In the wake of yesterday’s events, Leeds United’s Chairman Andrew Umbers has released a statement to the BBC’s Adam Pope.

As a club we have to make professional decisions. These may be unpopular and we, the Board, may be berated by the press and fans. It goes with the turf sometimes. But they are the right decisions. One by one we are sorting out our massive problems. It is all about making LUFC, once and forever, a proper football club again.

If we were selling this club, we would not be working 24/7. The club is not for sale.

Our young players are not for sale and, of course, contract negotiations are foremost in our mind and will be delivered. Our transfer embargo will be lifted soon and we will strengthen certain obvious areas.

Massimo Cellino cannot wait to come back and will be present at out end of season player dinner at Elland Road in early May.

Steve Thompson, the Assistant Head Coach who’d helped Neil Redfearn record the second-best form in the league since his arrival a few months back appears to be one of the “massive problems” he talks about.

Another ‘massive problem’ being ridiculed in the press is demands from within the Leeds United hierarchy to not play Mirco Antenucci in fear he’ll score twice more and trigger a clause which awards him with a contract extension of one additional year.

This would appear to be a motivating factor in Steve Thompson’s suspension. Neil Redfearn was cautious enough to have a clause written into his own contract which guarantees him first team selection. It’s alarming that he felt such a thing had to be written-in in the first place, but given the situation with Antenucci, it seems he was wise to do so. Many now believe Steve Thompson’s suspension was made in a petty attempt to clip Redfearn’s wings after he’d refused to yield to pressure from above regarding team selection.

Antenucci took to Twitter (Link 1, Link 2) to express his confusion while his agent has been seeking assurances from Salerno on the situation. Meanwhile, Liam Cooper made his feelings clear by favouriting a selection of Adam Pope’s tweets.

Clearly this has been an unpopular and unsettling decision, one that looks to have been made in a worrying attempt to influence team selection. Notwithstanding the fact Neil Redfearn MUST be allowed to pick players based solely on their performance in training and his own plan for each match, Mirco Antenucci signed a contract in good faith believing his performances would incur certain rewards. That people in Leeds United’s upper managerial structure would conspire to ensure he can’t meet said conditions sends a signal to other players that a contract with Leeds isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

  • Bucephalus

    Id have thought the better headline would be ‘our young players arent for sale, and we will be signing new players asap………

    • marky b

      more like our young players are all for sale and we will be searching at all serie b and c clubs for any of their rejects. mot

    • TSS

      It’s hard to believe any of our young players would want to sign a new contract when a coach they really liked has been unjustly suspended, the Head Coach they greatly admire is considering his future and the club are trying to deny one of their teammates a bonus put into his contract for meeting stated targets.

  • Nick Ryle

    I feel I’m quite near the end now. I just pray for a period where Leeds aren’t embarrassing me, aren’t making ludicrous decisions based on revolting egos, and aren’t about to sell us down the river again by offloading our talented youngsters. That is now a real litmus test. If Byram, Cook, Mowatt and Taylor are all still at ER in August and we’ve added a decent winger and striker, then fine and I think we’d have a real run at promotion, but history tells me that they won’t be.

    If no reasonable explanation is provided for Thompson’s sacking and the appalling treatment of Redfearn, then the undermining theory is the only realistic one. What must morale be like now in a team that was actually showing signs of fulfilling its potential [although I do hold to my view that we have been a lucky team this season]? Then you throw in the Antenucci nonsense. As ever, you really couldn’t make it up.

    When is the point of no return? The point at which you wake up and think “thats it – I’m not going to be taken for an idiot any more”? I came close with Bates and certainly stopped giving him money, but this is nearly as bad. Never has The Damned United seemed more apt…

    • Ev

      Its not “leeds” its the idiots we keep getting as owners, all treating the club as a personal toy to feed their egos

    • Decky

      Completely agree with you here. Bates almost made me give up but what has happened in the last day as well as some of the other baffling decisions made by the toxic disgrace Cellino (who I have never been a fan of from day 1), may just make me give up. It is shameful how Thompson and Redders are being treated. It is due to them and not the Italian league jokers that we signed why we are now safe from relegation. For the sake of Leeds United, our young players, and of course the ever suffering Leeds United fans, Cellino must be forced out! #CELLINOSCUMOUT

  • Irving08

    Ouch an incentivised contract – Redders should have known about this before signing his own contract. The irony is that he did genuinely appear to be going off a bit – to the displeasure of some of us – and was favouring the local hero. A chuckle would be in order – were it not for the present crisis – due to the impression I have that the odd couple, Austin and Morrison, was the most effective front force at the club. PS We can believe the Sun, can we ?

    • Irving08

      No, not entirely, we can’t. I do not believe Redders was told not to select Antenucci but was simply informed of the incentives attaching to his contract. If he had been so informed surely he would have requested the order be put in writing. I know Redders is on a steep learning curve, as OS once put it, but he was smart enough to have exclusive rights over team selection written into his own contract, so why would he miss this trick ? Conversely why would Cellino/Salerno risk another legal case by trying to dictate team selection this way. It would surely be cheaper to retain Antenucci for a further 12 months.

      • JDC

        I agree 08, I don’t believe for a minute that NR was told not to select Mirco Antenucci … I believe that was NR’s own decision, and one which was probably justifiably made when Mirco was first left out due to a slight drop in his form, though perhaps he should have been brought back in earlier than he was, rather than persisting with Steve Morison … whoever the stiker is, needs to contribute with the odd goal here and there.

        • TSS

          Well of all the press attached to the club, Phil Hay is generally the best informed and he’s adamant the Mirco stuff is legit. Isn’t buying a word of Umbers statement either –

          https://twitter.com/PhilHayYEP/status/583989967073968128

          • henrymouni

            Totally agree with you and Phil, TSS !!
            I makes perfect sense, knowing who we are dealing with.
            Other clubs have done similar things.

          • Irving08

            It doesn’t make sense Henri – why would Cellino bring on himself another legal action ? Plainly Redfearn did, at one point, go a bit cool on Antenucci, when we we really needed points. But Antenucci’s recent goals and assists have brought him back in favour. I find it hard to believe that Redders was unaware of the dilemma this now puts the club in. Contract details are hard to keep secret at football clubs. But it obviously puts him in an invidious position with the player when it comes to team selection and defending his choices before the media and fans.

          • henrymouni

            Do you really think Cellino cares about legal action Irv.
            His is the ‘Italian Ken Bates’!!
            He has recently been in prison.
            The question is – does Cellino want to give Antenucci another years contract?
            If not, he does not want him to score 12 goals.
            Redders dropped Antennuci when he changed our formation.
            He needed a big strong man up front, who could hold the ball up, and ‘look after himself’.
            It is not hard to believe (as recent events have shown) that Redders is kept in the dark about most things.
            Also Phil Hay has been told as much by his contacts at ER.

      • Irving08

        Correction (just back from a trip !)….If he had been so ordered……

  • yorxman

    Cellino REALLY has some work to do now to get the supporters back on side. But us Leeds fans all know IF we fear the worse it will undoubtedly happen

  • Ev

    Umbers statement is complete BS…….. he should be a politician as the guy has Slimey tattood on his forehead……. “just tell the fans what they want to hear even if its not true”

  • leeds forever

    fuck these bastard wankers if the man scores goals good fuck the nob decisions at leeds just get on with it after whats happen to the club over last 10 years thats what the fans wan perhaps the perhaps umbers or whats his fucking name should pay the differnce in the clause

  • Bluesman

    There used to be a smell about the place, which I thought had disappeared. It now seems that it has returned as bad, obnoxious and disgusting as it ever was.

  • henrymouni

    Bates always promised to keep our young players, and our best players.
    He lied every season.
    Cellino is known for selling his better players each season in Italy.
    Leopard and spots!!
    These ‘massive problems’ are a real mystery.
    Cellino bought the club knowing, and being financially compensated, for ALL debts.
    He then thinned us down, reducing staff and the wage bills, and clawed in big money for Ross, and smaller money for Warnock, and others.
    He kept the money!!
    He did not buy ER as promised, passing at least two deadlines, and has no intention of doing so.
    In short, he has taken but not given.
    He, like Bates, has no ambition to get us in the Prem’.
    He will suck us dry, if he can!! AND he can!!

    • Scally Lad

      Well said, Henry. We should have seen this coming, but we were too eager and desperate to believe that this time it was going to be different….

      • henrymouni

        Perfectly true Scally Lad.
        We are trapped and helpless, but always hoping for a miracle!!
        We need a hero, not a vulture!!

  • The old tactics of divide and conquer used by those ‘in charge’… Had a good tutor.
    Split the coaching staff up, confuse the squad and unrest the youth.
    Talk BS to the fans with a smile, who needs fans anyway!….

    Don’t worry, he Board is in charge again, preparing for The Great Cellino Sales……

  • PMH

    We have known from day one that Cellino changed managers as often as his underwear. We have known all along he is a crook. We should have been able to figure out that he was also a nutcase. But, he bought the team with his money. It’s his toy and he will do what he wants with it. Why anyone thought he ever cared about Leeds fans I have not the slightest idea. Why would he? The best option is that he gets bored and gets an offer from someone with more money and more commonsense. Until then expect more of the same tragicomedy.

    • henrymouni

      Sad, but true PMH!

    • Irving08

      It is nonsense to say that Cellino does not care about Leeds fans. As for the sacking of Thompson, he probably reasons that coaches elsewhere have had to live with the constraints caused by incentivised contracts, so why can’t Redders (if such is the issue). Which is not to say (a) that he should not show more care for the feelings of his chief coach, (b) not be more mindful of the fragility of the overall situation at the club he owns, and (c) not waste the capital he still has among a significant number of fans and supporters, though plainly not your good self. As for his being a crook, as OS aptly commented, show me a woman who has not been tempted when completing a self-assessed tax return. And that is in our good island of probity and moral uprightness, not Italy. Finally, be careful what you wish for – Red Bull apparently have come a calling.

      • PMH

        Cellino’s concerns have clearly and obviously never extended beyond himself. Why does anyone think he has affection for Leeds or its football heritage? Why would he? Moving on … Red Bull is not my ideal white knight but would be several rungs worth of improvement over the current liar/crook/nutcase. 1. They have real money, and plenty of it. 2.They are a stable corporate entity and professionally managed, not a one man band featuring an untalented amateur. 3. They have plenty of sports management experience, and hopefully they have learned from past errors. 4. Like me, they will have little interest in Championship football. LUFC has enormous potential, we all know that. We desperately need well-funded and enlightened ownership to achieve our potential of top four in the Premiership. That’s where we belong.