Brian McDermottA run of five consecutive defeats which included the 6-0 hammering at Hillsborough and a cup exit to lower league opposition came to an end last night as Leeds United scraped a draw against promotion chasing Ipswich Town.

But it was small comfort to Whites boss Brian McDermott whose preparations for the match were hampered by a want away striker refusing to play in fear of picking up an injury which would jeopardise his move to Blackburn Rovers.

For anyone still holding out hope for an unlikely play-off charge, Leeds’ odds of promotion are now 22/1 on some bookmakers lists. Ipswich meanwhile drifted to 12/1 following a result which Mick McCarthy understood would be frustrating to some fans;

“Some people might be frustrated with that result? Some people can **** off” said the always entertaining McCarthy.

For Leeds, an underperforming first team is somehow the least of McDermott’s worries as the January transfer window draws to a close with a messy takeover process causing continued uncertainty and blocking the manager from strengthening his squad.

All in all, it’s been a bad month for McDermott.

It came as no surprise then when Brian McDermott faced the post-match media looking dejected, frustrated and sounding angry about the whole sorry process. This was a takeover he was led to believe would be completed early January, a matter of formality which wouldn’t affect his plans for the transfer window.

Instead, the end of January looms and Andrew Flowers – one of the men behind the attempted takeover of the club – is issuing resentful statements to the press, describing a deal which looks to have fallen apart after due diligence led to a revised offer from Sports Capital that GFH refused to accept. All the while, Elland Road is a place of uncertainty and growing tension, a situation not in the least bit conducive to a successful football club.

But it seems football is nothing but an afterthought to the powers that be, which makes it easy to understand why McDermott looks like a man on the edge, ready to throw the towel in as the neverending chaos of Leeds United Football Club takes its toll on yet another manager.

It’s hard to imagine any manager could succeed under the conditions McDermott is battling through. He’ll rightly feel let down by the broken promise of funds to strengthen his side in January after guiding Leeds to a position where we were only a handful of strong signings away from being genuine promotion contenders. But the uncertainty has eaten away at all McDermott’s hard work and the feel-good factor he created. In its place is a depressed and bewildered looking team, concerned for their own futures and desperately lacking in the confidence and self-belief they were playing with earlier this season.

Of course, nothing excuses some of the performances Leeds have put in recently, but while ever the off-field circus act continues to distract from the main event, it’s hard to imagine we’ll be seeing much of an improvement.

And if the GFH-Sports Capital drama wasn’t enough, the intentions of convicted Italian fraudster Massimo Cellino should have everyone panicking. Andrew Flowers described Cellino, rather confusingly, as “prospective preferred bidder” in his angry statement to the Yorkshire Evening Post yesterday and Phil Hay reported last night that the Italian’s party had an East Stand box reserved and were expected to be at Elland Road for the game.

When Elland Road staff found Cellino’s box empty, rumour spread that he’d returned to Italy where he’s started discussions with personnel to fill the executive and high-level jobs at Elland Road.

The stability and professional ownership Leeds United desperately requires won’t come from a Cellino takeover, this is a man whose fraud convictions and pending trial for embezzlement will bring negative attention and bad press to the club. Every business move Leeds United make will be scrutinised to the nth degree as suspicion and distrust plague our club, leading the press on a witch-hunt to catch the Italian with his hands dirty. If Cellino thinks the Italian press are bad, he’s seen nothing yet.

Worse still, his interference in first team matters isn’t helpful. In the last two decades, Cellino has hired and fired 36 managers in Italy making the Cagliari manager’s position something of a running joke. Cellino is a man to whom Ken Bates’ megalomania pales by comparison and if he does takeover Leeds United, the club will once again be in a position where the antics of our owner constantly distract from on-field matters.

Worrying times for The Whites. On and on…