Elland RoadAnother takeover saga draws to a close at Elland Road today after Massimo Cellino and GFH Capital exchanged the contracts which – pending Football League approval – hands control of the club to the Italian.

The Football League revealed earlier today that they’re still awaiting documentation from the club and Cellino before they can make a decision on whether the takeover is approved, but Cellino is expected to pass the Owners & Directors test (previously known as the Fit & Proper persons test) without issue.

While further confirmation of the takeover itself didn’t surprise anyone, the power structure it will create did manage to turn a few heads.

David Haigh, the club’s Managing Director, who for reasons unexplained was in Geneva on transfer deadline day while chaos broke out at the club, and whose own attempt at a takeover paralysed the club for two months, will replace Paul Hunt as CEO. Only at Leeds United could a Managing Director who was central to all the recent chaos – chaos which has cost Leeds United our season I’d argue – come out the other side of all this with a promotion.

But to put all the blame on Haigh would be entirely unfair, Salah Nooruddin (who will remain club chairman) has been conspicuous only by his total absence and must be held accountable too. 

Throughout this whole saga, Leeds United has felt like a rudderless ship. In times of crisis at a football club, it’s the chairman who should be stepping out in front of the press to assure fans he has things under control. Instead, Salah hid in the shadows attempting to avoid scrutiny, but this cowardly act served only to compound the anger, misery and panic of the club’s long-suffering fanbase and none of them will forget his absence any time soon.

While the people who claimed to be leading our club turned us into the laughing-stock of English football, the only calming presence has been Brian McDermott, a man inexplicably sacked due to the incompetence of those above him.

It beggars belief that McDermott’s future now hangs in the balance, all while David Haigh celebrates his promotion and Salah Nooruddin returns to the cosy office he’s been hiding in, safe in the knowledge he’s somehow retained the job he’s so incompetently performed these last few weeks.

If there was any justice, McDermott would be handed an extended contract while Haigh and Nooruddin are escorted from the premises, but common-sense rarely prevails at Elland Road.

As for Massimo Cellino, he’ll become Club President and hold all the real power. Despite my reservations, especially when it comes to his interference with first team matters, it’s almost a relief to have someone (anyone) else taking command of the farcical club we’ve become.

His hearing with the Football League is scheduled for Wednesday, at which point his takeover of the club will presumably complete since Massimo has already started making plans for Thursday when he says he’ll nip into the bank, withdraw a few million and go buy back Elland Road. Hard life being a multi-millionaire, isn’t it?

At this stage, it’s hard to believe anyone could do worse than those who’ve gone before him and while I’m still concerned about his interference with first team affairs, he certainly has the wealth and ambition to take this club forward.

If nothing else, it should be entertaining. On and on… 

  • Donal

    If i wasnt laughing at our situation for the past two weeks id have been crying non stop lol

    • tid

      R.I.P. leeds

  • Lee Stephenson

    Positives will be the repurchase of Elland Road, as long as this is signed over to the club. Stability after a turbulent week, however short term that may be. Millions pumped in for transfers (ever optimistic) and therefore a greater chance of getting back where we belong.

    The facts from his time at Cagliari are alarming with the amount of managers hired and fired, the obvious lack of quality decision making and interference in the team tactics. That is galling to any manager and he’s already spat in McDermott’s face. A novice in English football dabbling in a Napoleonic management (or presidential) style is just going to end in tears. His tears, as we drive him out, but we do not want another 5-10 years in the wilderness.

    I hope to be proved wrong Mr Cellino. MOT.

    • hwhyte

      Lee. One thing regards the amount of managers being hired and fired. It is far more common in Italy and these numbers should not be directly compared to the UK. I hope he has already learnt a valuable lesson with McDermott. He must have been shocked to see a fan base support a manager of a team who were on such a horrific run of form.

      • TSS

        I don’t think he took time to fully understand the conditions McDermott had been working under, Sports Capital’s takeover attempt absolutely paralysed the club.

        • hwhyte

          I kind of get the feeling he was almost encouraged to sack him by GFH. He did claim that they wanted him sacked but were too scared (or words to that affect). I haven’t seen a denial or response to that from GFH.

          • Calimero

            There was Cellino trying to buy players & Festa lurking around, Obviously an alarming situation.
            Cellino may have been trying in too much haste to get things done & then was shocked at the response of the fans whilst we now realise GHF would have been too incompetent to help the situation or at least calm it.

          • PAUL W

            Over the last few days, GFH’s reputation has got worse and worse and worse. From getting Cellino to pay the clubs wages to Cellino paying the current instalment to Crewe, to pay for Luke Murphy and what else is to be revealed next?.
            GFH have never had any money since they bought the football club off Bates and they have borrowed from one person to pay another person since then.
            I too believe that GFH wanted McDermott sacked last Friday night and with them still at the football club when Cellino takes over, I really do fear for McDermott.

  • Onwards & upwards

    I for one look forward to Cellino.
    If the stories about Leeds bleeding 1 million a month are true, we need to get as far away from the type of people that have been running the joint as possible.
    A big money man like Cellino is exactly what we need, that’s just the reality of life for a football team that aspires to be in the premier league. We can’t keep buying loan players & rejects.
    We need to hang on to our home grown talent, no more transfers to bloody Norwich! No more ripping the heart out of supporters as we see talent march out the door when they realise the EPL is unrealistic. Our best players Mowatt, Byram & McCormack should never be allowed or want to leave.
    I don’t mind the flamboyance of this guy, he’ll be in the news & so will Leeds.

  • mrbigwheels

    Fine and true words TSS…. Well done for us all…

    • Irving08

      While I am too long in the tooth for my passion for LUFC to be other than a blessing, I concur.

  • Colin

    Everything’s all good and rosy now then under Cellino? Wake up.
    A lot of you guys (not me) were calling Haigh and Nooruddin a bunch of bastards this week. Check the large print, they’re still here. The guy who isn’t attached to GFH, Paul Hunt, the only man on the board who knows football is gone.

    Here’s some questions you need to ask yourself before climbing in bed with Cellino:

    If GFH Capital were so bad, then why are Haigh and Nooruddin still here, yet Paul Hunt is gone? Strange?

    Cellino will be President. When was the last time you saw a ‘President’ having a major influence over a football club? Chairman Bates had power. President Bates did not.

    Cellino’s sale of Cagliari didn’t go through. Strange? So it’s okay for him to be Chairman of Cagliari, but not Leeds?

    Cellino owns 75%. Nooruddin owns 15%. Yet Nooruddin is the Chairman. Ask yourself this – if you had just paid £25m, why would you not make yourself the Chairman, like Bates, like Ridsdale, like Leslie Silver?It’s especially strange considering he is already a Chairman of Cagliari. He’s the Chairman of Cagliari, yet he’s just spent £25m not to be Chairman of Leeds United?

    Eleonora Sport Limited own 75% of Leeds United. That’s a new company. That isn’t Cellino.

    The new CEO (Haigh) and Chairman (Nooruddin) of Leeds, are the same guys who missed payments for the astroturf installation at Thorp Arch (required to meet EPPP).

    Yet it’s okay now that Cellino is on board?? Really? If you’re going to pump money into Leeds, why do you still need to have or want Nooruddin as Chairman? If you’re in control, you remove him immediately.

    These are just a few questions that Leeds fans need to ask themselves, before getting all excited about Cellino coming in.

    So many holes. So many unanswered questions. We need to think about this. Something doesn’t seem right.

    • dessss

      Surely if this is the case a president with 75% has power as opposed to a president with 0%.
      Have you read the articles in the Sunday papers today. There is must discussion about us. I wonder what your take on them is.

    • RContini

      you’re reading far too much into this……titles mean nothing now they are just words that really mean ‘Advisor of the President’. In England, president may be seen as a more honorary role, but in Italy it means Cellino is the autocratic leader of the club, he is in charge, his word is law from now on. These people will be kept on until Cellino has the required knowledge to run the club on his own and is sure that all the skeletons in the closet are dealt with. As their usefulness expires they will be replaced by his favoured people.

  • Bring the pizza

    Word of Alessandro Del Piero being lured in a player / coach role.
    He’s been playing well for Sydney City but has no pace.
    I don’t expect this to be true but I’m sure we’ll hear plenty of stories like this to come.