On the last day of the January transfer window all eyes are normally focusing on the English footballs main players and who they are going to sign. This year the focus of every footballing fan was on Leeds United as a bizarre evening unfolded, and even at the time of writing is still unclear as to what is going on.
Leeds United’s captain Ross McCormack had been the subject of interest from a few Premier League clubs during the window after catching the eye with 21 goals in 28 league games this year. McCormack had only been made captain of Leeds during the middle of January so offers were unlikely to succeed unless they came in well over his market rate (£5 million was banded around for the Scotsman) but never the less in the early evening he put a statement out stating: “I am really happy at Leeds and look forward to staying at the club, I’m club captain and I look forward to continue playing at the club under Brian McDermott for the rest of the season.” Which seemed all well and good until around 8pm Leeds out a statement of their own, not to announce McCormack’s departure but the departure of manager Brian McDermott who was a popular figure amongst the players and fans alike. Within half an hour McCormack was on the phone to the Sky Sports News team voicing his displeasure at the dismissal.
McCormack was still a Leeds player come the end of the window and everyone thought that was that for the drama, until Saturday afternoon when Leeds announced (after their game against local rivals Huddersfield) that McDermott was still Leeds manager. It appears that a group who are in the process of a 75% takeover of Leeds United had dismissed McDermott despite the fact they don’t own the club yet. McDermott returned to his post on Monday morning and faced the media stating that he still wanted to be the clubs manager.
So with McDermott reinstalled and a buyer lined up all looks rosy for the Leeds? Well not quite the new prospective owner a mr Massimo Cellino still has to pass a Football League fit & proper persons test which may be an issue as he has 2 previous fraud convictions and is under investigation for embezzlement of a stadium his other club Cagliari were using in their nomadic search for a new home. Mr Cellino seems to have a bit of a maverick streak on him, he refuses to play on the 17th as he believes it’s bad luck, and once asked fans to turn up to a game that was supposed to be behind closed doors to get it abandoned. Will Cellinos antics go down well with the Leeds fans who are notoriously vociferous of anyone who doesn’t do the best for the club they hold so dear, In fact you could say Leeds are probably one of the best supported clubs in the country and certainly the most followed outside of the Premier League. So no I doubt they will stand for any messing about by anyone let alone someone who already has their back up before taking the reigns.
There may be some light on the horizon though as a consortium of past failed bidders for the club have come in and promised to match what Cellino has offered and would probably hold the clubs interest closer to their heart than Cellino who seems to be in it purely for the money.
As a Manchester United fan I sincerely hope Leeds get sorted out in the near future and they return to the top table of English Football sooner rather than later, if for nothing more than their fans.
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