Elland RoadAnother takeover saga draws to a close at Elland Road today after Massimo Cellino and GFH Capital exchanged the contracts which – pending Football League approval – hands control of the club to the Italian.

The Football League revealed earlier today that they’re still awaiting documentation from the club and Cellino before they can make a decision on whether the takeover is approved, but Cellino is expected to pass the Owners & Directors test (previously known as the Fit & Proper persons test) without issue.

While further confirmation of the takeover itself didn’t surprise anyone, the power structure it will create did manage to turn a few heads.

David Haigh, the club’s Managing Director, who for reasons unexplained was in Geneva on transfer deadline day while chaos broke out at the club, and whose own attempt at a takeover paralysed the club for two months, will replace Paul Hunt as CEO. Only at Leeds United could a Managing Director who was central to all the recent chaos – chaos which has cost Leeds United our season I’d argue – come out the other side of all this with a promotion.

But to put all the blame on Haigh would be entirely unfair, Salah Nooruddin (who will remain club chairman) has been conspicuous only by his total absence and must be held accountable too. 

Throughout this whole saga, Leeds United has felt like a rudderless ship. In times of crisis at a football club, it’s the chairman who should be stepping out in front of the press to assure fans he has things under control. Instead, Salah hid in the shadows attempting to avoid scrutiny, but this cowardly act served only to compound the anger, misery and panic of the club’s long-suffering fanbase and none of them will forget his absence any time soon.

While the people who claimed to be leading our club turned us into the laughing-stock of English football, the only calming presence has been Brian McDermott, a man inexplicably sacked due to the incompetence of those above him.

It beggars belief that McDermott’s future now hangs in the balance, all while David Haigh celebrates his promotion and Salah Nooruddin returns to the cosy office he’s been hiding in, safe in the knowledge he’s somehow retained the job he’s so incompetently performed these last few weeks.

If there was any justice, McDermott would be handed an extended contract while Haigh and Nooruddin are escorted from the premises, but common-sense rarely prevails at Elland Road.

As for Massimo Cellino, he’ll become Club President and hold all the real power. Despite my reservations, especially when it comes to his interference with first team matters, it’s almost a relief to have someone (anyone) else taking command of the farcical club we’ve become.

His hearing with the Football League is scheduled for Wednesday, at which point his takeover of the club will presumably complete since Massimo has already started making plans for Thursday when he says he’ll nip into the bank, withdraw a few million and go buy back Elland Road. Hard life being a multi-millionaire, isn’t it?

At this stage, it’s hard to believe anyone could do worse than those who’ve gone before him and while I’m still concerned about his interference with first team affairs, he certainly has the wealth and ambition to take this club forward.

If nothing else, it should be entertaining. On and on…