Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Cellino blames Football League for Leeds' faltering form

This does seem to be a tipping point in the reign of Leeds owner Massimo Cellino.

While even a couple of months ago there seemed to be widespread support for the Italian (because the team was showing signs of improvement, because he did eccentric things like joining the away fans at Brentford, and because he was deemed to have been unfairly treated by the Football League), now there is a lot of doubt and hostility.

With the team on a desperate run of form and just a point off the relegation zone, fans are desperately grasping for any signs of encouragement.

And, at the moment, they are finding that difficult.

Neil Redfearn publicly came out and said he was keen to sign former fans' favourite Luciano Becchio last week, only for Cellino to dash his hopes once he returned from Miami.

Redfearn had also made veteran defender Stephen Warnock his skipper. Now the former England man is on his way out of Elland Road.

Are there incoming signings to allay fans' fears? Well there don't seem to be any imminent signings and Cellino told me "we have enough players already, maybe too many." He says he does hope to bring in "a couple" of new players though.

In a nutshell, Cellino doesn't think the team is "a shit team". He just believes they need stability, support and confidence.

The Italian believes they were playing ok until the Football League banned him under its fit and proper rules.

"Since I was disqualified from the league, we did not win a game," he told me.

"I am trying but it is not easy. Players don’t come because they think I am not staying in Leeds.

"I don’t think every club has got the same problems we have. It's not easy. We had agreed to sign some players but they don’t come because they don’t think I am staying. A French and Belgian player. Their agents told me that was the reason."

Cellino's appeal will be heard tomorrow (Thursday) and he says he intends to fight the ban.

"I think the situation will be messy," he said, a little ominously.

"I know who I am and I am not a dishonest guy. When I came to England, I saw it as the country of justice and fairness.

"But I am facing the same problems I did in Italy – misjustice. There are three stages of justice in Italy and until the last one, you are innocent.

"I just know I am spending a lot of time and money on lawyers. I should dedicate more time and money to the club.

"I know the only thing that keeps me here is the faith and trust of the fans. Otherwise I was already gone. How can I buy back Elland Road when every three months they come back with this problem?

"Do you believe that I bought in Italy an American boat to save $180,000 of VAT? My money situation is not that bad. For sure it is not that. That is a way to hurt me and show I am not a fit and proper person.

"There are two stages of justice left in Italy. In the records I am clear. And 75% are found not guilty after third stage.

"Dolce and Gabbana were found guilty of tax evasion and after three and a half years were cleared at the third degree. I want to work and look after the team.

"This doesn’t help me, the team, the fans, the coach. It doesn’t help. I am positive though and think we have a good team.

"This is a young team, maybe a little tired. It is a team that hasn’t had stability. My way of working with the team is maybe a little bit tough, very aggressive.

"If I had known this (the Football League ban) I would never have come to England. But I keep fighting because I can see the fans trust me.

"They need to have faith and trust in someone. I cannot just give up. I have to keep fighting."


  1. I don't trust him and know many more who don't. So as we sing..'Time to go'

  2. Agree. Cellino should go. Keeps saying champ stronger than serie b so why does he keep buying also ran serie b players. Selling warnock and blocking becchio has now destroyed the goodwill we allowed him