Just like in an episode of 24 hours in A&E it has been absolutely mental crazy at Elland Road. I know Monty Python have reformed this year, maybe just maybe they wrote the script for what has happened at Leeds United in these 24 hours. I have felt every single emotion known and a few extra ones as well. This has been an absolutely crazy day!
So last night it was reported that Brian McDermott had been sacked by new owner Cellino. He announced that he wanted a coach and not a manager and because of this it was why the decision was made. I was in shock and twitter went into melt down. The Sky Sports transfer deadline day show piece suddenly turned into a who could sell Ross McCormack show, similar to Bid Up TV. Simon Jordan who is quite simply a tool tried his best to belittle McCormack whilst trying to encourage teams to bid for Ross. If rumours are to be believed a £6m bid from Cardiff was rejected once the reports of McDermotts sacking had been made public.
Heading into the last minutes of transfer deadline night we were all frantically refreshing twitter and willing the clock to count down faster until our Captain put all our minds and fears to rest. The tweet above confirmed he was staying and that we all needed to Unite ahead of tomorrow’s local derby with Huddersfield. A few comedy photos at ER saw some fans blockading Cellino in the ground and the local police had to be called in to assist! Why oh why were there not any cameras from Sky available at this hilarious moment.
I woke up hoping it had all been a nasty dream, it became apparent very quickly that it wasn’t. The hours today leading up to the game were not very informative. There had still not been an official announcement on the clubs web site regarding McDermott or anything that had happened last night. The only story was the signing of a new midfielder from Cagliari who was listed immediately on the clubs web page. There was still somebody working that site, despite many thinking it had been left to rot.
What then happened at Elland Road was simply the story of fairytales, it was out of this world. Gibbs & Redfearn were put in charge of team affairs and the side out out was one not too dissimilar to our departing boss. The only worry was putting McCormack up front on his own. Huddersfield deservedly took a 1-0 lead after half an hour as Leeds looked ragged and were clearly feeling sorry for themselves. Then stepped up our Captain who took matters into his own hands. Right on half time he scored to level the match. Unknown to many McDermott spoke to the team at half time and his talk galvanized the side.
Kebe scored his first for the club to put Leeds 2-1 up before a Ross McCormack double secured his second Hat-Trick of the season and gave us a 4-1 lead. Young Mowatt scored his first senior goal as Leeds ran out 5-1 winners. The result was bizarre but the most bizarre news was still to follow.
Brian McDermott was still Leeds United’s Manager. It was officially announced on the clubs web page that he was still in control of the First Team and would be involved in ensuring Leeds United moved forwards. As Phil Hay tweeted, you couldn’t make this up! Leeds United just don’t make things simple, it’s no wonder us fans are slightly crazy!
So in a nutshell as we head into Saturday night, we won 5-1, McDermott is still our boss, we have a rich Italian owner and Ross is very much our Captain after netting his 20th, 21st & 22nd League goals of the season!
It was only at the beginning of the month that David Haigh revealed to the world that he was confident in finalizing the terms of his takeover. This would have given Brian McDermott the funds and most importantly the time to make the right decisions and subsequent additions to his squad. A couple of wingers arrived quite quickly albeit on loans and the excitement quickly took over all other emotions to those close to Elland Road.
But in something not to dissimilar to a Timothy Burton Classic, the white roses of optimism soon shriveled into thorn riddled clumps of uncertainty. The knots were so entwined and thick that not even those closest to the takeover table could understand what was actually going on.
So back to today the 31st of January, a date that is best known to Leeds Fans as “Jump ship and move to East Anglia day”. The optimism has now been officially drained whilst we wait and see if either the Italian or Manc win their takeover battle of Leeds United.
One thing is for sure, there will not be any arrivals coming into the club today. There could possibly be a loan or two but with nobody in control of the purse strings, a bonafide offer of a transfer fee and contract with all this uncertainty will not be happening.
Based on this there is only one name that I can see joining us today. It’s that of former striker and modern day crowd favourite Luciano Becchio. He was one of many that saw the glow of the Norwich Yellow shirt as an appealing option of playing Premiership Football. Unfortunately for Luciano his time at Carrow Road has been a complete waste of time. He has only managed half a dozen league appearances in a year and not found the net. He has made it clear that he wishes to move back to Leeds and as Norwich now have sufficient backup in the striker department I can see this move happening over any other possible deals.
Roll back 6 months and you’d be lucky to find anybody willing enough to take a squad player of ours, well times are a changing. We suddenly have some quite appealing options that could help reduce the financial burden at Elland Road. Here are my tips of four players that come tonight will all be at different clubs.
Luke certainly did his reputation at Elland Road no harm at all by refusing to play against Ipswich on Tuesday night citing the reason because he didn’t want to risk injury. Blackburn are known to be after Varney who frustratingly on his day is one of the most complete strikers you could wish for. Performances against Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham last season backed this up. He has struggled to hold down a regular position and needs to go. If we could get around £250k for him then this would be good business.
I really like Paul Green, I am just so frustrated that he hasn’t made it into the Leeds side. He still plays at International Level for Ireland and has always shown glimpses of his potential when given the chance. The problem is the emergence of Mowatt and the signing of Murphy that have kept him out of the side. Ipswich are reported to be making a loan offer until the end of the season. I would be sad to see Green go, but this move makes sense to all involved.
I think Diouf has been a good bit of business for Leeds in his time at the club. Where he has failed at scoring the goals to lead us to promotion, he has dazzled in some big games which proves he is in the wrong league. He may not be quick but he is smart. Not once has he brought the club into disrepute nor been involved in off the field incidents. The one red card at Brighton was silly but he has remained a true professional around his personal issues at Leeds. I think West Ham will make an offer and anything around £150k would help the club.
Danny has been a success story of the highest accolade. I think they will even make a film based on his story. From stuck in the reserves for so long to thrown into the first team and holding his place on merit, Danny Pugh has shown us what can be achieved. I think this is now the opportunity for him to get his move so he can enjoy playing regular first team football he deserves.
Whilst there are strong rumors of McCormack and Byram attracting bids today I just can’t see them being sold. With Haigh still as our MD and Brian our manager, they will not let this happen. One things for sure, it’s never easy being a Leeds fan, on transfer deadline day it’s just a little bit harder!
This last fortnight has been an absolute farce at Leeds United. Last nights 1-1 draw against Ipswich aided in as much as Masking Tape does when painting skirting boards. It barely does the job just in case anybody was wondering where I was going with that analogy. We were second best in long parts of the game and were very fortunate not to be on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line.
Where this soap opera that is LUFC differs to every other clubs it is that the blame lays far away from the match day team and management. If it wasn’t for Brian McDermott’s determination, honesty, belief and integrity this would be far worse. He is single handedly keeping the team together and making do with over half the pieces that were left behind for him to play with. I can’t help but describe it like a Monopoly Set with just the crap properties left and very few hotels. If you take away the dog and top hat as well as the £100 notes, then it’s a pretty disjointed and sad affair. If Hasbro did custom board games then here is my pitch, I’ll name it Fiasco-opoly LUFC addition. If I raise enough money from it, maybe there will still be time for me to throw my hat into the circus ring better known as GFH’s takeover circus!
So where is the change required? Well it’s obvious to me that it’s in the boardroom, this place hasn’t been right since the days of Howard Wilkinson & Leslie Silver. The heartbeat away from the fans comes from here. Towards the end of last season and the arrival of the Haigh Express away from Bates Towers we all thought a light at the end of the proverbially long tunnel was visible. It now appears that the light is content with moving along at the same speed of the train, sadly for us Leeds United fans the Haigh Express has just run out of coal.
Haigh has tried his hardest with Flowers and the other one who I’ll probably end up spelling incorrectly oh and with Patel too. The issue is that they have all contributed financially to the point that they all need financial reassurances to ensure the deal with current owners GFH works for them all. This is where the problem lies, it’s too messy and this revised offer from Sports Capital to take account of this looks unappealing to GFH.
So how does GFH respond to this reduction in offer from Sports Capitol? Well it’s obvious, they have played the market. They want to see how much they can get for Leeds United. You can’t blame them, they are an investment bank. This is where supporters and investors will never hold hands and skip the golden roads together, they just don’t go together.
It was a lovely thought that Haigh would complete this and we would have a boardroom full of supporters but whom had a business head on them so vast that they could turn everything around off the field to support McDermott with what he needed to do on it. This just isn’t going to happen in this fairytale.
I am resigned to a January transfer window shutting with no additions, but I’m pretty certain we will lose one key player. As I write this piece I understand Varney is off to Blackburn and didn’t want to play for Leeds incase he injured himself! Well that’s an encouraging sign right there. Frankly Varney you can get lost and move on, it’s where the word professionalism goes out of the window.
On another polar opposite, professionalism couldn’t be more evident than with Diouf. Nice to see he played for an hour last night and hasn’t been whining about what’s going on. If we can get him back to full fitness then maybe we will have a quality addition back. It’s never easy being a Leeds Fan, the Cellino takeover awaits!!
Since yesterday’s confusion regarding the takeover at Leeds United, I was hoping for a conclusion today. What we got was completely the opposite as we are left still wondering what exactly is going on. What we have learnt today is that Cellino is nothing more than a negotiator with Sport Capital as they look to conclude talks with GFH. Cellino said that he was flattered to be asked and that he regards Leeds as a close friend. He remains in the UK for the next 48 hours at the very least.
From nowhere West Ham United made a reported £3.5m bid for our newly appointed captain Ross McCormack. Ross has scored 18 goals and is the Championships top scorer this season so far. For those of you unaware of the situation, Ross signed a new contract in the Summer of 2013 following Middlesboroughs failed attempts to sign him towards the end of last season.
The bid was promptly rejected despite West Hams confidence that they can prize our talented forward away from the club. Obviously the prize of Premiership Football is tempting, but Ross made it perfectly clear that he loves it at Leeds and was opposed to moving last year. His new contract showed the belief that Leeds had in their man and Ross quickly signed it whilst making his satisfaction well known. He has shown his incredible talent and value since he has been settled at Elland Road.
I personally can’t see Ross leaving Leeds in January. I think West Ham will come back with an offer of around £4/£4.5m and wouldn’t be totally surprised if a player such as Carlton Cole was offered in the deal. Leeds MD David Haigh rejected the offer and reiterated the club and players determination to keep Ross at Leeds. Money is a strange animal and the longer this unrest regarding the takeover floats around Elland Road, I can see someone from GFH potentially making a decision to cash in. Lest we forget they are an investment bank, this would show a nice return.
Let’s hope these next 7 days pass and Ross publicly repeats his love for Leeds and the great honor it is to captain such an amazing team. West Ham is not a career progression, they look disjointed and I can see them getting relegated this season. We need to keep Ross so let’s not disappoint, a bad decision now could rip everything achieved so far apart like a cracker at Christmas.
Finally I got my ticket for Yeovil Away on the 8th Feb, I’m looking forward to standing on a terrace for the first time in my adult life. Then again at all games we rarely sit down!
A couple of weeks ago David Haigh promised a swift conclusion to the takeover situation at Leeds. Two weeks on and the situation we find ourselves in is far from clear. Now I don’t personally blame David for this current position. I believe that he is as frustrated as the majority of Leeds United supporters are.
As the exclusivity period between Sport Capital (David Haighs consortium) and GFH has ticked by it appears that another contender has joined the party. If you believe the strong rumors in the Italian Press circulating around the internet, Massimo Cellino has beaten them to the deal. The Miami based owner of Serie A club Cagliari has apparently been in London these last 48 hours to sign the paperwork required to complete the deal.
So who is Cellino and would he be good for Leeds? Well according to football fans from Italy he is a hard nosed businessman who acts quickly when making decisions. He has gone through 36 managers in 20 years and demands success quickly. Another quite disturbing report suggests that he has already decided to replace Brian McDermott with former Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. He has turned down the offer (if it has even been made?) however I feel this disruption is quite concerning.
I want the current good feeling at Leeds to continue. Haigh, Patel, Nooruddin and Enterprise Insurances Flowers are the guys I want running our club. Why? Well they have being bank rolling our club these last few months and have made the positive feelings happen. A previous post of mine in August highlighted this turnaround at Leeds. This uncertainty of the unknown has quite simply scared me. I also wonder if this could easily wipe out all the positive steps the club has taken since Bates left.
Now again it could be the complete polar opposite, Cellino could totally transform the club. Leeds United could be a feeder team for Cagliari should he keep them. The surge of foreign players who are more than capable at Championship Level with his own choice of boss could speed up the progress already made. Sentimental notes should be discarded as someone with the money puts himself out there to do it.
I think it’s quite easy to get carried away but something is going to happen soon. Talk of Cesar joining us from QPR suggest that an Italian owner is on the horizon. The bookies rarely get these things so wrong, to suspend betting on a player with no prior links so quickly suggest a deals that close.
So what happens now? Well I’m pinning my hopes on Sport Capital getting this completed and over the line. I just have a strange feeling a decision will be announced before the weekend. It’s never easy being a Leeds fan, that is for sure!!