Return of the Mac – TOMAgeddon saga continues at Elland Road TSS February 3, 2014 Leeds United 16 Comments Just when you think things can’t get any stranger at Elland Road, Brian McDermott returns to training this morning as if the events of Friday night simply didn’t happen. David Haigh, who resigned following McDermott’s dismissal on Friday, was back in place the following morning and has spent the last couple of days trying to fix the damage caused by Cellino’s premature culling. That Cellino’s takeover hadn’t completed and his lawyer didn’t have the power to dismiss Brian McDermott and the club CEO Paul Hunt is largely beside the point. Someone at Elland Road had convinced Cellino he had the authority to act, McDermott was issued with written notice of his dismissal and if this whole thing had ended up in court (which sooner or later, it probably will) an embarrassed Leeds United Football Club would have struggled to come out of the hearing unscathed. Backtracking more astonishing than when Nick Clegg shafted the students has been the story of the last 48 hours as Cellino points fingers at the club’s owners and tries to insist he never planned to replace Brian McDermott, this despite attempts to place Gianluca Festa on the bench for the league game against Ipswich Town. Festa was originally expected to take charge of the club’s 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday, but as the fall-out from ‘TOMAggedon*’ continued, fans gathered outside Elland Road’s East Stand to protest against the Italian and someone at the club saw sense to place Nigel Gibbs in charge of the first team instead. Cellino meanwhile now claims Festa was only brought in to act as a translator and he had no plans to replace Brian McDermott upon completing his takeover, but his words aren’t likely to convince anyone. Who exactly was the Italian required to translate for when Leeds United took on Ipswich Town with a team and bench full of English-speaking players? Who was he there to translate for when twice interfering with training sessions before McDermott’s dismissal? And why was Festa sat in the stands scribbling notes on pictures of the first team as Leeds tore Huddersfield apart on Saturday? Maybe he’d been struggling with the pronunciation of ‘Lees’ and they were just flashcards…? Whatever the truth of the matter is, there’s no doubt in my mind that certain individuals from GFH played a significant part in the whole saga. Someone, somewhere led Cellino to believe he had the power to act. Cellino claims it was GFH who wanted Brian McDermott to be fired but were too cowardly to do so themselves and for me, it’s telling how quiet Salah Nooruddin (the club’s chairman) and Hisham Alrayes (Managing Director of GFH Capital) have been throughout all this drama. Meanwhile, the current status of Paul Hunt is still unclear. Hunt, appointed Managing Director of Leeds United Football Club back when it seemed as if someone knew what they were doing, was fired for protesting Brian McDermott’s dismissal on Friday night by the same lawyer who sacked McDermott. By Saturday morning, Hunt was back at the club, but by the time we kicked off against Huddersfield Town, news that he’d been sent home had spread. Hunt was the only ‘football man’ in a high-level position at a club otherwise run by Bahraini bankers, so his presence was somewhat reassuring to those of us who questioned whether GFH Capital had the necessary experience and personnel to successfully manage Leeds United Football Club. In other news today, the two rival consortia vying for control of Leeds United appear to have team up. Andrew Flowers says the new consortium will submit a bid matching the offer GFH accepted from Cellino tomorrow. *TOMAgeddon – TOMA is a term coined by Leeds United fans on the popular messageboard WACCOE. The word is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘take over, my arse!” which expresses the fans disbelief at any news of a pending takeover of the club. The phrase was a common response to rumours of takeovers throughout the Ken Bates era and the term TOMA is now used widely among Leeds United fans to describe any takeover process. Brian McDermott is due to give a press conference at 13:15 today, The Scratching Shed will be covering this event by liveblog.