Thoroughly dissecting yesterday’s bizarre press conference with Massimo Cellino is a task for those better qualified, the poor souls whose job requires they suffer through repeated plays of Cellino’s 70 minute long exercise in extreme narcissism – listening through it live was challenging enough and not something I’d willingly repeat.

Once was enough to leave an impression though. The press conference was almost a week in planning apparently; planning I can only assume went out of the window the second they sat down, for this was an absolute train-wreck in terms of PR that served absolutely no benefit to the club, it’s supporters, or Cellino himself.

The first question, rather predictably, was on the future of Neil Redfearn but it was a question Massimo Cellino wasn’t ready to answer just yet, insisting it be kept ’til the end, which suggested there was some sort of structured plan to this gathering; a beginning and a middle, possibly a few key points he wished to address as the event progressed.

There wasn’t. And Redfearn wasn’t to be saved for the end either.

There was no script or discernible plan, no announcements or presentation, this was just Massimo putting himself in front of a room full of press because he wanted to vent.

Regrettably, what was supposed to be an organised press conference by a professional football club soon descended into something more closely resembling a group therapy session. It’s hard to say what motivated the whole charade, but an all-consuming paranoia soon took hold. Massimo is hurting. Hurting because of how the Football League interpret Italian law, hurting because nobody understands The Hock was the right watermelon at the “wrong time” (apparently), hurting because he wasted £9.5m on players who aren’t good enough, but most of all, hurting because of Neil Redfearn. And because the fans love Neil Redfearn more than they love him.

I’ve said for years there’s a Hollywood script in the trials and tribulations of Leeds United, only the script I had in mind was a dark, gritty crime drama about lying vultures conning the innocent (our fans). After yesterday’s performance however, I’m thinking I should pitch ‘Living The Dream’ as a romcom the next time I call Universal.

Cellino is the jilted lover of course and if yesterday’s presser was meant to achieve anything, it was a call for sympathy. It was Redfearn who stopped calling Cellino apparently, and in his absence that seems to have led to an unhealthy level of paranoia. But how could Redfearn reject Cellino after all that he’s done for him?

“Who put Neil Redfearn in that position? Me. Who wants Neil to succeed more than anyone else?” Is it you, Massimo? (asked nobody) “It’s me!”

Can’t you see Neil? Massimo made you! Why won’t you love him?

Massimo didn’t shirk the Neil Redfearn question because he wanted to avoid answering it or because he wanted to save it for the end, he just wanted chance to frame his answer. He wanted chance to try and convince all those watching on that it’s he – not Neil – who’s the victim in all of this. Cellino is just a man who’s been hurt by his one true love, a humble man who received no credit for giving Neil Redfearn to the world.

The framing of that answer is important because Redfearn isn’t the only problem for the Leeds United owner. Massimo’s already been burnt by his first divorce to Brian McDermott and didn’t mind admitting that the kids (the fans in this analogy) were a concern. Recalling the time 200 (it was definitely less than that) chased his taxi around Elland Road, Cellino bemoaned having to explain his decisions to the fans – who should presumably be seen and not heard.

They probably shouldn’t chase taxis around Elland Road in fairness and they definitely shouldn’t be abusing his daughter on social media (one of the few valid complaints he had during the press conference). And Cellino doesn’t really have to explain himself to anyone, but the fans – as paying customers and the only reason this club exists at all – have every right to react to any decision he makes.

Cellino wants to have it both ways. He wants to make every single decision, admit that they were bad decisions in a press conference/public therapy session, be forgiven, then have everyone cheer him on while he goes and repeats the same mistakes again, all while firing people for job performance which massively hinges upon Cellino’s whims and mistakes.

Admitting to spending £9.5m on “garbage” and wanting to remove funding from Thorp Arch isn’t something Leeds United fans are going to cheer any Leeds United owner for, no matter how many confusing metaphors such news is wrapped in.

It’s a shame too, because for most of this week it felt like the club was getting it’s act together. A contract extension for Lewis Cook was great news, as was the return of Adam Pearson, but then comes a very public reminder of just how unstable the man running this club- and by extension, the club itself- is.

On and on…

47 Responses

  1. rocknroll3103

    You forgot to mention Cellino criticising Neil for “touching his chest” because he knows that the fans love Neil more than they love him; spurned again

  2. Muz

    If it goes right it’s down to Cellino, if it goes wrong it’s a mystery to him as to what has happened or all the fault of scapegoat a,b,c,d,e or are we on to scapegoat f now?

  3. djedjedje

    “Cellino wants to have it both ways”. Spot on. I imagine Cellino will be scripting his own questions for the next ‘conference'; hey, we might even get some answers then!

    We’re going nowhere again.

    • TSS

      Maybe I’m clutching at straws, but despite all of this, I think we might be in with half a chance this season simply because there’s a few decent players at the club who look like they’ll be staying together (Cook, Mowatt, Byram, Silvestri, Taylor, Murphy, Antenucci, Sharp) and I often think that’s half the battle. It’s a bit like Larry first year back in Champ, he came very close to play-offs despite losing a couple and Bates spending nothing. We had that core group still who understood each other’s game and the experience of playing together almost paid off.

      The manager problem is obviously key. Doesn’t necessarily have to be Redders (it should be, but it’s not looking likely) but it can’t be another Hock or Darko. Then we have to hope Pearson can influence Cellino enough to reel him in, because even if the team can perform amid so much madness, Cellino constantly throwing spanners in the works could be the difference between an outside shot of scraping top six and relegation.

      That’s what makes it all so infuriating – it shouldn’t be this tough to get it right at Leeds. The chance is there.

      • djedjedje

        I admire your optimism!

        I think we’ve got enough quality to stay up, regardless of any incoming players and the odd jewel that’ll get sold for a princely profit, and at times we’ll probably look the business. But I have three worries (well, many more, but these are the bigger three).

        1. You need momentum to make the playoffs and beyond. Whoever Cellino brings in to replace Redfern isn’t going to be given the time to make that momentum or carry it to fruition. I think we are lucky to have the kids coming through – yes for their talent, yes for their loyalty, but also because they are so young and whoever is in charge next season is going to give them another entire season of first team football to develop their game and attract the better Premiership clubs. If (sorry, when) Redfern goes, I’d be surprised if many of them will want another season in the Championship for 2016-17; what are they going to learn from it by then?

        2. I’m worried by Cellino’s continued appraisal of Hockaday as a good coach, just ‘the wrong time’. His near open contempt for coaches, as evident again in yesterday’s press conference, suggests he’s learnt nothing. Besides, no coach worth his salt is going to come here when Cellino openly treats them so appallingly and will be denied a say in new players coming in – and, as Cellino bragged re: Warnock’s sale to Derby, no say (or consultation!) on players going out.

        3. I’m also worried by Cellino’s talk of the ‘garbage’. We and him aren’t seeing eye to eye here. We see most of the imports as garbage-quality players. He seems them as good as garbage because they haven’t been used (ie. to be left out like garbage). He sounded angry that having spent so much on them that Redfearn didn’t use them – this being Redfern’s fault of course, not his for picking them, not their’s for being of poor quality, disinterest and arguably rebelliousness.

        It points to Cellino wanting his new coach to be someone who will bring the garbage back in and recycle it in the squad. That’d lend itself to a coach with provenance of working with Italian players. You’d argue that might suggest a Zola, Di Canio (as if!), or the current Watford manager, but as Cellino only sees coaches as watermelons, who he needs to be easily disposable every half season or so, I’d reason that it’ll be a Festa-esque unknown with some experience of Seria B.

        That’s three reasons why I think the playoffs are likely to be beyond us until Cellino goes. But God I hope I’m wrong!!

      • mrbigwheels

        So accurate but alarmingly funny. God help us with this Italian. It is true… there is such a thin dividing line between genius and madness… or should that be insecurity?…

      • Irving08

        A bit strong, don’t you think on the imports ? I don’t consider Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Antenucci and Bianchi garbage (in your sense). I haven’t seen enough of Montenegro or Fabre to judge them, but I have heard good reports. Bellusci and Samba were our best central defensive pairing this season, while Berardi – oddly neglected for long periods by Redefearn – is an accomplished full back. Antenucci was our top goal scorer, Silvestri, the best keeper we’ve had in a decade, and Bianchi, when properly deployed, has characteristic Italian ball skills and football intelligence. On this issue, I am more inclined to support than oppose Celino. I have strong doubts about Redfearn, but for the same reason as you, coupled with a concern for decency – whether misguided or not – I want to see him stay. I am just not sure in what capacity. It may not have been pretty, and it’s certainly not the stiff upper lip or now corporate English way – nor Bates’ type brutalism – but I prefer to look charitably on Cellino’s performance, as his monological way of conducting a dialogue with the support. As a plea for understanding, it seems to have failed, however. It prompts the question – what can succeed at our club ?

      • henrymouni

        To me Irv it is very disappointing that Massimo has learnt nothing from his time away.
        We have a furniture salesman scouting for players, and someone other inexperienced lad looking at videos to find players.
        On top of that he wants to shut the academy as it is costing £1.2 million to run.
        He wants out of Thorpe Arch asap with no other training facility apart from ER.
        I agree with you that some of the players he brought in did OK and Berardi has shown his qualities, since controlling his temper.
        Antenucci started well bit then fell away. He did score 10 goals, which shows how we ended up so low in the League.

        Howson & Johnson have scored 26 goals between them for Norwich.
        Massimo said he spent £9.5 million on those players!!
        We could have had 4 or 5 top Championship players for that money.
        On top of that he still hasn’t made a decision on Redders, or indeed even spoken to him – He came back on the 1st May!!
        Adam Pearson looked as if he was having a bad dream!!

      • Irving08

        But Johnson, you may recall Henri, was not good enough for us. Most points taken, though (yet see response to djed whom we must welcome back).

      • djedjedje

        ‘Garbage’ on players like Samba, Berardi and Silvestri is wrong, true (though I’m less convinced than you by Bellusci and Bianchi – largely on consistency/temperament), but I do think the sentiment of most Leeds fans is that by and large these imports have not been a great contribution to our squad. They haven’t progressed us forward in the way that Cook, Byram, Taylor and Mowatt, even Morison, have. Maybe the imports will come good over the summer or with our new coach. Who knows? But as Henry says, are they really worth £9.5m?! Especially as that doesn’t even include Bamba!

        But my main point on imports was really that Cellino sees them as garbage because of their lack of involvement in the first team. I don’t think we have really been lessened by not playing Sloth, Del Fabrio, Benedicic, Montenegro, Adryan, Cani, Doukara etc. more than we have done in the last twenty games, especially as most of us trust Redfern’s judgment of a player’s ability and temperament.

      • Irving08

        Probably not, both to not playing the named players and to the 9.5 m. I agree we could have signed Championship players, but given the lack of continuity at Elland Road, I seriously doubt anyone at the club knows the ones to look out for. If Billy Sharp is the best we can come up with, that says it all, in my book. Regarding Redfearn’s judgement, I fall into the camp of the agnostics. I am puzzled how, on the evidence of last season, one could be otherwise. Still I do want Cellino to do the decent thing.

  4. mrbigwheels

    Well said… I was waiting for your article.
    The question I ask is… how is Pearson going to pull the Club together while Cellino is ‘on the loose?’… How soon can he be banned again and confined?.

    • TSS

      I scrapped about a dozen drafts yesterday trying to put into words the insanity of what we’d all just witnessed/heard. Gave it up as a bad job in the end and started fresh today. It was just so hard to put into words, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Still in shock from the lunacy of it all now.

      • mrbigwheels

        I’m sure when Cellino speaks he’s got an earpiece straight into google translate and the mumbling stuff is when he’s having trouble with a bad wifi… The ciggy brake is obviously to check his Italian to English guide book and rid him of the oxygen that so muddles him.
        On second thoughts the ‘beautiful cigarette’ was possibly just that and we all need to be on ‘it’ to cope… and be on his level.

        Cellino always strikes me a a guy to throw one hell of a party. You know…. the sort, as we all progress through life… we never forget.
        His talents are wasted in football.

  5. henrymouni

    If you get a parking ticket in Italy, and don’t pay it in 3 days, you are sent to prison!!! Worth knowing!!
    Adam Pearson’s face, spoke a thousand words!
    Why am I here?
    His daughter left Leeds Uni’ because the other students & fans were picking on her. I don’t suppose living in a flat with Massimo helped either! LOL
    Massimo, who has been working long hours since 1st May, still does not know why Tommo was suspended??????? Is he joking??
    He was going to build a new training ground nearer ER – don’t need one now as our famous Academy is being scrapped.
    That will stop big clubs grabbing our young talent!!! Masterstroke.
    He said his English has got worse, as he has been living in Miami!!
    English is very popular there Massimo!!

  6. Tyler75

    Waste of time trying to rationalise or apply logic to anything Massimo says or does he’s a certifiable loon. The one positive I got was Pearson’s answers to the questions about our finances. He seems to be bullish about our finances and the lifting of the FFP transfer ban would support this. If so then Cellino at least deserves credit for significantly improving the perilous financial position he inherited.

  7. rob66leeds

    Given the erratic behaviour of Cellino, how can he be surprised that no one would make any decisions in his absence, knowing you would be punished later if he didn’t agree. He has to accept that bringing in second division Italian league players will not work in our second division, as they are the basically the same standard as our conference. Pearson will be gone before the season starts, as he probably couldn’t believe it could be any worse than when Risdale was in charge, how wrong can a man be!! MOT

  8. Tare

    AP was a real deal but was it done in the Red Mist? You know my drill here. Easy come easy goes…
    This club is not professionally managed by all meters you find in market economy, not in text books or in practical business environment. Do I have a recipe for the problem well AP if he has the backing from Yorkshire business circles and I think he has what it takes we could get out of this mess sooner than later. But there is need for stern approach from the person who is taking the helms now.


  9. john mac

    As i sat on my bedroom floor in my leeds kit crying as we were knocked out of the cup by Coventry many many years ago i knew Lufc was mine for life. It still is 40 years later and still will be when I draw my last. Just how it has been treated so badly by so many is beyond comprehension – can we not just get someone who cares even a fraction as much as we do.

  10. Andy

    What Cellino doesn’t get is that Redfearn has the respect of the fans, the majority of the players, most knowledgeable independent football people and the media. In fact just about everyone except Cellino, who claims to ‘love Neil’! The reality is he didn’t give Neil his chance. Neil bailed him out after the coaches he did give a chance to, had us heading for relegation. He did this without our 2 leading scorers who Cellino sold and wasted the money on what he calls ‘garbage’. If Neil had signed the likes of Cani, not having faith in him might be justified. Abusing his family is wrong and unacceptable! Cellino, on the other hand, should man up and take responsibility for this mess that is almost entirely of his own making! Genuine Leeds fans won’t abuse your family but they will hold you accountable for your decisions and behaviour. Leave the academy alone. It has presently brought us £20m plus of playing talent, you have brought us, apart from a few exceptions, garbage!

  11. Banditsteve123

    This has to go down as the most pointless press conference ever if people were not laughing before they are now.Then say the academy is costing to much when there must be 20 mill on the pitch beggars belief.This hurts me to say but Ken bates was not this bad can’t believe I just said that but please MC GO NOW take your stupid rants your cigs and just GO

  12. mattbb1

    Spot on. Cellino is simply unsuitable, he makes bad footballing decisions and lrts his emotions take over too often. I hope Pearson is in for the long haul and ends up as chairman.

  13. Philip of Spain.

    I have been as loyal as possible to El Presidents but its obvious he’s away with the fairies.He owns the club, he is entitled to make decisions on all aspects of his business. I have always been a supporter of management being able to manage.The stumbling block being Redders.Either sack him or don’t!!! Stop being a Pratt Don Cellinone.Get the frigging job done and clear the decks and live with it.Its your call why prolong it,if he’s staying tell us,if not,let’s get on with it.Stop posturing and tell us,if your scared its months till the start of the season, bad news gets forgotten if vthe team are winning,the club is what counts,for gods sake man,get on with it.

    The loyal supported will suck it up as they have done for years,stop wimping and move.!!!!

    • Tommy Cooper

      So, Adam Pearson, do you still think you can get LUFC back on track after that bonkers load of egotism………

  14. Ev

    Apparently a furniture sales man that Cellino met in Miami is our new Head Scout

    • henrymouni

      It’s been a trying decade Mr B.
      If nothing improves we may as well keep walking.
      Or running, like Forrest Gump!
      “Leeds United is like a box of chocolates.
      You never know what you’re going to get”

    • Irving08

      Depends where you’re going, I suppose MBW. May I suggest the non-rugby bit of Headingley ?

  15. Stu Bower

    Everyone loves Redders. He’s been a great deputy again. Will be great when he’s back in the academy and still producing our stars of the future until he’s needed to step in again. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen and Massimo’s next choice of manager is the right one!

    • TSS

      There’s almost zero chance he’ll go back to the Academy IMO. He’ll either get the contract he deserves and retain his job as Head Coach or move on to another club, there’s bound to be offers out there for him.

  16. Banditsteve123

    Not sure there will a academy for redders to go back to

  17. Irving08

    From the fragments I saw on Yorkshire TV, I saw a man publicly grappling with some genuine dilemmas.

    • mrbigwheels

      Absolutely Irving but you need to watch the entirety to see the dilemmas the ‘support’ face… I wouldn’t want to watch ‘it’ again… imo.

      • rob66leeds

        Spot on, not sure about the cheering at the end though!!

      • henrymouni

        They were cheering because they had too!!
        Like Massimo’s champagne ‘welcome home’ from the staff at ER!!
        Redders “was not there”!!!

      • Irving08

        I bought my last season ticket 11 years ago, so I don’t feel that particular dilemma. I’ll cut him some slack, as they say, for the good decisions he made this week (which for me includes letting go of Austin).

    • henrymouni

      You lucky man Irv.
      You got the edited highlights.
      I sat through it all!!!
      He was grappling with reality!.
      Rambling on and on and on and on and on and on…….
      I could not see why he called a press conference, when he had nothing new to tell us??

      • Irving08

        Maybe he felt under pressure to say something, and then got carried away, as he tends to, and as one can, when airing one’s thoughts in a foreign language.

      • henrymouni

        Maybe, but he called the press conference Irv.
        I don’t really know why?


    Bloke can’t help himself, he’s a con man playing the fool he knows what he is going to do, he’s sounding it out to sea what kind of reaction he’s going to get when he does sack Neil. The man loves himself and can’t bear the fact that redders is more popular and important to us the supports than he is, it’s taken me awhile but I’ve twigged on to him now after the train wreck the was the interview, made be the quiet 1 that bloke that owns Chelsea the oligarch can have a word in his shell like and put him straight
    Which would be to say shut the fuck up you jumped up little wop. Anyway ad always chaos resumes in close season and we’ll all b saying let’s wait and see, got to positive though maybe the mad sod might piss off. MOT

  19. PMH

    Just when you think things can’t get any worse … they do. I don’t believe in involuntary commitment but if ever there was a case for a straitjacket, Cellino has provided it. He is like the worst caricature of an Italian dictator. Just to remind you that there are plenty of very sensible Italians, Too bad we got the crazy one.
    The sollution seems obvious to me. The fans need to put persistent pressure on Massimo to leave. He wants to be loved, and it is not going to happen. He won’t hang around to be opposed.

    A mail campaign would help. “We want you to sell up and leave.” But please no threats or nastiness.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.