Massimo – Mad man or magician? Adam Geary August 1, 2014 Leeds United 51 Comments Foreword: At no point in my history of supporting Leeds United have I ever discarded a player, manager or owner without first evaluating who they are, what they’re doing, what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. This is the exact same with Massimo Cellino, I have been slated left right and centre for merely questioning his characteristics, business prowess and even his criminal past. I do not hate Cellino, I do not love Cellino, I am simply sat looking on from afar (London, Clapham to be precise) trying to get my head around the events of the past three months. In this article I will detail some of my thoughts and try to allow you to see that it is completely acceptable to question somebody who owns a valuable asset in our lives (LUFC). This should not draw divisions between fans but instead allow us all to understand both sides of the argument and yes, draw conclusions, but not cause internal battles that destabilised the club under the Bates Era. We’re stronger together, marching on TOGETHER. Remember that. Transfers – Right, first and foremost, Massimo is a difficult man to read on the transfer front, some of his policies are erm, questionable to say the least. Let’s however start with the positives. Ross McCormack’s sale for £10.75m (Leeds received around £9.137m from the transfer after Cardiff’s sell on fee) was simply a masterstroke. He got double the market value price for a player, taking aside captaincy and a very, very good season, who has definitely found his level in the Championship. The savings of around £800k in wages per annum will have been a nice touch too. This alongside with the release of much of Colin’s deadwood has been a ginormous relieving of pressure on Leeds United’s precarious financial predicament as it was pre MC. Happy days for Leeds and for Massimo, a much needed clear out of players happened and to be honest, no one can seriously complain about the efficiency of such. Now, the negatives. Massimo has put ALL trust in a certain Nicola Salerno. This is okay, we’ve seen scouts and directors of football come and go, like I say, I will not disregard him. It is however laughable that many Leeds United fans (as unknowing as I) have taken it upon themselves to suggest this man is the oracle of all footballing knowledge in Italy and is the scout behind many of the greats in the game, this is a lie. He is not. Salerno has a reasonable reputation of bringing in some average to good young players, this all seems great, but when you actually begin to look at the finite details you realise we have major issues. Berardi for example, why make a right back a priority signing when Byram has and still is our first choice RB? Silvestri seems a sensible buy, but then there is Bianchi and Doukara, seemingly fitting the bill but both Serie B players (as are Silvestri and Bianchi in fairness) and the latter on a loan deal. These signings will not go down in Leeds’ history as heroes, they’re squad players at best (I would love to be proven wrong). Cellino promises “5 or 6 new players” yet we snail our way to getting the signatures of the likes of Viviani and Benedicic. Why? Cellino is too busy sunning himself up in Miami, that’s why. Now understandably his life is in the process of change, he is moving home and setting up camp in England, but let’s be brutally honest here. We are 8 days away from the first game of the campaign and we stand undoubtedly weaker as a team that were nearly relegated last season, we have lost our top scorer, we have only two recognised centre backs after losing the long standing Lees and seem incapable of being able to get any players signatures on a Leeds United contract. Cellino should be 110% committed to working hard to get the players in now. Right now. Cellino suggests we have a kitty of “£15 million” to play with this summer. Again, fabricated figures to excite the fans, would a club with £15m be balking at £475k for Liam Cooper or targeting unproven Serie B players? Or how about even trying to get any kind of proven or experienced striker in? We haven’t got £15m to spend and if we spend more than £5m I will post a viral video of me wearing a scum shirt for a week at work. Cellino is, in a nutshell, lying to fans about the money we have available and the money we will spend. In a game of poker, he’d be out at the first hand. You don’t reveal amounts received or budgets to play with unless you really want to play into the sellers hands… Questionable business tactics. Stadium – “I will go to the bank and buy back the stadium tomorrow” Cellino lied. Simple as that. Massimo promised something he could not deliver, even worse, he promised something none of us expected him to promise? “You cannot be a guest in your own house” good thesis, now sort it out. Cellino has given November as a date on the stadium buy back… we will wait, we will see, but please don’t hold your breath because I fear MC is again promising things he will not deliver. If he does use the McCormack money then that is brilliant and I will be a very happy gentleman, but on the basis of his previous ER promises I cannot see a buyout materialising until we return (if ever) to the Premier League. Cost cutting – This is a tough one. I agree wholeheartedly with Massimo that the club was way too unhealthy, employed too many staff and was running at way too much of an unsustainable loss. This does not however constitute the severity of the cuts that Leeds and the staff have been subject to. Just as research, I rang the club a couple of days ago to mock a quote for a wedding. I was passed to three different departments and on the phone for over 90 minutes, this may appear sad (it really is) but there are no chiefs left, only people with no real business know how. I rang the ticket office, 25 minutes I waited until lunch was over, this is too long, and this IS costing Leeds business. The website is now also seemingly faulting all the time, the ticket site and areas as you will notice are extremely unresponsive. All this is very worrying, it’s like we’re running buses on Boxing Day, we exist, but the service is skeletal. Thorp Arch is another tricky subject, it’s costly and too far away, point well taken. Where though and when though will we move? Let’s concentrate on buying back ER, getting a team together, then sort out the training ground. Too much too soon, Massimo. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is a reason we take new signings to TA to sign… it is world class. Leeds are like a fat pub man with a page 3 model, (TA) we’re punching. Cost cutting is never bad, but where, how much and how quickly is imperative in ensuring that business can continue and Leeds as a business can still function. At the minute we’re struggling. If Massimo stops shouting his mouth off and starts to realise that a cult of personality means he is only out to be shot down we’d be better off. I haven’t mentioned his appointment of Hockaday because, as I mention, I will reserve my judgement until the games are underway and real, competitive results are in. Here is the summary though… • Leeds have a weaker squad than last season. • The manager needs to prove himself at this level • We need to see Elland Road bought back or shut up about. • We need a striker, defender and winger immediately. • We need experience in the squad. • We need to ensure we have a functioning business. • Massimo needs to stop promising what he cannot deliver (or deliver it). Marching on together, lads. Follow Adam on Twitter.