Recent events at Elland Road, particularly the sacking (suspension technically, but that’s entirely semantic in this case) of Assistant Head Coach Steve Thompson and resignation of Nicola Salerno suggest all is not well at the club.

The official club line (or rather, Massimo Cellino’s version of events) has it that Steve Thompson was sacked for swearing at Nicola Salerno following a Leeds United win and it was Salerno himself who made the decision, but it’s a version of events I believe to be wholly inaccurate.

Salerno, an Italian man who arrived soon after Massimo Cellino’s takeover, was well-liked by staff at Elland Road and his resignation soon after being named by the club for Thompson’s sacking is said to be the reason he walked away; a protest of sorts after being scapegoated for a decision he played no part in.

As for the real reason Thompson was sacked, this would appear to be nothing more than petty jealousy. Leeds United’s owner was unhappy with Neil Redfearn for communicating less with him since the arrival of Thompson so sought to clip his wings.

The stories I’ve heard cast Cellino, who’s supposedly banned from exerting any control over the club, as a man consumed by paranoia and jealousy, deliberately undermining the authority of his own Head Coach – and in so doing, destabilising the club itself – in a pathetic attempt to reestablish himself as the centre of attention.

But there may be a silver-lining to Cellino’s control issues, for the Italian recognises the difficulty in retaining control while battles with The Football League continue so is now seeking to sell the club according to recent reports.

However, as always seems to be the case with Leeds United, there could also be a catch.

Concern now turns to worryingly-timed transfer rumours of key players being linked with moves away – sales that would undoubtedly be opposed by Neil Redfearn making the move to weaken his position doubly beneficial. Sam Byram has today been linked with a move to Liverpool while Alex Mowatt was scouted by Hull City at yesterday’s game. Interest in both was perhaps inevitable, but the timing of these links is nonetheless suspicious.

It would, from a purely financial point of view, make absolute sense for Massimo Cellino to cash-in on the big money players before heading for the exit. They should be factored into the value of the football club but the nature of footballer’s contracts, risk of injury and high possibility of not being able to sell means the value of players on an asset sheet is potentially much less than what the likes of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt would realistically sell for at this point in time.

If, for example, Massimo Cellino can secure £20m in player sales, the club will sell for around £30m regardless, meaning he can walk away with much more than he otherwise would have.

At this point, some of you are no doubt questioning my own levels of paranoia and there’s probably a degree of that given all we’ve been through and the total lack of trust I have in those running the club. What’s undeniable is how big a mistake it would be for Leeds United to sell any of our youngsters. To waste another generation of kids who could potentially lead us to great things would be disastrous. These kids would run through walls for Neil Redfearn, they have a very close bond with each other and a genuine affinity towards the club itself. It’s rare you find a group this good – and it could be a long time until we do so again.


29 Responses

  1. Bucephalus

    Absolute garbage.

    “If, for example, Massimo Cellino can secure £20m in player sales, the club will sell for around £30m regardless, meaning he can walk away with much more than he otherwise would have” – did you seriously just write that?

    That’s like putting your house on the market, and including a fancy car in the garage in the deal, then selling the car separately after the deal is ‘agreed’ in principal, and expecting to get the same price off the buyer – the deal would fall through. The players are the only assets.

    I would say the oppostite is true – if hes about to sell he’s more likely to give the kids big pay rises, and long term contracts, because it wont be him paying the wage bill soon, and hes securing the only assets the club have at little cost to himself.

    I know there’s some serious hatred for MC out there from some, but next you’ll be blaming him for shooting down the MH17 plane over Ukraine.

    • TSS

      History backs it up unfortunately. The value of our club, from Bates to GFH to Cellino has changed very little no matter what players we have in the squad. The fact of the matter is, people buying a club are buying a right to field a team in a certain division. Most, like Cellino, will plan wide-ranging changes of their own so the squad they inherit is a potential bonus, but never the primary valuation.

      • Chareose

        all true TSS we just got to hope that if Cellino is selling someone comes in with a good offer based around us retaining certain staff and players…..I guess wed need them to be fan related buyers to think that far ahead……….Russell where are you ?

      • markman

        I dont believe Mr Crowe has the sort of funds needed to take us up

      • Chareose

        your missing the point a little. Does crowe 100 % of his rugby club ?? no…. hes a member of a consortium……. If he bought Leeds, he wouldn’t do it alone

      • TSS

        No, probably not, but as Chareose says, it’s not necessarily a solo thing and he does seem to have the right ideas about how a club should be run. I’d be open to it personally.

      • Dr Zen

        I strongly favour it. The Rabbitohs were something similar to Leeds — a big club with massive popular support that had become a laughing stock — and his approach has lifted them back up to being formidable. Sure, there’s less money in the NRL than in football but I think we all accept that we cannot hope to compete with the money teams anyway. Being a respectable Premiership team that is as responsive to its fans as the Rabbitohs are would be brilliant.

      • henrymouni

        Players are ‘stock’ and their value is an asset to be considered.
        Anyone buying a club would makes certain stipulations about disposal of the assets/players, as this affects their future investment in the squad.
        These days most lower clubs sell players just to keep going as they don’t have mega rich owners.
        This was what Bates did.
        Massimo has done this in Italy for 20 years to keep his club going.
        If he stays, he will probably do the same with us.
        Just now we have a richness of young players to harvest!!
        The gamble is always, can you get good players in to replace them and take the club forward?
        We have not been too good at that, but other clubs have done better.
        As a consequence our squad has not progressed in 12 years.
        Without this crop of young talent our team would be dreadful, instead of average!!!
        We always live in hope, but it may be hard times ahead, once again.
        With a few good additions to our squad we could do very well next year, but another cull will be the last straw for many!.

      • Chareose

        Not suggesting your saying this but LLP have pointed out in a very logical manner that Leeds United is more than capable of being successful financially at this level without someone pumping money into it. Its the years of poor management and recently GFH loading us with their debt that has caused financial issues
        What im trying to say is we are completely different to Cagliari and we sold RM in the summer for a huge profit. I don’t believe for a second that if we sell Byram and Mowatt that it has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with keeping us afloat

      • markman

        surely the fact that Cellino has cleared very large debts and stemmed the monthly outgoings has increased the value of the club.?

      • TSS

        “Fact”? Hmmm… fans never really seem to grasp how this stuff works. Any debt Cellino has “cleared” isn’t just written off, it’s done in the same way GFH did before him (and every other owner of almost every other club) with loans to the business, which may well be interest-free and have kept us afloat, but it was never a donation.

      • mark

        agree,but Cellino could write off the loans
        HMRC would not.

      • TSS

        True, but why would he? It’ll just be passed on and on like they always are.

  2. Lars

    I’d believe it, the clubs main value isn’t the players its the name and the fanbase. If players Sam Byram truly commands 10m it doesn’t even move the needle in either direction on how much the club costs to buy. They’re buying Leeds United, they’re buying history, a built in massive fanbase, and as TSS notes below the opportunity to have a club in the Championship they’re not buying Mowatt, Cook and Byram themselves.

  3. Neil Abbott

    Cannot see much sense in this article. My thoughts would be if anyone wants to buy Leeds they would be buying the future not the here and now. The future is indeed the younger players to sell certainly would reduce the value of the club and would definitely put off potential interest.

  4. CafCat

    So if Cellino sells and we (finally) get a decent owner, does that mean that the Football League are actually the good guys for forcing Cellino out? This is one truly messed up situation the like of which football will never ever see again.

    • stelufc

      history suggests we wont get a decent owner

      cellinio has to go, but im not looking forwards to “red bull Leeds” or shaun harveys Malaysian mates. worryingly bates is still hanging about like a fart in a lift too. and there’s the gfh weasels to get rid of.

      when was the last time we had a decent owner? Leslie silver 25 bloody years ago.

  5. bert

    All we want is an owner with money ,ambition and isn’t nuts.
    Is that too much to ask?
    Last two owners have profited well from us,there must be interest.
    On the players front disaster and unforgivable if these young players are sold,you won’t get a batch like this again for a long time

  6. madman

    Its all rumours about this and that Red Bull are taking over Crowe interested in buying the club Cellino wanting to sell, all done buy the filthy press to wind the fans up,and its worked. Ask yourselves when have the press been on our side.(Never) In less than a month Cellino will be back and we will all know whats going to happen.

  7. Irving08

    I am not sure about this ‘they’d run through brick walls for Redders’ line. While Charlie Taylor has a pleasing humility about him, I’ve not been struck by this quality in Sam Byram; in fact, I’ve always expected the latter to go if a good Premiership deal came along. (And he’s the only one of our younger players who, at the moment, seems to be of unambiguous good Premiership quality.) Ten or twelve million for him, when we have in Berardi a more than adequate right back replacement, would enable us to buy a genuine wide man (left or right), and even a goal scoring front man as well.

    I cannot reasonably comment on the rest, I’m afraid. Who can ?

    • henrymouni

      From what we have seen so far, there is no reason to think that money would be used to strengthen the team, Irv.

      • Irving08

        It’s early days Henri – Cellino’s surely had his priorities right when he gave precedence to sorting out the club’s finances. Also we would not have been happy had he bought players that stood in the way of our younger players showing what they are capable of – and we haven’t seen anything yet, just wait till my boy Dawson gets his foot on the ball ! Now though I do expect to see significant strengthening in key positions and not a load of bull. Ideally we’d keep Byram for at least one more season, but the lad is plainly ambitious, and wouldn’t be able to resist a call from a top Premier club. Nor would we if it is to the tune of 12 million, which is the figure being bandied around. Fortunately we have the classy killer from Switzerland to take his place.

      • henrymouni

        I love Chris Dawson, having watched him over recent years.
        A real attacking instinct and a football brain, beyond his years.
        It has just been a question of building up his strength and stamina, for the Championship.
        He has been unlucky with injuries too.
        Our new Chairman says we will not be selling our young stars!!
        We’ve heard that before, of course!!
        Berardi seems to have learned his lesson about control and silly tackles.
        I don’t think Sam is great defender.
        He is better where he is now out wide.

      • Irving08

        We agree on everything Henri ! Shame Salerno has gone; he brought some interesting players to the club.

  8. Downunder Al

    How can the club possibly keep these talented youngsters when big Premier Lesgue teams come knocking? They want to play at the top level, anyone would.

    This is a real problem for the club regardless of who the owner is. Yet Without these players the club won’t progress.

    • henrymouni

      The question is – Does the club want to keep them for a big push next season. If they do, they can!
      Sam Byram is 23 so he would need to see some ambition from LU!!
      Cashing in our brightest, has been our way for the last 12 years or so.
      Do you trust Massimo enough to think he will turn down all bidders??
      If Redders goes, it will not help our cause with the ‘young ones’.
      So much hangs on Massimo and his real plans for us.

  9. PMH

    Is Byram worth 11M to Leeds United? Not really. With that money they could buy three decent Championship level players and probably improve the team. (They could but they won’t.) Unless a filthy rich owner buys us out really soon selling young talent is a necessity.

    • Grumpy

      We don’t want ‘…decent Championship level players….’ who may ‘…probably improve the team…’ We want players capable of playing Premiership football and Byram is one such player. At the moment, we have the best opportunity ever to replicate the Revie era with a group of young, very talented players as the basis for a team capable of holding their own in the Premiership. They have played together since they were kids and over the past two seasons we have seen the emergence of Byram, Mowatt, Cook, Taylor and most recently Phillips with apparently more in the waiting room at Thorpe Arch. The ones mentioned above comprise almost half a football team with the oldest being 21 (Byram). The potential for the club at the moment (management issues aside) is enormous. If Byram is worth 11 million to a Premiership side then he is worth that to us if we have any ambition.

      If any of those players are sold (other than an unavoidable sale through player demand) then that will be it for me. I well remember watching throughout the Revie era and my heart bleeds for a return to that type of team. I see no point in this continuous self torture.

      • henrymouni

        This has been our cry for 12 years Grumpy.
        What a good team we would have now!!
        Ah well.
        Out of our hands.
        Our ONLY power is to withhold our support/money, but the owners gamble we won’t!!
        They promise ‘real’ investment in the team, so you will buy your season ticket.
        Never happens.
        All indications are that nothing has changed.
        I find it a pain to watch other teams on TV, as i see so many of ‘our’ players!!
        Aaron Lennon : Danny Rose : James Milner : Johnny Howson :
        Fabien Delph : Jonathan Douglas, still playing in the Prem’!! etc
        And the odd ex-goalkeeper.
        We are a selling club, sadly!
        Let’s pray Massimo will surprise us!!
        We need Redders to decide on the comings and goings!!

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