Witch-hunt: but Brian McDermott and his Sick Mother Deserve Far Better – by Rob Atkinson

McDermott - under unfair pressure

McDermott – under unfair pressure

The football season is over; Leeds United will not kick another ball in anger until sometime in August, with the obvious priority of pre-season training and friendly warm-up matches coming in July, before the start of the Championship business.  Naturally, the club’s manager/coach/whatever you might call him, will have urgent business over the summer; a raft of important issues to resolve.  But, equally natural is the fact that, when the heat of weekly sporting conflict is off, even a man in McDermott’s stressful position, with the heavy responsibilities he bears – even he should surely be allowed to prioritise family matters – especially when the foremost of those matters is the illness of his mother and his consequent understandable desire to be at his family home in southern England after news of her admission to hospital.

It’s the kind of situation that will make anyone re-think their priorities – but the state of affairs at Leeds appears to be such that it’s thought fair play in certain quarters to throw mud at McDermott, even in these sensitive circumstances. That’s bad enough when it’s just club officials doing it, or when the new owner is angling to get the manager out – but it’s even worse when ill-informed Leeds United fans are thus inveigled into joining in what seems likely to end up as a witch-hunt.

Sources close to McDermott claim that he has an eye on Leeds United business and that he has been contactable since heading home.  Leeds United spokespersons appear to differ on those matters.  But it’s a tawdry and disgusting state of affairs when a campaign against a man with his mother’s health on his mind should be carried out by those at the club who clearly have their own agenda, and who seem unwilling to let a small matter like a sick mum dissuade them from launching their insidious and – there’s no other word for it – snide attacks.

This does not show Leeds United in a good light.  It reflects poorly upon the men in charge, who appear to be neglecting sensitivity and compassion for a full measure of malice and vindictiveness.  McDermott evidently has enough on his plate, without penny-pinching executives attempting to lever him out of his job – and at the same time avoid the inconvenient necessity of paying him off.  It might even be counter-productive as a tactic – constructive dismissal cases have been founded upon far flimsier bases.  As a Leeds United fan, somebody whose regard and love for the club will always transcend and out-last the presence of any individual employee, I nevertheless find myself rooting for Brian – and hoping that his seemingly inevitable departure from the club can be managed with dignity, without any further rancour or ill taste – and with McDermott receiving everything that he is due to under his contract.  That’s only fair.

The current situation at Leeds United stinks.  That’s not Cellino’s fault – blame has to be laid at the door of the incompetent and self-serving people who have apparently been running a great club into the ground over the last couple of years – and of course there’s Bates before that.  But Cellino, if he is to appear as the saviour of the Whites, must avoid sinking to the level of those whose mess he’s now trying to clear up.  If McDermott is doing his best to fulfil his duties as best he can, whilst also fulfilling his obligations to his family and specifically his ailing mother – then he should either be left to get on with it, or – if that’s the way the wind is blowing – replaced properly.  Not by a campaign of smear and innuendo, when the truth of the matter appears fully to support Brian’s current actions.

This blog would ask any Leeds United fan inclined to jump on a Cellino-sponsored anti-McDermott bandwagon to think very seriously about what they would do in Brian’s position.  Let’s face it – you’d hasten to your Mum’s bedside, wouldn’t you – having made what provision you could for any obligations under your professional contract.  Anyone would.  You’d worry far more about the man who wouldn’t – the man who’d coldly proceed with business, without a thought for his mother.  Would you want a man like that in charge at Leeds United??

Brian McDermott deserves the sympathy and support of the Leeds United fans in his current thankless situation, even though he has not asked for it. Instead, he’s copping for loads of abuse on social media from supporters of the club who seem inclined unquestioningly to believe everything they’re being told by Leeds United.  Well, if you’ve read this blog, or the YP article linked above – now you’re informed. We may well be notorious football nutters – but we’re human beings first – aren’t we?? Of course we are.

So, for God’s sake, let’s start to act like it.

45 responses to “Witch-hunt: but Brian McDermott and his Sick Mother Deserve Far Better – by Rob Atkinson

  1. I am not trying to jump of the “get rid of BMD bandwagon” but if his mother was ill in hospital did he contact Cellino in any way before going south? This would be normal procedure for any employee and 99% of employers would sympathise and grant permission for compassionate leave. There has been no media reports to this effect which they surely would have reported one way or another. Even if he had gone without notifying anyone then once he arrived down south he could have contacted someone at ER to explain the situation.


    • It seems that he’s taken what steps he could to remain contactable. This is his MUM.


    • Do you not think that if the media knew about the whereabouts of BMcD, someone at LUFC was fully aware of the situation surrounding his Mum? After all, a while ago, BMcD stated in a press conference that he was waiting for call from Massimo Cellino to arrange a meeting to discuss all things Leeds United … was he not farther away from his “crisis club” and does he not have Brian McDermott’s ‘phone number?

      The treatment of BMcD since he accepted the role at ER has been an absolute disgrace, particularly for someone who has shown unwavering loyalty and commitment to the club.

      If the alleged Messiah, Massimo Cellino is to be respected by a large number of Leeds United fans, he needs to show that in his make up, he has compassion and a sense of justice … if he doesn’t, I dread to think where he will take us.


  2. If his mother is so sick, why did he attend the LMA Dinner? A mother is paramount above all, football included but shouldn’t he have notified Cellino about his movements?

    Brian, I hope your mother gets well but please find another club to manage.

    Of course he’s not going to walk out on Leeds. He knows that if he holds tight he will get a £1.5m pay out.

    This sympathy for failed football managers is unbelievable. They receive pay outs way beyond what most of us earn in our life time.

    Goodbye Brian and good luck. Hope your mother recovers but you aren’t what we need at Leeds Utd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • he’d be better off at West Brom, hope he gets the job, best for both sides


      • I agree, I don’t think Brian is a bad manager, at the right club with less pressure than at Leeds he will do well. It’s just we don’t need “a nice guy”, we need an arse kicker with thick skin.


    • If he were only here for the cash, McDermott would have taken the advice of the LMA and not come back. He could have had his money plus unfair dismissal. He didn’t, so it isn’t money.

      He wouid probably have attended the LMA dinner anyway, unless the hospital told him to go there. He was due to meet with Honest Massimo ages ago, remember? Also, this is when football managers are supposed to go on holiday.


  3. As I read Cellinos comments they come across to me as a frustrated man trying to make things happen for the better but not having any leadership around him to support the urgent decisions he feels compelled to make. In this regard the most important person at the club is Brian who needs to be working hand in hand with Cellino. When I read his quotes. ‘ where’s Brian? ‘ this is saying I don’t know where the guy is when I need him most. Yes sick Mum trumps all we know Rob, but the issue here is communication and I think on the salary Brian’s being paid he needs to be contactable by his boss 24 -7. I have to in my job as it goes with the territory and it sure as Hell should for 800 K a year. I want to and will continue to trust Massimo because I actually believe what he says. I think he knows he jumped the gun in sacking Brain first time round and he is willing to give the guy a try but at this moment in the Clubs history, if they are not in constant communication then something is seriously wrong.


  4. I agree with most of what you say. Best article in some time and, as usual, extremely well written.
    But you’re sidestepping the big issue: Cellino is playing his cards in public still. Will this man not grow up and realise that a company needs to conduct its business internally? It’s becoming embarrassing!
    Cellino is acting like a fucking child. It’s time he grew up and started acting like a professional, for Christ’s sake!


  5. So far I’m not overly impressed with our new owner, he’s too loose with his mouth. Feeding the parasites. I would also question his integrity. Didn’t the loud mouth state he would go to the bank and buy back Elland Road and our training complex. ” Now apparently closed down pending restructuring our finances. It took so painfully long for this takeover to happen. I’m sure a thorough due diligence was carried out at that time with all books examined. As for BMac he should of gone months ago based on results but in no-way does he deserve to be treated in the unprofessional way he is now. And if I was him I’d stay put for the payoff.


  6. This is the latest LUFC pantomime! Crafty Brian obviously needed to see his sick mom but even in your country you have email and cell phones – I smell a rat. He is trying to trigger that MC will fire him and the trap has been set.

    Cellino seems to want to do everything himself and may be he wants to become a tea lady with all of the redundancies in addition to powering up the 747. If Brian wants his Leeds job he needs to communicate this to Massimo in the next 48 hours. The club cannot decide on the squad without the presence of the manager.

    1.5 M pounds in a pay off is ludicrous. Maybe B Mc changes into a roll of “scout” which is what he is good at – and believe me we need some new talent. McDermott can still offer something good for our club but he is facing the Pantomime Villain.


  7. Keith Burbridge

    It was reported multiple times, of how Brian was to meet with MC,……which didn’t happen because MC didn’t care about Brian,….and then again Brian was to meet with MC, but he went off to Miami,…..and then Brian was to meet with him again, with lists of players to release, and players to persue,…..but MC wasn’t available….UNTIL brian had to take Vacation Time to go see his ailing mother…..Isn’t it amazing that MC all of a sudden has to see Brian, just when he isn’t here. MC…..YOU really are showing your true colours….and it isn’t WHITE!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bairdysgonnagetyou

    Nice piece Rob-as always mate. Sentiments agreed on means/methods/PR from ER: however I still feel BMD has to go, given the disastrous season, hidings, humiliations, record defeats we have had. Not withstanding off the field events but he has looked more and more out of his depth. Time for all parties to move on, I and many others feel, for the good of all parties concerned. MOT-undefeated as Champions next season mate 🙂


  9. This is two men trying to avoid each other ,which does not bode well for the future. I think Massimo cellino is exacerbated by the situation he has found himself in.Brian is not particularly wanting to make contact either hoping that the situation resolves itself. He has done what anyone would have done if their mother was ill. He should have informed Massimo why he was taking off. Interesting times ahead.





  11. Keith turner

    Cellini said, if people have contracts, example 28 days holidays, that’s all they get, nothing more,nothing less, if he Doesn’t want McDermott, he should let him go and pay him ,as per his contract, couldn’t see don, or shankly, or wenger,or many off us,working under these conditions,in normal jobs without going off on one


  12. Mark carter

    great blog rob.u only get one mum.


  13. Not a big fan of Brian but Cellino is really starting to crush my grapes.
    You are acting like a play ground bully Mr.Machisimo either sack Brian and cough up the dough or back him and give him a fair crack of the whip.
    What happened to buying back Elland road?
    Broken promises and bullsh$te … not a good start at all
    Hoping i am wrong but seeing him all ego and preening himself with the pidgeon’s with his fender strat as his weapon of choice my gut feeling is all bad on this one


  14. David Smith

    Rob – well said!


  15. adam Smith

    Seems to me like these reports have been pulled from mid air with a view to backin Brian McDermott.

    I have to say that whilst I am willing to give him another chance given his performances and some of his decisions both from a transfer perspective and defensively have been truly awful.

    I also honestly believe that he is a clever man and by saying the right things like “I will always be a Leeds fan”, we have people that follow him blindly.

    I have to agree that if his mother is Ill, which I genuinely hope she isn’t and if she is then I wish her well it doesn’t escape the fact that any employer would need to know what is happening.



  16. There is no doubt that Mr Cellino is a maverick, who is trying to get rid of BM as cheaply as possible.
    After the last game of the season, Mr C ‘disappeared’ when he should have been sitting down with the manager to sort out the retained list of players, and targets for next season.
    He has waited for BM to depart south before making his move.
    Whether Brian’s family & mother live down south, or in Leeds, communication is not a problem, if there is a will.
    Brian has done a very poor job at Leeds, which contributes to our financial plight, and the fans anger.
    To think he will get a large pay-off, in our situation, is diabolical.
    Failure rewarded, seems to be rife in the football industry (and banking).
    I hope this matter is dealt with asap, or we will be in another end of season cock-up!
    It is in the balance just now.
    I really hope Massimo knows what he is doing!


  17. B Mac has every right to put his family first, as I would and I assume Mr Cellino would, and Mr Bates would have, if he in fact actually had a mother. Anyway Massimo inherited a mess and it appears he did not do his due diligence and is now trying to weasel his way out of giving Brian Mac compo. As we all do, I pray Massimo will be successful in resurrecting LUFC, but as said above do not lower yourself to the level of GFH, Bates et al. Treat B Mac with respect and if you want to sack him, do it like a man and not like a pussy. Give him his compo and let’s move on, as it’s embarrassing, and as Rob states B Mac would have you by the balls for Constructive Dismissal anyway – this isn’t Italy mate….! So let’s all cut the bullsh.t and get on with the job of rebuilding our great club.


    • Cellino tried to implicate his family in his business dealings at one time, and they took out full page ads in the Italian newspapers saying they had nothing to do with him. You couldn’t make it up.

      I like that bit about Bates. What do you mean, IF?


  18. KeeefflyWhite

    If BMcDs mum has been admitted to hospital, then his No.1 priority is with her. But I would assume that he would have let his employers know. As usual, we only get one side of the story.
    One thing I don’t understand is this Mr C’s ‘letter’ nonsense. I hope this is at least an email. Did he phone first? It’s half a story.
    Cellino obviously wants BMcD out and is maybe trying to engineer a situation where BMcDs had enough and walks, rather than waiting to be sacked and paid out.
    Cellino is obviously a fiery Italian, used to throwing his weight around and getting what he wants. He speaks his mind without fear of the consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Cellino revolution, he has certainly pumped more money into the club than anyone in the last 10 years and is therefore entitled to exercise his control, but there’s a good way to do this and there’s the other way. We need him to take the first option.


    • GFH pumped more money into the club than MC has (so far). Buying the club doesn’t count as pumping money into it. GFH spent about 5 million on transfer fees alone (as reported). MC has settled a debt to HMRC, a debt to Flowers, and some smaller undisclosed ones.


      • Lol, did they hell.

        if you look at the report into Leeds accounts, its not wages that were crippling us it was “other expenses” e.g. consultancy fees paid to gfh so they could look up player ratings on football manager and tell mcdermot to “buy brazillians”


  19. sniffersshorts

    first and foremost in life is family first, followed by friends if they have issues you can help them with. Also after a period of work, we all need a holiday get off Mcdermotts back. A couple of weeks away is a spit in the ocean …. I love Leeds United but it appears some people just ….. well before I say what I shouldn’t we are all passionate, but we all need a break


  20. and what exactly do we need at leeds ,,, bully boy tactics all the while ,, no wonder bmd wants out but let him take cellino for all the com pensation ,, good luck to him ,, and I have been LEEDS since 1969 Ashley b


  21. Good article. Brian McDermott is an honourable and decent man who does not deserve this treatment.
    It sickens me to see how quick so called Leeds fans turned on him.
    I think the new owner will be good for the club, but let’s treat Brian with respect he deserves. If he leaves the club I hope it is done in a proper fashion

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I wish Mr Cellino would stop playing every issue to the media .

    Pay the man off, as the contract states, or back him. MC must have known the contract situation when he took over.

    MC either employed the worst/cheapest lawyers to conduct due diligence when buying LUFC, or is playing the George Osbourne ” I inherited a worst financial situation than anyone could have possibly expected” card.

    MC started of stating that he was not interested in buying Leeds United but was acting as a consultant to the potential buyers, so economy with the truth he is certainly a master of.


  23. Cellino has obviously bitten off more than he can chew.

    It’s either gfh hid stuff from him or he didnt do due diligence when looking at the deal, or more like a combination of the two.

    There’s a reason flowers and farnham both put In bids around the 8mil mark, that’s what the club Is actually worth, cellino over paid massively and hes now pissed off with anyone connected with gfh, hence the sacking of the marketing staff, this Investigation into the administrator and his unfair treatment of Brian (which Is unfair he’s no fan of gfh either ).

    Agree with him getting rid of the various middle and senior management who rode the gravy train under bates and gfh though. (well except for eddie, Eddie should be involved with the coaching somewhere)


  24. There are 2 ways to run a club. One is to invest, the other is to balance the books. If we look at costs, the wage bill is actually average. I for one don’t believe the convenient rumour that we have loads of unnecessary staff (after a decade of Bates? Don’t make me laugh) who need clearing out.

    The costs that make Leeds expensive to run are rental payments and Bates’ scams (some are still running). As for overpaid staff, McDermott’s wages are high. Some people wanted overpaid people out by any means necessary. Then there’s the question of whether we have the right staff.

    I don’t want to defend Cellino – I’ve hated the bloke from the start and believe me I plan to say ‘I told you so’ in due course, but I can well believe he needs a team of very expensive lawyers to sort things out and I don’t find it particularly unlikely that they – I discount MC’s own opinions, I don’t think he made his own money or is at all a clever man – have concluded that we need to replace a lot of people.

    And if you’re trying to cut costs then of course you want McDermott out, especially if you want to be the manager yourself. You’ve got Gibbs, Redfern and of course that scuttling lickspittle Carbone.

    So apart from the obvious dirty tactics with McDermott I don’t see what the fuss is about, if it’s made by MC apologists and advocates.


    • But you don’t argue for the preferment of a man and then back him, come what may, in any circumstances – with no right to criticise when something is obviously wrong. Things aren’t REALLY that cut and dried in your world are they John? It’d be an oddly simplistic and unsophisticated stance from someone who, for a fair proportion of the time, appears to talk sense and to make reasonable deductions.


      • Apart from Cellino’s manners, have things really gone wrong yet?

        I will say, Rob, I find your surprise that McDermott is being treated like this surprising. But I repeat: otherwise, what’s so wrong, so far? Cut and dried? Not yet.


  25. keith white

    spoken like a true gentleman


  26. I think it is six of one and half a dozen of the other. Both Cellino and McD are engaged in Kidology. McD knows he isn’t wanted and quite rightly expects to be treated in a manner conducive to his role at the club.
    McD has been largely ignored by Cellino for the past two to three weeks. Who can blame McD for thinking sod it if he wants me he can ring me.

    Cellino has been undermining his position ever since he appeared on the scene. Track suits, the arrival of Carbone, public statements concerning who the manager is and that’s just what is in the public domain.
    McDermott will no doubt have a juicy book deal awaiting him when he does finally go. Par for the course with this club.

    The real tragedy emerging from all this will be next season. How the feck are we going to emerge from this shambles.


    • Shambolically, if at all.


      • FFS, it’s just a few redundancies and (rudely) forcing out the manager!

        Or at least it was – now we’ve had the retained list I think things are a little clearer. It is, simply, all the players contracted to remain plus Charlie Taylor, who is probably still seen as an academy kid. I’d have kept Ashdown, Pugh and either Green or Brown myself, as insurance against a transfer ban. (Can we sign loan players while banned from transfers?)

        Absolutely no one is being paid off and asked to leave. Absolutely everyone we can legally stop paying is going. So now we have a clearer idea of how much Cellino is prepared to spend on us, after securing his new property – bugger all. I doubt his (extremely expensive) lawyers are incompetent, so they must expect they can safely contest the winding up hearing without causing us to be wound up.

        So the bottom line is we emerge exactly as I thought we would, without McDermott (in practice or in fact), with a yes man skulking around, with everyone bootoutable booted out, and with – I expect – loan players coming in (unless a ban stops us, which may be why Cellino said it may take him 2 years to get us promoted). Which is ALL stuff you said you were OK with, as did many fans.

        I STILL can’t see why you’re complaining – yet. I expect much more will come and that’s when I expected to see despair rear its ugly head. So he’s rude to McDermott – I don’t like it at all, and I didn’t suppose that you would – but I don’t think many fans really care about all this stuff, apart from the indication – now very strong – that a massive transfer fund won’t be forthcoming. And even some of them reckon we’ll be like Watford and do well out of it (I’ve pointed out that flaw in the pro-Cellino argument before).
        Hardly a shambles (yet), is it?


  27. MC is trying to get BMCD to leave and save the club a fortune,people who worshipped BMCD are trying to find an argument for him as to not accept they got it wrong,hopeless manager. Of course BEST WISHES TO HIS MOTHER,but he shouldn’t still be connected to the club.Cellino looks to be spot on the club is a total money leaking mess


    • It’s not “worship”

      I want a different manager, I can’t see how brian can work out after all that has gone on with gfh, never mind cellino. He strikes me as a manager that’s good at lifting self motivated players, like Ross, brown and smith, but poor at giving a kick up the arse to lazy players. E.g. he will work well with players that are professional, and will probably be good somewhere like west brom, but he isn’t the right fit for us because we need a tough guy. There’s too much water under the bridge for him to carry on.

      However cellinos treatment of him has being humiliating. gotten times they were to have a meeting but cellino for a missing, finally when Brian goes on holiday (at a time when everyone in football goes on holiday) he suddenly decides the meeting is urgent. He should let him go with dignity, not go crying about stuff to scummy rags like the daily star.

      This aspect of cellino really worries me, I dont think he gets just how much the media in this country hates Leeds, conducting business through them is stupid.

      Also when Brian goes we need a BETTER replacement, someone like malky mackay or Moyes not someone wet behind the ears like carbone


    • There’s an interview with that lovely Carbone bloke in the YEP going on about how great the academy is and how we need to get 7 or 8 of the first team players to be Leeds grown. There are lots of comments about how great this is and how good it is that Messiah Cellino is saving money.

      All of them – the first 5 or 6 twats in the list, anyway – miss the point. We can’t produce young players if we don’t spend money on them. Apparently they’re overpaid! Half of them are on the YTS FFS! Also, we get loads through and sell 1 or 2 good ones a year to make money and save it, it’s really good, says Carbone.

      Everyone reading YEP missed that so I’ll say it again. SELL ONE OR TWO OF OUR BETTER YOUNG PLAYERS EACH YEAR AND SAVE THE MONEY.

      I stand by what I said about Cellino supporters – yesterday. But now we’ve had the outrageous retained list (a cynical removal of everyone we could possibly get out without spending money), the announcement that players will be expected to keep to their contracts and be in on May 28th (first move to force Ross out, maybe?), and this stuff about how important it is that we auction off one or two of our better (not the Poleons of this world, but the BETTER ones) young players each year.

      I hope people are going to start being really outraged now. I must say I fully expected this Batesian policy, though I didn’t think anyone at the club would ever admit it, let alone announce it in advance! I anticipated real mass anger to begin in January or next summer, after the sale of just Byram this summer. I knew half of you would lap that up and say it was for the best. But now this is out in the open I hope that ‘Cellino Out’ will begin early next season.


  28. Cellino is passionate thete is no doubt he wants whats best for Leeds united.What is in question here is the way he goes about remover the manager.First of he tells us Carbone is in charge of all football matters including the first team.Then says Carbone will not be manager which covers himself.Festa lurks in the background waiting to sink his teeth into Brians neck.I want Massimo to succeed fir the good of the club.He is what we need.MOT


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