Leeds United Dream Ticket Talks “Very Productive” – by Rob Atkinson


Leeds United's only current asset

Leeds United’s only current asset

An unfamiliar word threatens to gain some currency in the English language: “supersortium“.  As words go, it’s a bit of an ugly duckling.  There are a few too many syllables for the liking of certain football supporters, particularly those of a Barnsley or Millwall persuasion – and it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.  But, for Leeds United fans, the one remaining tangible asset of a failing football club – this strange word may just herald the dawn of a whole new era at Elland Road.  And boy, oh boy – do we ever need one of those.

The supersortium is, of course, really just a common or garden consortium – only bigger.  In the case of Leeds United, it’s what you get when you take one hopeful bunch of guys with some nice ideas but a charming vagueness as to how much hard cash they have, and add a likeable lunatic of an Italian with family wealth of well into ten figures and a comfortable annual income not unadjacent to €200m.  The revelation that Mike Farnan’s Together Leeds Group have been enjoying “very positive” talks with Massimo Cellino has taken some of the attention away from the fact that the Italian’s appeal verdict is set to be revealed very shortly.

Cellino has been trying, via Eleonora Sport Ltd, to acquire a 75% stake in Leeds – but the Football League has decided that Massimo wouldn’t fit in too well with their collection of virtuous paragons, including rapists, money launderers, porn barons and other such innocent characters.  A barrister (a Chelsea fan, incidentally) has been considering the legalities of the matter – and his verdict is due any time now.

If the appeal is successful, then Cellino is presumably able to go ahead with Plan A and sort Leeds United out in his own unique fashion.  If he fails, though, he will surely be considering all options.  It may even be that a joint venture, with co-operation between Cellino and Together Leeds, is now the preferred option going forward.  From everything that we know – which is doubtless but a small fraction of the true facts – such a combined operation could be a very solid foundation for the re-launch of a healthier and happier United.

Events over the past few days – notably a highly irregular interview with an extremely tired and emotional Massimo – have caused a radical shift in opinion among the Leeds United support.  Where before there had been some guarded support for the Italian, now we appear to be entering the territory of mass adulation – the kind of thing that spawns tribute t-shirts and causes quotes to be circulated with approval from the gems of wisdom uttered by Cellino and relayed without his knowledge to an admiring world. It’s been a sea-change in the climate of support out there,  and now those who wish for him to fail and begone are distinctly in the minority.

The wisdom of Cellino

The wisdom of Cellino

This is understandable to anyone who has listened to Massimo’s tablets of wisdom, and his uninhibited style of self-expression. From that evidence, we appear to have on our hands a nutter in the best traditions of Leeds United; somebody who is a perfect fit for the club.  The fact is that, should it now turn out that we have to move on without Cellino, there will be many regrets among the Whites’ support.  And the feeling is unmistakably out there that, if this nutter, this profane retailer of fluent critique and homespun wisdom, were actually to end up approved – then a new United legend would be born from whom many memorable sound-bites would be forthcoming over what promises to be one hell of a ride ahead of us.

It may well be best all round if some sort of deal can be done between two parties that looked certain, until this latest remarkable development, to be engaged in a winner takes all tussle.  Co-operation between two parties, each with distinct and different benefits to bring to the table, looks likely to promise a brighter future for the football club we all love.  The presence of a maverick like Cellino could perhaps be tempered by the more considered approach of Farnon & Co.  Equally, the kind of institutional caution that characterises a group of sober-sides businessmen might well need the occasional spicing-up that an individual like the King of Corn could provide – not to mention the considerable factor of his immense wealth.

Thursday promises to be a landmark day, with the QC due to hand down his decision.  But, whichever way that goes, the whole matter is likely to take a few more twists and turns yet, before the future of Leeds United becomes at all clear.  The question still remains right now as to whether or not Leeds United actually has a feasible future.  For the time being, it is extremely encouraging to hear that there is dialogue between two supposedly competing parties, and that their agenda consists of the establishment of some security and future for Leeds, with the avoidance of administration an absolute priority. Surely, nobody with the interests of United at heart could possibly argue with the common sense and essential rightness of that.

Marching On Together.  It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

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24 responses to “Leeds United Dream Ticket Talks “Very Productive” – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Charterhouse

    Succulent critique of the possibilities ahead Sir, undoubted benefits of a combined bid.
    On the proviso that Mr Cellino gains the FL approval, the remaining 25% share GFH hold (and they would be happy to sever all ties with club no doubt) could be made available to The Together group. I would consider this an ideal scenario for all concerned.

    As the infamous Trotters would say ” this time next year Rodney”……………

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  2. Marching On Together certainly has a great ring tone Rob. Trouble is when was the last time there was sufficient trust demonstrated at Elland Road between club executives , football management, players and the most important of all the groups – the supporters.
    Under Don Revie we had that “ring”. When he left the Don begged the executives to appoint Johnny Giles but because The King was upset about that recommendation the Executive selected Brian Clough. We all know the outcome – disaster and ultimately relegation. Then we had Sgt Wilko’s no nonsense approach to football galvanised by a ferociously combative midfield. Unfortunately the Sgt lost the plot allowing Cantona to go to the dark side that enabled. “The purple nose people eater” to start his winning ways. Leeds declined in the usual pattern.
    Then we had the “dreamer” Risdale and his ability to conn the fans that paying for wonderfully gifted players like Mark Viduka can be bought on potential Champions League appearances. Yeah dream on Peter.
    This shambolic period pre-empted wonderful events like relegation twice and points deductions.
    My point is you get that MOT ring when strength and transparency are demonstrated by Leadership. Not since the Don ran the club has Leeds United had any discernible Leadership whatsoever.
    Leeds United needs money URGENTLY but it needs LEADERSHIP just as much. I think Liverpool are a prime example. They have had money men in charge for a very long time and have bought and produced many great players but have not won a Premiership in over 20 years. During the last off season when Arsenal tried to lure Suarez to the Emirates their new owner stood tall and said no way. Rogers has rightly received great praise for the way Liverpool are playing this season – quite deservedly – but what would have happened if the Executive body had allowed Suarez to leave? I doubt Rogers would be enjoying life as much as he is now.
    Leeds United need significant financial investment to simply put a team on the park capable of competing at the Championship level never mind a team able to maintain a Premiership spot. To do that will take not just a significant financial splurge but require a regime that demonstrates strong leadership – one that takes a great deal of time and consideration to select the type of manager that best suits the needs of their long term ambitions and provides its fan base with a team that excites us all.
    When that happens we will be Marching On Together . I live in hope Rob – but the history of Leeds United indicates we have a relatively low level of achieving such a position.

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  3. sniffers shorts

    All makes perfect sense if the appeal falls through the steadying hand of British board members and the clout of Italian money ….. And hopefully agreement of putting some proper players on the field of play and moving this great club forward and back to where we belong .. The promised land MOT

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  4. David Smith

    Rob – quite possibly the ‘dream ticket’ as far as our club is concerned. But my biggest worry is for this season, regardless of who ultimately owns Leeds United, does the present squad have the collective ability and will power to achieve the 3 to 6 points over the remaining games to ensure we stay in the Championship? Rightly or wrongly you have 75% of the squad (and that maybe generous) whose overall ability, attitude and confidence, have been shot to pieces over the last 4 months, by matters on and off the field and I doubt their mindset is in the right place for what is a dog fight to achieve say 6 points. They know is their heart of hearts that they will not be part of the ‘brave new world’ that will be Leeds United going forward and whilst one would hope that professional pride would surface, there has been precious little evidence of that recently. MOT

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  5. Good summing up. The only thing is; if Cellino is turned down how can he have the necessary stake in the club with enough clout to put his money in and be within the FL percentage ownership rules. The Farnan Group can’t compete with Cellino on cash so I struggle to see how it would work in practice.
    Personally I have a taste now for the Italian maybe tempered with a good Chief Executive and definitely a new manager but I will take anything over administration.

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  6. Rob, sometimes things are just meant to be and that radio interview said exactly what I had been struggling to articulate for weeks.
    Never mind the seagulls and trawlers bring on the bitch!
    Anyway, off to the races soon as I think this is going to be a lucky day- the day when my 3 young sons living in Preston suddenly realise they have a club that will no longer be a source of fun for supporters of other clubs but a source of fun for the best fans in the land again.

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  7. As you say Rob this could be our dream ticket,this will unite the support.Do you think that this is a suggestion by legal experts and gives the FL a compromise that they will be happy with. It looks promising anyway. Decision day.

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  8. Maybe our new anthem should be” Massimo and Together!!

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    • I see what you did there 🙂

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      • If we finish up with MC and TL, MOT could be varied slightly with supporters singing ‘Marching on Together, (chant) Leeds, We’re going to……..’ OR
        ‘Massimo Together, (chant) Leeds, We’re………..’ .

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  9. Belfast White

    Let’s hope that this Chelsea fan appreciates our situation. After all Mister Bates nearly took the blues into administration. If rumours are to be believed, it would also seem that their present owner has a fairly colourful understanding of business & finance. It would seem a little disingenuous to support that institution & not allow us to join the funride.

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  10. Optimistic post – but I’ve become fatalistic about leeds, remembering Kevin Blackwell’s quote: ‘This is a club where, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.’

    ________________________________

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  11. snifferclarkesboots

    I had a white dream.
    Tim Kerr QC passes Cellino as fit and proper – in his words he is ‘whiter than white’. Shortly after the verdict, Kerr departs on a cruise around the Med.
    Cellino jets into Elland Road from his Miami hideout and lays on conciliatory feast for everyone who has been involved in the takeover debacle. Though Ken and Susanna are not invited.
    The wine is plentiful, but unfortunately the pies have been tampered with and Haigh and Patel are fatally poised. Being broke, Cellino offers to pay for their burials at sea.
    Meanwhile Cellino assures MD that his job is safe for the foreseeable future, mainly to appease the dwindling number of fans who still have faith in him. MD is promptly promoted to head groundsman where he can remain on good terms with the players and sing to his heart’s content.
    Cellino, realising it is too late in the season to remove the deadwood from the squad, demands that all the players Italianise their names e.g. Smithini (except Tonge) who he calls Thong. The players are also required to learn essential Italian phrases, so they understand when Cellino is giving them a half time rollicking.
    Cellino’s magic appears to work as Leeds discover a new found belief, mainly a result of only getting paid according to work rate. Leeds start winning all their games and media and fans alike cannot believe it is the same squad that under performed for so long. Only McCormack suffers a dip in form as he is no longer getting the sole praise, but it doesn’t matter as Noelo Huntino overtakes him to become top scorer.
    Elland Road once more becomes a fortress as Cellino has to defend himself from an army of irate Cagliari fans.
    Many other events too incredible to relate here happen during this Italian Renaissance which will always be remembered as a part of Leeds chequered history.
    Cellino as a result goes on to become a folk hero and to ensure his rightful place in the pantheon of Leeds United greats, a larger than life bronze statue of him with cigarette in mouth and Stratocaster slung over his back is erected in his memory in a visibly prominent location.

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  12. scottywhites

    good article again rob, i think that the two of them together leeds and massimo would be good for the club with farnan and co’s knowledge of british football and massimo’s money we could nearly be there, i just want the whole situation sorted,the sooner the better at least we will know what direction we will be heading in. Where can i get one of them tshirts rob i want one……..MOT

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  13. Compo's Style Guru

    Well its nice to be positive for a change, even if it is only for 24hrs. To quote my well worn phrase ‘del momento’ the law of unintended consequence may just swing in the favour LUFC and its long suffering fans for once. The machiavellian machinations (I’m on fire today!!) of GFH in trying to play one party off against another appear to have backfired spectacularly and only seem to have forged a sense of joint purpose between seemingly implaccable opponents. The result hopefully is the supersortium becomes reality leaving GFH frozen out with the added bonus that the Bates acolyte Mr. Flowers was an early casualty.

    I/We have a dream. Martin Luther King or The Scotland World Cup Squad 1982 I’ll leave it up to the individual to choose.

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  14. mark benson

    The more people involved always leads to more arguments between them. And let’s face it, our great club has always been run by people who could’.nt run for a bus. Sir Don had to fight tooth and nail with the board to see things his way and he didn’t always get his way. Leeds city got dumped. Risdale . The idiots after him. Fotherby . Even Silver took his money back and brought risdale in.

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  15. i’m on the top rung, smack in the middle of the fence with this one rob , who know’s why these two want to get into bed together, or a good thing or bad

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  16. Belfast White

    If B McD were to move on, then who would be a good replacement? I reckon Stuart McCall could be useful. Born in Leeds…turned down the Blunts last season. Has for the last 3 years got Motherwell playing good passing football, top 3 in Scotland, in spite of small crowds and having to regularly sell players. Lets face it, he isn’t a HUGE name but we’re not likely to get Ancelotti or Klopp…just yet! 🙂 MOT

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thursday 18:24 and still no white smoke from the chimney at FL HQ. This is now truly a disaster waiting to happen. The longer this is drawn out suggests to me the worst possible outcome for LUFC fans. What the F!!! is going on?

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  18. I have been reading another article they are lead to believe that the verdict will be made public.Let’s hope that it will be the right decision letting Massimo take the helm with Together leeds I believe that will be the dream ticket.

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  19. Will be made public on Friday.(missed the day out sorry)

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