Under new ownership: Welcome to the Cellino era TSS April 6, 2014 Leeds United 80 Comments The Football League’s rejection of Massimo Cellino’s takeover was overturned by an independent QC yesterday making the Italian the new owner of Leeds United Football Club. It’s been a long and frustrating wait for everyone involved, contracts with GFH Capital were exchanged back in January but Cellino’s legal troubles led to a lengthy vetting process before The Football League made a decision. During that time, The Whites’ league form has been disastrous as financial uncertainty and fears of administration slowly took hold. Leeds now appear to be in a far more stable position however, at least in a financial sense. In an interview with The Sun, Leeds’ new owner said he’ll arrive in England on Monday, pay the remaining 35% of the players wages and expects to repurchase Elland Road and the club’s Thorp Arch training facilities within a week. Looking further ahead, the Italian says he’ll bring Premier League football back to Elland Road by 2016 and that fans can look forward to a flurry of new signings this summer. As is usually the case with new regimes, there’s bound to be a shake-up at Elland Road. A statement published on the club’s official site contained some flattering comments from David Haigh who it states will become the club’s CEO. Cellino has other ideas however, telling The Sun “I have had too much of him” and that he’ll be fired. Brian McDermott’s future is in doubt too. Despite a hugely improved performance at The DW Stadium yesterday, his side still lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic, a fourth consecutive defeat for The Whites extending a dismal run of form which has seen Leeds win only 3 times in their last 19 outings, slipping from a play-off position at Christmas to 16th following yesterday’s defeat. Cellino sacked McDermott back in January after Salah Nooruddin led him to believe his takeover had already completed. He was quickly reinstated however as it became clear Cellino needed approval from The Football League before he had authority to act. Another point raised in The Sun interview was a deal struck with Together Leeds, the consortium of local businessmen headed by Mike Farnan who were rivals to Cellino’s takeover. The two parties came together recently in an attempt to put their differences aside and Cellino says he still plans to sit down with Together Leeds and discuss options following his approval. Back page of Mail On Sunday today Promises to bring a new era of success to Elland Road is something we’ve heard too many times before. The repurchase of Elland Road and Thorp Arch is a good start for Cellino, but we’ll have to wait and see how his ownership plays out long-term, judging him based on actions instead of hopes and expectations. There’s no denying we’re owned by a passionate man with decades of experience in football, but we shouldn’t ignore his flaws. Cellino’s personality is at best, unpredictable, at worst, dangerously unstable. His legal troubles don’t concern me too much (find me a squeaky-clean millionaire businessman and I’ll eat his hat) but the press will use them as a stick to constantly beat the club with. The potential is there for Leeds United to be the sideshow attraction to Cellino’s antics and while he may bring a greater degree of financial stability than we’ve grown accustomed to, that could come at the cost of stability elsewhere. Ultimately, there’s no telling how this will all play out. Many of us got a little carried away when GFH rode into town, relieved that the Ken Bates years were over, allowing ourselves to be blinded by their charm and PR offensive. After so many years of doom and gloom, we all want to believe that this time is different, that Massimo Cellino will be the man who finally restores Leeds United to the lofty heights of yesteryear. And maybe he will, but if there’s one thing we should take from the last decade, it’s a lesson in caution. This club has had a lot of false starts.