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.

Do you want to see Massimo Cellino takeover Leeds United?

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  • sheikh n vac

    Can’t we persuade the Qataris to buy us instead of Cagliari!!

    • Mersey-White

      You have to question the short-termism of most of not all these billionaires, Paying 50/60/70m for a club the size of Fulham in the Premier League, as opposed to the same for Leeds (including re-purchase of ER and Thorp Arch)

      • TSS

        I genuinely think Bates put a lot of credible bidders off. However incompetent GFH now appear, they at least did us a favour in ridding us of him.

        • dessss

          Tss what do you think of Flowers now that he has withdrawn from the bidding process yet still he has this winding up order in the high court.
          Are you still calling it a delaying tactic?

          • TSS

            Firstly, that’s one hell of a claim since there’s been no comment on it whatsoever.

            Secondly, it still hasn’t been advertised in London newspaper so isn’t official.

            And thirdly (and most importantly), it’ll never reach court because Leeds United haven’t broke the terms of their agreement with him and the takeover will have completed by then and debt will be paid as a result. There’s no case to answer. There never was.

            Flowers knew all this when he launched it. As every major source of news including the FT pointed out, it was a stalling tactic. But Leeds United fans failed to understand what was going on and panicked.

            So to answer your question, I feel the same now as I did then. It was a clever play that served a purpose, albeit a risky one in the days of social media when fans read a headline and panic without taking time to understand what’s happening.

          • Carl Atkinson

            Nail on head TSS. Too many clueless fans scaremongering.

          • dessss

            Your own headline says ”
            Flowers pulls out of race for ownership of Leeds United ”

            If there never was any case to answer then how was it ever a delaying tactic?
            If it was originally a delaying tactic then what is it now?
            I don’t get how you say it was a clever play as it has not achieved anything except fool a few people who are not important in the ownership of our club.

          • TSS

            Because it threw a spanner in the works of Cellino’s takeover giving Flowers a chance to get his own bid heard. Clearly that’s come to an end now, but it doesn’t mean we now proceed to court. Nor does it mean it didn’t work, he was sat talking with GFH in London on Tuesday.

            It was never going to end up in court, the only way we’re likely to do so is if GFH Capital don’t sell to someone (anyone) soonish, then there’s going to be a lot of people who they’ve shamelessly borrowed money from starting to get restless. But when that happens, it won’t be one man launching the winding-up petition, it’ll be every person owed money working together v GFH and I guarantee it’ll be published in newspaper within 48 hours to make it official (this is to notify other creditors of a planned lawsuit so they too can recoup money owed).

            Your anger is misguided. Flowers wanted to buy the club and attempted the only tactics he could to get GFH to the table. GFH have created a position for themselves where both sides (including Cellino) now have leverage to pull these kind of tactics because they owe money to both sides.

            It’s GFH fucking the football club, Flowers and Cellino are merely trying to purchase it.

          • dessss

            Order or petition? I did not take you for a pedant..
            And who is panicking and who is angry?
            Not the response I expect from you and the sort of one you often complain that emotive others make against you or your friends here.
            The spanner in the works ended almost before it started and I’m unaware of anything positive for Flowers coming out of the Tuesday talks.
            GFH obviously need to sell and probably pretty quickly or else administration looks on the cards. We are losing money fast and furious and already much of our future income has been ” mortgaged “.
            Do they sell to Cellino or to one of the consortiums who apparently do not have the funds?
            What is good for Leeds fans.
            Is it Cellino or a consortium including an alleged Liverpool gangster . It certainly will not be one with Flowers on board.

          • TSS

            Pedantry is entirely appropriate in this instance because the two are ENTIRELY different things.

            Fans failure to understand what he actually did causes panic, as does people constantly saying Leeds have been issued with a winding-up order – which really would be a worry.

            You’re working on assumptions based on fan rumours of party A being loaded and party B being skint, which no one can prove because no one has seen either set of accounts.

            We can safely assume Cellino’s net worth is relatively high since his business is valued at around £170m, but that doesn’t mean he has 100’s of millions sat in the bank he can spend, nor does it mean he’s going to come to Leeds and spend big. He never did at Cagliari.

            For all the actual facts that are out, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the consortium has more cash to spend on Leeds United and a better vision for the club. No one can possibly know for sure.

            But it’s kind of a moot point since FPP rules don’t allow an owner to bankroll us anyway, so who has the bigger wallet will quickly become irrelevant.

            That leaves one question – the football. The consortium contains experienced football people who’ve had success in this country, none of whom will meddle in first team affairs. Cellino on the other hand, as successful as he too may have been, seems to act as de facto first team manager. That worries me – as it should ever other Leeds United fan.

            Nevertheless, we are where we are and it looks set in stone Cellino is going to take over so the time to throw stones based on absolutely zero evidence is over, we have to just hope those of us with serious concerns about this Italian guy are proved wrong and Leeds United can move forward.

            I’ll give him every chance to prove me wrong and I really hope he does.

          • dessss

            He threw his toys out of the pram and his actions which you think are clever made no effect except to get fans to wonder what is going on.
            If any of these consortiums, including the one with the alleged gangster ( funny how none of you anti cellino lot want to discuss this ) had the money then they would be in the running but now it seems inevitable that Cellino will become the new majority owner.
            I suspect its because as is littered in the history of football takeovers, the majority of the businessmen do not have the money they say they do.
            But they got their 15 minutes.

          • TSS

            Alleged gangster. There’s a key word in there. But to be honest with you (and as I stated above) I honestly don’t care about Cellino’s fraud convictions, it’s how he runs a football club that concerns me. I only wish more people would concentrate on that, putting all these assumptions of comparative wealth (which no one has any evidence of) and the character assassinations aside because they’re entirely beside the point.

            The events of Friday alone should have people worrying enough, but if that’s not enough, look back at his time at Cagliari, he acts as first team manager, coaches are dispensable scapegoats and nothing more.

            We just have to hope the reaction of fans gave him food for thought.

          • dessss

            I am worried but very aware something needs to happen very soon.
            Bates divided our fan base in a way that never should have happened with our passionate support but he fooled many for a long time. ( some still tell me he saved our club )
            I just hope Cellino takes more from the fans reaction on Saturday than the years we had under Bates raping our club.

          • dessss

            Andrew Flowers promised there was funds available to buy the club and to provide funds for transfers. This clearly was never true.

          • TSS

            Again, you’re wrong and just making stuff up. Andrew Flowers provided proof of funds to GFH or due diligence would never have taken place. Somewhere along the way, Cellino became involved and obviously offered more cash. It happens. Flowers moved on and attempted to set out a new offer, but GFH seem to have made their minds up and have rejected fresh talks.

            Stop feeding the rumour mill with these false claims, it’s really not helping matters.

          • Dessss

            If you ever expected GFH to not accept the highest offer then that is pretty naive.
            TSS you or I will not decide who becomes the new owner of Leeds. We do not help or hinder matters.
            See you at Yeovil on saturday.

          • TSS

            PS. You’ve perfectly demonstrated the lack of understanding with the terminology you used. Flowers hasn’t issued a “winding-up order” it’s a winding-up PETITION. There’s a big difference.

            Anyone could launch such a petition to stall the takeover process (assuming the club owes you £750), but a winding-up order is issued by the court and the court only.

          • dessss

            How has it stalled the takeover process?
            You have yet to explain this. You keep calling it a clever move but it had no effect.
            Is Cellino not just waiting for approval from the FL

          • TSS

            I thought it was kind of self-explanatory, it forces the club to deal with the problem Flowers has intentionally created. That’s why after failing to get through the door, GFH sat down with him on Tuesday.

          • dessss
  • robtori76

    It would seem that cellino buying us is nailed on now …i just hope he has the best intentions for our club and gives Bmd a chance !!! Lets get back to the epl where we belong …MOT

  • Tyler75

    This is nobody’s perfect scenario but we now just need to get on with it and judge him on what he does. Running a moderately sized Italian football club is going to be very different from running Leeds Utd Fc, as after the last week, I’m sure Mr Cellino is very well aware. Forza Calcio Leeds.

  • Arnie

    Shoot me down if you wish, but yes maybe we should give Cellino a chance? If the reports are correct he put £1.5m to meet the club’s wage bill. Flowers on the other hand is attempting to wind LUFC up! If nothing else it’ll be a rollercoaster ride and maybe, just maybe this guy might provide the financial muscle to get us back to the Prem? Why would he sell Cagliari if he wasn’t serious about Leeds? I’d love a local consortium with true LUFC fans to take charge, but do they have the money to do a deal? As things stand it appears not.

    • Matthew

      I’m ready to move forward, if this man gets us to the Premier League and flips us for profit, I can accept that. I don’t want to see us losing to the likes of Rochdale again.

  • Matthew

    This might be a learning experience for him, if he wants Premier League football and all the money and fame of being an owner of a Premier League club he will have no choice but to invest. We can only hope he isn’t spending money to piss around like GFH and is actually serious.

  • disqus_qkwltFRcj3

    Welcome, Massimo Cellino!

  • DH17

    My biggest concern about Cellino is what you stated in this piece, I don’t think he’ll give managers a fair crack. He’s probably going to demand promotion and we don’t yet know what kind of budget he’ll offer. If he sticks with Bri Mac, gives him money to spend, clear objectives and he fails with these then fair enough, he’s within his right to sack him, I just can’t see this happening.
    Plus, with this lawyer likely to become involved with the club if Cellino takes over, how can McDermott work with the bloke who sacked him!? Put it this way, if Cellino does buy Leeds it will spell the end of McDermott, whether it’s one week, one month or one year, he’ll have to provide miracles on the pitch.
    Hopefully Tabanelli will get FL clearance so we can see his shin-pad/phone celebration, very creative (weird) if he scores that is…

  • BD

    Listening to Martinez of Everton. He said the most important relationship of any club is btwn the manager and chairman.That they get along, agree on the philosophy and stick together otherwise the club just falls apart.

    I really hope Cellino gives BM until the end of next season and they get along, otherwise the club will suffer,.HOPE

  • Dfooster

    When it comes down to it the farnan/flowers consortium doesn’t have the spare cash to do much beyond buy the club which isn’t much use to GFH who want to maximise their profits on their remaining 25% with a return to the premier league, which is also what the fans want.

    I think GFH have done the right thing, no use letting another lot take over who spend the next ten years penny pinching like the last ten years, whilst in the meantime cellino takes over Sheffield Wednesday and we watch them shoot on past us to the premier with the Italians wealth.

    Lots of premier league clubs have eccentric owners, buckle up and enjoy the ride…… At least the football will be better to watch.

    Onwards and upwards.

  • Tyler75

    At some point, you’ve got to think that somebody will finally get it right at Leeds – maybe a trigger happy Sardinian madman will be the answer.

    Just a point on debt and FFP – its interesting to see that a well-run club like Brighton who own their own ground, which they fill every week, have massively increased their revenue, made the play-offs last season and got real stability with a lifelong fan Chairman, still made a loss of £15m last season and say they will struggle to make FFP requirements next season. All the more reason for Cellino to come in asap and pay off the outstanding debts, so we can start building for the future.
    Forest must be crapping themselves if they don’t go up this season as the Kuwaitis have poured money into the club.

  • Helen LUFC

    Why shouldn’t Cellino takeover if he’s got the money to buy the club and has already seen his previous convictions spent in the eyes of the Football League? Things can’t carry on as they are at the club, losing money, GFH having no understanding of football and no one else wanting to buy the club that can provide funds. It can’t be any bigger disaster Cellino moving in than going into administration. McDermott will be sacked as manager, and after his previous results over the past few months that’s hardly unexpected. I can’t understand why fans are defending McDermott so much, he’s hardly produced anything that Neil Warnock wasn’t producing the season before. Hopefully Cellino will bring in a manager that he feels confident he can back with his money,and this certainly won’t be Brian if last Friday’s anything to go by.

    • Thommohawk

      Warnock was a right moaning git though, and dare I say it but Brian McDermott is a breath of fresh air and he’s getting the best from Ross McCormack and yes the league table doesn’t lie but let’s be honest the league doesn’t end in Feb…

  • Tim

    Cellino is back in the UK next week. BTW if he was as bad as people are painting him does anyone really think he would be allowed to live in Florida?
    He will have a learning curve about Leeds United and English football but I am really hoping this all goes through and he and Brian get on. A win on Saturday and next Tuesday at Brighton will help. Having as reported sold Cagliari Leeds will be his sole attention. Lets hope and prey all the above happens and he comes to love us and we can reciprocate. I am feeling quietly more confident but empty pockets Farnan please go away as you have nothing to offer us except more of the same.

    • TSS

      All we can do now is hope our worst fears aren’t realised, but a small point – Miami is full of cocaine traffickers and drug lords, it’s a criminal paradise.

      • Shaun Hornet Clifford

        So what are you saying? He’s some kind of a ‘ drugs lord?’ He may not be what a lot of people want but beggars cant be choosers and all that. I’m happy to see him put some well needed money into the club but hope that he doesnt meddle too much with the Manager and his staff too much.

        • TSS

          No, not at all, I’m just pointing out that there’s a lot of dodgy people living in America, just like anywhere else in the world, so him living there doesn’t prove anything.

          • Shaun Hornet Clifford

            Erm, ok, just dont get why you said it in the first place then.

          • TSS

            It was a direct response to Tim’s comment.

    • Matt BB

      Tim – Florida is the Mafia’s main residenzia in the US!

  • Dermot Mc Neill

    Who are we to judge, lets give Cellino a chance after all our track record for new buyers during the last 12years is nothing to shout about. M.O.T.

    • TSS

      Well, you could call the 12 year record into play for both arguments – should we not be extra vigilant considering those who’ve gone before him?

  • dessss

    “On Thursday I will go to the bank and I will buy OUR stadium. I have the funds to buy Leeds and to run Leeds”

    “A club like Leeds has big potential. I want to see Leeds United versus Manchester United like it used to be. I want to make the fans happy. I know what it means to be a fan.”

  • dessss

    I can only hope this is true

  • timshel

    He probably will let managers spend but won’t let them build a team in their image, which makes me hate the fact that Cellino will get Leeds. Even though Chelsea won things I hated the fact they constantly changed managers, I prefer it when managers are allowed to build a team in their image, but as this applies to so few clubs I’ll just have to stop being picky and give this guy a chance. MOT

  • Makes no sense

    A “fire sale” to Cellino makes no sense whilst there are other bidders, & if it is a fire sale, Sports Capital had first dibs & couldn’t produce the cash. Sounds like sour grapes.

  • Mick444

    I agree that there is a great deal of difference between a winding up order and a petition and that Flowers used this as a delaying tactic in an effort to force GFH to discuss the proposed consortium takeover. But the biggest worry for Leeds supporters is that GFH have borrowed money from both the parties trying to buy the club! That scenario is very scary and unless the GFH sale of the club proceeds ASAP then that winding up document will quickly move from a petition to an order ! As I said In an earlier comment we are all fed up with the annual threat of administration and the sooner that threat disappears forever should be our single most important need. Does anyone think there is anyone other than Cellino capable of providing that protection? I agree about the real concerns expressed by TSS about the Cellino way of conducting football business and that is not something any of us would prefer. But I would gladly put up with his “style” (for want of a nicer terminology) if he enables Leeds United to compete on a level financial field. Cellino has sold Cagliari and seems committed to buying back Elland Road. He is doing his homework. I hope he keeps faith with BMD but with all due respect if he does wipe off the Risdale, Bates and GFH debts I for one will put up with his “style”.

  • john

    Flowers claims to be a fan, but which ‘fan’ would issue a winding up petition to the club they claim to love? He may feel he has been treated unfairly in this whole thing, but there has been no suggestion his money has ever been under threat, so what reason does he have to take such a drastic action? People saying it is a delaying tactic or trying to force GFH to sell to him. Well he cant be very smart then, because since the news came of the petition nearly everyone has joined Cellino’s camp. It is now become necessary for him to complete the purchase otherwise we face bankruptcy.

    • Richard

      John – I understand your view but I don’t agree with your point that there is no suggestion his money was under threat. Firstly they are have to borrow money from different sources to cover operating costs and secondly it isn’t his money it is Enterprise Insurance’s. He therefore, as a director of that company, has an obligation to protect his shareholders interests.

      Hard to swallow for us fans but I can see his position.

      MOT