GFH braced for u-turn as takeover chaos continues? TSS February 4, 2014 Leeds United 213 Comments Italian newspaper La Gazetta Dello Sport is today reporting a potential collapse of Massimo Cellino’s plan to takeover Leeds United Football Club following a weekend of confusion at Elland Road. It seemed Cellino had cleared an almighty hurdle today as speculation spread that he would pass the Football League’s Owners & Directors test (more commonly known as the Fit & Proper Test). While some had previously speculated Cellino’s two convictions for fraud would lead to the Football League rejecting his takeover attempt, under British law both of these convictions (the last being 2001) are now considered ‘spent’ meaning they can’t be used against him by the Football League when they come to making a decision. The news won’t sit well with many Leeds United fans, but the criteria laid out by the Football League has to be entirely objective if any decision they make is to be upheld in court. That means the Football League can only act within the parameters of British law which prevent them holding spent convictions and upcoming trials against the Italian. As such, the Italian’s takeover looked to be edging ever-closer to completion but La Gazetta Dello Sport are now reporting a change of mood within the GFH camp who are today sitting down with Mike Farnan and Andrew Flowers’ consortium to discuss their offer to takeover the club. The events of Friday and Saturday seem to have created a split within GFH Capital. While some shareholders seem to be working to bring Cellino’s deal to a close, others are happy to consider their options following the sacking of Brian McDermott and the subsequent outpouring of anger from Leeds United fans. “It seems that the differences between Cellino and GFH Capital may lead to a resounding u-turn” report the Italian newspaper Cellino meanwhile continues his charm offensive in a desperate attempt to win over the Leeds United fanbase. In another interview with Simon Austin, published in today’s Sun newspaper, Cellino dangles the Premier League dream. “I already love this club and want to do something right for it. I want to get it back where it belongs, in the Premier League.” Promises to repurchase Elland Road and fund Leeds United’s climb back to the Premier League are understandably tempting following so many years in the gutter, but if the events of Friday night are any indication as to what a Cellino-led Leeds United would look like, it’s hard to imagine any progress being made under the leadership of an unscrupulous man whose antics are always going to distract from the main event. But as rumour spreads of mounting debts at Elland Road, we also have to question whether Farnan and Flowers consortium of businessmen has the necessary clout to take this club in the right direction. They may have the best of intentions for the club and provide more stability than Cellino’s antics are ever going to allow, but at this juncture, its imperative that they can prove they have the necessary financial means to not only purchase Leeds United, but also to finance a club that’s going to continue posting losses for the short to medium term. Ultimately, there is no perfect outcome for Leeds United, but I remain firmly in the Farnan and Flowers camp. While I do have some concerns about the level of funds they can bring to the party, they pale in comparison to the concerns I have about Cellino taking over this club. There’s an assumption many Cellino supporters (of which there seem to be a growing number) are making that he’ll bankroll Leeds United to Championship glory, yet I see no evidence of that when reviewing his record from Cagliari. Instead, what you’ll find is a unnervingly familiar situation that so closely resembles Ken Bates’ Leeds United, it should have us all panicking. When it comes to players, he tends to buy cheap then sell for a profit. Supporter relations are basically non-existent, in fact, he’s even banned a group from the ground for raising objections to his leadership. There’s the court cases too and the blatant disregard for honesty he’s already demonstrated at Leeds by first claiming he had no choice but to sack McDermott, then blaming GFH Capital while insisting he never wanted to fire McDermott in the first place. One thing is for sure, this club desperately needs a hefty cash injection. But accepting Cellino as the new owner of Leeds United feels a lot like selling our souls to the devil.