Leeds’ Lord of the Rings? “One rule to bind them all…” Graham Smeaton September 6, 2014 Leeds United 54 Comments Everybody hates us – we don’t care! A phrase that often settles in the psyche of every Leeds fan and one that gives us solidarity against the ‘haters’ from outside our family. News emerged today, from YEP’s Phil Hay column ‘Leeds United: Cellino buys now, plans for tomorrow‘, that the frantic transfer activity during the summer transfer window, which closed at 11pm on Monday 1st September, was necesary ‘planning aforethought’ due to the financial situation at Elland Road. Cellino took over and restructured the debts that Leeds were incurring; this included month-to-month running costs of over £1 million! Totalled up, these debts were running far beyond the £8 million that Championship clubs are allowed to lose annually – with only £5 million of that being direct input from owners or shareholder losses. With that in mind, Cellino took to bringing in players with wild abandon; 15 in total being his final list of purchases which brings United’s squad to 34 players which includes 9 forwards and 6 centre backs. Cellino made some hard decisions: Thorp Arch was closed, ‘legend’ players were laid off from their match day hospitality duties and players were asked to bring packed lunches in their own ‘snap boxes’. The local Greggs saw a 4-fold rise in the sale of sausage rolls and sausage, bean and cheese pasties before Paddy Kenny left. Hay argues that Cellino has basically stockpiled players in advance of an impending, and expected, transfer embargo from ‘The League’. He states in his article, “Clubs that fail to comply will be subject to a transfer embargo,” the governing body states. “This embargo will come in to force ahead of the subsequent transfer window beginning on January 1, 2015.” Expectations are that there will be more than Leeds United punished in this way. My question would be: what about Premier League teams in debt? What about your Manchester Uniteds? What about your Manchester Citys? TSS City have had some punishment, I don’t know the full extent of it but their CL squad was limited to 21 (instead of 25). I’m guessing there’s other things besides. Barca are still trying to overturn their transfer embargo too so there doesn’t really seem to be any exceptions. That said, I reckon the whole thing will be scrapped before long. It was ill-conceived from the very start, all it does is serve to keep the big clubs at the top. If City and Chelski hadn’t invested tens of millions, they’d have never stood any chance of challenging Scum whose turnover was many times that of the nearest rivals. Now Chelski and City have huge turnovers too (because they invested heavily and were successful). So for Chelski and City, things are great, they have huge turnovers and no one can invest to compete with them, but then, how does a club like Aston Villa – a similar size to what Chelski were before Roman – catch up the ground on those at the top? It’s impossible. Graham I am never much cop at the technicalities so thanks TSS for putting me straight on this. Knew City were punished and realised that Barcelona were still trying to squirm and wriggle a bit… Mike Simple solution, salary cap the leagues. You make a non varying on income(unlike FFP) salary cap where teams can spend xxx amount on players wages which means they can only entice so many “top players” while still building a team. All the sudden teams like Aston Villa are closer to back into the fold again since Scum cant have multiple players on 300k+ a week without sacrificing a lot of other positions. Irving08 ‘Wild abandon’ ? – seems to me calculated. Celino has not got where he has in life by being wild, idiosyncrasies notwithstanding. Mowbray is an interesting candidate, by the way. Graham I was remiss there, I meant ‘wild abandon’ in the sense that we’ve had a fair few transfer windows where we’ve done little and that 15 in represented an element of wildness. When Paddy Kenny heard “Mowbray”; he was thinking pork pies…and why aren’t I still there Dr Zen I think “wild abandon” is fair. There doesn’t seem to have been any method at all to his buying unless you think “get as many Serie B level players as possible” actually is a method. Irvingo08 All things considered, I think it is. theseagullbus Didn’t City get a huge fine at the start of the season?- so it looks like the rules and regs are being implemented, but the issue seems to be with the embargo which to a degree isn’t a punishment. We’ve cleaned up with the RMC transfer and we’ve got rid of quite a few high earners,plus the wholesale redundancies at ER- so the next figures should be loads better. I think I’m right in saying that we can submit prospective figures to get the embargo lifted,and to show compliance with the rules in question. Mr Cellino seems to know exactly what he’s doing with the club from a financial aspect, so embargo or no embargo I’m not unduly worried. We’ve plenty of players and are looking good for a push once they’ve all settled in, so all he needs to concentrate on is finding the right coach. Graham They did get fined, true, but I’m just wondering why eyes are cast down at our level when surely there are plenty of misgivings elsewhere… I’m cool about this season too; embargo or not, we should be pretty comfortable. Ro I’d be surprised if Cellino doesn’t buy back ER soon and sell the branding rights. Surely that helps the figures? Tare This Torph Arch issue makes me grin every time I read it. Why not refering to lunch boxes as well. Mr. Cellino will get his major share of attention for sure but still…… Tare Chareose Question……….does anyone know how long a potential embargo would last ?? Im concerned that any embargo might still be in place by next summer. No doubt it Harvey has anything to do with it we will get the longest ban ever seen in football as an “example” …I mean its not like weve been used as an example before is it……. AS for TSS point about breaking the monopoly of the rich teams…….hes correct that it makes it harder but money doesn’t always guarantee you success, look at Man U last season and this season. Prospective teams need to focus on youth development like Fergie did when Beckham, Giggs et all appeared………He didn’t need to invest huge amounts once he had them , he just needed the odd player to supplement it. Cellino trying to develop youth (whether it be our own or someone elses) is exactly the right thing to do …providing we can pick and choose what we keep/ TSS Money doesn’t guarantee you success, but no money guarantees you’ll be nowhere near. Everyone can point to 10 teams who spent big and failed, but no one can point to a team (in England) who spent nothing and won. Not in the last 20 years anyway. Length of embargo – I think it lasts until the next check period. So if you fail in December, you’re blocked ’til summer when it’s revisited. Graham Barcelona launched an appeal against the punishment in April, and the ban was temporarily lifted during the current transfer window, which closed on Sept. 1. That allowed Barcelona to spend around $240 million strengthening during the off-season, buying such as Suarez etc. Now banned from signing players all through 2015. TSS Until they get that one thrown out as well… R Contini you’re right about the check period, but Barca’s situation is nothing to do with FFP, they broke rules on poaching underage players from outside their catchment area and abroad, so the punishment is for that. Man City and PSG failed FFP and were punished by (in citys case) a £49m fine and restrictions on their European squad, the club must also agree to a string of other conditions: maximum losses of €20m in 2014 and €10m in 2015, to cap their wage bill at current levels for the next two seasons and to “significantly limit” spending in the transfer market for the same period. TSS “they broke rules on poaching underage players from outside their catchment area” Ahh, of course. I’ve had a brainfreeze moment there. I should know better really, I have friends who live in Barca and are huge fans of the club, I visit them several times a year and have no doubt been given an extensive explanation of this several times. I was probably drunk though. RContini We will just have to suck it up if we get the embargo and it seems likely. It’s bad luck on our part that this is coming into effect now because if it was last year QPR and Leicester would have been in trouble. Credit is given though for showing you are moving in the right direction to balance the books and we can definitely do that thanks to Cellino’s cost cutting (all those screaming because we didn’t spend millions on players should take note) It now seems clear also that redirecting the RMcC money to the ER repurchase (so not counting on FFP and leaving an 11m “profit” in the FFP balance sheet) may have been part of this strategy. If we had gone on a real spending spree like the two mentioned above the concequences could have been much worse such as being denied promoition even if we won the league. FFP works on a staggered basis and takes in results over a period (i think its 3 years) so it is unlikely that any embargo would be longer than a season, so Cellino has done the right thing by making sure we have the numbers to cope with the most severe injury crisis. We’ll probably still be able to send people out on loan with recall options so hopefully there wont be too many dissenters. TSS I don’t think we will get credit for balancing the books because of this transfer window, I think that’s the point here. Cellino figured we’d get it regardless so figured he might as well go for broke. R Contini Yeah I know that, I’m thinking of the following year where we might not balance the books over the 3 year period and the FL may go easier on us if we can show we are dramatically going the right way, UEFA are all for negotiation so the FL should too. spellz So what are the repurcssions in the championship for this embargo? does it mean we will be frozen in the transfer windows? although it looks a little bleak, in Cellino I trust one thing I have definitely picked up from his guy so far is he is very business savvy and I believe for once in over 10 years we are safe in our boards hands. TSS Well it’s a UEFA rule so it’s the same for every league – potential fines and transfer embargo spellz Thanks, I think I have just got my head around it all now, still dis agree with it though seems a little harsh as things needed to change considering the hefty monthly outgoings pre- Cellino. oldschoolbaby The revelation can hardly damage Cellino so I`m sure the full extent of the GFH financial shambles and the various problems he`s having to negotiate will emerge in time. Then we can judge him objectively. I too am quite confident he is a smart operator taking us in the right direction. I`m not overly keen on Mowbray. I like him and in normal times I would be happy to see him appointed. Currently though, we have a squad full of youthful exuberance. We need someone who can roll with it and harness rather than stultify it. Not sure that`s a task for an uncompromising figure like Mowbray I don`t think that many in the football industry learn to invest their money wisely. More than we imagine are skint. There is nothing like a financial imperative for persuading you to get your CV sent off. There will be a lot more than we imagined willing to bite the bullet and deferentially accept Cellino`s coaching position Irving08 Mowbray, I agree, does come across as uncompromising, but he does favour youth, and his sides are easy on the eye. He impresses me as a person. Hughton too is a good candidate. But is he forceful enough ? oldschoolbaby Routinely I`m a big fan of the managers who look like battle hardened Royal Marine Sgt Majors. As I`m a bundle of contradictions I also admire the likes of Paul Lambert who give the impression that they are that thoughtful about the game they, in an almost Einsteinian fashion, are incapable of wasting brain capacity contemplating what else to wear other than a tracksuit ( Hughton falls into neither camp so is a no for me ) Our squad lacks a talismanic, warrior veteran for the youngsters to rally around. I sense that the acquisition of one is not Cellino`s style. Therefore, I feel we need someone who can prevent the kids from deflating and keep them buoyant when the inevitable mistakes occur. I suspect I`m making a case for NR. I also suspect virtually all of us would be happy to see him given a chance. The lack of cheerleading for his appointment stems from our collective fear that a mainstay of the backroom could be too easily discarded in a moment of Latin temper. henrymouni My thoughts exactly. He has all it takes to work with our young squad. However I also see the risk, in the present climate if he struggles. How about this? Leave him as caretaker for 10 games and see what happens. A new coach could then be appointed and he can resume his old job, if he can’t make a go of it? oldschoolbaby As I`ve said I believe Massimo when he says his phone is ringing off the hook and his doormat is littered with CVs Maybe he is using the excuse of indecision to allow NR a go at head coaching ( we may aswell call it what it is ) with him being able to return to his development role, without much loss of face on either side, if the experiment fails. The only decision of Cellino`s which I have thought truly unjustifiable and mindless was the dismissal of Naylor. Not only does every organisation need an enforcer. It would also have allowed NR to step up with minimal disruption to the junior ranks Irving08 NR could and probably should have been the summer experiment. Can Cellino or the team afford another one ? oldschoolbaby I guess that if the Good Lord himself ( and I`ve no doubt he`s a Leeds fan ) got the job he`d still be an entirely dispensable, seasonal “experiment” in the eyes of Cellino In what seems to be a world of change perhaps we are clinging to NR like a comfort blanket At the end of the day it`s a coaching post and it`s difficult to find fault with Clarke`s coaching credentials. I would be happy to see him as the forthcoming autumn, winter and spring experiment Irving08 Perhaps Massimo could eat humble pie on Naylor and call him back to work alongside NR. He wouldn’t be acting out of character. I’d be happier with that than NR on his own. Irving08 It looks like Clarke then. NR feels too much like Edwin Gray Mark 1. henrymouni Remember Mick Hennigan?!!! Irving08 That’s a tad unfair on Mowbray, Henri, if that’s the implied comparison. In fact, I’d say it was most unfair on him. His Middlesborough side played smashing football when they were here the season before last. henrymouni Mowbray? I was replying to old schoolboy and his admiration of Sgt Majors. Mick was an old school tough guy! jed shed Graham. You may infer that you write for this-that-or-the-other but you don’t point out you just copy and paste, I will respond with my own cntrl-x – cntrl-v Thanks Graham. Looks like your desire to leave teaching and become a wealthy soul-less hack got in the way of your so-called passion for Leeds. Just another rung on the ladder eh? Keep up the shit work. You’ll be a Daily Heil chief correspondent before you know it. bluemonday You clearly know ‘Graham’ and don’t seem to like him? Whilst he does refer to the article from P Hay, he does pose a question too….in answer, nothing will happen. The big PL clubs wont feel the sanctions, they will move the money around to sray within thd rules. Fact. Graham Knows me or not? He’s had his say and used his democratic right to freedom of speech. spellz Who writes shit like this and then someone agrees and ups the comment, wtf? I for one will give it the thumbs down it deserves, as for me I enjoy the articles Graham writes and if he copied and pasted something to start getting Leeds fans talking about something Leeds related, then fuck it that is what it is, he also has wrote some really interesting fact based articles recently which are different to the editor TSS whos articles I also respect and actually give a different perspective, that creates an all round better forum with different viewpoints To me this just seems like some jealous rant, if you know him message him personally but you chose to do it on his own article like some bitter hater, imo you seem like some pissed off writer who never got a break, you come across bad, bottom line. Graham spellz – I actually couldn’t give a monkey’s left nut what jed shed thinks, believes or even types. Nevertheless, I will address some of his more salient accusations. Whenever I do ‘copy and paste’ (I actually use ‘right click by the way rather than Ctrl v shortcuts) and use it in any article that I ‘write’, I do use quotation marks or credit the source itself and then use quotation marks. You know, a bit like when I said in the above article in the ‘Phil Hay column…’ The rest of the words I ‘write’ are my own. Apart from bashing out angry responses on your keyboard; do you actually write anything? My desire is not to leave teaching; I could have walked away with voluntary redundancy this summer and a little wedge of cash but chose to stay; that kind of negates the rest of that point you made. I am soulless in certain respects but I am not a hack; I do this for the shits and giggles to be fair, in my spare time, after I have planned lessons and marked books etc. I am scared of heights and don’t like ladders. Thank you for the comment about the “shit work” (I quoted you see but typed rather than ‘cut/paste’); I’ll make sure the next piece is even runnier. Have a nice Sunday; the sun is shining, stop being so angry. TSS “I am scared of heights and don’t like ladders.” I liked that part the best lol. Graham You can only try to amuse…but I seriously don’t like ladders. spellz I know mate, just was no need for it. I hate the fact he came on here off topic on a bitter note, just annoys me. Graham Still, he vented his spleen and had his say. I reckon that puts that to bed. jed shed And apologies to you sir. Your response to spellz only highlighted what a pr*ck I can be. Graham In the Land of Pricks; I am king – trust me; I had a 15 year old once tell me that at a parent’s evening many, many moons ago. jed shed Just caught up with this shameless defense of a hit-whore. Thank you for thinking I am a writer but FYI I’m ‘just’ a plumber and Leeds fan who is arsed off with every Tom. Dick and Harry grasping on to the most remote negativity about Leeds and adding further spin just to arouse a reaction. 16 days on from this post HITC gleefully advise us that ,new coach in waiting, Darko Milanic is quoted as saying young players are played too early in England. You make your own mind up why that is of interest but I’m bored of all the negativity. And before you say “well, you don’t have to read it” I will suggest that you don’t have to read my comments either. Time for some positivity after a decade stuck in the mire. And I’m not gonna let wanna-be journo’s stir it up without at least my two penneth. Cheers jed shed Think I’m probably getting a bit miffed with the wrong article here. Thought it was HITC I was getting my knickers in a twist about. My sincere apologies if I have caused offense. Sorry. Graham Am I absolved of being shit then or still stuck with that mantle? I honestly aren’t totally negative; I do write some positive stuff too…honest. This is like a different style of writing for me; a style I don’t often get a chance to do when dragging kids through the joys of Shakespeare much to their bitter negativity. Who/What are HITC – sounds like a dodgy smartphone Chinese copy. spellz Fair enough mate, I for one am humbled by your response. M.O.T Rebel White Phil Hay’s article would have been more accurate if he started with ” Cellino plans for tomorrow, buys now”. The implication in his article is that Cellino is panicking and packing the squad “just in case”. Come on!! The man is in football probably longer than Phil Hay is in journalism. By the end of the season last year, the squad at Leeds were an absolute calamity and he wasn’t going to tolerate it in the new season under his full control. Can anyone seriously say that what he has cast aside should have been maintained in the squad? He knows he has a years grace to get a solid foundation in order to push on for promotion the following year and he is playing a numbers game. Of the 15 he has brought in the odds are that there are 2/3 real stars, 1 maybe 2 starlets from the youths, there will be approximately 5/6 solid contributors to the team, allow 1 or 2 damaging injuries and you will have 4/5 that turn out to be muck. If that’s the case I think we will certainly by in the top half of the division by May, and with the way the Championship goes, where so many teams taking points off one another,r I feel we could make the play-offs. What’s way more important is that for the first time in years the transfer window has been a real buzz because we’ve actually been involved and, like so many other supporters, I am mad for the games to really begin now that we have a proper panel in place. As for the Football League, they have shown years ago that they hate us, so f*ck ‘em,, let them do their worst and we’ll just drive through them yet again. Fair dues to Cellino, after ten years of torture, disappointment and betrayal there is a real feeling of renewal and hope. There’s no doubt it will be rocky, so hold onto your seats lads, but let’s believe we’ll make it this time! notlaw I agree with you Rebel, well said. Having followed Phil Hays column and tweets all summer he may just as well work for The Star. Half of what he says is rubbish and his “inside info” seems to based on who The President has upset that week. henrymouni Bates or GFH would have used this to spend nothing. Massimo has done the right thing, and if we progress the fans will return in droves to boost income. Massimo has shifted a lot of expensive players (wages) and more will follow. The new players will not be earning the big wages yet! Not until we get promoted. If he gets rid of Tonge and Rudi and a few others he will balance the books and some. He could not turn down the £11 million for Ross, and has taken £500,000+ for Smith. He has only spent £5million so he is doing well there too. Massimo wants promotion this season so he had to act. I don’t understand this new law, but clubs like Man City and Chelsea and Liverpool and many others have spent fortunes in this transfer window. They are losing money but are bankrolled by mega rich who right off millions every year. I would say Massimo’s way makes more sense that Abramovich’s. Jack Come March, Leeds will be the top of the league with this strong squad.