tabanelliThe Football League continue to deliberate over Massimo Cellino’s clearance, but news today is that he’s sold 98% of his former club Cagliari as he prepares to takeover the reigns at Elland Road.

While Cellino’s takeover of Leeds United looks to be a foregone conclusion, a statement released by Mike Farnan last night insisted his group were still interested in taking over the club and urged GFH Capital to sit down for meaningful talks with his consortium.

“We remain committed to delivering a fully-funded, sustainable, long-term plan, to rebuild Leeds United”

The statement (which you can read in full here) was written in a markedly different tone from the one issued by Andrew Flowers a few hours earlier, where the Managing Director of Enterprise Insurance announced he’d pulled out of the race to takeover Leeds United and was hugely critical of both GFH Capital and Massimo Cellino’s bid for control.

 “I entered discussions in good faith to buy this club for the simple reason that I am a lifelong supporter and sincerely believed that I could make a real contribution towards the goal of promotion to the Premier League and at the same time provide the stability and sound financial governance the club desperately needs.

“However, the emergence of Mr Cellino’s bid, and the nature of the transaction, seems to have crystallised the attitudes of both GFH and the Leeds United board, enabling them to dispose of the club with no consideration for its ultimate security and wellbeing.

“In effect, it is a ‘fire sale’ transaction which is not in the interests of Leeds United, its players, staff or loyal supporters.”

With Mike Farnan’s group making no real progress and questions regarding the level of funding he can provide to sustain Leeds United in the medium term still unanswered, there appears to have been a shift in attitudes over the last few days with a growing number of supporters now willing to give Cellino a go.

At this stage, we’ll probably have little choice than to see how his ownership pans out, but I feel it’s important we separate the issues here and concentrate solely on the football. While I’d be willing to give Massimo Cellino every chance to prove me wrong, my biggest fear is he’ll interfere with the football too much, becoming a de facto first team manager who can’t be fired and takes no responsibility for results as the heads of an endless array of coaches roll down Beeston Hill.

When all’s said and done, what becomes of the football team is every Leeds United fans’ biggest concern. Fraud convictions and a pending embezzlement trial are of course worrying, but football seldom attracts squeaky clean individuals and we live in a country where both of his convictions are considered spent. The fact is, we can’t change any of that, but it’d be nice to feel we can have some effect on the future.

Where all this leaves Brian McDermott once the dust has settled is anyone’s guess, but the Leeds United manager told his Thursday press conference he wants to give Cellino a fair chance, requesting that the Italian gives him one too. Summing things up with what has to be the quote of the day, McDermott added “I just hope football breaks out here.”

While the chaos of Leeds United’s takeover understandably dominated McDermott’s press conference, the Leeds United manager did manage to get a little football news out there, revealing that Noel Hunt is now fully fit again and we should have an answer from the Football League today on whether Andreas Tabanelli’s transfer was ratified on deadline day.

The confusion surrounding Tabanelli seems to revolve around who signed the paperwork sent to the Football League and whether they had the authority to sanction it. McDermott told the press conference that the Italian looks like a “decent” player and will be given the same chance as everyone else if he is cleared to play.

Update: Mike Farnan has been speaking with the BBC’s Adam Pope Thursday afternoon, insisting his consortium (TogetherLeeds) can provide proof of funds and expressing frustration at GFH Capital’s continued refusal to sit down with them. TogetherLeeds have now sent a letter to the Football League asking them to intervene and help mediate talks between GFH Capital and Farnan’s consortium.

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