By Mike Courtney
Where do you start after a weekend like this? And its not over yet. I should have written something yesterday but the news was flying in thick and fast, with conflicting stories emerging from Elland Road that it was hard to keep track of what was really going on.
It all started with talks of takeovers, be they Italian, British or otherwise. It quickly turned into farce with the news breaking just before 8pm that Brian McDermott had been sacked by the club. This came shortly after I sat and listened to our skipper talking live on Sky Sports News about his commitment to the club and manager despite bids rumoured to be as high as £6 million, coming in for him. No sooner had the news about BMAC surfaced and there was Ross back on the phone in shock at the news but still sounding dignified and committed to the Leeds cause, despite the best efforts of the Sky reporter trying to get a sound byte out of him.
Social media went crazy with stories of Italian managers and strikers coming in and reports of mass sackings and sales of players. The sackings may have materialised, even at this stage I'm not sure, but the signings and exodus of players never came to the fruition. Just before taking myself to my bed there were reports of fans gathering at Elland Road and chasing Cellino's taxi from the ground. Police were on standby and Leeds United were making the news for all the wrong reasons once again.
Like most Leeds fans I found it hard to sleep that night. How would the players react to this ahead of a vital Yorkshire Derby. Managerless and confusing about the future of the club it didn't auger well for the team. Reports in the morning news feeds were saying that McDermott was sacked by a lawyer acting on behave of the proposed new owner, GFH were tight lipped and things were going from bad to worse. Our manager sacked by an owner who wasn't even in place and silence from Messrs Haigh and Patel. Elland Road at 3pm would be an interesting place to be. Then it emerged that McDermott was advised to stay away from the ground amid a legal challenge to his dismissal. Talk of Enterprise Insurance and Pelican Land pulling the plug on sponsorship didn't help matters as kick off fast approached.
Nigel Gibbs was informed that he would be in charge for the match. Mark Robins and his Terriers must have been relishing the visit to Elland Road as confusing, anger, shock and disgust reigned at the once mighty Leeds. Thankfully Gibbs kept faith with his players, bringing in Mowatt and Murphy for Diouf and Brown, with our skipper leading the line. Like me, most fans probably wondered if our skipper would be in the right frame of mind after the happenings of the day before. We shouldn't have doubted him. After Ward had given Huddersfield a deserved lead half way through the first half it was a case of here we go again. We were lucky to be heading toward half time just one down. Then it all changed. Ross pounced and the roof was raised at Elland Road. Dare we dream? Why not. Jimmy Kebe clipped home after being fed by McCormack and though Huddersfield nearly equalised Leeds extended there lead when McCormack finished well after being set up by Byram, he then completed his hat trick on 75 minutes after being set up by Cameron Stewart. Alex Mowatt rounded it all off with a cool finish to make it 5-1 and Leeds were in dreamland. There is no doubting who that performance was for.
The question remains though, why can't we do that week in week out. Is this win just papering over the cracks that most certainly still exist. And if that wasn't enough news started to filter through that McDermott wasn't sacked and GFH were actively trying to reverse the decision made by the Italian, who didn't have the authority to make it in the first place.
Where does that leave us now though? If Cellino's takeover is ratified by the Football League then its only a matter of time before he dismisses McDermott and replaces him with Gianluca Festa. In the meantime, will McDermott continue or will Gibbs and Redfearn keep the show running? Most Leeds fans think Brian Mcdermott is the right man for the job and his honesty, integrity and straight talking has endeared him to the faithful. If he walks away now after the way he was treated then who could blame him. If he does go and Festa takes the reins, expect to see a mass exodus in the summer, lead by our top scorer and skipper.
Whatever happens it won't be boring at Elland Road between now and the summer. We are back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. It's a farcical situation at present which has us the laughing stock of English football. An amazing 5-1 win being overshadowed by events off the pitch. It needs to be sorted one way or the other. Most fans don't want Cellino taking over, and after the way they have conducted themselves over the last 24 hours, most fans have lost faith in GFH.
This is only the beginning. Expect plenty more from this saga. As for now, we can bask in the glory of a resounding hammering of our neighbours up the road and pray for good times ahead at Elland Road.
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