The Football League’s rejection of Massimo Cellino’s takeover was overturned by an independent QC yesterday making the Italian the new owner of Leeds United Football Club.

It’s been a long and frustrating wait for everyone involved, contracts with GFH Capital were exchanged back in January but Cellino’s legal troubles led to a lengthy vetting process before The Football League made a decision.

During that time, The Whites’ league form has been disastrous as financial uncertainty and fears of administration slowly took hold.

Leeds now appear to be in a far more stable position however, at least in a financial sense. In an interview with The Sun, Leeds’ new owner said he’ll arrive in England on Monday, pay the remaining 35% of the players wages and expects to repurchase Elland Road and the club’s Thorp Arch training facilities within a week.

Looking further ahead, the Italian says he’ll bring Premier League football back to Elland Road by 2016 and that fans can look forward to a flurry of new signings this summer.

As is usually the case with new regimes, there’s bound to be a shake-up at Elland Road. A statement published on the club’s official site contained some flattering comments from David Haigh who it states will become the club’s CEO. Cellino has other ideas however, telling The Sun “I have had too much of him” and that he’ll be fired.

Brian McDermott’s future is in doubt too. Despite a hugely improved performance at The DW Stadium yesterday, his side still lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic, a fourth consecutive defeat for The Whites extending a dismal run of form which has seen Leeds win only 3 times in their last 19 outings, slipping from a play-off position at Christmas to 16th following yesterday’s defeat.

Cellino sacked McDermott back in January after Salah Nooruddin led him to believe his takeover had already completed. He was quickly reinstated however as it became clear Cellino needed approval from The Football League before he had authority to act.

Another point raised in The Sun interview was a deal struck with Together Leeds, the consortium of local businessmen headed by Mike Farnan who were rivals to Cellino’s takeover. The two parties came together recently in an attempt to put their differences aside and Cellino says he still plans to sit down with Together Leeds and discuss options following his approval.

Sunday Mail

Back page of Mail On Sunday today

Promises to bring a new era of success to Elland Road is something we’ve heard too many times before. The repurchase of Elland Road and Thorp Arch is a good start for Cellino, but we’ll have to wait and see how his ownership plays out long-term, judging him based on actions instead of hopes and expectations.

There’s no denying we’re owned by a passionate man with decades of experience in football, but we shouldn’t ignore his flaws. Cellino’s personality is at best, unpredictable, at worst, dangerously unstable. His legal troubles don’t concern me too much (find me a squeaky-clean millionaire businessman and I’ll eat his hat) but the press will use them as a stick to constantly beat the club with.

The potential is there for Leeds United to be the sideshow attraction to Cellino’s antics and while he may bring a greater degree of financial stability than we’ve grown accustomed to, that could come at the cost of stability elsewhere.

Ultimately, there’s no telling how this will all play out. Many of us got a little carried away when GFH rode into town, relieved that the Ken Bates years were over, allowing ourselves to be blinded by their charm and PR offensive.

After so many years of doom and gloom, we all want to believe that this time is different, that Massimo Cellino will be the man who finally restores Leeds United to the lofty heights of yesteryear. And maybe he will, but if there’s one thing we should take from the last decade, it’s a lesson in caution. This club has had a lot of false starts.

  • Donal

    I have a strange sensation right now.

    Its almost as if im “optimistic”. Is that the right word?? Its been so long ive forgotten every emotion bar soul crushing depression…

    MOT

  • Murph

    It is the better of two options: Cellino v Administration…
    I think that anyone who is prepared to buy back Elland Road and Thorp Arch needs to be given due time before he is written off as a maverick mafia mogul. If he installs di Matteo to lead a charge for the Premiership next year then I for one will be very excited.

  • gordon

    I see the guardian newspaper are saying that the FL will have a meeting on Thursday to see if Massimo cellino can take over at elland road. I don’t think they can stop him now. What ever happens it is going to feel like we can breathe again.

    • Sir Oscar de Loides

      They could defer a decision until the judgement is handed down in Italy (latest mid-June). That’s the Pontius Pilate approach.

      • Ev

        there would be a riot involving leeds fans outside FL head quarters long before that

        • Ted Jarvis

          If the FL choose the appeal or wait until the Judge in Italy releases her judgement (possibly June!) then it will be very clear at that point that there is some kind of agenda against Leeds, especially when the have not as yet dealt with the Carsen Yeung situation at BCFC. Also I would like to see the evidence that they have and continue to check all owners and directors on an ongoing basis. The broadsheet’s faux outrage at ‘fraudster Cellino’ is laughable and his tenure at LUFC may eventually end in tears but one thing is clear, the Football league requires a complete overhaul of its structure.

      • Shez 87

        I for one Sir Oscar certainly believe this is what they will do!
        They will try every trick in the book to nail us.
        They are a bunch of self-serving parasites ( just like Haigh is for us!!! ) with absolutely no interest whatsoever in helping us and I’m absolutely convinced that if there could be a way of dissolving our club,they would do it!!!

  • Chareose

    I hate to be the party pooper TSS but have you read David Conns latest articles?
    Firstly hes suggesting that the takeover isn’t sealed yet by the FL and second that the FL could either appeal or disqualify him if he loses hit appeal in Italy……… I don’t know about you but if this is the case im getting sick and tired of it all dragging on and I wish the FL would just disappear under a rock somewhere………..

    • TSS

      Yeah, just read it. While The FL could – and possibly will – appeal, as things stand, Cellino is approved so as far as I can tell, they’ll have to rubber-stamp this on Monday. Doesn’t mean further action won’t follow though.

      • Chareose

        That’s why I think we need Together Leeds involved in the club too, potentially it would mean Cellino could simply sell more shares to them if he lost the appeal so that he no longer had the majority stake……..and it would shield the club a bit from losing its owner. I definitely feel that there are suspect motivations driving the FL. The fact that they are made up of directors from our competitors and Shaun Harvey, Ken Bates creature underlines the lack of impartiality.
        Then theres the suggestion from Cellino I think ? That Haigh wanted Leeds to go into admin so he and Ken Bates could buy it

        • Irving08

          Cellino seems to understand the politics involved in this issue. He will try hard to have TL onside. My sense is that the FL are trying to keep the House of Commons Sport Committe off their backs. Cellino, I think, is seen as a sort of test case.
          It is easier to go after the League than the Premiership. There is less at stake. If there is partiality, I think this is where it lies.

    • Tyler75

      I think this is why Cellino is keen to work with Together Leeds as a deal between them provides options for ownership.

  • WontBeLong

    Still got a little niggle in the back of my mind that the FA are going to bust a gut to overturn the decision, can the appeal be appealed, don’t know. they should man up and give him the opportunity to lead our great club out of the GFH mire.

    • gordon

      Apparently there is a paragraph 121that they can’t appeal against this judgement.but it will not stop the FL if something else comes up at a later date. If Massimo cellino buys back Elland road and Thorpe arch , I think they would have problems saying he not fit to run a football club.couk

  • number1inyorkshire

    what happens if in 3 months they Barr him from ownership due to dishonesty ..the whole appeal was a farce ….he was convicted but whether or not he was dishonest will only be determined when the judge decides within the 3 month time-scale…tax evasion in any language is dishonesty …
    One thing for certain the premier league will be more ruthless and more less interested in dishonest or not he is guilty ..
    leeds fans are under the illusion he will be the messiah and pump us into the premier league next season ..my guess it will take 2/3 years and several managers then an even bigger effort to stay there ….

    he isnt what leeds wanted maybe at the min its what leeds needed for me i cant see him splashing the cash and i will be certain our team will be full of foreign ,mainly italians next season young B team players a little like watford ..last year …

    • TSS

      They don’t seem to have much power once a takeover has completed, that’s why they’ve “allowed” Carson Yeung to remain owner of Birmingham City despite the fact he lives in a jail cell.

      • Chareose

        We are Leeds United and we always get treated differently so don’t count on it mate

        • Matthew

          But we also have an owner who without a doubt would fight any shit the FL might throw his way. He has the money to do so.

      • number1inyorkshire

        tbh carson yeung holds no positions at brum he resigned all his executive rolls and none executive too ..he owns 29.4 % of the shares ..cellino could do that and yeung probably still owns the club but not on paper ….which is again what cellino said h e would do ..

        • TSS

          Cellino “technically” owns less than 10% (the rest being held by members of his family) but percentages are trivial these days, anyone who has power – be they directors, chairman, presidents or whatever – has to pass the test, so if he’s to maintain the role he expects to at the club, he needs clearance.

          Still, once in said role, The FL will struggle to get him out of it I think. Could be a few legal battles ahead if they decide to make an example of him though.

    • Chareose

      I had those concerns at the beginning but not so much now…….hes stated a number of times that he understands this club must have some English players….. and hes mentioned our youth system. That means hes picking up vibes off the fans.
      Hes buying a club that’s broke, losing money and has no assets and very few decent players so hes not here (atleast in the short term) to make money. He will know from BMs wonderful record in charge that we require serious investment in players and rubbish players wont cut it with the fans.
      That said you mentioned Italian players………..and I have to say that for me the standard of player in the lower leagues in this country is appalling right now. Go watch some videos of teams playing this division in the 80s, far better technique so maybe bringing continentals in is not such a bad idea…….atleast they should be able to string more than 1 pass together

      • Chareose

        Think how many players there are on the continent (even in the lower divisions like Spains second Div) that are better than Noel Hunt and on far far less wages…………you could grab a load of kids of Copacabana beech that are better……..

        • Matthew

          Question remains, will Noel Hunt grab that elusive goal before his contract expires? He’s only on a two year deal. He doesn’t have much time left, will his record join the likes of Billy Paynter?

          • Chareose

            True…….soon he can retire to a part time job as Johnny Vegas stunt man………

          • Matthew

            Joking aside, he needs to go out on loan ASAP to a Championship side that wants him or a League 1 side that’s pushing for promotion, if he doesn’t, as soon as his contract is up, hes not going to get much in the way of offers with the same money hes on here attached, why would anyone want a striker who can’t score a goal and isn’t much in the way of a goal threat at this level now?

    • Irving08

      Welcome back No 1, no he won’t ‘splash the cash'; he doesn’t need to, nor should we want him to. He’s a successfull businessman in a non-extractive (oil etc) and non-financial sphere; he will be used to investing wisely and prudently, which is the approach he will bring to Elland Road. Nor will he stuff the club with Italian players; he’s been explicit on this point. As for the possibiity of his being barred in June, I think the practical difficulties will be enough to dissuade the FL from taking this course of action. Furthermore the League will be faced with charges of inconsistency. For the moment I am encouraged by the QC’s remarks on the case, relating to the relatively lenient punishment Cellino received. Overall I think Cellino’s stewardship will be more sober than his manner might lead one to believe.

    • Shez 87

      I for one couldn’t give a monkeys if this does happen!!
      I’d rather have a team of decent,technically proficient foreigners……even if they are ‘loanees’!,if it is going to help in attaining our long term ( hopefully short term !?! ) goal of making it to the Premier League.
      At least they’ll be able to pass a ball accurately for more than five yards and trap it as well! The majority of players we have at the moment couldn’t trap a bag of cement!!!

  • number1inyorkshire

    just for my understanding the QC chap has agreed he was guilty but in italy you can be guilty without being dishonest ..
    the league say DISHONESTY barrs you so if by the time the trial judge in Italy releases her judgement if it says dishonest ,because the FL have decided they are pissed they are gonna have aboard meeting and he will be not a fit and proper person ,and booted out.
    If he has any sense he will put into someone else’s name and hold less than 30% and he will be OK …if he doesn’t he will be barred simple

  • Ev

    Whos this “mysterious Manchester business man” that’s always “showing interest in Leeds” ??? Always from the same Rag so I wonder why they are trying so hard to push this story and why does Sean Harveys grinning face appear in my mind when I consider it ???

    • Chareose

      The Mysterious business man probably has a beard and likes fish fingers, that’s why your so nervous……….

  • tim campbell

    Another positive I picked up from the Sun article was Cellinos assertion that he has built up a worldwide scouting network whilst at Cagliari and would be looking to utilise that whilst at leeds. He brought some good players into Cagliari and yes admittedly sold most on at a great profit. But my theory is that if Leeds can obtain promotion we would be in a much stronger position to retain any of our best players than Cagliari would have been able to. Exciting times lie ahead my friends, lets just hope the football league suck up their defeat and don’t try and throw any more spanners in our direction

  • henrymouni

    The QC Tim Kerr, was surprised how the FL were less than even handed in dealing with the matter.
    He was surprised that the FL were not interested in helping a famous old club in their hour of need.
    The FL have been shown up for their bias, and any further protest/ban will only reinforce this.
    History shows us that the FL do not help clubs who get into trouble in the Football league.
    The QC took his time and made the right and fair decision.
    If Mr C could come to an agreement with the Italian tax office, it would be over.
    The tax office is only interested in getting their money.
    Even if he fights on and loses, it is no big deal.
    He just has to pay up!

    • tim campbell

      Henry it happened when we were in league one and now the Championship; namely that the other clubs know we bring them in extra revenue that a club with smaller support wouldn’t do. They do not want us to leave their little club knowing that as long as we are there its more brass in their pockets. No amount of reasoning will ever convince me that they have been even handed in this whole affair in any way

      • Chareose

        the FL haven’t just done it to Leeds, I know a lot of other clubs fans that believe the same as us………I think Henrys first assertion is correct “They do not help clubs in need”…….When an owner of say Portsmouth walks away leaving it in abject mess the FL vote on it and its decided that in the selfish best interests of each party vote to use the maximum amount of punishment available………points deductions etc in order to benefit their own club or financial vested interest. As always the fans are left to pick up the pieces and yet they are the innocent ones.
        The way the sports governing body operates is an absolute disgrace and they are completely BIAS.

        • tim campbell

          There is an expression that best describes them Chareose – we got a Swarm of bees, a Herd of Cattle, a School of dolphins, and in the case of the Football league a Shower of Bast@@ds lol

          • Chareose

            very true Tim……….. We must ask the FL how punishing a club that’s in admin with points deductions actually helps them pay debts off…….often it ends up with said club getting relegated so points deductions just make it harder for the club to pay whats due…………… A shower of bastards is the only description

  • yorxman

    Hang on, we played against 11 players who have the chance to play at Wembley next Sat. ‘Improved performance’ my arse

  • oldschoolbaby

    Well written, well measured post
    All we can do now is give him a cautious welcome and be cautiously optimistic

  • tim campbell

    In all honestly how many of our first team squad would you hang on to if you had the choice…..Ross,………………..

    • TSS

      Byram and erm… yeah, I think we’ve covered it.

      • tim campbell

        Since Sam has come back from injury he just aint the player he was prior to it. Heres hoping a good injury free Summer will allow him to build himself back up to where we know he can be TSS

        • TSS

          Hasn’t hit the same heights as last season, but he’s still a class above nearly every other player in this division.

          • tim campbell

            True and what will make it slightly easier for Cellino will be that so many of the others contracts are up in the Summer. A blend of good home grown talent and a smattering of talented overseas talent should see us move to the next level.

          • Chareose

            He will have to be realistic though……..cant replace 22 guys, its a gamble getting that many players. But in a perfect world id keep Ross, Mowatt, White, Byram, Kenny (as back up), Dawson, Peltier (as a CB and utility), Warnock, Poleon, SMITH and Pearce (who I think is a good solid defender crying out for a good partner). That means wed need about 8 players in.
            I don’t think the defence is that bad, they have been left exposed all season by an aweful midfield and this has lead to them losing confidence.

          • Matthew

            Our midfield lacks much in the way of defensive or attacking quality. It’s kinda just there every game.

          • Chareose

            yes so what are we saying for the first team then ??? I make it a striker, Goal keeper, A pacey CB, and 3 midfielders ?????
            Ouch 6 first teamers…… that would be expensive, no wonder poor old cellino is giving himself 2 years to get promotion

          • Matthew

            Probably 2-3 with fees attached, several decent frees, and a goalkeeper(If we can get a decent one, buy). There’s always decent players looking for more money at this level, and looking to advance their career.

          • tim campbell

            Lets be really optimistic however Chareose and trust that the days of the old has-been freebies coming into our club is now behind us – almost too good to be true

          • Matthew

            I was speaking about what the midfield needs and was basically being realistic lol.

          • Irving08

            I think I would also be looking at players in teams that get in the play-offs, but don’t get promoted. Of younger players, Bryson at Derby, for example, impresses me. He’s the kind of driving midfielder that gets into the box that we sorely need.

          • tim campbell

            Yeah would be sooo sweet for us to be the club who cherry picks other clubs talent instead of them doing it to us – my big question is will Cellino trust BMcD to be the man to spend his lolly?

    • Chris7286

      I would keep Poleon, winds me up when he just sits on the bench. Think we would have at least got our draw against wigan if he had started.

  • 60yearsaLeedsFan

    We have now got the best owner in the League, Premier included. Remember he is a Football man almost none of the other clubs can claim this, what with Arabs, Far Easterners, Americans none of whom know the next thing about our Leagues and Football in general. Also he has 20 years experience owning Cagliari which means he has made his mistakes there, hopefully. Do not worry about the FL either Cellino is obviously way ahead of those numpty’s in every way.

  • Chris7286

    Just read another absolutely anti-Leeds article by the Gaurdian’s little cretin David Conn. That dick head will not stop stirring all this up until he get’s that self satisfying feeling that his articles have played some part in a decision some where along the line. I just hope Cellino settles this stupid tax case out of court and just pays a settlement or something because we are Leeds and as long as that’s the case we will always get little gremlins like David Conn following us around in the hope of ruining something good for us.

    • Matthew

      Personally I couldn’t give a shit what some of these journalists write in the hope of selling a few papers. At the end of the day, we’re Leeds United, we don’t give a shit.

      • Bod White

        No idea why anyone has a problem with David Conn. IMHO, we should be grateful to him as one of the few journalists who’ve consistently dug deep to find out the truth. In particular, Bates hates him for his persistence and accuracy of his stories about Leeds. More than anyone else, he exposed the shameful antics, lies, and bullying of our last but one owner.

        • Matthew

          I don’t agree with the negativity, I’m reading to move on and am looking at next season and what’s to come. I think anyone who wants to move this club forward should be given the chance. If some people want to dwell on someones past, by all means. I just don’t feel like giving articles like these the time of day. I was speaking in general though with my reply, its not worth having one eye on the press. At least not yet. The GFH fuckers are all but out, I felt the same about Bates, when he was ousted he left my mind.

    • stelufc

      Well it is “the Manchester guardian”

    • PMH

      Don’t know what you are on. The piece was very sympathetic to Leeds. You can find more hostility from any 9/10 Leeds fans.

  • Ev

    On the bright side………………….. Connor Wickham might be available if Sunderland get relegated
    Licks lips

  • Lufc79

    So could someone please tell me if Cellino is the owner now and if so could it be revoked at any time and how likely is that to happen…..?….this mess is doing my head in and don’t no weather I’m comeimg or going……..mot

  • Helen LUFC

    Let’s hope Cellino doesn’t turn out to be another non-starter, like GFH, for the club. Talk is definitely cheap, as we have constantly been fed a diatribe of garbage from people at the club as to how massive the place is, we should be in the Premiership blah, blah. I hope this summer he is as good as his word and brings in new players, and gets rid of the dead wood we have in our team. Let’s hope there’s not another summer of…oops, we missed the transfer deadline as we are going through another takeover. I read the Guardian article and it wasn’t anti-Leeds. His piece said that Leeds fans didn’t deserve to be treated like the way they have, so I don’t see why that’s negative? If Cellino wants to win the fans round he needs to get his cheque book out and start showing he is capable of attracting players to the club. My worry is what he said about paying silly wages, Murphy was on 1700 at Crewe and then on 22000 at Leeds. I agree this is a stupid rise in money for an inexperienced player, but the reality is if we want guaranteed promotion next season he’ll have to be used to agents demanding higher wages as the bar has already been set at Leeds. If he turns out to be a another ‘I’m not paying those wages’ type then expect us to do a Watford and end up with a load of his Italian friends on loan. Good news we didn’t go bankrupt though – no need to wear the 2008 Abandonship tee shirt anymore.

    • Nigel Evans

      My big concern is that hes still saddled with Cagliari. He is talking of using their scouting system but who gets the choice finds ? them or US ? Id hope its us but then you have to feel a bit annoyed on behalf of Cagliari fans. As others have said Cagliari reserve players may not cut it

      • tim campbell

        The biggest statement of intent will be if Cellino is true to his word and get the readies out next week and repurchases Elland Road and Thorpe Arch. We are losing money hand over fist by not owning them and Cellino knows this. To say that the supporters have had to endure 10 years of shit just about nails it – the signs are positive, much more so than they have been since the heady days of O’Learys ‘babes’.

    • Irving08

      ‘….’though’ ? It is the news.

  • Helen LUFC

    Buy back the ground, buy back training facilities, put grass down on the training pitch for the players to learn how to pass a football to each other and we might just be back in business rather than out of business. Interesting to see what sweeteners he gives to fans in the next few weeks. Wonder if he’s doing something with season tickets, too? Let’s hope he turns out to be the biggest benefactor since Santa decided to hang up his sledge. Sorry to any under twenty year olds on here for spoiling next Christmas.

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  • PAUL W

    The Football League can go to hell after ruining Leeds season and for trying to put the club out of business.
    That idiot Haigh seems to think that he will become Cellino’s new C.E.O, but Cellino is sick of Haigh and will hopefully sack him for not running Leeds properly.
    It is all exciting now for Leeds, but I hope that nobody throws a spanner in the works.

  • bruce

    Cellino will be the most watched manager on the planet. The knives are out by the very same scum that have hated this club for decades. Not just the gutter press who are incapable of seeing past our national side, ie MAN UTD, I mean, if you listen to them the so called crises at that club is bigger than the banking collapse, don’t you just feel so sorry for them. Listen, we don’t need crappy tabloids to be luvvy duvvy, and we don’t give a damn if there are people in the footballing world who are still too pig headed to admit that Leeds United were once the biggest, most feared and powerful club in Britain. No other club could survive the abuse, the backstabbing, the unfair treatment and asset stripping that we have had to endure. Cellino will ram this club down the throats of the FA and the press in the best possible way, with success and the greatest fans in the country. If the powers that be have not got the decency to at least give the guy a chance shame on them.

    • Matthew

      At the end of the day, the push for the Premier League is the most important thing once everything has been sorted. Next season will be important.

    • Mike N

      Not just the gutter press, the BBC (London and Manchester Broadcasting Corporation at least) ran a piece that said Leeds’ problems started when they tried to usurp the scum. Like no one else has the right to challenge them, only scum are allowed to win anything then? Must be really pissing the beeb off this season after moving to be near their beloved to find them out of the title race.

  • PMH

    We have some people below wanting to blame “them.” Them being the media, the Football League, and the “powers that be.” This is rather ridiculous. Leeds is the team that has shot itself in the foot on an almost daily basis. The damage is all self-inflicted. Those other folks are irrelevant. And there are many people who were not even born during the glory days. Forget the past, we need to build a new LUFC that will bring back some fame. That can only come from sound management decisions on and off the pitch. Cellino will have every chance to prosper, but he will have to show an acumen that has been sorely lacking in his career so far.

  • Ron

    Question: Assuming the salaries are paid in full today, do you still sack McDermott if the players respond by going undefeated for the remainder of the season?

    • henrymouni

      With 6 games to go the season is dead, so, as long as we avoid relegation, 6 wins in a row would mean nothing at all Ron.
      6 wins in a row at the start of next season would seem like progress
      The ‘lads’ have been well paid all season and have not responded to the manager or money.
      Maybe they are all not good enough?
      Truth is, they are better than they shown for Brian.
      Chris Hughton has just had the push, but at least Norwich play football, in a very tough league.
      Our league is poor with many rubbish teams in it.
      These rubbish teams are better than our rubbish team!
      What does that make us?

      • Matthew

        I think you’re being a bit kind with the picture to describe us. That said I don’t think anyone wants to see a picture of shit on here lol

        • henrymouni

          Better here than on the pitch Matthew!
          One man’s rubbish, is another man’s opportunity!
          The good thing about football is that no matter how bad you are, you can always find someone to pay you big money, to mess things up all over again.

  • Downunder Al

    Delighted to have this sorted at last! Cagliari is in the process of a sale so Cellino will hopefully avoid the loan market & bargain bin, improve the academy & retain our locals, top up with some players that can really make a difference & give us hope.

  • Steve R

    Every one needs to get on the case of this Damian Collins guy trying to railroad our takeover.The rest of England and the football league would love to see us in administration

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