By Keith Ingham
I've wrote a few blogs that have 'ruffled' more than a few feathers but always have tried to put a balanced article out there to anybody who cares to read it, but this time I might struggle as I'm saying this: Would Leeds United be in a better position in the future without Cellino and is it time for the Sheriff to get on his horse and leave Leeds 11.
I hear hands flying up, words of admonishment coming my way but so far it's not been the best of journeys with the current owner of the club steering the ship on the course he himself has mapped out. The rocks seem forthcoming.
I'll start from the beginning, GFH were a mistake from the beginning and whoever did the 'fit and proper' on them should be ashamed of his efforts. These lot were in it to make a small percentage on what they paid Ken Bates, no more or less. They tricked the paying public into feeling they knew what they were doing but simply didn't have a clue how to run a football club.
By taking Massimo's millions they conspired to get the best possible price available at that time. Cellino beat a consortium that had David Haigh and Andrew Flowers had been in pole position but in January 2014 it faltered and in rode Sheriff Cellino. Leeds by then were struggling to pay any bills as GFH would not commit any monies to the cause.
Myself I thought the new owners first mistake was to attempt to sack Brian McDermott in such a 'maclovenic' way. Wouldn't it have been easier to wait until the ink was dry on the contract and then if results didn't improve do something about McDermott. The way Festa was moved in and out of the supporting coaching role was a complete farce.
I move on to his recruitment policy, of the fifteen players brought to the club only three have experience of the English league. To my knowledge only Billy Sharp, Liam Cooper and Nicky (who's he) Ajose has played the beautiful game within these shores at a decent level. Brian Montenegro played at West Ham but that doesn't count!. The point I'm loosely making is that the league we are in you need players that can operate usefully in it and to be honest a few would struggle in the local leagues playing on a Sunday, there is some that have only made 'cameo' roles so my judgement is reserved on those.
The very fact that in twenty two years he moved thirty odd managers through his old club means that any manager will struggle to keep a dressing room. Players need continuity and under Cellino, as three coaches have found out will not happen whilst he's around. I also think that he's treated them quite poorly, firstly he appointed a 'nobody' who the fans would never take to then after the caretaker (Redfearn) had got ten points out of twelve he replaced him with the worst manager SK Sturm Graz had ever had if the teams fans were to be believed. Then due to performances went back to Redfearn after results didn't improve under Milanic. Neil Redfearn has been left with six months of miss management and a very, very poor squad, in fact one of the worst I've seen within the Theatre of Hope.
The biggest thing of all is the 'baggage' that comes with the Italian. One court judgement has already gone against him, which was overturned but is now threatening his ownership. The Football League do not like Leeds and never have, Cellino now has given them ammunition to try and remove their new President. If by some miracle he wins his appeal there are other court cases pending. The import duty of another boat and a four by four is pending in the Italian courts.
By now you know I'm not his biggest fan and I've reasons I've already set out and the millions that seem to have disappeared from Ross McCormack's transfer adds fuel to a already burning fire. Top that with the unresolved future of the ground he said he'd buy in the first week of buying Leeds makes to me a pretty bleak future. As always if I'm wrong I'll hold my hands up and deserve every criticism that comes my way.
I believed he would be good for Leeds United now I have grave doubts about him and could be totally wrong. Somebody who really cares about our club needs to come forward before it's too late. If Cellino is in charge we'll always read more about him than the team.
M O T