By Mike Courtney
What a week it has been. Being a Leeds United fan is never boring, there is always something stirring in the background. Books by managers, court trials of players, and for the past 12 years financial mayhem. But nothing and I mean nothing compares to the goings on of the past week.
Manager sacked on eve of Yorkshire Derby followed by confusion as to whether he was sacked or not. Then we go out and trounce Huddersfield and straight after the match word filters through that manager has been reinstated. Then talk of sponsors pulling out and rival bids for ownership in the pipeline. Then during the week a winding up petition is lodged over unpaid debts and another court date to decide the future of the club scheduled for March. By all accounts the club is bleeding money left right and centre, some reports suggest £1 million a week, and reports of staff not being paid. Never a dull moment.
So a week on where do we stand? Well it is looking increasingly more likely that Massimo Cellino will takeover as owner of the club once he passes the Football Leagues fit and proper test at a hearing on Wednesday. It has been reported that he is on the verge of selling Cagliari and will put all his funds into Leeds United. He says himself that the first thing he will do is buy back Elland Road and clear the debts. He wants to see Leeds v Man United as it used to be, if Man U keep going the way they are that could well be in the Championship, but I think we all get what he means.
Basically he wants to achieve what we as fans all want and that is a return to the good times at Leeds United. He seems to have the money to back up the talk, unlike a lot of our owners, from Krasner to Bates to GFH, and maybe this is what the club needs at this time; Financial Security. But at what cost to the club? Could he be our very own Vincent Tan? Will fans accept this? Lots of questions as usual.
The past week has been an embarrassment at Elland Road, apart from the performance on the pitch, and this has not endeared the prospective new owner to the fans. His treatment of Brian McDermott was deplorable to say the least. That man has been nothing but honest, committed and dedicated to Leeds United since he took over as boss 10 months ago. I think he has handled himself so well over the last week. He is a manager who I think can be the one to lead us back to the Premier League if given the time and the backing by whatever board is in place. Will he get that time remains to be seen.
He will probably remain in charge until the end of the season at least but I fear that if he does not get us promoted then Massimo will bring in his own man, Festa, and start a fresh in the summer. This could lead to lots of changes at the club in terms of playing personnel and I would expect to see a lot of Italian names on the back of Leeds jersey's next season. We already have one in limbo at the moment, Andrea Tabanelli, who is still waiting to discover whether his loan move has been ratified or not.
This is a story that is going to run and run and keep the tabloids busy over the coming months. There is still the business of on field matters as we head to Yeovil for another live on Sky Saturday lunchtime kick off followed by an away night at Brighton. A Ross McCormack double saw us beat Yeovil back in early November and with the form he is in at the moment, a repeat performance is not beyond the bounds of possibility against a side who have done ok for their first appearance at this level, causing some upsets but who are rooted to the foot of the table and look to be heading back to League One. We should have enough firepower and momentum from last weeks win and a repeat of the 2-0 scoreline with Ross again finding the net should make for a happy Saturday for the travelling fans.
Tuesday's visit to the Amex could be a different story though. We were lucky to snatch a late winner on the opening day, when Luke Murphy popped up deep in injury time to steal all three points after Ross had pulled us level after falling behind early. A lot has happened since and as it stands, Brighton lie 2 places above us in 9th and are battling hard, along with ourselves and a few others, for that final playoff spot and can ill afford to lose more ground on Reading, who are currently comfortably holding that treasured golden ticket. We don't have a great record at Brighton, the Withdean Stadium was always a tough place to get points. The Amex won't be any easier and I fear that we could come unstuck there if we don't bring our A game. This could realistically be McDermotts last game in charge if Cellino does takeover on Wednesday and maybe that could motivate the players to put in one last performance for the Boss. A sneaky 2-1 win would do nicely but it could be a pointless visit if the players heads aren't in the right place.
So after a week of turmoil off the pitch its time for the players to do the talking. They did so emphatically last week and with 6 points up for grabs on the road, maybe they can do so again and keep BMAC in his job and keep the outside chance of grabbing that final playoff place a possibility.
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