at the sides who are coming down next season because if they look after their finances correctly then they should have the financial clout to either keep most of the players that they want or bring in new recruits to help them go forward. That’s always going to make it tougher for us and every year that you are in that Championship it’s going to get tougher because the teams coming down from the big league are coming down heavy handed. Put it this way, if someone offered me a sixth-placed finish next season I would take it right away and I think most fans would.I’d said before that the club needed three or four quality players but there was a letter in the YEP and this chap didn’t agree. He said we needed everybody out but it’s not like that. Because if you get three or four quality players in, players that can change the make-up of the side, it makes a huge difference. You don’t need seven or eight or nine players in all the time, that never really works. But if you get quality players, even three quality players in, a solid defender, a top midfield player and someone who is really good out wide – whatever you are looking for – that can change the way the whole team plays. It’s quality not quantity.
Sat 24th of May. Leeds move for Tommy Rowe and ex Arsenal starlet – YP LEEDS United have revived their interest in out-of-contract Peterborough midfielder Tommy Rowe – and are ready to take a chance on former Arsenal and Tottenham trainee Andre Blackman. Leeds are one of several clubs who have made contact with Rowe, a year after failing to prise him from Peterborough, and a decision on his future is expected to be made when he returns from holiday early next month. United manager Brian McDermott made an approach for Rowe last summer at a time when the 25-year-old was on the transfer list at London Road having rejecting Peterborough’s offer of a new deal. A shortage of transfer cash prevented Leeds from making a formal bid for him but Rowe is a free agent after leaving Peterborough in the wake of their League One play-off defeat to Leyton Orient. His nine goals helped Peterborough finish sixth in the final table. League One champions Wolverhampton Wanderers are expected to offer Rowe a contract following their promotion to the Championship and at least three other clubs are interested in the left-sided midfielder, including one in the Premier League. Blackman, however, is a more surprising target for United after chequered spells in England and Scotland forced the young left-back into non-league. The 23-year-old was an academy player at Arsenal, Spurs and Portsmouth and made his professional debut for Bristol City in 2009. Celtic signed him on after a trial two years but after a short loan to Inverness, he left Glasgow under a cloud amid disciplinary issues. Blackman played for Maidenhead United last season, a semi-professional side who finished 18th in Conference South. He has emerged as a possible signing for Leeds despite the presence of three other left-backs at Elland Road – Stephen Warnock, Aidan White and Charlie Taylor. McDermott’s high opinion of Rowe is well known but he is not thought to have influenced the planned move for Blackman. United’s manager, whose strained relationship with Massimo Cellino could come to a head during a meeting at Elland Road on June 2, is still in the south of England and continues to have no verbal contact with United’s Italian owner.
Sat May 24th. Nooruddin due back at club as rift deepens – Hay YP. Salem Patel, the Leeds United board member and Gulf Finance House’s head of investment management, said this week that he had no immediate plans to return to Elland Road with top-level relationships at the club becoming bitter and fractious. But Salah Nooruddin, United’s absent chairman, plans to travel to Yorkshire in two weeks’ time and step into the conflict which is rapidly developing between owner Massimo Cellino and minority shareholder GFH. The Bahraini bank’s spell as owner of Leeds is under scrutiny again with Cellino’s camp claiming to have uncovered irregularities in United’s finances and paperwork in the weeks since the 2654082123Italian bought a 75 per cent stake in the club. Last Sunday, David Haigh –the club’s former managing director – was arrested in Dubai, accused of “embezzlement, swindling and breach of trust” by GFH, the bank he worked for as recently as February. The 36-year-old has been in custody all week and with a public holiday falling in Dubai tomorrow, he is not expected to be released until Monday at the earliest. GFH has not commented on the details of the allegations against him but they are thought to relate to the bank’s 14-month reign as owner of Leeds and the recent sale of the club to Cellino. Cellino’s takeover of Leeds was completed without any due diligence but his advisors have closely examined United’s books in the past month-and-a-half and are understood have raised concerns about back-dated contracts given to certain staff and large invoices submitted in GFH’s name. One report yesterday also claimed that Cellino believes the club’s income was misrepresented ahead of his takeover. Sources close to Leeds think the Italian businessman is positioning himself to renegotiate the price of a buy-out which committed him to payment of £35m. Cellino paid GFH £11m for the club and took on short-term debt of £10.5m. That debt is to be paid back in instalments – £2m by December 2015, another £2million by December 2016 and the remaining £6.5m by December 2017. He also agreed to shoulder £13.5m of long-term debt, though repayment of it will only become due if and when Leeds win promotion to the Premier League. Since acquiring United, however, Cellino has grown increasingly angry about the financial state of a club who are losing more than £1m a month. His response so far has included the temporary closure of Thorp Arch training ground and a redundancy scheme at Elland Road. Certain senior staff have already been sidelined. Secretary Alison Royston is suspended pending an internal investigation, though the reason for her suspension has not been made public. Luke Dowling – selected as chief scout by manager Brian McDermott – worked closely with Cellino immediately after his takeover but is no longer part of Cellino’s inner circle. Nooruddin, the Bahraini businessman who holds shares in United and GFH, has been absent from Elland Road since Christmas, despite sitting as the club’s chairman, but he told the YEP that he would continue in his role and was planning to come to Leeds next month. “I’m coming over in two weeks’ time,” he said. “This is a transitional period and Mr Cellino is very much hands on now but under the share purchase agreement, certain matters will still be referred to the board.” Nooruddin refused to comment on Haigh’s arrest, saying it was “for GFH to speak about.” He and Patel remain on a six-man board at Leeds, alongside Cellino, his two sons Edoardo and Ercole and Cellino’s American advisor, Daniel Arty.
Thurs 26th. Simon Austin Blog updating Cellino interesting Cellino takeover facts and Haigh arrest details  Another busy week at Leeds United, plenty of headlines and a lot of unanswered questions. I first heard on Monday that former MD David Haigh had been arrested in the Middle East and was being detained. Initially, I was told he was in jail in Bahrain, then Dubai. Despite a lot of phone calls – to the British Embassy, the Ministry of the Interior, GFH (more on that in a bit) and others, I couldn’t stand the story up. It finally came out on Wednesday, via Haigh’s UK-based PR man, Ian Monk. It turned out Haigh had travelled to Dubai to discuss a job offer from GFH, and was then arrested upon arriving at their offices. He was suspected of “financial irregularities” and has been held in custody for four nights and counting. A report in Gulf News on Thursday, quoted a lawyer from GFH as saying: “We lodged a lawsuit against the suspect for alleged embezzlement, swindling and breach of trust at Bur Dubai Police Station. “Currently the suspect is in provisional detention and being questioned over primary charges of embezzling millions of dirhams.”  Haigh denies the claims against him and in a statement, his spokesman, Monk, said: “Although he is horrified to find himself in this position, he is answering fully every allegation made against him in the knowledge that he is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. “In co-operating fully with the Dubai authorities, for whom he has complete respect, David is clear that he has no case to answer. “He has every confidence that the authorities will see clearly the motives which lie behind these allegations and will act accordingly in bringing no charges against him. “In the meantime he would like to thank the many people who are supporting him.” Meanwhile, back in Leeds, Massimo Cellino’s long-time accountant and fellow Eleonora Sports director, Daniel Arty, has been leading a forensic examination of the club’s finances. And he is apparently uncovering a lot of irregularities. Firstly, Cellino says several back-dated staff contracts have been discovered. This explains why head of scouting Luke Dowling, among others, has been moved aside. Secondly, Cellino says the club’s income was misrepresented when he was negotiating to buy the club – by a significant amount. What happens next, I don’t quite know. Will the discoveries in the accounts and the arrest of Haigh affect the winding up order he issued with Sports Capital, which was contested by Cellino? And how will the tie-up between Cellino (who owns 75% of the club) and GFH (25%) and the money he is scheduled to pay them be affected? I spoke to Salem Patel, head of investment management at GFH, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. It’s fair to say he was reluctant to speak. He wouldn’t comment on the rumour that Haigh had been arrested, saying “I am not authorised to speak on behalf of GFH”. He was in Dubai and explained he hadn’t been back to Leeds for several weeks and had no plans to go back there. On Wednesday, after news of Haigh’s arrest was made public, I called Patel again and asked whether he was worried about being arrested himself and whether the sale of the majority stake in Leeds had been conducted correctly. He said, rather indignantly: “I am 100% sure I will not be arrested and am 100% sure that everything was done correctly in the sale of Leeds.” He refused to discuss why Haigh had been arrested, what the circumstances were around his arrest or what the “financial irregularities” were. Meanwhile, Cellino will travel back to Miami on Friday to attend his daughter’s graduation, before returning to Leeds on June 2nd, which is also when the players, manager and coaching staff are due to return.
Weds 25th. Tweets – Dominic Matteo : “For everyone who is asking.  I’m sad to be leaving Leeds utd. Good luck to the club for next season. Leeds fans are the best”… (Looks like Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer may be gone also) Weds 25th of May.
Cellino sees “light at the end of the tunnel” – Officicial website.  Club President Massimo Cellino has spoken about wanting to make something “important and big” at Leeds United in his first interview with LUTV. Eleonora Sport completed their majority shareholding acquisition in early April and the new club President has admitted he may have to do things the hard way to achieve success. CellinoLUTVAlways, if you want to make something important and you take the easy way or the downhill way you will get somewhere,” said the President. “It seems good and faster but it won’t be important. “But if you take the hard way, the uphill way you will get something very important and very big. “I am studying Leeds and I am studying English football. I respect that I don’t know everything about English football. I have to listen and I have to learn. Everything I do I do I do in good faith. I’m a trouble maker, but a trouble maker in a good way. This club has the potential. It shouldn’t ask for charity. We have to start to buy back the chair, then the table then…I am not a magician.  I have to learn fast but I will say that I am a fast learner. “I have been running and rushing around and I haven’t stopped thinking. But in the last two or three days I have started to see that there is a little bit of light at the end of tunnel. I don’t know about the internet but I work with everybody, the employees, the grounds men. We have to find the humility and to work hard. If we want the Premier league we will get the Premier League if we stay focused, from everyone. When we clean of the pitch then we begin on the pitch. The manager has no pressure of the Premier league. “Until a week ago I was going in one direction then the other and it was driving me crazy. “But since last week I know where the line is so we have to keep going the distance and we’ll get there.”
Weds 25th of May. Haigh arrested in Dubai – Hay YP. FORMER Leeds United managing director David Haigh is in police custody in Dubai after being arrested over alleged financial irregularities relating to the ownership and sale of the club by Gulf Finance House. Haigh, 36, has spent the past three nights in jail after being detained on Sunday morning. He is understood to have flown to Dubai – the base of GFH’s private-equity arm, GFH Capital – after being offered a new job by the Bahraini bank. Haigh, who denies all claims against him, was detained by police shortly after arriving at the offices of GFH. A friend of Haigh’s, who asked not to be named, told the YEP: “David has done nothing wrong or illegal. He’s appalled to find himself in this position. “However, as someone who knows Dubai well and respects its institutions, he’s confident that the authorities will see these allegations for what they really are and clear him of any wrong-doing.” Many of the allegations against Haigh relate to GFH’s time as owner of Leeds and the recent sale of the Championship side to Italian Massimo Cellino. Haigh, who was until recently employed as deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, was one of the men behind GFH’s purchase of Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012. He became a club director the previous month and took up the job of managing director at Elland Road in July 2013. He resigned from his job at GFH Capital in February of this year with Italian businessman Cellino closing in on a 75 per cent takeover of United and was due to become Leeds’ chief executive when the Italian businessman’s takeover went through in April. But his relationship with Cellino deteriorated rapidly and he resigned from his position as managing director, quitting the club within a week of Cellino finalising his takeover on April 7. Speaking after his resignation, Haigh aimed criticism at both GFH and Cellino, saying: “I had to deal with and manage what can only be described as the crazy situation of very limited support from those who should have supported the club and the management, whilst at the same time having little or no decision-making ability.” Haigh recently stated on Twitter that he planned to stages a series of media interviews to give his version of GFH’s turbulent spell as owner at Elland Road. He was also involved in a winding-up petition served on Leeds last month by Sport Capital – a company with close links to Haigh – over a loan of £950,000. Cellino and United are contesting the petition, which will be heard by a judge in London on June 9. A spokesman for GFH Capital said: “GFH Capital understands that a former employee has been arrested in Dubai and charged on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering while he was employed at the bank. We are unable to provide any further details at this stage while the case is being considered by the authorities.” 
Weds 25th of May. Taylor commits future to club. Young defender Charlie Taylor has committed his future to the club after heCharlieTaylor signed a new three year contract at United. The 20-year-old full back as enjoyed loan spells at Bradford City, York City, Inverness CT and most recently at Fleetwood Town. Making 41 appearances this season for Fleetwood Town the defender has helped the League Two side to the Play-Off Final, which takes place on Monday May 26. Charlie has caught the eye this season while on loan at Graham Alexander’s side and has been rewarded with a new contract at Elland Road. Taylor has four United appearances to his name after graduating from the Academy at Thorp Arch, all of which came in the 2011/12 season, and the youngster has been on the winning side on all four occasions .
Weds 25th of May. Cellino mulls over shutting training ground for good – YP. THE future of Leeds United’s training ground is under the spotlight again after Massimo Cellino warned that he would seriously consider leaving Thorp Arch unless the club succeed in driving down the cost of the complex.  Cellino is to approach the owner of Thorp Arch for discussions about the size of United’s rent payments, saying he could not justify the expense of a facility which he claims costs Leeds around £2.5m a year. The training ground near Wetherby is currently closed after Cellino took the decision to shut Thorp Arch during the summer and save money as part of an extensive effort to reduce United’s overheads and losses. Both the club’s Italian owner and his newly-appointed football consultant, Benito Carbone, have indicated that Thorp Arch is likely to open again when Leeds’ first-team squad return from their holidays for pre-season training. But in an interview, Cellino raised the option of United making a permanent exit from their long-standing training base. “At this stage I don’t know what we will do,” Cellino said. “I cannot say ‘yes, we will stay at the training ground’ because that is not certain. But I can’t say ‘no we won’t’ either. I must look at it and decide. “I need to think about at the money and say ‘can we afford the training ground?’ If we can then we go back. If we can’t afford it then we can’t keep on using it. It costs about £2.5m and it’s too expensive. “I will speak to the landlord to see if we can save some money because if we can’t afford the training ground, we have a problem and we can’t use it. We can use it at the right price.” Leeds sold Thorp Arch in 2004 to Barnaway, a company controlled by Manchester property developer Jacob Adler. The £4.2m deal was agreed by the board of United directors led by Gerald Krasner and, along with money raised from the sale of Elland Road, was used to pay off a loan taken from former Aston Villa and Watford shareholder Jack Petchey. The cost of renting both facilities rises by three per cent each year and Leeds currently pay around £600,000 annually to lease Thorp Arch alone. The club are entitled to rent the complex until 2029 under the terms of the agreement reached between Adler and Krasner’s board. Thorp Arch houses United’s well-regarded academy and it has been the site of their training ground since the mid-1990s when former manager Howard Wilkinson put plans in place for a state-of-the-art facility to the north of Leeds. Cellino said: “My feeling about Thorp Arch is that it’s too expensive and too far away from Leeds. But I’m not saying we’ll leave. I’m saying that at the moment I can’t say yes or no to that question.” Cellino has targeted the complex as part of his cost-cutting at Leeds, a sweeping exercise which saw a formal redundancy scheme launched among general staff last week. United were due to begin pre-season training at Thorp Arch on July 3 but Cellino has ordered manager Brian McDermott, his coaching staff and his players to report back to Elland Road at 10am a week today, claiming their holiday entitlement will be used in full by May 28. The 57-year-old said he was yet to decide whether the squad would be told to start training immediately, admitting: “I don’t know, I work day-by-day. I have to see. “I need everyone back here, the players, the manager. I need to speak to them. They are on holiday but we need to work for next season.”
Weds 25th of May. Cellino trio named as company directors. Massimo Cellino and his two sons, Edoardo and Ercole, have been formally named as directors of Leeds United. Leeds United filed documents at Companies House confirming the appointment of the trio. The three members of the Cellino family who own Eleonora Sports, who bought a 75% stake in Leeds in April, are now part of a six-man board at Elland Road that also includes Salah Nooruddin and Salem Patel from GFH Capital, who still own a 25% stake in Leeds following the deal with the Italians. Daniel Arty is the sixth member of the board. The American is a director of Eleonora Sports and his position was confirmed last week
Tues 25th of May. Cagliari sale won’t affect Leeds – Cellino by Hay. Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is to hold talks with former Inter director Tommaso Giulini tomorrow during a meeting which he hopes will close a deal to sell his Italian club Cagliari. Cellino has two offers on the table for Cagliari – the Serie A side he bought in 1992 – after a group of US investors followed up news of a bid from Giulini by tabling an offer worth a reported £65m today. But Cellino, who is juggling two professional clubs after buying a 75 per cent stake in Leeds on April 7, said tonight that the planned sale of Cagliari would make no difference to his strategy at Elland Road, saying he would “do the same as I’m doing now” if a deal came off. Cellino has spent his first month-and-a-half at Leeds dealing with a long list of bills and debts and working to reduce the costs of a Championship club who are losing more than £1m a month. The 57-year-old temporarily closed the club’s training ground at Thorp Arch a fortnight ago and began a formal process of redundancies among general staff last week. The income he stands to earn by selling Cagliari was seen as a source of money to invest in United, but Cellino told the YEP: “It won’t make Leeds easier. It just means that in my mind I have only Leeds to think about. I can deal only with the problems I have here. That would be good.“If I had £1bn, if I was the richest man in the world, I would do exactly the same with Leeds as I’m doing now. This club has to stop wasting money and stop looking for money from other people. “It needs to pay for itself, not be paid for by Massimo Cellino or people with oil or Russian businessmen. Cagliari makes no difference to what I’m doing now or in the future.” Cellino claimed to have been in discussions with Giulini – the managing director of Sardinian-based chemical company Fluorsid – for the past three months, though news of Giulini’s interest in Cagliari became public for the first time over the weekend. The US bid – fronted by entrepreneur Luca Silvestrone – has been been known about for many weeks, and Cellino said the contrasting secrecy surrounding Giulini made him believe that the ex-Inter director’s offer was more tangible, more concrete.” But he stressed the importance of a quick deal, saying the need to begin planning for next season at Cagliari was putting pressure on takeover negotiations.Giulini is travelling to England for more advanced talks with Cellino tomorrow. “I have to close the deal,” Cellino said. “I can’t wait for days or weeks because there is so much to do at Cagliari, too much with players, the coach, everything. “With Giulini, I’ve spoken to him for three months and he never said anything about it. That makes me think he is more tangible, more concrete. He is serious about getting it done.“With the Americans, I thought it was all bulls**t. But apparently they are serious too. So we will see.” Cellino has been owner and president of Cagliari for the past 22 years. The club finished 15th in the Serie A after their last game of the 2013-14 season ended in a 3-0 defeat to Juventus on Sunday.
Tuesday May 25th. Ashdown slams Leeds lack of “respect” but Taylor “delighted”. JAMIE ASHDOWN has hit out at Leeds United after finding out on Twitter that he had been released by the club, who he claims showed him a lack of respect. Unlike six other senior players who were informed by letter on Friday that they would not be offered fresh terms when their contracts expire next month, the goalkeeper did not receive official communication until the following day. The 33-year-old, whose second season at Elland Road was a write-off due to a problematic toe injury, was not expecting to be offered a new deal, but the manner of his exit has left him with a sour taste in his mouth. He feels it is be illustrative of the sense of disjointedness at the club, with United’s retained list compiled without the input of manager Brian McDermott, whose relationship with owner Massimo Cellino is looking increasingly strained. Ashdown, who joined the club in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer from Portsmouth, said: “It would have been nice for someone to tell me what was going on. I was expecting to get released and there’s no bitterness or anything like that, but it was the way it was done. “A bit of respect is all you need. Every player wants that, no matter what contribution they have made to the club. You want to be treated similar. “I got a letter a day after everyone else and that was my only gripe. “It’s just one of things with everything that is going on at the club. No-one seems to know what is going on. There’s bigger things to worry about and in life, there’s a lot going on. I just think these things need to aired out, so it doesn’t happen again. “These things need to be done by phone call, to be honest. Just so you get a response back and then you receive a letter obviously.“There’s nothing worse than going out like that. “All you can do is wait and obviously I was waiting for a phone call from someone. “I’ve no problem with the decision. I’ve had an awful year and from their point of view, it’s probably the right thing to do.“I was annoyed myself with not breaking in and feel as if I should have been playing. Hopefully, I can make it up next season.” Ashdown has described the goings-on at Elland Road this calendar year as representing a ‘crazy time’ and the Reading-born custodian admits that the sense of turmoil in the second half of the season left him fearing the club might be relegated at one stage. Being on the sidelines due to injury compounded his sense of frustration and while his footballing future lies away from Leeds, he is keeping his fingers crossed that the club can find some harmony and stability soon. He said: “At one time, I was surprised we didn’t go down, with what was going on and the communication between everyone and when the manager was sacked and then reinstated. It was a bit of a crazy time. “For the lads, it was such a long season. But they stuck at it and they did themselves well, although it wasn’t a great season from a big club’s point of view. “It was quite tight at one point. It was a blessing that Cellino took over, but at the same time, there’s parts of the job he’s got to do and communication is part of that. “They were a good set of lads (at Leeds) and there was not really a bad one in there. No-one would walk out actually; although there was one, but I can’t mention him. “I just think everyone was unsettled and it was difficult to pick anyone up there. For six weeks, everyone was hoping for it (the season) to end, but for me, I was just hoping it would start again. “All I had to do was get my injury sorted and try to help. I wanted to concentrate on what I wanted to do and get fit. “But that’s football and you move on. I hope the club can move on, improve and they can get the money sorted. Players come and go, but the fans don’t.” Meanwhile, young defender Charlie Taylor, currently on loan at Fleetwood is expected to sign a new deal this week. On his new deal, Taylor, who has met with United’s new football consultant Benito Carbone said: “I am delighted. It took a bit of time to sort out, but finally I have got it sorted. I should be signing it this week and I am just looking forward to going back there and kicking on. “They send a lot of clips back (to Leeds) and I think Benito Carbone was watching on TV on Friday. “I have spoken to him and really enjoyed the meeting and am looking forward to going back to Leeds. “I think Brian came to watch me at Chesterfield away and there’s been Leeds scouts at Fleetwood and the club are keeping up with how I am doing.”
Monday May 19th. Uncertainty is fuelling ‘garbage’ rumours – Eddie Gary YP A lot of the players we have released were quite expected. They were boys who were out of contract or who had moved on to other clubs on loan and there had to be some sort of cull of the playing staff to make space to bring good players in. You can’t keep bringing players in without players moving on. Of the departures, El Hadji-Diouf was a bit of an enigma. Obviously, he was a top-class player but towards the end of his time at Leeds it never really happened. He’s probably better off moving on to pastures new whatever that might be for him. I also thought Michael Brown had a good finish to the season but the club have got to be realistic and look at the future. And you can only say about the players leaving the football club that you wish them all the best. We’ve re-signed a few of the younger ones and Charlie Taylor has done quite well. It will be interesting to see how he progresses and the club must think a lot of him. He’s not had a lot of opportunities so far but hopefully that will happen in pre-season and next season as the club might have to go in a different direction with a mix of youth and experience.

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McDaid from Glenavan will be hoping to get his chance next season

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Barn Door Billy couldn’t score for Donny either

The interesting thing with the retained list is I don’t know myself how much influence that Brian McDermott had with it. You get the impression that Massimo Cellino is making all the decisions but Brian has not come out and said anything yet and the president has not really said anything about the long-term situation of the football club. It’s a difficult time for the club as there still seems to be some big, huge, financial restraints and we need to get that sorted out and then we can move forward. There’s a lot of people at the football club, including myself, where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next season. I don’t know what’s happening with my own situation at the club and I will probably go and have a word with the president. But what annoys me is that you get someone, and I don’t know who it was, writing on some websites that I was on a hundred grand a year! I wish I was but that’s just ridiculous. But people put these things on these websites and people start to believe it. I’m not talking about any figures but a hundred grand a year is what someone said and that’s garbage. I just don’t know where these people get their information from. I didn’t even know about this being written until my missus told me as she’s got an iPad but I don’t have one. But there’s people talking about it and you’re thinking ‘what’s all that about?!’ The club are losing money, no doubt about it and things have got to be sorted out but it’s not just Leeds United. You look at the money the champions lost last year. And what will happen with QPR if they don’t go up? You even look at Derby County who haven’t spent any money whatsoever and they’re still in debt. Football has got to have a rain check and decide which way it’s going to go. It’s okay for teams that stay in that Premier League and maybe for a few seasons the teams that come down with the parachute payments but for the rest of the clubs that are trying to catch up it’s a bit of a nightmare. We’ve also seen Benito Carbone come in this week and obviously Carbone was a top player. He played in England, he knows the English game and I think that’s why the president has got him in. It’s somebody who speaks his own language that played here and I think he will know what is expected here, a decent run at the Championship which we didn’t have last season. It was all pretty much doom and gloom. But there’s got to be leadership and it’s got to be sorted out what’s going to happen with the playing side, the management side and the coaching side. The owner has come in and people have got to support him as he will run the club as he sees fit. And whether I am there or whoever else is gone from the football club, the football club is more important than any individuals. I don’t know how the situation with Carbone will work and I don’t know if Brian had a say in it. I don’t know if he welcomed the move or if the president has just done it. The one thing you do know is that Brian is under contract. But whoever has the management job here, it’s going to be a hard one…

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Former captain Frazer Richardson is also without a club

Sunday May 18th. Other former Leeds players released. Whilst Leeds United announced their released list on Friday, there was a host of former Leeds players also being shown the door at their respective clubs. The highest profile players are Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith who were part of the Leeds Champions League side of 2001. Ferdinand is leaving Manchester United after 12-years at Old Trafford after joining them from Leeds in a £30 million deal. Smith was released by League One side MK Dons. The 33-year-old made 29 appearances for MK Dons last season but it wasn`t enough to earn him a new deal. Also at MK Dons, Ryan Hall has been released just three-months after joining them on a short-term deal, ending a turbulent season for Hall. The winger started the season at Leeds but he was released in the autumn after being suspended by the club following comments made on his twitter account. Hall had been on loan at Sheffield United when he made the comments and following his release by Leeds, he spent time in non-league football with Bromley. He made 11 appearances for the Dons during his three months with the club. Frazer Richardson has been released by Middlesbrough just twelve months after joining the northeast club. The defender made just eleven appearances for Middlesbrough, his last coming at Elland Road in November and he spent the second half of the season on loan at Ipswich Town. Doncaster Rovers have released Billy Paynter after two-years at the Keepmoat. He managed just one goal in 25 appearances last season, ironically coming against Leeds in the League Cup back in August. He spent the second half of the season on loan at League One side Sheffield United where he failed to score in 13 appearances. Also being released so far this summer the following players have all played for Leeds at some time during their careers. Danny Webber (Accrington Stanley), Martin Woods (Barnsley), Tony Warner (Blackpool), Andy Hughes (Charlton Athletic), Paul Connolly (Crawley Town), Andy Keogh and Shane Lowry (Millwall), Enoch Showunmi (Notts County) and David Prutton (Sheffield Wednesday).

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Hughes released

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Fishface released

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Smudger released

Sunday May 18th. Cellino in serious talks with buyer for Cagliari. Tommaso Giulini has confirmed rumours that he is in fact in talks with Massimo Cellino to buy Serie A side Cagliari. Massimo Cellino is looking to sell Serie A side Cagliari. Cellino is most well know in English football for recently purchasing a 75% stake in Championship side Leeds United and he is looking to sell his other club, Cagliari, in order to focus his efforts on returning Leeds to the Premier League. Giulini was a member of the board at the world famous Italian side Inter Milan until last year and he has confirmed that he is in talks to take control of fellow Italian side Cagliari. A fee of €50m has been quoted and reports suggest that Cellino wants to get a deal done within the next week. In an interview with Tutto Cagliari, Giulini said I can confirm that at the moment we are dedicated to the due diligence of Cagliari Calcio, to find a healthy club, despite the problems involving the stadium.”“Even if the timing is very tight in view of inclusion in the next championship. Next week should be decisive one way or another” he added.

Sat 16th. McDermott and players ordered by letter to return on May 28th – Hay YP Brian McDermott has been formally ordered to report back to Leeds United with his coaching staff and first-team squad on May 28 in another letter from owner Massimo Cellino. A second written message from Cellino to McDermott said he expected United’s playing staff to be present at Elland Road at 10am a week on Wednesday – more than a month before the squad intend to return for the start of pre-season training. A simmering dispute between United’s president and manager has grown more bitter in the past week following an exchange of letters between the pair. McDermott, who has not spoken to Cellino directly since the end of the Championship season, was contacted by Leeds’ Italian owner around 10 days ago, asking him to explain his absence from Elland Road and to provide details of his plans for pre-season and the senior squad. A reply from McDermott is understood to have prompted a further letter from Cellino towards the end of this week, telling United’s boss that he had taken holiday without authorisation and should be back in Leeds no later than May 28. It also stressed the scale of the work ahead of them this summer. Sources close to McDermott spoken to by the Yorkshire Evening Post have denied that he is away on holiday, saying McDermott travelled back to his home in the south of England after his mother was admitted to hospital. They also claimed that the 53-year-old has spent the past fortnight contacting agents about potential summer signings and discussing possible pre-season friendlies. They rejected allegations from Cellino that McDermott had been uncontactable since leaving his home in Harrogate shortly after the last game of the term. McDermott was contacted directly by the Evening Post but declined to comment. The conflict between Cellino and McDermott is threatening to render McDermott’s position untenable, though Cellino has made no move to sack him. McDermott’s contract runs for another two years and would cost Cellino around £1.5million to sever. The League Managers’ Association (LMA) is believed to be working in support of McDermott but has not responded to repeated requests for comment on his position. The former Reading coach has been under constant scrutiny since Cellino failed with an attempt to dismiss him in January, before the 57-year-old’s takeover of Leeds was officially complete. McDermott’s first full season in charge ended a fortnight ago with Leeds ranked 15th in the Championship. Under previous plans, the squad at Leeds were due to report into Thorp Arch for the start of pre-season training on Thursday, July 3, five weeks before the new season begins. An early recall is likely to lead to questions from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), though a spokesman for the union said he was unaware of any official instruction to the players from Cellino. Club captain Ross McCormack has been called up by Scotland to play in a friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage on May 28. Cellino made his position clear on Thursday, saying the squad’s holiday allowance would end 25 days after their 1-1 draw with Derby County on May 3, the last day of the 2013-14 term. “I think and I believe that in the contract of my employees, they have 25 days of holiday,” Cellino said. “They (the players and staff) left on May 3. On May 28 everybody is going to be here. We go by contract. They’re going to get everything they got in contracts, nothing more.”

Carbone4

Carbone working for the youth academy and ‘no plans to be manager of Leeds’

Sat 16th I’m here to work fore the good of Whites – Carbone to Hay YP. The Apprentice: Benito Carbone says he is at Leeds United to help in the Academy and doesn’t have designs on the manager’s job. Phil Hay reports. Leeds United was a wing and a prayer for Benito Carbone. Massimo Cellino talks about him like a lifelong friend but they met in person for the first time when Carbone flew to Leeds from Italy four weeks ago. Their relationship began after Cellino spoke to an Italian agent and asked for recommendations of football-minded people who could work with him at Elland Road. The agent suggested Carbone and Carbone agreed to come. He did so, he says, expecting no salary and prepared for a short lifespan under a notoriously ruthless boss. “Honestly, when I came here I thought ‘I’ll stay here for two days and then he’ll kick my arse back home’,” Carbone says. “I really worried about that. But after two days it was better; always better. I like him. He’s given me a chance. “I knew the name, Mr Cellino, but the day I came here I met him for the first time. But we have the same ideas. If you don’t have the same ideas, you don’t work with him.” When Carbone appeared unannounced at Thorp Arch in the penultimate week of the season, the obvious question was whose job he would take. Brian McDermott’s position as manager was fragile then and less secure now. Besides his playing career, Carbone’s CV showed a spell of youth-team coaching at Pavia, the Italian side where he retired. “Benito will help me rebuild the academy,” Cellino announced after Carbone sat in the directors box for United’s 3-1 win at Birmingham City on April 26. On Thursday his job became official. Leeds described him as “a consultant” focusing on “technical and football operations” – of both the academy and first team. Carbone says that since his arrival in England, he has concentrated solely on academy matters. And the academy is where he thinks Cellino’s long-term priority lies. It is an intriguing opinion for two reasons. Firstly, United’s training ground at Thorp Arch – the base of their youth development scheme – lies virtually empty after Cellino closed it for the summer. The Football League is sending officials to Leeds next week to establish whether the closure might impact on the category two status awarded to the academy earlier this year. That ranking earned the club a central payment of £490,000. “We don’t want to lose category two,” Carbone says. “But for 25 years the chairman, Mr Cellino, has another club in Italy (Cagliari). He has the same numbers in that academy, from under-nines to under-21s, but the cost is really different. “He wants to bring the same course he has at Cagliari to Leeds because it works well in Cagliari. It does the same thing. We don’t understand why here we must pay maybe 70 per cent more. We have high costs and the chairman is spending a lot of money every day – boom, boom, boom. We need to close the tap but we have a budget. If we are in the budget, we keep everything.” Cellino, who bought Leeds from Gulf Finance House on April 7, is engaged in some of the heaviest cost cutting United have seen for years, much of it boiling down to redundancies. Carbone says expenditure at the academy needs to fall; that the temporary closure of Thorp Arch makes sense, despite the fact that Leeds are committed to paying £600,000 a year to rent it. “We will save a lot,” he says. “You can’t imagine how much. You still have electricity, air conditioning, the swimming pool, everything. If you don’t close it, you pay the same for months. It’s a massive training ground, for a Champions League team not a Championship team. But it’s beautiful and we want to keep it for sure. We’ll open it for pre-season, when the first team come back.” The date of the return of senior players and staff is not exactly clear. Cellino said in an interview this week that he wanted everyone to report back on May 28, more a month before pre-season normally starts. McDermott is estranged from the club, in contact via written communication but still to speak to Cellino at length about his job and next season. Carbone played a part in finalising a retained list at Leeds this week, something McDermott did not have his say on, but the squad as Cellino visualises it in August is yet to take shape. Carbone believes United’s playing resources will be heavily supplemented by an academy which has been headed up by development squad coach Neil Redfearn to good effect for two years. Carbone is complimentary about the output at Thorp Arch. The cost is where he and Cellino see a problem. “It’s fantastic,” he says. “My God, we have seven or eight players in the Under-21s who are very good players. “Our objective is that in two, three or four years’ time, the line-up when we start a game has six, seven or eight players from the young Leeds. Like before, when the club were in the Champions League. “Leeds players can do more on the pitch than other players in the world because they feel it in their heart. They come from Leeds and they love Leeds. Our idea is to keep the players from the academy and get six or seven into the first team. “You give them a chance to grow and then you give Leeds a chance to sell maybe one or two each year, to make money – make big money and then save it. Because if you don’t do that, how do you get money? Always from someone’s pocket? One day that might finish.” McDermott and Cellino have not spoken since the end of the Championship season. United’s manager is in the south of England, visiting his mother who was recently admitted to hospital. He has two years left on his contract but for all of Carbone’s contact with Cellino, he is unable to say whether McDermott will survive. “I don’t know this one,” he says. “You must ask (Cellino). “I know (McDermott), we have spoken at the training ground three or four times, talking about everything. He is a good manager, he’s doing well. But I don’t know what’s happening about the gaffer. “At the moment I wouldn’t talk about the first team because nobody’s here. For the last four weeks, I’ve worked just for the academy. I’ve touched nothing with the first team. Because after the game against Derby, everyone left. We need to wait for the manager and then talk because at the moment they’ve gone on holiday – the players, the manager, the staff.” Carbone says the retained list was ultimately Cellino’s call. “I’ve decided nothing,” he says. “The chairman (Cellino) decides everything anyway. Definitely, the chairman decides. But the chairman must talk with the manager because they must work together.”  The former striker coached three lower league clubs in Italy – Pavia, Varese and Saint Christophe Valle D’Aosta and he has a view on how a coach should be – approachable but strict, at arm’s length from players. “If I go inside and play five-a-side with them, it’s too friendly,” he says. “I don’t like that. Coaching under-21s is for me, beautiful. I don’t want straight away (to be managing in) the Championship or the Premier League. I’ve got time. “Honestly, I came here to be a coach but not of the first team. “I’d never say that because we have a manager and I respect him. I never thought to be consultant but the chairman sees me as someone who is very good in this role. “‘You’re fresh, you do everything straight away when I ask.’ That’s what he told me. And I’ll do my best for this club from the first day to the last day because I’m professional. I always do my best.”

PughLeeds

Pugh – released

Diouf

Diouf – Released

Friday 15th. Leeds release seven players Leeds United can confirm that seven senior professionals who are out of contract will not be offered new deals and will be released by the club. The released list includes Jamie Ashdown, Michael Brown, El-Hadji Diouf, Adam Drury, Paul Green, Danny Pugh and Luke Varney. United have taken up the option to extend the contracts of Alex Cairns and Afolabi Coker. Young professionals Charlie Taylor and Ross Killock have been offered new contracts at the club. In addition, young professionals Simon Lenighan, Nathan Turner, Lewis Turner, Richard Bryan, Smith Tiesse and Gboly Ariyibi will be released and will be able to find new clubs.

Friday 15th. Witch Hunt but McDermott and Leeds United deserve so much better – Rob Atkinson Life, Leeds United the Universe and everything.     I think this is a very well written article that sums up my thoughts exactly from the information out there currently. If Cellino wants rid of the guy just sack him. Enough of the other bullshit.

The football season is over; Leeds United will not kick another ball in anger until sometime in August, with the obvious priority of pre-season training and friendly warm-up matches coming in July, before the start of the Championship business.  Naturally, the club’s manager/coach/whatever you might call him, will have urgent business over the summer; a raft of important issues to resolve.  But, equally natural is the fact that, when the heat of weekly sporting conflict is off, even a man in McDermott’s stressful position, with the heavy responsibilities he bears – even he should surely be allowed to prioritise family matters – especially when the foremost of those matters is the illness of his mother and his consequent understandable desire to be at his family home in southern England after news of her admission to hospital.

It’s the kind of situation that will make anyone re-think their priorities – but the state of affairs at Leeds appears to be such that it’s thought fair play in certain quarters to throw mud at McDermott, even in these sensitive circumstances. That’s bad enough when it’s just club officials doing it, or when the new owner is angling to get the manager out – but it’s even worse when ill-informed Leeds United fans are thus inveigled into joining in what seems likely to end up as a witch-hunt.

Sources close to McDermott claim that he has an eye on Leeds United business and that he has been contactable since heading home.  Leeds United spokespersons appear to differ on those matters.  But it’s a tawdry and disgusting state of affairs when a campaign against a man with his mother’s health on his mind should be carried out by those at the club who clearly have their own agenda, and who seem unwilling to let a small matter like a sick mum dissuade them from launching their insidious and – there’s no other word for it – snide attacks.

This does not show Leeds United in a good light.  It reflects poorly upon the men in charge, who appear to be neglecting sensitivity and compassion for a full measure of malice and vindictiveness.  McDermott evidently has enough on his plate, without penny-pinching executives attempting to lever him out of his job – and at the same time avoid the inconvenient necessity of paying him off.  It might even be counter-productive as a tactic – constructive dismissal cases have been founded upon far flimsier bases.  As a Leeds United fan, somebody whose regard and love for the club will always transcend and out-last the presence of any individual employee, I nevertheless find myself rooting for Brian – and hoping that his seemingly inevitable departure from the club can be managed with dignity, without any further rancour or ill taste – and with McDermott receiving everything that he is due to under his contract.  That’s only fair.

The current situation at Leeds United stinks.  That’s not Cellino’s fault – blame has to be laid at the door of the incompetent and self-serving people who have apparently been running a great club into the ground over the last couple of years – and of course there’s Bates before that.  But Cellino, if he is to appear as the saviour of the Whites, must avoid sinking to the level of those whose mess he’s now trying to clear up.  If McDermott is doing his best to fulfil his duties as best he can, whilst also fulfilling his obligations to his family and specifically his ailing mother – then he should either be left to get on with it, or – if that’s the way the wind is blowing – replaced properly.  Not by a campaign of smear and innuendo, when the truth of the matter appears fully to support Brian’s current actions.

This blog would ask any Leeds United fan inclined to jump on a Cellino-sponsored anti-McDermott bandwagon to think very seriously about what they would do in Brian’s position.  Let’s face it – you’d hasten to your Mum’s bedside, wouldn’t you – having made what provision you could for any obligations under your professional contract.  Anyone would.  You’d worry far more about the man who wouldn’t – the man who’d coldly proceed with business, without a thought for his mother.  Would you want a man like that in charge at Leeds United??

Brian McDermott deserves the sympathy and support of the Leeds United fans in his current thankless situation, even though he has not asked for it. Instead, he’s copping for loads of abuse on social media from supporters of the club who seem inclined unquestioningly to believe everything they’re being told by Leeds United.  Well, if you’ve read this blog, or the YP article linked above – now you’re informed. We may well be notorious football nutters – but we’re human beings first – aren’t we?? Of course we are.

So, for God’s sake, let’s start to act like it.

Friday 15th. Rift deepens as Cellino launches attack on Leeds boss – YP THE rift between Brian McDermott and Massimo Cellino has deepened amid claims that Leeds United’s manager only returned to his home in the south of England after his mother was admitted to hospital.  Sources close to McDermott are denying allegations from Cellino that the 53-year-old had taken a holiday and was uncontactable at a time when United’s president is implementing widespread cuts and changes at Elland Road. An angry Cellino vented frustration at McDermott in a television interview on Wednesday, saying the club was “not managed by anybody” and claiming to be unaware of McDermott’s whereabouts. Cellino said: “I think at this moment the club is not managed by anybody. Who’s managing this club? Brian. Where’s Brian? “I sent a letter to Brian – help us. He’s on holiday to get some rest. He was tired, I can understand. But why this kind of reaction?” McDermott is understood to have left his home in Harrogate last week, travelling to visit his ill mother. He was present at the League Managers’ Association’s awards ceremony in London on Monday night and has remained down south since then. Friends of McDermott’s say he has been available to a speak to Cellino throughout the past week but has not been contacted by the Italian, other than through written communication. The former Reading boss, whose strained relationship with Cellino is threatening to end his 13-month tenure at Leeds, has had no verbal contact with his owner since the end of the season but received a letter from Cellino last Thursday, asking him to explain the absence of players and staff from Thorp Arch and outline his plans for the squad and pre-season. McDermott has replied in writing, providing details of the fitness programmes given to United’s senior professionals and setting out a proposed pre-season schedule. The club are yet to finalise any friendlies or a summer tour. But his position as manager is more fragile than ever after a week of major developments at Elland Road. Cellino launched a formal redundancy process on Wednesday and has drawn up a retained list with the help of Benito Carbone, the ex-Bradford City striker who began working for Leeds towards the end of last month. The retained list, which should be announced today and reveal which of United’s out-of-contract players are to be offered new deals, was compiled without any input from McDermott. First-team and development-squad coach Neil Redfearn was asked by Cellino to offer advice on United’s young professionals, and youngsters Nathan and Lewis Turner – twins who came through the academy at Thorp Arch – confirmed on Twitter yesterday that they are to leave the club this summer. McDermott also appears to be heading for a parting of way with Leeds, though Cellino is known to be reluctant to foot a £1.5m bill by severing a contract which ties McDermott to United until 2016. The LMA has been assisting McDermott since Cellino’s failed attempt to sack him in January but the organisation did not respond to a request for comment last night. Carbone, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly prominent at Elland Road, and Leeds have officially confirmed his appointment to their staff, describing him as a “consultant” who will “deal with technical and football operations.” The former Sheffield Wednesday player linked up with Leeds in the final week of April, with Cellino saying initially that he would “help me rebuild the academy.” But a statement published by the club yesterday said Carbone, 42, would be “involved with all football matters, including both the first team and the academy.” In a separate development, it emerged that secretary Alison Royston has been suspended by the club. Neither Leeds nor Royston have commented on the reason for her suspension. Whilst we welcome Cellino and  some of his ideas and particularly his financial clout, this is not the way to treat Brian McDermott who has been nothing if not dignified in his task at Leeds United. It is time for him to go but he deserves better respect from his chairman and is entitled to his compensation. There has been too much “washing our dirty linen in public” in the past two regimes. Both the club and McDermott deserve better.

Thurs 14th. Cellino sacks 440 staff and closes academy – Daily Star.  Starsport revealed last week how the Italian millionaire was planning the cull to help ease crippling debts of almost £1m-a-month. But last night it emerged Cellino has released a total of 440 people from the Championship outfit, including 40 permanent members of staff and 400 casual workers. To make matters worse Starsport can also reveal club secretary Alison Royston has been suspended pending an internal investigation. Royston is facing disciplinary action that could lead to a sacking – but her absence has left no-one in charge of running the club’s administration during the close season. Cellino is now faced with having to bring in a consultant to help him make signings ahead of the new season. The latest revelations, which also include Benito Carbone being placed in charge of the academy, highlight the massive problems engulfing the former Premier League outfit. Cellino has admitted he is struggling to manage the financial problems at Elland Road since his protracted take-over was completed last month. He stunned Brian McDermott’s squad last week by deciding to close the club’s Thorp Arch training ground and academy until pre-season training resumes at the beginning of July. It has left those players wanting to keep fit during the close season with nowhere to do their sessions. And earlier this week Leeds’ England u-20 international Sam Byram was forced to get his lunch from a fast-food shop close to the ground after he’d been to Elland Road for treatment. It has emerged the Football League will investigate Cellino’s decision to close the training ground, to check whether it breaches rules relating to the annual £490,000 funding from the Premier League towards the running of the academy base near Wetherby. Players and staff are also worried about not getting paid this month. The club’s main bank account has been frozen following a winding-up order served by former managing director David Haigh over a loan he made to them in November of almost £1m. Cellino is contesting the petition and has employed a leading team of London-based solicitors to help him resolve the problems engulfing the club. Meanwhile, McDermott’s position as boss remains in limbo. It is understood Cellino is keen to get rid of his manager, but cannot afford the £2m it would cost in compensation Cellino said: “In the last eight years this club is run in the wrong way. We have to have a different approach. “This club is comparable to a big jet plane. A 747. Even bigger. There are too many people, too many luggage. And never going to take off, and nobody’s facing that. Nobody’s rocking down from the plane and helping to push the plane to make it take off. “You can just imagine myself down on the floor, down on the ground pushing this plane full of people and luggage. And I’m dying.”

Thurs 15th Tweeted by Phil Hay : Leeds academy was awarded category 2 status under EPPP towards the end of last season. Received a payment of almost £500k. Closing academy may have broken terms.Football League says it is not carrying out a formal investigation but wants “to discuss what implications it might have” on the academy . Tweeted by Lewis Turner : ‘My time at Leeds Utd came to an end today after 14 years. Met some great people along the way and looking forward to what the future holds’. Tweeted by Nathan Turner : ‘Leaving Leeds United after 14 years at the club. Wish them all the best in the future. Looking forward to the next chapter’.

Tweeted by Phil Hay : ‘Sources close to McDermott are denying that he’s away on holiday. They say he’s in south of England because his mother is in hospital. ‘ and  Another development at – club secretary Alison Royston has been suspended. On what grounds, it’s not clearAnother development at – club secretary Alison Royston has been suspended. On what grounds, it’s not clear

Thurs 15th. Carbon becomes official consultant – LUFC Official website  The club are delighted to annobenito-carbone_1vw4zqn9vrgg41vuoz7p6mrvn7 (2)unce that Benito Carbone has joined the club in a consultant position and will deal with technical and football operations. The former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City, Derby County and Middlesbrough midfielder will be involved with all football matters, including both the first team and the Academy.

Thurs 15th. McDermott future in the balance – Leeds United Mad. Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has cast doubts over the future of Brian McDermott by questioning the manager’s decision to take a holiday.

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McDermott is understood to have taken a break after attending the League Managers Association’s awards dinner in London on Monday night. Cellino, whose deal to buy 75 % of the club’s shares was completed on April 8, temporarily closed the club’s Thorp Arch training complex on Friday in a bid to ease running costs. But in an interview with ITV’s Calendar the Italian businessman appeared angry at the absence of McDermott and his coaching staff. “I think at this moment the club is not managed by anybody,” Cellino said “Who’s managing this club? Brian Where’s Brian? “I send a letter to Brian – help us He’s on holiday to get some rest. “He was tired I can understand But why this kind of reaction?” When asked what he said in his letter, Cellino added: “Just let me know what he’s planning for pre-season “What he’s thinking  or the future What’s his plan? What are his ideas?  “Where are the people that we pay wages to every month gone? “Who gave them the permission? Who organised that? He’s the manager.” Cellino’s interview comes two days after he revealed the full extent of the “alarming” financial situation he has inherited at Elland Road following his takeover from Gulf Finance House Capital at a meeting with fans group Leeds United Supporters Trust. The club’s accounts announced last month for 2012-13 showed a loss of £9.5m for the year and Cellino, who has described his first weeks in charge as “unbelievable, impossible”, said daily running costs were “well over £100,000″. It is understood the club is losing more than £1m a month and, following the closure of Thorp Arch until pre-season training, it is understood the formal process of staff redundancies began on Wednesday afternoon. Cellino sparked outrage among Leeds fans when attempting to sack McDermott within hours of verbally agreeing a deal with GFH Capital to buy a controlling stake in the club at the end of January McDermott stayed away from Leeds’ 5-1 home win against Huddersfield on February 1, but GFH Capital released a statement shortly after the match to confirm it was still the club’s owner and the manager had not been sacked. The former Reading boss appeared for work as usual at Thorp Arch the following Monday and Cellino appeared to have had a change of heart on McDermott’s future. The Italian said soon after his takeover had been approved by the Football League that McDermott would be given the chance to show he was a good manager. Thurs 15th. Even ‘big’ clubs like Leeds United need champions – Peter Lorimer Leeds United has been part of my life for longer than I care to remember and I’ve always valued my association with the club. For the likes of me, Eddie Gray and other ex-players, the link with Leeds is one we’ll never break. I’m very proud to be an ambassador at Elland Road but I’d be involved in the club one way or another anyway. They mean that much to me. Like many people, I read an article in a national newspaper last week saying that the three club ambassadors – myself, Eddie and Dominic Matteo – are to be sacked by Massimo Cellino. That’s news to me and the reality is that none of us has been told as much. Time will tell as it usually does but until we hear otherwise, we’ll carry on doing what we do. I go home and away to every game and I’m involved in a lot of events like Lorimer’s Bar, golf days, that sort of thing. Working as an ambassador can be a full-time job. The interaction with fans is the best part of what I do and, as I say, I’d never want to lose that. The supporters are the lifeblood of the club and a fantastic, loyal bunch – the same as they’ve been for the last 50 years. To be fair, people might ask what the point of an ambassador is. Why do you need people to sell and champion a club as big as Leeds United? For me, I think it’s a good thing to have former players around the ground on matchdays and working to represent the club. In my opinion, the lads who spend time in the corporate and hospitality suites do a very good job. You’ve got Paul Reaney, Norman Hunter, Mick Jones and plenty of others – guys who played for Leeds in (what most people would agree is) the best era the club ever had. It’s important not to lose touch with those days. And I think it adds value to the hospitality boxes to have high-profile, recognised faces mixing with the fans who pay an awful lot of money to use them. It improves the experience. That said, I won’t pretend that the club don’t need to make cuts. It’s no secret that the losses at Elland Road are pretty big – far bigger than they should be for a Championship side – and there’s only one way to rein them in. My hope is that whatever cuts are coming don’t affect the day-to-day workers at Elland Road – the guys in the commercial department and such like. I’ve seen them operate for a good few years now and they do a bloody good job. It’s not easy bringing in extra money to a football club, especially with the economy the way it is, but they all understand that revenue can’t just come from 23 home matches. You’ve got to have cash flowing in from other sources.As I see it, the big expense at Elland Road is the players’ wage bill. It’s climbed higher and higher in the past 18 months and the league table tells you that the club aren’t getting value for money from it. I touched on this in my column last week when I spoke about the excessive size of the squad and the number of players in it who earn good money while hardly kicking a ball. I don’t blame them for that because contracts are contracts. But the crucial thing for a club losing money is that they don’t waste funds on nothing. People either like Ken Bates or they don’t but I still maintain that he made the club stable. Many fans would probably say that things moved forward too slowly under him but compared to him, the time with GFH in charge was a total disaster. The trouble with the bank was that it bought Leeds to sell Leeds. It didn’t buy the club to make a success of things on the pitch or to really take it forward. That, I hope, is the difference with Cellino. I do think football matters to him and I believe that he wants Leeds to be a real success. He has my support and he really deserves everyone’s while he tries to get things in order. He’s going to make changes without a doubt and if I’m one of them then that’s his prerogative and his decision. If you pay big money for a club – which he has – then you earn the right to do as you please. This is about what’s good for Leeds United at the end of the day, not what’s good for me or any other individual. But for now I’ll carry on with my work. A desperate man fighting to cling on to his job.

Thursday 15th Former Leeds player Marlon King jailed again  FORMER Premier League footballer Marlon King has been jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for three years for dangerous driving after a three-car crash left a motorist with a broken arm. The ex-Sheffield United, Hull City and Leeds United striker admitted a charge of dangerous driving at Nottingham Crown Court in March. Sentencing King at the same court today, Recorder Paul Mann QC said: “I do not regard your case as merely impulsive or silly behaviour. “It was aggressive. It was arrogant.” The court heard King had been eating an ice cream at the wheel when he caused a three-car pile up on the A46 in Nottinghamshire last April. The judge also handed King a three-year driving ban. He committed the offence on his 33rd birthday while MarlonKingdriving a Porche Panamera on the A46 in Nottinghamshire last April. The 35-year-old victim was airlifted to hospital after the collision at Winthorpe, near Newark, on the afternoon of April 26. King, of Torkey, Lincolnshire, is without a club after he was released by League One side Sheffield United in December. The Jamaican international’s previous clubs include Gillingham, Nottingham Forest, Watford, Wigan, Coventry City and Birmingham City. He has a number of previous convictions including violence against women, dishonesty, drink driving and other motoring offences. In 2010, King lost a Court of Appeal challenge against a conviction for groping a young woman and then breaking her nose after she spurned his advances. The player, who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in October 2009, had his application for permission to appeal rejected by three judges in London in December 2010. They said the prosecution had a “strong” case against King and ruled: “We have no doubt that this conviction is safe.” During his trial, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard that the striker, who had been celebrating his wife’s pregnancy and scoring a winning goal earlier, launched an “unprovoked” attack after repeatedly being “cold-shouldered” by women in the Soho Revue Bar in December 2008. King claimed he was the victim of “mistaken identity”. But a jury convicted him by a 10-2 majority of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old university student, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and causing her actual bodily harm. Dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment. Ordering an interim driving ban, Judge Nigel Godsmark QC told King at the last hearing that he could make “no promises” that he would avoid a custodial sentence.

Weds 14th. Cellino ‘puzzled’ by McDermott’s absence Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino says he doesn`t know where manager Brian McDermott is and he doesn`t know what his plans are for next season. Cellino gave an interview this evening with ITV`s Yorkshire regional news programme Calendar and the Italian who completed his takeover at Elland Road in April seemed puzzled by what is going on at the club. ‘I think at this moment the club is not managed by anybody,’ Cellino said. ‘Who’s managing this club? Brian. Where’s Brian? ‘I send a letter to Brian – help us. He’s on holiday to get some rest. ‘He was tired I can understand. But why this kind of reaction?’ When asked what he said in his letter, Cellino added: ‘Just let me know what he’s planning for pre-season. ‘What he’s thinking for the future. What’s his plan? What are his ideas? ‘Where are the people that we pay wages to every month gone? Leeds have until this weekend to let the Football League know their released and retained list ahead of next season and with fifteen players at the club out of contract it seems another strange situation at Elland Road . Back in January, Cellino sacked McDermott before completing his takeover only for the Leeds boss to be reinstated the following day. It seemed once the takeover was completed, it would just be a matter of time before Cellino once again showed McDermott the door, but with Leeds financial problems mounting, can Cellino afford to fire McDermott with two-years remaining on his current deal at Leeds. Phil Hay has tweeted that McDermott has replied to Cellino’s letter, and Redfern and Cellino have agreed the retained list at ER which will be released in the next couple of days. It’s turning into a farce. Weds 14th. Cuts deepen at Eland Road – Hay YP. Cuts to Leeds United’s day-to-day operations deepened last night as owner Massimo Cellino launched a formal process of redundancies at Elland Road. United’s staff were warned of imminent sackings during 5pm meetings at the club’s stadium, the latest move by Cellino to reduce heavy monthly losses. Lawyers from Mishcon de Reya – the legal firm responsible for mounting Cellino’s successful appeal against an attempt by the Football League to stop him buying Leeds – spent much of the past 48 hours at Elland Road, reviewing the club’s finances and setting in motion a redundancy scheme. There is no indication of the numbers of staff facing the sack but Cellino was reported last week to be planning for around 70 redundancies from a workforce of around 200. A source told the YEP that the figure of 70 “might not be excessive.” Speaking on Monday, Cellino appeared to play down the possibility of sweeping job losses, saying: “I don’t sack staff who want to work with me and who do what they’re paid to do.” The move to dismiss employees came as it emerged that Leeds have missed payment of wages owed to casual staff as a result of a winding-up petition served on the club by Sport Capital three weeks ago. The YEP has been told that the petition – issued by Sport Capital on April 25 – led the club’s bank to freeze their main account, preventing payment of scheduled bills. Sport Capital, a Guernsey-based company with strong links to former Leeds managing director David Haigh, is attempting to reclaim a £950,000 loan given to United in November of last year. The firm requested repayment at the start of last month but United failed to meet the demand before a deadline of April 24. The winding-up petition was served on the club the following day and publicly advertised last week, and a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice in London is due to rule on Sport Capital’s claim on June 9. Sources close to United say Cellino intends to contest the petition at that hearing but the club face a problem paying bills before then with their bank account frozen. Monthly wages for United’s playing squad are owed on May 30. Cellino – the president of Italian Serie A club Cagliari – has been engaged in substantial cost-cutting since his takeover of Leeds was confirmed on April 7. He met an overdue tax bill and completed payment of deferred wages to United’s players and coaching staff during his first week as owner, and last week saw him unexpectedly close the club’s Thorp Arch training ground, a temporary step designed to lower overheads.Thorp Arch, which has never been shut during the summer before, is expected to open again when the club’s squad return for pre-season training at the start of July. Decisions about United’s out-of-contract players, meanwhile, are still to be announced, though a retained list is due from Elland Road before the end of the week. But the uncertain position of manager Brian McDermott grows increasingly bizarre after Cellino revealed that he had written a letter to United’s boss asking him to outline his plans for the playing squad and a pre-season schedule. McDermott’s job has been the subject of constant speculation since a failed attempt by Cellino to sack him in January – before the Italian’s takeover went through – and the pair have had virtually no verbal contact since the last week of the season. McDermott was unavailable for comment when contacted by the YEP but it is understood that the 53-year-old has responded to Cellino’s letter in writing Weds 14th Cellino to call in lawyers to’ look at impossible Eland Road situation’ – YP Massimo Cellino invited lawyers from London into Leeds United yesterday as he intensified the fire-fighting which is slowly defining the early weeks of his reign at Elland Road. The Italian has called in outside assistance to review the club’s operating costs and help bring under control a situation described by Cellino as “unbelievable, impossible.” Staff at Leeds are waiting for redundancies to begin in earnest with the club a week-and-a-half into the summer and already experiencing the first parts of Cellino’s plan to cut the outgoings of a club who are losing more than £1m a month. Cellino took the unprecedented step of temporarily closing United’s Thorp Arch training ground last Friday, moving several employees to Elland Road and shutting the complex until pre-season training begins at the start of July. The 57-year-old is widely expected to reduce United’s workforce and he was reported last week to have included club ambassadors Eddie Gray, Peter Lorimer and Dominic Matteo in the list of probable sackings. The three former Leeds players, all of whom were appointed by previous owner Gulf Finance House (GFH), have had no contact from Cellino about their positions. Cellino spoke briefly to the YEP about the situation at Elland Road on Monday night, saying: “We have serious problems but we are fixing them. “Some of what happens here is unbelievable, impossible, but I must sort it out.” Asked about plans for widespread redundancies, Italian businessman Cellino said: “I don’t sack staff who want to work with me and who do what they’re paid to do.” The Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) shed light on the finances at Elland Road yesterday by saying Cellino had revealed daily operating costs of more than £100,000 during conversations with three of the Trust’s board members. Cellino met with LUST representatives on Monday and accused GFH of mortgaging season-ticket money for the 2014-15 season prior to his 75 per cent buy-out. According to a statement issued by LUST, Cellino said he had repaid the loan since taking charge at Elland Road on April 7. Sales of tickets for next season began last week. But GFH – the Bahraini bank which continues to hold a 10 per cent stake in United – later rejected his comments, with a spokesman saying: “It’s untrue that the season-ticket money for the 2014-15 season was mortgaged before Mr Cellino’s takeover, as he seems to be suggesting to the Trust.” Leeds mortgaged season-ticket funds before GFH’s buy-out of Ken Bates in December 2012, taking a loan of £5m from private firm Ticketus to finance the redevelopment of Elland Road’s East Stand. The final instalment of that loan – a sum of around £3.3m –was repaid using money put up by supporters for 2013-14 season tickets. United, meanwhile, are under pressure to reach final decisions on the future of their out-of-contract players with the deadline for offering new deals due to pass on Saturday of this week.

Weds 14th of May. Taylor to survive Eland Road cull – Hay YP. Left-back Charlie Taylor is likely to be one of the few survivors of the summer cull at Elland Road with Leeds United set to offer the youngster a new contract. The YEP understands that United want to tie Taylor to an extended deal and retain him for next season amid the expected flood of players out of the club. Taylor, 20, is on loan at Fleetwood Town and currently involved in League Two play-offs CharlieTaylorbut Leeds are believed to have made efforts to initiate talks about a new three-year contract – despite the continuing absence of a retained list at Elland Road. United have until this Saturday to make offers to any of their out-of-contract professionals but the majority have been given no firm indication about their immediate futures. The situation is complicated further by the ongoing wait for face-to-face talks between owner Massimo Cellino and Brian McDermott. The manager, who is contracted to Leeds for another two seasons, is yet to be told by Cellino whether he will remain in post for the 2014-15 term. More than 10 of United’s senior and junior professionals are poised to reach the end of their deals on June 30 and become free agents the following day. Cellino is unlikely to keep many of them with the Italian businessman engaged in cost-cutting at Elland Road but Taylor, who has almost completed the three-year contract he signed with Leeds in 2011, has been targeted for negotiations. The left-back made his United debut at the age of 17, breaking into the first-team in the early weeks of the 2011-12 season, but most of his senior football has come on loan at other clubs. He spent the second half of last season with Scottish Premier League side Inverness and has been with Fleetwood since August. The Lancashire side reached the League Two play-offs by finishing fourth in the table and they lead their semi-final against York City 1-0 after the first leg at Bootham Crescent on Monday night. Taylor’s appearance in that match was his 40th of the term. The second leg, with a place at Wembley the prize, takes place on Friday. Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander talked up Taylor’s ability shortly before Christmas, telling the YEP: “I think a lot of Charlie as a player but I can’t say enough about his attitude either. “He’s got all the attributes you’d expect of a modern full-back. He can get down the wing, he can cross and create chances. “But apart from anything else, he knows how to defend and the key point about good full-backs is that they’re good defenders.”
Weds May 14th. Bookers put McDermott among favourites for WBA job – Hay YP. Brian McDermott is prominent in the betting for West Bromwich Albion’s next manager with doubt persisting over the likelihood of him surviving the summer at Leeds United. McDermott has emerged as a possible candidate for the vacancy at The Hawthorns after weeks of silence about his future as manager of Leeds. The United boss has received no guarantees of support from club owner Massimo Cellino and is waiting to see if the Italian businessman will keep him at Elland Road for the start of the 2014-15 season. McDermott, who has been in the south of England for the past week, is believed to have had virtually no contact with Cellino since the Italian flew into England from Miami ahead of the final game of the Championship term. The ex-Reading coach attended the League Managers Association’s awards ceremony in London on Monday night but has made no comment about his job at Leeds since the club completed theirrecent campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Derby County on May 3. Fifty-three-year-old McDermott is now being heavily linked with the head coach’s post at West Brom following Albion’s sacking of Pepe Mel. He has two years remaining on his contract at Leeds.
Monday 12th of May. Cellino has no choice but to cut overheads – Eddie Gray (This article comes from Eddie Gray’s weekly YP column on foot of the leak re 70 jobs to go from Leeds United, among them possibly Leeds United ambassadors (no bad thing in some cases – especially Lash) and of course the closing of Thorp Arch for the Summer) Leeds legend Eddie Gray has his say on all things United. THERE’S never really a dull week at Leeds United and things keep on happening at the Football Club. Let’s just hope it settles down sooner rather than later and we can start to look forward to next season. There always seems to be some sort of financial issue that’s going on but I think the new owner is trying to put things in place and get things moving. The club have got to look at finances and I don’t know what the long term plans are for Thorp Arch – I don’t think anybody knows just now. But closing that down for the summer probably saves us lots of money and we’ve had lots of debts to pay recently. And it looks as if there’s going to be some more as you’ve got this winding up petition pending to David Haigh. With Massimo Cellino, it doesn’t make any difference how much money you’ve got as you can still lose a lot if you don’t do things right. He’s a businessman and time will tell the direction he is going to take the football club in. The important thing is going to be what happens from a football point of view. At the start of the season, are we going to be strong enough and are we going to have enough players? I think that’s the thing that will concern the fans. The rest of it, although it’s important, the most important thing to the football club is what happens on the field. If we get that right for the start of the season then everything more or less takes care of itself. Finances at a football club are always going to be under pressure if the teams aren’t doing well. People can talk about other things like off the field activities but the football club lives and dies by what happens on the field of play and that’s going to be the most important thing. I don’t know what will happen in terms of other cuts over the summer as I don’t know the finances of the football club. The new owner has come in and he knows the finances of the club and he will do what he sees fit to get things back on an even keel. And the thing about clubs is – it’s not just Leeds United – you can’t just keep losing money week in, week out without taking some action. A lot of people work at football clubs and it’s disappointing when people lose jobs because they love their football but the survival of the club is paramount to what goes on. But I’ve not heard a thing (about my own situation) and we’ll just have to wait and see. We know now that Norwich will join Fulham and Cardiff in the Championship next season and it’s going to be a tough division. We’ve said all along that every year there are clubs coming down from the Premier League with money to spend who are desperate to get back up there as quickly as possible. Norwich will be one of those three clubs coming down who will spend money, and they’ve got decent players already. It just depends for these clubs when they come down if they can hold on to their best players because they have sampled the Premier League. It’s whether or not clubs like Norwich can keep hold of people like Robert Snodgrass who has had a good season and they’ve got to look at things like that. But they will be desperate to keep their best players and that makes it even more difficult for everybody else. We’ll no doubt be linked with some of their players but we have spoken about our club making cuts and cutting back and you’ve got to remember that these players will be on Premier League money now. Looking at our chances of getting promoted next season, you can just never tell in football and it all depends what recruitment is coming into the club and what players stay at the football club. If we keep our better players and add three or four players then we could be a decent outfit and that’s what everybody is hoping for. That will be the owner’s aim and Brian McDermott’s aim but nobody knows yet if the owner and Brian have got together yet. That’s gone pretty quiet and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens THE A TO Z OF LEEDS UNITED IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2013-14 – BY GC (updated) A is for Austin the man who can’t get his head out of his shoulders and after two season at Leeds is clearly not good enough for a Premiership chasing club. Time to move him on Rudy.RUDY AUSTIN LEEDS UTD 2013©varley picture agency B is Birmingham City, one of only two clubs we finally did the double over, and one we unfortunately didn’t relegate. Here is for 2nd time lucky next season. C is for Cellino the man tasked with building a team and a great club from the ashes of Bates and GFH. D is for David of the Haigh variety. The man would sneak under a rock with a top hat on. Maybe I’m doing him a disservice. Maybe he’d get under the rock without the hat. Cellino cut him little slack and showed him the door straight SalemandHaighaway. A user of Social Media when it suited him. No tweets to be had when there was a problem at the club. A very shrewd first move by Cellino. E is for Early pace setters. How important it is to get off to a good start in the Championship. Both Leicester and Burnley did, especially as it takes the relegated teams time to adapt. Many of us thought lowly Burnley would drop off. They didn’t. The rest is history and Turf Moor and Walker Stadium will host Premiership football next season. F is for Fifteenth where we finished this season on 57 points having won just 16 games, drew 9 games and lost 21 games. G is for GFH may their name be a distant memory and piss off back to where they came from although they still hold a small percentage of our great club. SmithRedcardH is for Hillsborough where we were hammered 6-0 one week after losing 2-0 at mighty Rochdale. It was the site of our biggest hammering of the season. I is for Irish. A huge Irish support continues to cross the Irish sea every week to watch our beloved Leeds United. We deserve better. Let’s hope we get it in 2015. J is for January. A nightmare month where McDermott saw himself sacked, United score two goals in five games, lose in the FA Cup at Rochdale and hit for six at Sheff Wednesday and fall from 6th to 12th in the Championship LUKE MURPHY CELEBRATES SCORING LEEDS FIRST GOALK is for Kebe. I don’t know what happened the Jimmy Kebe that used to play for Reading but the non-league player who Leeds signed on loan from Crystal Palace is a dead ringer for him. It must have been his twin cousin. L is for Luke Murphy our one million signing from Crewe got off to a dream start with his 94th minute winner against Brighton. McDermott didn’t get the best out of him this season. He surely must get better and let’s hope his brace against Blackpool is a glimpse of the box to box player we thought we signed. M is for McCormack and his 28 league goals. Top league scorer for a team who finished 15th. Some return and without his goals we would be touring League One next season. Baffling how he wasn’t player of the year in the Championship but Cellino’s Maccaandsonwisest decision thus far was spurning Cardiff’s 4M bid in January. N is for nice. Brian McDermott is a nice man and one of football’s true gents, but to quote from Sean Conroy in the film The Rock ‘Nice guys don’t f**’k the prom queen’ and I can’t wait for 12 years for a return to the Premiership. I want nasty and now, so N is for a new manager. I know you know it. Maximo Cellino knows it. So let’s cut to the chase and do it. O is for Oakwell, the home of Barnsley. So often a graveyard for Leeds. Simon Grayson lost there in his last two visits and Warnock was humbled there last season when the Leeds fans turned on him and there was no going back. This season McDermott won all three points in front of 4,300 travelling LUFC fans. McCormack scored the only goal. MaccvQPRP is for the play offs. The highest position we achieved was 4th after opening day and we were 6th at the end of 2013 even after losing 2-1 at Notts Forest on Dec 29th 2013, but then came January. Even in December we all knew we just weren’t good enough to reach Wembley in May Q is for QPR with all their Premiership millions and they thought they would just drop down for a short respite from the Premiership and jump back up again. In the end, the 10/3 ant post favourites finished 22 points behind Leicester City and 13 points behind little Burnley. R is for Releases. Ashdown, Cairns, Pugh, Diouf, Varney, Green, Ariyibi, Drury, Brown all have their contracts finished in June 2014. There will surely be plenty more to join them. Matt Smith scores leeds firstS for Smith of the Matt variety. McDermott’s best signing and his return of 12 league goals in his first season in the Championship was a decent return for the 6 feet 6 inch giant who improved as the season progressed. T is for Thorp Arch. It costs two million to run each year and it’s a risky strategy allowing Benito Carbone have allegedly some influence over it. Byram and Mowatt are the latest players off the production line with Lewis Turner having done very well out on loan this season. It doesn’t look broken to me so let’s not try too hard to fix it. U is for under achieving which is what we did this year inspite of the crazy antics surrounding the club. There is no reason why Bournmouth and Ipswich to name but two sides should be finishing above Leeds. I’m being kind not mentioning others and what about the miracle performed by Sean Dyche, dumped by the Italians (Hopefully no omen there) at Watford and then the incredible job he performed at Burnley. WickhamtoLeedsV is for victory. Leicester were victorious in 31 matches. Burnley won 26 matches. Leeds won just 16 matches. The first two were promoted automatically. Aim for the first and don’t fall below the second and chances are Leeds will also be victorious and promoted in season 2014-15. Simple. W is Wickham of the Conor variety. He scored goals for fun on loan at Sheff Weds. He scored none at Leeds and was eventually played out on the wing until recalled by Sunderland where he scored a double at Man City, one at Chelsea in a shock 2-1 win, two at home to Cardiff City. In fact he probably kept Poyet in his job and Sunderland in the Premiership so much so that he was named Barclay player of the month for April. By the way, his granddad hails from N Ireland, so Messrs O’Neil and Keane should have a chat with him about playing some football in the Aviva. CellinoandMcDX is for Xenophobia which according to the Oxford dictionary is a ‘morbid fear of strangers’ – Cellino the King of Corn will have to use every 6th sense he possesses to turn around the Oil tanker that is Leeds United and those senses will hopefully clue him into the Lorimers of this world and familiarise himself quickly with the sharks of English football that lurk below and above the surface. Those strangers can be very dangerous. Y is for Yeovil Town the other side we did the double over and unfortunately they will be playing in League One next season. Six les points we’ll have to pick up elsewhere. Z is for Zero. We will make zero progress without investment and stability at our football club. Somehow, I think our guitar playing chairman is well aware of that ! Now bring it on !
Friday 9th of May. Thorp Arch to close for the Summer. LEEDS United are taking the unprecedented step of temporarily closing their training ground at Thorp Arch as part of attempts by new owner Massimo Cellino to cut the club’s costs. United, who are losing around £1million a month, will shut the complex near Wetherby from the start of next week with the intention of reopening it again when their first-team squad report back for pre-season training at the end of June. The club’s senior players and coaching team are beginning their summer holidays after finishing the Championship term last weekend, and a number of other non-playing staff will relocate to Elland Road for the close season. United’s academy squads have a number of fixtures remaining and are expected to fulfill them as planned, despite the closure of Thorp Arch. Physio and medical staff normally remain at the training ground during the summer but they will be based at Elland Road too.
Thurs 7. Class A Drugs found at Elland Road – YP. THE spy camera saga at Leeds United took another sensational twist today after former managing director David Haigh claimed the surveillance devices were installed following reports Class A drugs were being used at Elland Road. Mr Haigh, who quit the club last month, made the claims after being interviewed under caution by West Yorkshire HaighERPolice over allegations thousands of pounds in club money were fraudulently used to pay for spy cameras at the ground. He attended a police station voluntarily and was spoken to by detectives less than a month after new owner Massimo Cellino discovered the surveillance equipment during a security sweep of the ground. In a statement released this afternoon, the 36-year-old said he had given a “full statement to police officers” investigating complaints made by the club’s new majority shareholders that cameras were found at Elland Road. He said: “As the former Managing Director of the club, David was fully aware of the installation of these devices which were quite properly paid for by the club. “They were put in place following reports which he received between the end of January and early March this year alleging the recent misuse of Class A drugs. One of these reports was made by police. “It was, and remains, David’s view that not to have taken action to seek to provide evidence against the alleged perpetrators would have been in breach of his duty as a fit and proper person to be handling the day to day running of a Football League club. “David is of the firm belief that illegal drugs have no place in football. He will continue to co-operate fully with any police or other enquiries.” Though the discovery of the cameras at Elland Road were not in themselves enough to prompt a criminal probe, West Yorkshire Police have confirmed they are looking into alleged misappropriation of funds. The investigation was confirmed by the force on April 11, the same day Mr Haigh resigned as managing director and quit the club, saying he had no alternative “owing to various statements made by and on behalf of the new majority owners”. His resignation is not thought to have been connected to the on-going police case. No arrests have been made and the club has not yet commented on the investigation. It is not known who had the cameras fitted.Interviews under caution are carried out when police have grounds to suspect someone of an offence, though the person being interviewed may still attend on a voluntary basis. If they are suspected of an offence the person must be cautioned before being asked any further questions, as unless this is done their answers or silence cannot be used in court. Mr Haigh, 36, joined Leeds as a director in November 2012 after Gulf Finance House’s takeover of the club. He became managing director in July 2013. He led a proposed takeover of the club by Sport Capital in November 2013 but the bid collapsed in January, allowing Cagliari president Massimo Cellino to step in and buy Leeds. Mr Haigh was due to become club chief executive under Cellino but resigned as managing director and quit the club on April 11 after Cellino completed his 75 per cent takeover and threatened to sack him. In his resignation statement, Mr Haigh said: “Owing to various statements made by and on behalf of the new majority owners of Leeds United FC, I am left with no alternative than to resign as managing director of the club.” In November 2013, Sport Capital made two loans to United, one for £950,000 and another for £825,000. The money was predominately personal cash put up by Mr Haigh and was used to pay United’s operating costs amid growing financial pressures at Elland Road. The loan of £825,000 has been largely repaid but the second loan of £950,000 is still owed to Sport Capital. The company requested repayment of the money last month but Cellino failed to meet a deadline of April 24 . Sport Capital has since issued a winding-up petition against the club, which is due to be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice in London on June 9. A spokesman for Leeds United declined to comment on Mr Haigh’s claims.
Weds 6th. Five weeks to kill off winding up order from Haigh – YEP LEEDS United owner Massimo Cellino has less than five weeks to kill off a winding-up petition served on the club by David Haigh’s Sport Capital company. A judge in London is due to consider the petition and rule on Sport Capital’s claim against Leeds at a hearing on June 9. Sport Capital – a firm for which Haigh, United’s former managing director, is listed as the sole director – called in a loan of almost £1m around the time of Cellino’s takeover last month. A statutory demand for more than £957,000 gave Leeds and their Italian owner 21 days to repay the debt, a deadline which United failed to meet. The club were then served with a winding-up petition 24 hours before their 3-1 win at Birmingham City on April 26. The six-figure claim places further financial pressure on Cellino, who took control of a 75 per cent stake in United a month ago and has fought to address the legacy of loans and debts created by previous owner Gulf Finance House. According to Leeds’ most recent financial accounts, loans totalling close to £1.8m were paid to the club by Sport Capital in November after GFH – the Bahraini investment bank which bought United from Ken Bates in December 2012 – agreed to sell a controlling share to the UK-based company. Sport Capital’s proposed takeover collapsed after Christmas, clearing the way for Cagliari president Cellino to push through his own deal with GFH. Cellino’s buy-out survived an attempt by the Football League to disqualify him from owning an English club and he completed his takeover on April 7, four days after Sport Capital made its statutory demand for repayment. The 57-year-old has faced pressing financial issues from the outset at Elland Road, settling a tax bill of more than £500,000 in his first week as owner and paying wages deferred by United’s players and coaching staff at the end of March. Leeds are known to have faced two winding-up petitions since the turn of the year, one from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and another from shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance. Both were successfully dealt with by Cellino. He will now attempt to prevent Leeds from being hit by a winding-up order at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next month by meeting Sport Capital’s bill. The amount covered by the winding-up petition falls well short of the £1.775m noted in the club’s accounts, with part of the Sport Capital loan believed to be owed to Haigh personally rather than the company itself. Haigh was a key figure behind GFH’s purchase of Leeds in 2012 and became managing director of the club last July. His attempt to take control of United under the Sport Capital banner – a group which included Enterprise Insurance managing director Andrew Flowers – ended in failure midway through January. Despite Flowers’ close link to that takeover bid, he is not involved with Sport Capital’s winding-up petition. Haigh went on to secure the position of Leeds chief executive as part of the deal to sell the club to Cellino but resigned before he could officially take up the post amid comments from Cellino indicating that he planned to sack the 36-year-old. In his resignation statement, Haigh claimed that some of Sport Capital’s loans would be converted into club shares and then be handed over to supporters of United. Cellino, meanwhile, is at the start of a crucial summer with major changes to personnel at Elland Road and Thorp Arch expected to follow a Championship season in which Leeds finished 15th. He owner spoke of the financial strain at United last week, saying: “Our overheads are still too high for a Championship club. Some of them are more like Champions League than Championship.”
Tues 5th of May. Leeds top travelling support The travelling army that follow Leeds United up and down the country once again led the way in the Football League this season. Leeds took 70,061 fans on their travels this season in their 23-championship games, Fifteenthaveraging 3,046 per game with their biggest away following being 6,813 at Blackburn Rovers in NovLouthEastMidlandsember. League One champions Wolverhampton Wanderers had the second best following in the Football League with an average of 2,568 fans attending each away game. Wolves did take the biggest away following for a single game this season when 8,943 attended their trip to MK Dons. Elsewhere in the Championship, champions Leicester were second to Leeds (2,245), Sheffield Wednesday were third (2,193) and Nottingham Forest were fourth (2,111) and these were the only clubs to take a following of over 2,000 away fans per game. At the bottom end, Yeovil Town had the smallest following in the Championship with an average of 519 and their lowest was the 184 they took to Doncaster Rovers. Having already stated, Wolves had the biggest following in League One whilst six other clubs, Coventry City (1,603), Sheffield United (1,198), Bradford City (1,194), Preston North End (1,175), Rotherham United (1,115) and Brentford (1,078) all averaged four-figures. Crawley Town had the smallest with an average of just 190 attending their away games, their lowest being 29 at Port Vale. In League Two, Portsmouth (1,142) were the only side to average over 1,000 fans on their travels. Accrington Stanley had the lowest average in the Football League with an average of just 124 fans attending their away games and their lowest following was the 25 fans who made the trip to Dagenham and Redbridge. Tues May 5th. Peltier on his future. Leeds United defender Lee Peltier says he is unsure what the future holds after spending the final few months of the season on loan at Nottingham Forest. Peltier joined Forest in March and he made seven appearances for them playing in a midfield role. The 27-year-old, who joined Leeds from Leicester City in the summer of 2012, is still in contract at Elland Road until the summer of 2015 but he admits he will sit down with his agent over the summer. Speaking in the Nottingham Post , Peltier said, ‘I don’t know what my future holds, I will sit down with my agent and discuss what happens. ‘I have been focused on playing here, I have not spoken to anyone about anything beyond this season. I will have a good chat with my agent and then go from there. ‘Forest have a strong team and will be right up there next season. They have a good chairman who is backing them. It is a good club. ‘They are a good set of lads, they are good to work with, as is Gary (Brazil), and I have really enjoyed my time here. ‘All the staff have been great, as have the fans. That is all I can say. We will wait to see what the future holds.’ Peltier, who was named captain in his first season at Elland Road under Neil Warnock, had been a regular in the Leeds side before departing for the City Ground in March. His departure in March seemed a strange decision by Leeds with the only recognised right back Sam Byram struggling with injury.

Tuesday 5th of May. Check out Massimo Cellino and The Pigeon Detectives on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrnqDISfQUk&feature=youtu.be&a (just type in your browser) If he can organise as well as he can play, we will be in the Premiership next season.

Tuesday 6th of May. Time for excuses is over – McCormack. ROSS McCORMACK insists Leeds United must be challenging at the business end of the Championship in 2014-15 – with the time for excuses over. United head into the summer on the back of a disappointing 15th place finish, the lowest since the club returned to the second tier ahead of the 2010-11 season. A number of mitigating factors, particularly off the field, hamstrung United’s campaign, with ‘must do better’ the final verdict of talisman forward and captain McCormack as thoughts turn to next season, which kicks off on August 9. McCormack said: “It can’t be the season after. It’s got to be next season. You can’t have a club like this again. “Four years I’ve been here now and, apart from the first year when we finished seventh, we haven’t been challenging. “You’ve got to be in the mix. You can’t say ‘oh, we’ll wait for another season’ because what happens at the end of next season? “Leeds United deserve to be in the Premier League and the only people who can affect that are the players and the owner (Massimo Cellino). “He has to do everything in his power to get us challenging.“I can’t really afford to wait. I’m 28. I’ll be 29 by the time we get there if we do it next season. By that time, your best years are probably behind you in a sense. I’m hoping to be challenging with this club next year. If not promoted, then right in the mix with a good chance.” Despite signing a long-term deal last year, the name of McCormack is expected to be on the shopping list of Premier League clubs after his fine haul of 29 goals in a decidedly average side. For his part, the Scot, subject of strong interest from West Ham and old club Cardiff in 2013-14, expects to be reporting for pre-season training at Leeds at the start of July – unless the club decide otherwise and elect to cash in on him. McCormack added: “I’m not standing here saying ‘if he doesn’t spend money, I’m going to leave’ because it’s not up to me. “I’ll be back pre-season. I’ll keep doing my job until I get a phone call telling me they’ve accepted an offer or they want me to leave. “I’m never going to say I want to leave this club because the club deserves better than that. “The club is bigger than me, so I’m not going to do that.” One player fully expected to leave United this summer is Paul Green, whose deal ends next month with the midfielder one of a number of players likely to exit the club. The former Doncaster Rovers and Derby player has just completed a successful loan spell at Ipswich Town, which he admits has galvanised him after a difficult second year at Leeds. Green, who scored in the Tractor Boys’ 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, said: I enjoyed my first year at Leeds, but the second didn’t work out.“For some strange reason I wasn’t getting in the squad there, so coming here to trying and help Ipswich get into the play-offs has been enjoyable. “The gaffer (Mick McCarthy) has given me a chance and hopefully I have repaid his faith.”

Mon 5th of May 2014. Another one from Thorp Arch to make the break through next season ? Young Leeds United defender Lewis Turner has scooped three awards at the end of the season awards dinner at on loan club Chester. Turner scooped the clubs the Players` Player of the Year, City Fans United Player of the Year and the Away Travel Player of the Year. The 21-year-old fullback spent the season on loan with the Skrill Conference Premier Division side making 44 appearances in all competitions as they lost their status in the league on the final day of the season, going down in the final minutes after conceding a late equaliser against Salisbury. It was his second loan spell at Chester having spent much of last season with the club as they won promotion from the Skrill Conference North Division and it was his goal, which won them promotion against Boston. Lewis has spent the season on loan at Chester with fellow Leeds teammates Ross Killock and twin brother Nathan. Nathan joined Chester at the start of the season along with Lewis and he made 26 appearances whilst Ross joined Chester in November making 18 appearances. Mon 5th of May. Can Cellino afford to sack McDermott ?- Hay YP Brian McDermott said he had not given up hope of remaining as Leeds United’s manager with Massimo Cellino in two minds about whether McDermott will continue in his job next season. McDermott is waiting to learn his fate after Leeds completed their Championship term with a 1-1 draw against Derby County, and Cellino refused to give the 53-year-old his unequivocal backing in the aftermath of Saturday’s game at Elland Road. The Italian said he needed to be “100 per cent confident in my coach at the start of the season” but implied that the cost of replacing McDermott could persuade him to give the ex-Reading boss another chance. McDermott is 12 months into a three-year contract and Cellino, who bought a majority stake in Leeds a month ago and is working to pay off substantial debt, would incur a bill of more than £1m by sacking him before next season. United finished the 2013-14 campaign with three wins and a draw from five games, a late run which failed to lift the club higher than 15th in the league, but McDermott is hoping that a term ruined by ownership squabbles and woeful form since Christmas will not end his tenure. A crowd of almost 30,000 turned out for the last match of the season and McDermott said: “Leeds United fans don’t give up. Leeds United’s manager won’t give up because of that. “I haven’t given up and the players gave everything (against Derby). That’s a really good side we’ve played with a great manager who’s done a fantastic job. “The things that have gone on here make you a better manager because you know you can tough situations out. I’ve certainly had to tough this out but there was never any doubt in my mind that I would tough it out and try to get us to the next stage. “The next stage is the summer and building again. I might need to draw breath and find a bit of time but then I want to get on with things again.” Cellino was at Elland Road on Saturday and attended the club’s player-of-the-year award ceremony later that night, playing a set with the Pigeon Detectives at the centenary pavilion. The Italian will remain in England for most of this month and is focusing his attention on resolving the financial problems left behind by previous owner Gulf Finance House. In an interview with the BBC, Cellino said: “I must be 100 per cent confident in my coach at the start of the season. I must have a coach who is very good on the field and helps me manage by choosing players. “I’m looking for that and then when the season starts I must be sure – if it’s McDermott or anyone else – that we must not be insecure. We must be sure about what we are looking for. “We are engaged (with McDermott) for two years of his contract and that’s important because we can’t waste money. I can’t just change manager and bring another cost to the club.”

CellinoandPDSSCellinoandPDS1at 3rd of May. Cellino jams with Pigeon Detectives at end of year bash .Massimo Cellino is having no problems endearing himself to the city of Leeds after being spotted on stage with the Pigeon Detectives on Saturday night. The new United owner – who had to fight hard to clinch his stake in the club – hopped up with the indie outfit. They were playing a half-hour set at Leeds’ Player of the Year awards after the 1-1 draw against Derby County at Elland Road. And it isn’t the first time the Pigeon Detectives have come into contact with Cellino. The Italian dropped in on the band on Wednesday, with their Twitter page labelling him a ‘legend’. All of the band are huge Leeds fans.  They said on Saturday that the awards were ‘epic’ and ‘it was a pleasure to have the new Leeds United owner join us on stage.’ Cellino still has much to do at Leeds. Brian McDermott’s position as manager is still up in the air as they begin planning for the future. Many will know of the Pigeon Detectives from their excellent collaboration with Mark Duffy in “Why lie Kenny ?” a song detailing the list wrong doings and broken promises placed on Leeds United by one Kenny Bates. Check it out on You Tube :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAPBWJehBfk

CeellinoandPDS2

Massimo Cellino on stage with The Pigeon Detectives in Leeds (not your average chairman)

Sat 3rd of May No assurances from Cellino for McDermott - BBC Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has revealed he will sit down for talks with manager Brian McDermott before deciding on whether he is the right man to take the club forward next season. During Cellino’s attempt to purchase Leeds in January, McDermott was informed through a solicitor acting on behalf of the Italian’s company Eleonora Sport that he had been sacked as the club’s manager. The 52-year-old was reinstated the next day after it emergedGibbsandMacca the takeover from Dubai-based investment group GFH Capital had not been completed. Eleonora eventually completed their takeover from financially-stricken GFH last month and while McDermott has stayed in charge of the club, his future remains uncertain. “I must be 100% confident in my coach at the start of the season,” Cellino told BBC Radio Leeds. “I must have a coach that is very good on the field and helps me manage by choosing players. “I must be 100% confident in my coach at the start of the season.” “I am looking for that and then when the season starts, I must be sure – if it’s McDermott or anyone else – that we must not be insecure. We must be sure about what we are looking for. “We have to let things cool down. Maybe in a week or 10 days’ time both of us will be ready to talk about the future. “We are engaged in another two years of contract and that is also very important for us because we cannot waste money changing (managers). If we have to face that we have to be sure. “Me and Brian have to sort it out very fairly and in a sporting way.” Cellino revealed he sympathised with the situation McDermott found himself in at Leeds when financial problems started taking hold of the club. “I think when Brian came here he thought he was coming to a club that could buy a lot of players and he found something different,” he said. “They (the previous owners) were expecting miracles from him, expecting him to be some kind of magician and bring the club into the Premier League straightaway. “I don’t think he got a company/club with enough experience to support him not just with money but with experience so he became a very lonely manager.”He wasn’t ready to manage the club. He was maybe a good coach but did not have enough managerial experience to manage a confusing situation like the one he found at  .”So I cannot blame him. Maybe he was the right manager at the wrong moment at the wrong club.” Cellino has already brought in former Sheffield Wednesday striker Benito Carbone to assist with redeveloping the club’s academy but the 57-year-old insists Carbone is not a potential contender for McDermott’s job. “I brought Benito Carbone here because his dream is to manage in England because he played here in England and he loves English football,” he said. “He knows about soccer but he is not a manager for me that is ready to manage a club in the Championship. He’s still too close to a soccer player to be a coach. He’s not ready yet.” Cellino added that Leeds must implement a number of changes if they are to eventually return to the Premier League. “Our overheads are still a little bit too high for a Championship club,” he said. “Some of them are more like Champions League than Championship.”We have to spend our resources on buying good young players with talent and keep the wages down.” He added: “The biggest problem we have is that we do not have enough humility to approach a Championship season. “We need humility – humility from the coach, humility from the chairman and humility from the fans. “Why have we not been back to the Premier League in the last 10 years? Because we are spoiled.

Sat May 3rd. Leeds break bad run versus Derby. UNITED 1 (Smith 50), DERBY 1 (Dawkins). United: Butland, Wootton, Lees, Pearce, Pugh, Murphy (White 46), Austin, Brown, Tonge, McCormack, Smith. Subs. Cairns, Thompson, Dawson, Poleon, Hunt, Walters.  Booked: Brown (Leeds), ). Att: 29,724 Derby County were the visitors to Elland Road for the final game of the 2013/14 season and United AnnMaguireMinsilencemanager Brian McDermott named an unchanged side from the previous weekend’s away victory at Birmingham. The away side showed their attacking threat early on when Craig Forsyth broke forward. The Derby full-back split United’s defence with a piercing run to then strike at goal, and it took a great save from Jack Butland to deny the defender. Derby kept the early pressure on United and they were ahead in the sixth minute when Simon Dawkins bundled the ball home. Butland saved an original close-range shot from Jeff Hendrick but Dawkins was lurking in the box and pounced to put his side in front. United responded well to going behind and were close to being level before the opening 10 minutes were up. Ross McCormack picked up the ball after a loose corner and played in Michael Tonge but the midfielder’s shot was saved well by Lee Grant in the Derby goal. Grant made another great save just minutes later when he denied Matt Smith after the striker headed a Luke Murphy cross goalwards from close-range. The Derby keeper was on hand to SmithvDerbysave again from Smith who headed at goal but an agile Grant tipped the ball over his crossbar. As the half went on both sides were creating goalscoring opportunities. United had two attempts cleared off the line and Butland made a great save to prevent Dawkins getting his second of the game. Midway through the half McCormack had his first sight of goal but his chipped effort went just over the bar. Prior to the 30-minute mark, and with United on top, Grant kept his side in front with another fantastic save. With no other options open to him in advanced positions Michael Brown struck a sweet shot from distance that looked to be heading into the bottom corner but the out-stretched hand of Grant turned the ball behind. There was still to be further goalmouth action before the entertaining first half was over. Tonge found himself with time and space on the edge of the penalty area and he struck for goal. The shot was on target and looked to be blocked by the the arm of Derby captain Richard Keogh but the referee waved away United’s advances. United started quickly after the interval and Tonge went close after getting on the end of a Smith knock down. It wasn’t long before United were level, though, when SmithandMaccaMcCormack used his strength to keep the ball to play in Smith. The big striker controlled the ball superbly and chipped the onrushing Grant on 50 minutes. Smith had a golden chance to put United ahead three minutes later. Danny Pugh mistimed a shot but it fell into the striker’s path but Smith smashed his attempt over the bar. United dominated the second half and all that was missing was the killer final touch in the Derby penalty area. United were still creating chances but the away side did threaten when Patrick Bamford broke the outside trap, but Butland was equal to his effort and saved comfortably. With 10 minutes of the game remaining McCormack had an opportunity to get his 30th goal of the season when United were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. The league’s top marksman struck but Grant performed a great save to keep the contest level. The closing minutes belonged to United. The Elland Road side continued to create chances with McCormack going close twice and Danny Pugh also had an opportunity towards the end but he headed wide. Although United had a late flurry of chances it wasn’t enough to get the win but they did earn a deserved point against one of the Derbyendfavourites to be promoted through the end of season Play-Offs. This is what why Brolly McClaren had to say after the game : “Before the game we wanted to achieve the record points total and also finish as the division’s top goalscorers, so it’s great to achieve both of them. “The lads battled their hearts out today and they’ve gone down in history. “The game itself was a battle but we made changes and the way we played just showed what a strong squad we have. “It was a test for us which is exactly what we needed ahead of what’s to come. “We started well, got in front and played some good football but it didn’t continue. “On reflection a draw was a fair result and it means we’re unbeaten in six. “Now we want to finish the job off in the play-offs and that’s our next aim.” Reacting to Derby’s opponents being confirmed as Brighton in the play-offs, McClaren said: “Two tough games await us now – they’ve snuck in at the death and they’ll be delighted.”

Sat May 3rd. Time for focus to be back on Leeds United – Hay YP It is time for Leeds United to be run like a football club again with the game at its heart and not a sideshow to off-field and financial matters. When he speaks like he spoke about Leeds United yesterday, it hardly figures that Ross McCormack has captained the club for a handful of games. It’s a standard routine at Elland Road: trouble occurs, bits and pieces are said but once the dust settles on a lost season, the hatchet job falls to him. There are risks involved with being so candid but the crux of McCormack’s Yorkshire Evening Post interview is that most of his observations were true. Leeds have scrimped to their detriment in the transfer market and sold too many of their influential players. Gulf Finance House ran the club in a convoluted, self-centred way – as a review of the bank’s strategy reveals – and the time for Massimo Cellino to show his hand is basically here. Players say much about how magical Leeds are but it is good to hear one of them acknowledging the flaw with the Emperor’s new clothes. Cellino himself is open and opinionated so perhaps he can appreciate McCormack’s honesty, much as some of it nailed him to the floor. As president of Cagliari, the Italian was never quick to delegate authority or dilute his control but if he places a value on blunt voices in the dressing room, he will see that the sale of McCormack this summer would cost him more than the striker’s goals. It stands to reason that any player who airs his views as McCormack did is bound to do the same behind closed doors. A club needs its share of straight-talkers and Leeds need theirs. By Brian McDermott’s own admission, there is a dearth of leadership among the squad at Thorp Arch, a weakness which begs the question of why it took a mea culpa from Rudy Austin for McCormack to inherit an armband which seems to suit him so well. McDermott considered one alternative, Jason Pearce, before promoting his leading goalscorer but from a pick of more than 20 professionals, the shortlist for the captaincy was as long as two. If United make it through the close season with McCormack in tow, it will be because Cellino treats incoming bids as dismissively he did when West Ham United and Cardiff City dangled offers in front of him in January. Other interest will come and it is barely necessary for McCormack to ask how substantially his wage might increase in the Premier League after a season of 29 goals. Leeds negotiated a four-year contract with him last August and won’t offer another or attempt to hike up his salary again. Cellino is presently in the business of cutting expenditure at Elland Road, as opposed to taking on more. McCormack for his part is not adverse to looking after himself. The underlying theme of yesterday’s article was that he’d covet the chance to win promotion here but would not be happy to waste the best years of his career by chasing a dream which Leeds showed no sign of realising. He evidently cares, as others before him did, but the club and their support is what resonates with players. Ownership, management and ambition is a separate consideration. It’s simplistic to argue that Robert Snodgrass, Jonny Howson and players like them left Elland Road in search of a pay rise. They left in part because there was nothing keeping them here. As owner of Leeds, Cellino’s era is raw and new. Until key decisions materialise on the playing side of the business his intentions are his own; second-guessed by everyone else. But he needs people like McCormack. He needs the striker’s talent and he needs his attitude. It’s the antidote to the culture left behind by GFH, an owner which made football its last consideration and its last concern. The Bahraini bank published its annual report for 2013 this week and in it confirmed what most of us know – that ownership of Leeds was about money, profit and personal gain. The review shows that in spite of its failure to make anything more than a car crash of United, GFH’s time as majority shareholder earned the bank a profit of £4m. As a bonus, it continues to hold a 10 per cent stake which GFH hopes will “deliver sound returns for the bank and the co-investors.” Priorities and all that. Leeds are described in the report as a “celebrated British football club” which would be very touching had GFH run them like one. Somewhere along the line football has to matter. And at Elland Road, Leeds have to matter. It’s not a case of selfless, to-the-death devotion. It’s about finding middle ground where individual ambition is married with the good of the club. Take Benito Carbone, the recent addition to the academy staff at Thorp Arch. He is here, Cellino says, for no wage and with a remit to help “rebuild the academy” – one of the few areas of the club which has held itself together. But Carbone as a development squad coach? Look back at interviews with him and you’ll find him talking about how he wants to manage a major side in England; about how he turned down various jobs in Italy to pursue employment here. “If I was offered a Premier League job tomorrow I would not be afraid,” he said. The ambition is palpable. So has the idea of academy football at Thorp Arch stirred his passion? Or is this opportunity a means to an end? You have to ask. This season is almost over and not before time. Season-ticket sales start on Monday and once again, the club are relying on goodwill to maintain their steady core of 12,000 holders. Promotion next year is unlikely, according to Cellino, but the money invested in season tickets should at least buy a culture-change – one where football speaks loudest, executives at the highest level work with that philosophy and individualism defers to the greater good. The problem with GFH was that its idea of “sound returns” wasn’t the same as ours. It still isn’t. GFH wants promotion but only to enhance the value of its remaining shares. That’s why investment banks were made. But football clubs? Leave them to those who know and care.

Friday May 2nd. No need to feel ashamed – McDermott – Phil Hay Yorkshire Post. Brian McDermott insisted last night that he would exit Leeds United with pride in his performance and his head held high if tomorrow’s game against Derby County was his last as manager. Brian McDermott insisted last night that he would exit Leeds United with pride in his performance and his head held high if tomorrow’s game against Derby County was his last as manager. McDermott defended his record at Elland Road but was unable to clarify his future as boss as he and his players prepared to complete their last match of the Championship season. The 53-year-old will take charge of his 55th competitive fixture this weekend with the threat of the sack continuing to hang over him after another week without any discussions between him and club owner Massimo Cellino. Cellino could move to end McDermott’s reign this summer, just 12 months into his three-year contract, but the Italian has given United’s boss no clarification about his job and admitted on Saturday that he was still undecided about whether McDermott would continue to manage Leeds next season. United’s president will be at Elland Road for tomorrow’s clash with Derby having travelled to England earlier this week, and discussions about the coaching staff and the senior squad are increasingly pressing with no fewer than nine players out of contract in July. McDermott has come under sustained pressure during the second half of a season which promised a push for the play-offs in the lead-up to Christmas but promptly imploded amid a severe loss of form and a shambolic attempt by Gulf Finance House to sell the club. Cellino finally bought out the Bahraini bank on April 7, almost three months after bidding for a 75 per cent stake in Leeds. McDermott conceded that results in the the second half of the term had been “poor” but said he was proud of his refusal to abandon his post after Cellino tried and failed to dismiss him while the takeover from GFH was pending at the end of January. McDermott said: “Things started to go wrong but did I handle that situation? Yes, without a doubt in my opinion. “It would have been very easy to walk away on the first of February but I was never going to do that and I’m glad and proud that I didn’t. I didn’t even think about it. “We had a poor run for three months and you accept that. I don’t want to talk about what’s gone on off the pitch because it sounds like excuses, and people think it’s excuses. But since the club’s been stable, we’ve won three out of the last four games. “People have opinions on everything but I’ve tried to be absolutely honest in everything I’ve done. I’ve tried to tell the truth as I see it and I’ve not ducked anything.” McDermott said no talks with Cellino were officially planned and admitted he had no way of knowing if he would be manager next season, saying: “I’ve no idea. I’m the same as any of you. “People will have their own views but I don’t know is the answer. I just want to win tomorrow and finish the season with a really good result. “Fundamentally, we’ve got a summer ahead where we don’t know what’s going to happen regarding the squad, where we’re going to go with players or what’s going to happen with the club. “Massimo has his ideas, he’s going to have his philosophies about where he sees things moving forward. It’ll be interesting times and he can do it in whatever order he wants.” Cellino, who plans to attend United’s end-of-season awards ceremony tomorrow night, made one change to the coaching staff last week, employing former Bradford City striker Benito Carbone to work at United’s academy. Carbone has been present at Thorp Arch all week, though McDermott defended a youth-team system which has regularly produced first-team players for Leeds. “We could possibly have up to eight players from the academy in the squad tomorrow,” he said. “That’s nearly 50 per cent of the squad coming from academy players. I think (Carbone’s) remit is to help with the academy and anyone coming in to help out can only be a good thing.” Two of United’s self-produced squad members, Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt, are likely to miss the game against Derby through injury, and Leeds have sent Jimmy Kebe back to Crystal Palace, ending the winger’s dismal half-season loan at Elland Road. Derby have already qualified for the play-offs and United are looking to end a head-to-head sequence of 10 straight defeats to County tomorrow. “My gut feeling is that he (Derby boss Steve McClaren) will make a few changes,” McDermott said. “He’s got a squad with players who are good enough to come in so I think he’ll change personnel to a point. I think they’re the team to beat in the play-offs, I really do.”

Friday May 2nd. ‘ I want to lead Whites back into Premier League’ – McCormack by Phil Hay YP Ross McCormack talks to Phil Hay about his time at United, McDermott, Cellino, promotion and what really happened on Mad Friday. Like the Champions League, the Yorkshire Evening Post’s player of the year award has never been retained. Before this season, no player had won it twice. “That’s because everyone leaves,” Ross McCormack says. He’s joking, of course, but he’s not entirely wrong. Rio Ferdinand, Alan Smith and Max Gradel – three players who received the award a few short months before quitting Leeds United. McCormack was nearly part of that list, put up for sale in 2012 until the club lost Robert Snodgrass and realised that they were in danger of bleeding their squad dry. Tomorrow, before United’s game against Derby County, McCormack will take the YEP’s trophy for a second time. It had to be. The striker has been player-of-the-year-elect since November and a guaranteed nominee. That Ryan Hall – culled by Leeds for disciplinary reasons before Christmas – came second in the poll made an strangely salient point about how highly the squad around McCormack is regarded. The best that can be said of the Scotland international is not that he was the obvious choice this season but that in each of the past seven or eight years, his overwhelming impact would have run every winner close.

RossMacca

Macca wants to lead Leeds into Premiership

At Elland Road his 29 goals put him in a bracket with Jermaine Beckford, Lee Chapman, Peter Lorimer and John Charles. Of the last four players to score 30 times in one season, only Charles did so in league games. McCormack needs two goals to emulate Il Gigante Buono, a forward whose contemporaries described him as the best they played against. McCormack has earned similar appreciation in the Championship. His unbroken form is not entirely unheralded. Twice before, at Leeds and Cardiff City, he has been in the ball-park of 20 goals but this season is nothing like his last, an experienced he dismissed as a “complete waste” a year ago. United made nothing more of this one but McCormack found himself immune to their mediocrity; less dour and unhappy than he was while Neil Warnock held the managerial whip. “I’ve had something quite special here, something I’ve never really had before,” he says. “I’m comfortable and happy and that comes from knowing you’ve got a manager in place who believes in you. “A manager believing in you doesn’t mean he uses you a bit or says good things about you in the press. It means that if you have a bad game, you know you’ll start the next one. Too many bad games and you’ll get dropped, that’s football, but you’re not going to be pushed aside unfairly or made a scapegoat of. It makes a difference to how you feel and how freely you play. It’s made a difference to me.” Brian McDermott, United’s manager as it stands and for as long as Massimo Cellino allows, has pinned everything to McCormack. The 27-year-old has started all of his games in charge bar one, a League Cup tie against Chesterfield. He signed a four-year contract last August, the longest deal a club like Leeds would ever offer a player who is highly valued but in his late 20s, and he took the captaincy in January. As for the value of his strikerate, ex-Leeds forward Mick Jones cut to the chase last week, saying: “If it hadn’t have been for his goals, they would have gone down.” Leeds have not always looked to him with such gratitude. Simon Grayson signed McCormack in 2010 but took a year to involve him fully, though McCormack held no grudges about that. “Circumstances went against me,” he says. “I got injured on my first start and when I came back, Becchio had scored a few, Snodgrass was playing well, Max (Gradel) was playing well and Jonny Howson was playing well. There wasn’t a place in the team, simple as that. To be fair to Simon, any time I went to ask why I wasn’t involved he said ‘keep your head down. You’ll be a big player for me next year.’ And he stuck to his word.” It is not in dispute that McCormack’s relationship with Warnock was strained and less cordial. McCormack wants McDermott to remain in place as manager next season – “Everyone knows what I think of him,” he says – but McDermott’s future, like many things, is Cellino’s business. The Italian has been brash and outspoken since buying out Gulf Finance House last month yet reticent in his own way. Even on Saturday night, he was in two minds about McDermott; unsure as to whether United’s standing in the Championship and their implosion since Christmas should end the 53-year-old’s tenure. McDermott’s deal has two years left to run. “The manager deserves a chance,” McCormack says. “People from the outside don’t see it but when you’re managing of a club, you need a one-man band running it – someone you can turn to and get an answer from instantly. “The channels you had to go through under GFH to get an answer about anything were ridiculous. Everything had to filter up so many levels and then down again. Take my contract last summer for talking’s sake. It took months to agree when really there was nothing to sort out. It wasn’t like I was asking for too much money or they were offering too little. It was basically done. But it took forever for someone to say ‘right, get it signed’. “Under this guy (Cellino), I hope it’ll be recognised that in a settled environment, the manager’s proven he can win the league. He’s got to be given a chance to do his job properly, get his own players and put his stamp on the team. He deserves that at least. “In the four years I’ve been here, I don’t feel we’ve ever spent much on players. Most of the teams who win promotion buy wisely and heavily. Even Burnley – people say they didn’t spend money but they spent half-a-million on Ashley Barnes so they’ve thrown a bit about. In life, you get what you pay for.” McCormack’s own position is as questionable as McDermott’s. He is contracted for another three years but falls into the category of Championship players who Premier League clubs on limited budgets are bound to bid for. Common sense says that McCormack in such good form is as likely to reach the conclusion that he is punching below his weight in the Championship. “There’s no point in me sitting here saying that I don’t want to play in the Premier League, because I do,” he says. “I want to play there as soon as possible, But in my head there’s a lot to take into consideration. “I think about the feeling of being at Elland Road on the last day of the season, winning promotion and being captain. That would surpass just playing in the Premier League for any old club, and I don’t say that lightly.” But surely he would be reluctant to stick around for another season in which Leeds finished a mile beneath the play-offs? “Obviously,” he says. “We’ve had that for a couple of seasons now – started well and then faded away. I don’t want another year like that. Even if you’re not going up, you want to be close. It’s no good being done and dusted by the start of April.” He says that parts of this season have “done your head in.” “The three months after Christmas, we didn’t look like we could buy a win,” McCormack says. “I’d like to explain why but I don’t know. It was hard to be part of because you can feel the season getting away from you and you know the table’s not looking great. You don’t take a lot of pleasure from that. “It’s really up to the owner to show his hand now and let everyone see what his plans for next season are. Because if the quotes from him are right and he’s said he doesn’t expect promotion next year, that’s not something us as players want to hear or hang around for. At the end of the day, you want to go up and be part of a promotion here.” In his barnstorming conversation with a Leeds supporter – recorded without his knowledge and broadcast on the Internet – Cellino alleged that McCormack had appeared at Elland Road on transfer deadline day in January, demanding to leave in the aftermath of an attempt by Cellino to sack McDermott. Cardiff had bid for him, following on from an earlier approach from West Ham United, but Cellino refused to negotiate with either club. McCormack does not dispute that he drove to Elland Road on Mad Friday but he contests that version of events. “I’ve heard reports that I went to ground and asked to leave but the truth is I didn’t meet Massimo,” he says. “I met someone working for him, some lawyer who people got to know a bit about (Chris Farnell), but I didn’t speak to Massimo. So that’s definitely not true. It wasn’t in my mind to leave and anyway it was about eight o’clock at night so I don’t see how a deal could have happened. I’m in Leeds and Cardiff’s miles away. There’s no way I could have got anywhere in time. But at the same time, clubs were bidding for me and no-one was telling me anything. I didn’t know if I was staying or if the club were about to try and sell me. I wanted some answers. No-one was able to give me them so I drove to the ground. It was a weird, weird night.” McCormack accepted long ago that players make their own way in football. He began chasing the dream as a kid on the streets of Pollok in south Glasgow, a Celtic supporter. He trialled for Celtic’s Under-10 squad but was rejected for being too small so joined Rangers instead after a coach with his junior side, Hillwood Boys Club, began working at the Ibrox academy. Some would think of it as playing for the dark side. McCormack was happy to take his chance. “Glasgow’s different to a lot of cities in the world,” he says. “Everything’s football. Every decision you make as a kid is about football – when and where you play, which teams you’ll go to watch, how you’re going to get your next game. Looking at the rivalry you might not think it but we’re all the same up there. We all want the same thing – to play.” May 1st, McCormack would be ‘gutted’ not to make 30 goal mark – Hay YP Ross McCormack says he will be “gutted” if a 30th goal of the season goes begging on Saturday – but insists he has no intention of turning Leeds United’s final game into a personal crusade. The club’s captain is one goal short of the 30 mark and has been stuck on 29 since his winner at Barnsley on April 19, his only finish in the past seven games. McCormack has one more opportunity to join the list of five Leeds players who have reached 30 goals in a single season, the most recent Jermaine Beckford and the most revered John Charles. Charles hit that target twice during his career at Elland Road and his haul in 1957 is the last time a United striker produced a 30-goal tally in league matches alone. McCormack, whose Championship efforts stand at 28, admitted he would rue a number of missed penalties if he fell short of the same milestone but said he was prioritising United’s attempt to end an abject term with a fourth win from five games against Derby County. “I won’t be happy if I don’t get there, especially because I’ve missed a few penalties,” McCormack said. “They would have taken me up to both marks – 30 goals for the season and 30 league goals too. “It’s been playing on my mind a bit and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. It’s been done very rarely here. But if I don’t get 30 then I’ve still got 29 and for me that’s a good return – probably more than I expected to score. “I’d be a bit gutted if it doesn’t happen but if we win on Saturday and finish off with four wins from five games then that’s far more important in the grand scheme.” Leeds produced a 3-1 victory at Birmingham City last Saturday but McCormack saw few chances, despite forcing Paul Caddis to concede an own goal late in the second half. Manager Brian McDermott revealed that McCormack had attempted to claim the effort as his own after full-time but replays showed that the cross which Caddis slid into his own net was heading well wide. “I’ll do what I have to on Saturday,” McCormack said. At Birmingham last weekend, for the own goal I was through on my own and I could have taken a shot but I didn’t really think about it. “I try to be unselfish and even though strikers tend to be selfish in their own way, you become a better player by making the right decisions when it matters. “That put the game beyond doubt so shooting didn’t enter my mind.”  McCormack was 40/1 at the start of the season to be top score with Paddy Power. I know because I backed him. Adam Le Fonder of Reading was the favourite @ 8/1 and the ever prolific Jordan Rhodes of Blackburn was 10/1. He is 4 goals behind Ross on 24 goals. May 1st. Season could easily have been so different without McCormack – Lorimer TPI’d rather not think about where Leeds United would be without Ross McCormack’s goals. A lot of clubs rely on their forwards to either get them up or keep them out of trouble and the Championship’s been full of prolific forwards this season. You can’t say the same about the squad at Leeds. Matt Smith’s had a decent year but before Saturday’s win at Birmingham City, there was an amazing stat which showed that Ross had scored more league goals than all the other players at Elland Road combined. That says it all. He was close to winning the Football League’s player-of-the-year award and probably should have done, and I’m not surprised to see him in every team-of-the-year going. He’s been the star of the show for Leeds by a country mile but if you judge him by the standards of the division as a whole, he’s right up there too. So naturally I feel a bit concerned about what might happen in the summer. There’s a trend at the Premier League’s bottom end of clubs with limited budgets looking to the Championship for good value for money and untapped talent. The best way to fend off their advances is to win promotion. No doubt Burnley and Leicester City have lads who a few top-flight sides would be interested in but they’re heading for the Premier League and will probably keep hold of them. Where Ross is concerned, Leeds don’t have that protection. We know that West Ham and Cardiff had a good look at him in January and his form has been spot on since then. Any manager looking around for possible deals is going to think seriously about moving for him. The pleasing thing in January was that we turned down the bids that came in for Ross. That at least gives me confidence that the club have the situation under control and won’t be forced into anything, but we all know that a lot depends on the player being happy too. I don’t know what’s in Ross’ head. I don’t know if he’s here for the long haul or if he’ll be starting to think that he should be playing at a higher level. The thing about him is that he’ll score goals for any team. He’s got the instinct. The better your team-mates, the more service you get and the more likely you are to find the net. He’s got 29 goals for the season and I really hope he hits a 30th on Saturday. Trust me, he’ll be frustrated if he doesn’t. You don’t get the chance to reach that mark in a single season very often and I did it only once. Over the years, only four or five players at Leeds ever have. I’ve obviously watched him throughout the season and I think he’s matured massively. Giving him a new contract last summer and then the captaincy seemed to make him more settled and I do think he’s onto a good thing here. You might ask why he’d want to stay given our form this season and I suppose it’s a fair question but we’re on the brink of a new horizon here and it looks like the rebuilding under Massimo Cellino is about to start. He and many other people have heard this before but you have to hope that the future look