Dear Massimo…. A Postcard From Filey to Leeds – by Rob Atkinson


Dear Massimo

Weather beautiful, having a lovely time – wish you were here. In fact, I really wish you were here. There are a couple of questions that, given such a golden opportunity, I’d like to ask you. Things appear to be happening at Elland Road, just as this blog’s back is turned – a small matter of a silver wedding anniversary to celebrate. You know the way it is. How is the family, by the way? Anyway, as I was saying, change appears to be afoot down LS11 – and some of us out here are less than sure about the way things are going.

Personally, I’ve only had my eye off the ball for twenty-four hours or so – yet in that time, it transpires that the club is yet again unable to pay the playing staff. On the other hand, somebody appears to have found sufficient loose change – perhaps down the back of one of those banqueting suite sofas – to compass the demise of the manager. Whatever we out here may think of Brian’s predictable fate – and you’ll be aware, Massimo, that there are at least two schools of thought on that one – can the club really afford to be reaching settlements when the blokes at the sharp end aren’t getting their wages? We’ve heard the usual phrases – gentlemen’s agreement, mutual consent – but let’s face it, there’s always a few bob involved. One and a half million quid is what I’d heard. I know Brian’s a gent – a rare thing at Leeds United – but there’s a limit.

As far as this blog is concerned, no fuss will be made about the managerial change we could all see coming. New brooms tend to sweep clean, and no takeover is without its casualties. Being grown-up, sensible types, we know this. But given that mature and pragmatic outlook, what we crave above all is clarity – a few outbursts of frankness and information-sharing. If we know what’s going on, we tend to be happier and a bit more tractable. This is a significant consideration at that season-ticket selling time of the year.

The matter of our departed manager Brian is a case in point – but it’s not the only example of confusion arising out of mixed messages. We’d heard variously that you wanted to work with Brian, that you didn’t need a manager, that you couldn’t understand why the manager was at his poorly mum’s bedside rather than at his desk, and that you were astounded he hadn’t resigned. We have the likes of Lorimer and Gray to try and explain the meaning of this and other mixed bags – but you might concede that it’s not easy to pick the bones out of it all.

Would that it were only the managerial situation that’s causing such a mass scratching of heads – but things are confusing and bewildering in a wider sense, too. There’s the stadium and the now chained and padlocked training ground. It seems a long time now since you were speaking breezily of assuming control one day, and then nipping down the nearest ATM to withdraw enough cash to buy Elland Road the next. All of that early determination to act swiftly and decisively appears to have dissipated. We can well believe that you’ve found the odd skeleton in the closet – a mass grave and a veritable boneyard would not surprise us, given the immense dodginess of your immediate predecessors, to say nothing of the one before – or the chap currently in police custody in Dubai. We fans were ready for bleak news about the mess at Leeds United. What we’re really after is a revised statement of intentions in the light of the bodies you’ve dug up so far. For example, last I heard on Elland Road was the hope that it might come back under club ownership by November. Is that still the plan? It wouldn’t be surprising if it was becoming unlikely. But it’d be good to know.

Transfer policy is another thing. Mixed messages again there. Various younger Cellinos have been active on social media, outlining recruitment plans that appear to include Serie A players, an English left-back, and so on. The news from higher up is more confusing. Next season might well be one of fire-fighting and consolidation, we are told. But the club captain’s ambitions run more to a promotion challenge – and that’s quite reasonable, really. As a footballer, time is not on his side.

We are a little worried and unsettled out here, Massimo. Actually, that is to understate the case by quite a bit. Some clarity is badly needed – some good news would be welcome, too. In the absence of those two desirable factors, nerves are being shredded out here and fingernails nibbled. That’s hardly conducive to the making of financial commitments such as the purchase of highly-expensive season tickets – even if the club’s banking situation were sufficiently up and running to receive such payments. And we’re getting idiots from the likes of West Ham and no-mark clubs like that taking the mick, for God’s sake – how humiliating can it get?? We’re wondering, some of us, if it’s Fred Karno’s Army we’re following – rather than Super Leeds.

Sorry to be a nag – I know you’re busy. But all this gloominess and uncertainty is fair putting me off my cockles and mussels. So if there’s any chance of some positive tidings…? Thanks ever so.

Meanwhile, the weather continues fine on the East Coast’s golden sands. Off to Whitby today. Will write again soon. All the best!!


33 responses to “Dear Massimo…. A Postcard From Filey to Leeds – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Reasons have given Rob, FA rules with the bank account frozen preventing players being paid from other or personal accounts. He also previously explained the Elland road purchase situation. McDermott payment fair enough but we don’t know the full details yet, give it time…


  2. Good blog as always Rob, cheers!

    Totally unrelated to the blog will Lee Chapman nip down to DFS and get himself a new sofa his present one has had it, like a wasp in a jam butty….. Bellends


    • Don’t know how the “Like This” bit works, but as Rob has become sanity among the chaos on here, Chapman’s Sofa goes from bad to worse. Their vitriol makes me think they’re not even Leeds supporters. Well said.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Used to read it religiously when it was clarkeonenil but now it is so anti-LUFC, I hardly bother. Go in via newsnow, have a quick gander, get depressed and close it back down.


  3. A thousand thanks Rob, I’ve been sitting here reading the various reports all saying the same thing over and over,then bingo!, finally common sense, and plenty of humour reading your blog. Once again you’ve been able to encapsulate all of our thoughts,the only difference this time is I feel like a little lost boy not been able to sort the confusion out in my own mind, and its SO confusing! Chuckling away to myself at your remarks, and the wife saying what are you laughing at,only to reply You’ll never understand love!, has cheered me up no end! Like everyone else, I cant wait for the outcome of Mondays meeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David Smith

    Rob – I do draw some comfort from the civilised and yes professional way in which the Club announced Brian’s departure. So far removed from the tawdry headlines and revelations that have been leeching out from various sources over the last couple of weeks. I sincerely wish Brian McDermott all the best for the future and will follow his fortunes with interest. MOT


  5. MCD gone At last no more Austin


  6. Well rob I think he has made progress , he’s sold calgari , he’s sacked Brian , he unearthed a spying ring and I believe he’s instrumental in Mr haigh getting nicked… Apparently Monday is also D Day for a lot of ‘unwanted’ staff… I still think he has plans to oust GFH before he buys ER , if I were in his shoes there’s no way id buy such an asset if a bunch of Arab crooks would then own 25% of it, maybe the sale of calgari is what he needed to buy them off ?!! Anyway don’t let all this melt you’re ice cream , crack open a few cold ones , throw another shrimp on the barbi and don’t forget you’re knotted hanky cos it looks pretty warm on gods coast


  7. sniffersshorts

    An holy mess which is still festering from the season just gone, talking of which Gianluca Festa in manager frame ……. west spam butty boy HF is gonna love that one if it comes to pass ……….. uncle Festa doh


    • I think he’s currently thrapping himself into a frenzy over the hockaday as new manager and Ross to west ham rumours.

      Maybe his mum will confiscate his laptop again.


  8. Things should be clearer after Monday.
    I’m cautiously optimistic.


  9. David Smith


    Hope you are still enjoying your hols even with one eye on LS11.
    The answer to your questions may come around tea time Monday. Massimo is going to have a meeting with the players and coaching staff on Monday and at that, one assumes, he will spell out exactly what he intends to do with:
    a) His idea of how Leeds will progress into the promised land (and it was promised by MC)
    b) Who will be employed by Leeds United F.C. to get to that promised land
    and c) He might even manage to put time scales on the above as well.

    There might even be comments on TA and ER ownership.
    As a player I would want to know the state of play and would be be asking certain questions about ownership of the above and who was staying and who was leaving etc., just to find out about the health of LUFC and does MC’s vision of the future match up with my own.

    Can you imagine especially in this day and age of Twister and Farcebook trying to keep the contents of that meeting quiet.

    I for one expect even the journo’s at that auspicious rag the YEP couldn’t miss out on that story.

    Roll on Monday evening for MC’s announcement that what he told everybody at the meeting has been taken out of context and what he meant was….(please fill in blanks).

    Can’t wait for next season. This is going to be fun!



  10. mark benson

    I don’t know what to make of mcdermott myself. Taking into account of his mother’s illness he still seemed to treat the club ie cellino with contempt. Agreed cellino did the same to him but he’s the owner after all. As a manager his choice of players wasn’t all that good even taking on board he financial straitjacket he had on. Tactics too are not his strong point either plan a or plan b. Don’t forget at reading he did not have to start from scratch with the team or the club. Little changes here and there maybe. In hindsight he did appear to take the job, in my opinion, because he didn’t have one and gfh employed him because they got him for free. He did have potential to be a good Leeds manager however, strongly associating himself with the fans is always a wise move. What has left a sour taste is the gentlemen’s agreement- I’ll go give me the money. Obviously if sacked he has to fight for his cash this way he probably gets it quicker. I don’t blame him for that at all but it does lead to one point. At the end of the day mcdermott really didn’t want to fight. And to be a Leeds hero you need spirit.


  11. john kelly

    Absolute shame about Mcdermott: He should have been given next season.Nobody else coming in will do significantly better-in fact, probably worse. He is the only decent character to be attached to the club in recent years. Finally, my jury is still out on MC. When we hear more about the Chairman than the football club, through various reports……drunken rants, playing with a pop group etc etc, I am not optimistic for the future. Sorry about the mess Brian.Hope you get a club that appreciates you.


    • Actually Brian likes to play guitar too! Agree otherwise. Shame there seem to be so few in our camp.


  12. I think we might hear more after the meeting on Monday. I also think it is fair enough for MC to speak to staff and players before the fans.


  13. Mirfieldwhite

    Enjoy Whitby rob , a wander up to the abbey , back down into town , couple of pints and fish and chips out the bag , plenty of s and v. Don’t worry , massimo is slowly turning it round. He’ll have the job sorted come august.


  14. Count of monte fisto

    Rob sat here in the sun at euro disney catching up on my iphone

    Lo and behold away since thursday england have won a game and leeds have sacked brian oh and not paid the players

    Different location same story, by the way sure i just saw Tom Lees and Rodolph Austin, one had giant ears and the other is now aware that i do want fries with that.

    Weather here scorchio queues massive


  15. Aussie Dave

    Good blog Robbie, I see you found the red ……drink up and keep on blogging. I’d like to see you send one to Haigh, bless his little sand -filled ass…….


  16. halifaxborn

    Always a good read, never dull being Leeds . Happy anniversary from the White House . If you’re ever over this side of the pond hit me up mate


  17. Read the Wikipedia entry for Massimo Cellino, it says a lot especially the Italian arrest warrant comments


    • You’ve got to put MC in context of our owners over the last 20 or so years, crooks, vampires and incompetants the whole lot of them.

      If we were a club with a history of good owners I would be horrified at MC. after krasner, bates, gfh, morris, ridsdale, Harvey et all, I welcome him. (especially as its starting to look like bates and Harvey had their filthy thumbs in the other bids)

      Who was last decent enough Leeds owner, probably silver. Who was last great owner, probably going all the way back to Manny Cussins.


  18. Who they appoint as his replacement is absolutely vital. There can be no messing about now. Can’t see the likes of mccormack, smith & byram staying if we get an unknown quantity like festa, carbone or that forest green bloke. Nevermind attracting new QUALITY players. The players need a manager they can believe will get them promoted.

    Redfern may work, or they could go for someone proven at this level like mackay. Even better cellino could make a huge Statement of Intent by going for someone like Moyes or ranieri, but I think that unlikely.

    Can’t see a rush for season tickets if its current bookies favourite hockaday though!


  19. Ayup Rob:
    You need to get back from Filey after your anniversary since there is so much happening at LS11. I’d never heard of this Hockaday dude or even his last club. I can’t even guess who will be the next coach but I am not impressed at the list I’ve seen like Moyes, Houghton, Wise and Italian has beens. Maybe we should cash in on McCormack if he has thrown his toys out of his pram again. Then we can buy some real promising talent.
    Watched Seattle Sounders today demolish Real Salt Lake 4-0 with some new players since Dempsey and Redlin are in the W.C. group. New blood is what LUFC want and I think Massimo can unearth some rough diamonds that will serve the club well. I bet the first game will be over 35,000 attendance.
    I love Yorkshire fish and chips but we have great cod and halibut fresh from Alaska to Seattle wrapped in the newspaper and eat on the beach. Close your eyes and you can imagine yo’ are in Scarborough. That should be the place for a pre-season tour which is something Warnock did right?


    • I’ll be back on the ball from Friday – it’s hard not to feel a bit separated from it all out here – which is just how I like it at the moment! Never had halibut – I’ll put it on the bucket list…


  20. Aw just missed you in my home town rob


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