Football League Ready to Stretch a Point to Accept Cellino? – by Rob Atkinson


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Massimo Cellino – waiting game

They’re strange folks at the Football League.  When the news broke this morning of Massimo Cellino’s less-than-ideal result in the Italian Courts, I rather expected that we’d have a ringing non-endorsement of the King of Corn in good time for an early lunch.  This pessimistic view was based on close to fifty years’ experience of the game’s authorities being ready, willing and indeed eager to do Leeds United a power of no-good at every possible opportunity – the so-called “Hardaker Approach”.  But in the hours since the court decision was reached, all we’ve had from the League is a brief, bland statement which noted the Cellino verdict and added only: “We are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with his legal representatives in this country and cannot comment further at this time.”

Heads will be scratched and brains will be cudgelled as to precisely what that dialogue is aiming to establish.  There are various theories flying around, surrounding issues such as whether the matter is a civil or a criminal one, whether the status of Cellino remains innocent until proven guilty when there are still legal stages to be gone through – and, significantly, whether the League’s test should even apply to Cellino because of their own 30% stake provision – Cellino apparently only has 9.5% of Eleonora Sports, the company that is in the process of acquiring 75% of Leeds United.

It is the fact that this “ongoing dialogue” is going on at all, though, that is really of most interest. There is just the faintest whiff of a suspicion that the League would like to have its biggest club, its most compelling attraction, established on a  secure footing if at all possible.  It may just be to this end that talks and negotiations are now going on.  In various corners of the Leeds United universe, there are stubborn voices of faith, claiming that the takeover will go through, that all parties have long been prepared for today’s eventuality and that a way will be found to confirm the takeover, with whatever technical or cosmetic tweaks that might be necessary.

Such a theory also allows for the fact that yet another administration may not simply be a disaster for Leeds United, but also for the game’s governing body below Premier League level – and maybe even for the Premier League itself, for whom the eventual participation of Leeds is more and more being spoken of as A Good Thing.  This line of thinking says that Leeds’ presence would be welcomed in a league which has long marketed itself on glamour and excitement, but which has had rather too many Wigans, Cardiffs and Norwich Cities lately – and not enough Leeds Uniteds, Sheffield Wednesdays and even Nottingham Forests.  Leeds are easily the biggest pull below the Premier League, and there would be distinct financial benefits for any League containing a Leeds team doing well and pushing up the table.

It’s all speculation of course – but, given the theory that the Football League were simply waiting for today’s Cellino court verdict in order to give a simple yea or nay, the fact that there is still apparently so much to talk about may well prove significant in the final reckoning.

Not that I am holding my breath, of course.  There is the Carson Yeung precedent and there is the fact that Cellino promises to be a breath of fresh air at Leeds.  But for it to end up happily, with Leeds building for promotion under a minted benefactor just sounds that bit too good to be true.  For it to happen, we’d surely need to have a bit of good luck.  And we all know that good luck and Leeds United go together like ice cream and mustard.

Still – it might yet be an interesting few days ahead.  But whether that’ll be in a good way, or a bad way, remains very much up in the air.

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31 responses to “Football League Ready to Stretch a Point to Accept Cellino? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. When the Celtic supporting delivery driver gleefully informed me that he had heard the’guilty’ verdict on the radio, my reaction surprised me.
    I felt sick and devastated. My colleagues looked concerned and asked what on earth was wrong – it was that obvious. I hadn’t realised that I had invested so much hope in Cellino, the looney billionaire saviour we had been waiting so long for. I’m old enough to retire and don’t go to many games any more, but I still CARE.
    Can’t see anything but administration & relegation ahead now. As my son said, the top part of the Prem. is locked in nowadays and I can’t see us ever getting anywhere near, unless a benign billionaire suddenly appears.
    Fat chance!

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  2. Mark carter

    i’d say thats a fair assesment rob

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  3. Similar to you Rex ,but the fact they havn’t made instant hell for us gives me a bit of hope

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  4. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    Rob, the FL obviously feel that they can inflict more misery by pretending to hold out some hope for us than just burying us immediately.
    There is zero chance of him being accepted unless we wait for the year to hear his appeal blah blah blah.
    Despite the presence of one of my heroes Vincent Peter Jones I am not going on Sarurday.
    Instead I am attending my daughters 5th birthday party where we will make models out of clay before then painting some premade cups in exciting animal shapes.
    Quite frankly why I continue going instead of spending the few hours a week I am not at work or on a work related call with my family is a matter between me and my shrink.
    Its certainly not becuase I enjoy going anymore

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  5. They might now well be thinking on the lines of
    Now if we say to this proposed take and LUFC then go into Administration within say the next few weeks, would the Football club have a legal stance that due to the decision of the football League we were pushed into the position of having to go into Administration. As they could well state that we have taken far too long to make our decision on this particular case and thus could not negotiate with any other third parties in time prior to having to call in the Administrators. I will in deed bet my house on the fact that all the old toads that run that band of elite men have never thought that they could well be held accountable for late prolonged drawn out decision making what a joke they all are. Lets face it we all new that they would never make their minds up for the good of our club as they have never done that before so why would they start now !! I do hope if it does go pear shaped that some one has the balls to ask them well gents it was your fault that they had to be put into administration do you have some thing in that thick rule book that gets us all out of this mess.

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  6. Peter Doubt.

    So buying a product from the U.S. and bringing it to Italy is dishonest tax avadeing not legal avoiding? Let’s hope Mr. Harvey doesn’t think so, after all he is whiter than white. Mr Harvey has presided over three administration’s in his time, not to mention blatantly lying for years he knew not who owned LUFC while he was M.D. He presided over a club who’s ground and T.A. was owned by someone in the Caymen Isles who collected £two million a year rent, is that tax avoidance ? The club itself was registered in bits all over the Carrabian Islands, is that tax avoidance? Notwithstanding the rest of the shady court cases et-al over the years. Mr.Harvey may just be aware this past will stick like shit if he declines Cellino for much, much less. Cellino and GFH must, after all the due-dilligance, know plenty about shady Ken and Harvey. let’s hope so, It’s all we have left, hope.
    I will be gutted if we lose out for the sake of an unpaid tax bill, gutted.

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  7. The League are only delaying until they get the legal documents so they are not vulnerable to an appeal. Wishful thinking Rob I fear.

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  8. You may be right Rob! It would not surprise me at all if they passed the takeover. By refusing it they are in affect saying that the Cellino family are not fit and proper. I know that Celino is very influential, but so are the other members of the family. Why punish them over a misunderstanding on taxation laws in another country, which does not affect them directly or indirectly.

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  9. if you buy a boat in Miami , pay the tax then sail it to Italy is this tax avoiding ? Do you have to pay import tax in every port you sail into?

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    • What’s with all this irrefutable logic and sound common-sense the, eh Mr O?? How on earth do you expect the Football League to relate to that? They’ve just overlooked Ross McCormack, Championship top scorer in a shot-shy team, £6m bid refused in Jan, for Player of the Year – in favour of Danny Ings, fewer goals, fewer assists and playing in a better outfit. Go figure, huh?

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      • Mr orange

        That was a joke too , everybody knows Ross has been the best pound for pound striker in this league this year ,,
        Maybe cellino should move his boat to Scarborough harbour ?

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      • Not on your “Nelie” – see what I did there? It’s been one of me witty days 😉

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  10. Am i correct in thinking that if he pays the fine his conviction is spent or is that just wishful thinking?

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  11. Afternoon Rob. Top article as always.

    I think the FL will grant Cellino authority to take over, the ship will then steady, and we will get in the play offs by finishing 6th.

    Hows that for a glass well and truly half full. Be nice to start with a 5-0 win against the Bermondsey Rats on Saturday

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  12. I went to see Sheff Weds Vs QPR last night with my brother (a SWFC supporter).

    When the people around me discovered I was a Leeds fan, I got a lot of pity about the whole situation.

    No abuse or jibes – just pity.

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  13. Now that there’s a chance that “The Prince” won’t be taking over,our very own little Machiavelli,s (haigh and lorimer) must be awake at night wondering who’s arse to lick next. What a dilemma eh? If there’s something to be learned on the football side though,it’s surely that we need points on the board and that BM should have gone a while ago. If it does hit the fan (or fans) and we get a points deduction,we’re going to rue those many defeats against teams we should have beaten. Only in professional football is such incompetence rewarded so handsomely. If i was useless at my job i’d be pedalled straightaway,yet mcdermott,norris,diouf,hunt,kebe,stewart,zaliukas,wootton etc, continue to take whilst giving zilch back. They’re the black hole Cellino was referring to,we’re like a charity.

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  14. My thinking from now on its time we stopped funding fl clubs by taking so many away fans to all these ground that live for leeds visits I’m guilty in the past of going to mostly away games but it’s a stand we should take good buy cash cow

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  15. . Shaun Harvey as CEO of FL? lunatics are definitely taking over the asylum.

    To add another, funny business football. only problem is everyone is laughing at us.

    Having survived the Master Bates years and the GFH deception we really need a lucky break here.

    If FL do fail to approve the TO then I am sure that GFH will bring a substantial legal claim to recover their losses on the Cellino deal post administration.This could just make Shaun the useless sheep say its a yes from him.

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  16. I’m a lifelong Leeds fan but I still cant get my head around why some-one would pay £25 million for a football club with no assets only players and manager on contract. LUFC is a massive brand,but as a business (LUFC is a limited company) it still has no phyisical assets (buildings, ground etc) as I understand. Could some-one please enlighten me.

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  17. still talking about premier league sometime in the future (god willing). With this lot they could’nt even get in the Premier Inn

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  18. I am learning to hate ridsdale more deeply with every twist of the knife into leeds united . He has turned us into the laughing stock of the football world and opened us up to the likes of bates and co . Let’s do a Wimbledon and start again in the conference with a club owned by the fans , can’t be any worse than the past decade !give the FA something to worry about when we start taking 8000 away fans to grounds gat only hold 1500 ! MOT

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  19. Lets continue to hope and believe we can get back.

    I feel the pain everyone of US Leeds fans do… But that is the Special part… It is US! A community of thousands of us around the world.

    MOT – WE WILL RETURN

    ballandall.com

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  20. Steve trebert

    Hope you are right Rob. A time to be optimistic.

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  21. “When the fl hits your eye lika biga pitza pie thats cellino”!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. Well, going to Millwall match on Saturday… would like a win please.

    Taking my younger bro (Leeds), older bro (Sheff Weds) and a friend (Tottenham).

    Like

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