Friday, 15 April 2016

Andrea Iore: Leeds United's head of recruitment?

I first wrote about Andrea Iore a year ago - a story that seemed almost too strange to be true.

Perhaps you'll remember it. The Frenchman came onto the radar of the Cellinos when he was working in a furniture shop in Miami. Mrs Cellino came in as a customer and was struck by Andrea's politeness and fluency in several languages.

So she spoke to her husband, who arranged for Andrea to be brought to Leeds United as an intern. The then 23-year-old initially worked in the club shop, before progressing to interpreter for chief scout Nicola Salerno.

Andrea was given a modest wage and put up in a flat in the city.

So far, so good. In fact this could even have been Leeds United's own version of My Fair Lady.

It was less amusing when Andrea started turning up in the boardroom for matches though. And at important meetings. And at the Thorp Arch training ground, where he would sometimes quiz the manager about selection and tactics and voice his own opinions on both (seemingly based on little other than watching games on TV or playing Football Manager).

Soon Andrea gained the nickname 'the spy', because the staff and players at Thorp Arch were convinced he was simply there to relay information back to the owner.

Andrea has crossed my radar a few times since - doing keepy-uppies on the training pitch as the Leeds first team were put through their paces by Uwe Rosler; acting as Souleymane Doukara's interpreter when he appeared before an FA Commission to answer a charge of biting (and was criticised as a witness); appearing on the touchline at Elland Road on matchdays; and sitting in front of the Cellinos as they watched from their box.

Last summer Cellino told me he had just returned from a scouting mission to Portugal - with Andrea.

This all seemed strange, I must admit, although I forgot about the Parisien until a few weeks ago, when a respected agent called to ask if I knew a 'young French lad called Andrea', who he said was acting as the 'head of recruitment' at Leeds United.

Apparently he had been assigned as the point of contact regarding players in and out (and there could be a few of those this summer).

Another agent confirmed this. Now, it could be that Andrea is acting up in this role until the club finds a permanent replacement for Martyn Glover, who departed for Sunderland in January.

Or perhaps he's just fielding calls.

But, still. It augments the image of a club being run on a whim and on a shoestring.

Earlier this week, Lucy Ward spoke about the cleaners being sacked at Thorp Arch last year, causing some of the academy players to get ill.

And we found out she had been doing the players' laundry... and that the person who deals with payroll is effectively also the head of HR.

Now this. Andrea Iore, 24, de facto head of recruitment?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Why people are angry about Cameron's tax affairs

"There are two Britains. The people who have this wealth in Government are telling us there is no alternative but to make swingeing savage cuts across the public sector and on the incomes of the poorest.

"People have a right to know that some of these wealthy people live in a very different world to them.

"It’s clearly questionable when people who have that independent wealth are making political decisions where the poorest are suffering in unimaginable ways.

"Cameron and Osborne do not have a clue what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet, to visit a food bank, to be disabled, to worry about a zero hours contract and not know where your next penny is coming from.

"When they say ‘we’re all in this together,’ the last week has shown we are not all in this together."

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Steve Thompson: Leeds' loss is Preston's gain

Match-winner Jordan Hugill explained what Steve Thompson has brought to Preston North End since arriving at the club in the summer.

I've always been intrigued, because his arrival at Leeds last season also led to an upturn, before he was suspended and then released.

There still hasn't been an official reason as to why this happened and Thompson is none the wiser.

"We’ve not really changed the squad since we got promoted from League One," Hugill told me.

"The spirit is still the same, everyone loves to come training. We’ve moved up the table as we’ve gone along.

"He’s been really good around the training ground. Sometimes after reserve games I’ll go to him and say what can I do better and he’ll always be honest with me.

"He gets players going. It’s something you need to have at the club and he’s brilliant.

"It’s good to have someone you can do and say what can I improve on? You’re always learning the game, no matter how old you get.

"It’s good to have someone to say ‘do this, don’t look out of place and he’s done that with me.’"