Losing 4-1 to Bournemouth on Tuesday night sent Leeds United to an all-time low and, with their off-field issues now seemingly affecting performances on the pitch, the situation is now proving unacceptable for their long suffering supporters.
Leeds's first ever defeat to Bournemouth came hot on the heels of the Football League refusing to allow Italian Massimo Cellino the opportunity to take over a majority share in the club. Cellino was convicted in an Italian court last week of failing to pay import duties on a yacht he had bought. The Football League therefore concluded that Cellino was not deemed 'fit and proper' in order to be in control of a football club.
The whole situation is now starting to develop into a soap opera and one that may not have a happy ending for the Yorkshire club.
It was back in January that Cellino allegedly agreed a deal to buy a majority share in the club from GFH. Cellino immediately stamped his authority on the club by instructing his lawyer that day to sack manager Brian McDermott, presumably so he could bring in his own man. However, confusion took over as GFH claimed a deal had not been finalised and they still controlled the running of the club.
McDermott was reinstated 24 hours later and Leeds tried to get back to normality on the playing front whilst ongoing discussions took place over the ownership of the club. This saga seemed to galvanise Leeds United on the pitch in the short term but this has not lasted.
Despite an apparent agreement between Cellino and GFH in early February the decision on whether to sanction the deal, or not, has not been made until this week by the Football League. The Football League have seemingly waited until Cellino's conviction before deciding that the Italian businessman was not suitable, as outlined in their strict criteria. Cellino's
conviction gave the Football League the ammunition to make a straightforward
The problem now for Leeds United is that they find themselves still searching for a new owner, whilst they continue to lose around £1m a month. Cellino himself, it is rumoured, has already invested £6m into the club to help with the running costs. If he is unable to take over following an appeal hearing then it is unlikely he will continue to invest any more of his own money. Leeds now need a benefactor to step forward sooner rather than later. There are rumours that the players and staff may not be paid at the end of this month - a new low for the club.
What could then happen to this great club? Is administration a real possibility? If so that could quite conceivably leave the club battling relegation either this season or next. Currently they sit in mid-table in The Championship but that could change dramatically.
It was not long ago that Leeds United were plying their trade in the Premier League, challenging for trophies and playing in the Champions League. They are still a huge club with plenty of potential but they have now fallen on very hard times and they may get worse before they start to get better. Let's hope Leeds can solve their issues because football would be a
poorer place without the Elland Road club.
Are Leeds supporters happy that there club is not, at present, in the hands of the convicted Cellino or would they prefer to swallow their pride if the Italian can get them out of this mess?
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