Various newspapers in and around Leeds may use tomorrow to use a headline along the lines of ‘double blow for Leeds United’ after the side’s recent run of great form was ended by Championship strugglers Brighton & Hove Albion, and, perhaps more significantly for the long term, owner Massimo Cellino has admitted that he will not return to the club anytime soon.
One of the two is a blow, for sure. The Yorkshire side would have expected to breeze past the Seagulls on the South Coast but it wasn’t to be.
Something else which ‘doesn’t seem to be’ is a happy ownership situation for the club.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I don’t think anybody really understands the whole sorry saga, and it looks as though the confusion is bedding in for the long-term – you lucky Leeds fans!
The whole hullabaloo, for me, is summed up by the Italian’s naming of his own job title as ‘President’. The words football and President should never be in the same sentence; it epitomises what is wrong with modern football and its overly-political nature.
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This is partly why Cellino’s decision to remain on the sidelines for a while longer is actually a blessing in disguise, though not all the Whites’ fans will agree with that.
You can certainly see why a few of them would yearn for his return to Elland Road; he says all of the right things in the press and he comes across as someone who is genuinely passionate about his business ventures, and he is certainly passionate about Leeds United. However, it stops there.
The negatives far out-weigh the positives. I’m only an outsider looking-in, so perhaps some fans may feel like they are in a better place to comment but as an outsider I, and a lot of football fans with me, see a circus – and not the one that you want to pay to see.
His trigger-happy nature with his managers, his obvious interference with player selection and recruitment (how much does the typical Englishman Neil Redfearn really know of the lower Serie A and Serie B players that Leeds are often drawn to?) and generally magnetism of bad news are attributes that don’t endear him to a great club like Leeds United.
It seems to be an impossible for football clubs at the moment, not just Leeds, and that is find a benefactor who will put just enough money into the club to keep them solvent and challenging, without the mad-cap antics. Surely somebody has to be out there?
One thing is for sure, Leeds United will never be settled with Cellino as their ‘President’ (it feels horrible to even type). Who knows, they may well get back into the Premier League, eventually, under his reign – but you wouldn’t back any high to linger, you suspect a harsh comedown is always around the corner.