Should Cellino Take a Leaf out of Cardiff Owner Tan’s Book? – by Rob Atkinson

Tan - fit & proper?

Tan – fit & proper?

With the Leeds United takeover still dragging on and on, it’s possible to imagine that Massimo Cellino is taking a glance around the rest of English football – and wondering what he’s done so wrong that the game’s highly-respectable and august authorities appear to be wrinkling their noses at him.

Should he, for example, be following the example of Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan?  Here is a man who has breezed into the club he’s bought and started treating it exactly like the plaything he obviously feels he’s acquired. Riding roughshod over supporters’ vehement objections, he’s now got the Bluebirds playing in red, he’s sacked the manager who did such a sterling job in getting them elevated to the Premier League for the first time since Noah was a lad – and he’s been heard disconsolately enquiring why the goalkeeper doesn’t score a few goals here and there.   The latest Tan bright idea was to offer his players a £3.7m bonus to avoid relegation, an incentive swiftly withdrawn after it was pointed out to Vapid Vincent that this was illegal.  Just to show they couldn’t be bought, his players went and lost at Spurs anyway.   Cardiff were certainly struggling under Malky Mackay – as is only to be expected in that perilous first season up.  But now, one ill-conceived managerial change later, they look doomed to relegation.  Fit and proper?  I wouldn’t want him at Leeds, thanks very much.

Allam - fit & proper?

Allam – fit & proper?

Or there’s the chap at Hull City, Assem Allam.  He doesn’t have much regard for history or tradition either.  He’s not going to change the strip though, as Mr Tan so controversially did at Cardiff. No, Assem likes the strip, and he likes the Tigers nickname that goes with it. So much so, that he wishes to rename the club Hull Tigers, exposing their horrified fans to ridicule from the rest of the football fraternity.  (Tigers, Tigers, rah, rah, rah!!)  To those who protested, adopting “City till we die” as their rallying cry, kindly old Uncle Assem has commented: “they can die as soon as they want”.  Fit and proper?  Hmmmm.

Sullivan/Gold - fit & proper?

Sullivan/Gold – fit & proper?

And further south still, we have those upright, downright pillars of the community who run West Ham – porn barons Sullivan & Gold.  Their avowed mission, to provide prurient entertainment, salacious scandal and gorgeous, pouting tits by the barrow load to every UK breakfast table, has not caused even the slightest of ripples at the FA or Football League.

Cellino - de facto LUFC owner

Cellino – de facto LUFC owner

Meanwhile, Massimo Cellino, having exchanged contracts with the useless GFH, is the de facto owner of Leeds United.  He has kept us going through what appears to be a cash crisis which would have brought the club to the brink of administration and disaster, were it not for his financial support.  Instead of going to the wall, United have been able to carry on, with Cellino paying off Enterprise Insurance – which has led to the sulky withdrawal of their petulant winding-up petition – paying the staff wages on time, funding the acquisition of two high-quality loan additions in the past fortnight and generally acting like a responsible – dare I say it? – fit and proper person to take Leeds United forward into a much more assured future – as compared to the last decade or so under a succession of potless chancers who the League appeared quite happy to see screwing things up.

Shaun Harvey - digging

Shaun Harvey – digging

Really – it’s almost as though the Football League, under that model of propriety Shaun Harvey, have a neat set of double standards and principles so flexible they might very well be called totally bent.  All those dodgy geezers in charge of other clubs, and not an eyebrow raised anywhere until this latest Tan gaffe.  And there’s poor old Massimo, doing his best, funding our skint club – and they seem to be digging deep for any excuse to tell him to get lost.  Perhaps the King of Corn should be trying to emulate the Kings of Porn in order to gain this elusive acceptance.  Perhaps he should change the Leeds United strip to pink with green spots, or start offering illegal bonuses  à la Tan at Cardiff.   Or maybe he could sweetly advise the denizens of the Gelderd End to accept a change of name to Leeds Peacocks, or end up sleeping with the fishes?  Any of these seem to attract more official approval than the Italian’s current, inoffensive and supportive stance.

It does make you wonder – doesn’t it?

34 responses to “Should Cellino Take a Leaf out of Cardiff Owner Tan’s Book? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Nail, Head, Hit.


  2. Mike Johnson

    To which you should add this morning’s breaking news about Birmingham, detailed in the Daily Mail…Football League accused of ‘washing their hands’ of Birmingham after owner Yeung found guilty of money laundering

    Read more:


  3. If Cellino is stopped now were in big trouble on and off the field , let’s all pray mot


  4. grizzlyslapper

    You seem to have forgotten the convictions for fraud and the pending embezzlement charges. Allam, Tan and the Venkys might be top drawer twats when it comes to running football clubs but surely you can see the FL are trying to avoid falling into Yeung territory again. Why should it bother the FL if GFH have been irresponsible enough to take Cellino’s money before approval and risk the whole club? That’s GFH’s problem but it has bugger all impact on their judgement of Cellino.


    • But the fraud convictions were either quashed or are spent, and pending charges cannot be considered under that old “innocent until proven guilty” principle. So what else is taking so long??


      • Maybe they think it’s sensible to wait and see if he is found guilty?


      • I don’t think they’re entitled, under their own rules, to do that. They have to consider the situation as it is.


      • I think so too, but they can stall for time.


      • I honestly don’t think they can – their own rules give them a set number of working days to decide after all requested information is in. To act any other way now would be to admit they’re treating Leeds differently, especially given all the shady types they’ve approved already.


  5. Leeds since 1963

    You also seem to have forgotten that, unlike Man City’s owners for example, Mr Cellino has put no money into the club via equity- not that he can until he owns the club- but has merely loaned the club money at 10%!! interest repayable in 6 months. If he on a hwim, and he has a record for them, withdraws that we are completely stuffed.
    Yet you and others think he is some kind of Messiah, will be carefully watching your comments when he has playing 500 miles form Elland Road in front of miniscule crowds as per his Cagliari record


    • “… [Cellino] has merely loaned the club money at 10%!! interest repayable in 6 months…”

      These are specifics I have not seen anywhere to date. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve missed some interesting info. Would you mind (or anyone for that matter) mind citing these details for me. Actually. If it’s the Daily Heil don’t bother with the link. I can’t bring myself to give them hits.


      • I think Phil Hay said that interest is payable at 10%. I’ve definitely read it somewhere reputable.

        Something that Leeds since 1963 and Jed Shed have forgotten (or chosen not to mention) is that Flowers leant us money at 7% and gave us quite a lot for free by way of sponsorship. Also, as a company director, he follows rules. Haigh has leant us a lot too — at least 1 million, I think 3. But they are mere Yorkshire-based business people, just like those other rubbish Reynolds, Silver and Cussins, so they can eff off, right?

        But then, I’ve only been Leeds since 1969, so I’m a fool, right? What really makes me think is how strange and sad it is that it’s mostly people who’ve been fans for a long time who don’t like Cellino.

        There are some things that I know that some of you don’t. For one, having managed and owned businesses I’d rather have city backing like those liars, Farnan, Pearson, Radabe and the other one, than the backing of someone like Cellino. I’m sure Flowers isn’t the only one at Enterprise Insurance who thinks that way too.

        I’m with Leeds since 1963.


  6. No mention of owen oysten the blackpool owner?


  7. we are leeds united the fl will be loving keeping us waiting a bunch of old farts that supporters could not give a shit about


  8. I really believe they would love to see leeds united gone


  9. Whiterhino

    Obviously Shaun Harvey will be ” working tirelessly…..doing all he can…..performing minor miracles….”, and other such guff, in the pursuit of helping make Leeds Utd a better club.
    That’s the cruel irony here for me – I may be crediting Harvey with more power than he actually has at his disposal, but anyone I’d like less presiding over our fate, fortunes and future than that dilly dallying buffoon I can’t think of…..well there maybe is one?
    As I say, I’d like to think he doesn’t have the clout to systematically bring a big club to its ruination, but to be awkward, over thorough and pedantic in an attempt to end any glimmer of hope for this season, then through incompetence or bitterness; he’s your man!
    It’s been well document by layman and experts alike the “criminal” past of our potential owner wouldn’t be any major stumbling block, and that seems to hold true as it’s financial viability that seems to be causing the hold up? While I’m not privy to Mr Cellino’s or GFH’s or Mr Bates’ bank statements, we all known who has the clout here?
    This second drawn out, frustrating take-over may be bringing out the cynic in me, but this is just another example of the FA making an “Example” out of Leeds Utd!


    • Here’s a guess: as the FL have said that they want more documents from GFH (which may not be the only issue, it’s just that they’ve said that much), could there possibly be something ‘interesting’ about their preference for Cellino, or even something to the rumours about their involvement in the deal or deals around the selling of Cagliari?

      Pure speculation, but I think it’s worth pointing out that, just because the FL are an appalling pack of shysters, that doesn’t mean their isn’t good reason for the delay.


  10. None of this will bother cellino , he’s been have spats with the calgari council and Italian FA for years , and I imagine they can be slippier than slippy muldoon


  11. I think Cellino on has a 9.5% shareholding in Eleanora Sport. Doesn’t the F&P test only apply to those owning more than 10%?


  12. Andy Bentley

    Double standards… hypocrisy. .. inability to make an informed decision? Surely you can’t be referring to that illustrious, band of thoroughbreds that purport to keep our game pure and honest?
    Ah… wait, I forgot about the Harvey effect! Just when you think he has stopped his chaotic involvement with our club, he finds a way!


  13. People need to remember that Italy is quite a corrupt country and. Some of the charges would never she stuck in the uk. Cellino may well be a Mavrick and it does get him noticed, but I dony believe that he is dishonest or bad. Now let’s stop slagging off our new owner and concentrate on Westham! Rob is right, they are dragging their feet at the FL and there are double standards. You would have to be stupid not to recognise that, surely! Cellino is fit and proper when judged by their standards. In fact he is bloody good by their standards and the FL are twats!


  14. It makes no commercial sense that the FL would block or delay the takeover which may (would) result in administration again, eventually.

    Having said that, the FL and FA are not noted for commercial sense.

    The conspiracist in me says that Shaun Harvey’s dirty hands are all over this; and why the mini-me to my Ken ‘Unfit and Improper’ Bates has got the top gig at the FL is beyond me. Particularly given the Melvyn Levi judgement, and some clearly reckless behaviour on Harvey’s behalf. Can he exercise that much influence? Has he got it in for GFH? Is he having his strings pulled by Bates who clearly is pissed right off with GFH (and famously holds a grudge to the death)?

    In such a direction, madness lies. So let’s assume that it is simply incomplete paperwork; that Don Massimo will be at the helm in a week or so; and that we are on our way to the PL, bolstered by a bunch of Italian imports, with a rocky ride ahead. It will be Vincent Tan on speed.

    At least it will be interesting compared to the misery and drudgery of the past 10 years.

    Bring it on. Forza Leeds!


    • “At least it will be interesting compared to the misery and drudgery of the past 10 years”

      Thank you. This IMO is the major fan appeal, in a nutshell. We’ve had our fill of bleakness, boredom and austerity. Let’s live the high life (not the chuffing dream thanks Peter) and see where it takes us! MOT


  15. I Thought the hold up was Elenor sport ?.The fact that Cellino want’s that trading name, with his children involved and they havn’t been trading very long so the FA are wondering if they have the means to run a Football club ,If it was Cellino putting his name and personal finances in, it would just be a case of fit and proper person test.


  16. Anyone noticed how many tv programmes have “Great British” in their titles? It started with the tory controlled bbc but it seems to be spreading everywhere. We’re meant to believe all the propaganda and forget about the food banks,record social housing evictions,inflation and child abuse by the establishment . I wish the FL would get a wriggle on to at least cheer us up.


  17. Right, we all know Bates, Harvey, Williams and Todd asset-stripped the club to the bones and then mortgaged the bones. We also know that GFH were left with naff all to operate with, but have succeeded in worsening the Club’s financial state (but not their own) even further, while at the same time billing the club massively for their expertise.
    They haven’t great acts to follow, and it will be interesting to see how two spotty youths and a twerking horse will cope with running Leeds United.


    • ? No, GFH have worsened their own financial state by pumping money until they ran out. Now they have to sell. I think they thought that Haigh’s management buyout would go through, then something, er, came up. I don’t know what level of dodginess is involved, but IF the Cellino deal is as stated GFH make a small profit, plus a bit more when they sell their remaining 10% to him at a much higher price per share (their idea being that LUFC, Elland Road and Thorp Arch will be lumped together, in the Premiership, and with a much more valuable playing squad.)


  18. Can I just say FARCA LEEDS!?


  19. Wally Cobbles

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will help if true.

    Let’s all hope that it’s not, otherwise we have big problems.


  20. Andy Bentley

    When I first heard of Cellino’s interest in Leeds, I have to admit, I was initially opposed to the idea. I was more in favour of a Yorkshire consortium. But having thought it through, Pearson and others have had ample opportunity to have stepped forward and despite their relative wealth, they are no where near the resources of Cellino and the sums needed to generate a realistic promotion push in the next two years. Leicester posted a loss greater than the value of our club!
    I am grateful to GFH for not selling our rising stars. They could easily have followed Bates model but chose not to.
    Of course Cellino will want something back for his money but I suspect it is in the form of esteem and ego and he will get that by the bucket full from a hoard of adoring fans, if the signs of the last two weeks result in continued growth and the return to the promised land.
    We are all desperate to climb out of the misery of the last decade!


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