Leeds Fans: TELL the Football League What They Should be Doing – by Rob Atkinson

Football League officials in sober conclave

Football League officials in sober conclave

The Football League, by their decision this week to disqualify Massimo Cellino as owner/director of Leeds United, have demonstrated their utter inability to appreciate the factors at play in this situation. The arguments have been laid before them; the fact that Cellino’s “dishonesty” is as water unto wine beside the wrongdoings of certain other Football League club shareholders and owners (there are rapists, money-launderers, porn barons and other such unsavoury chaps out there. None of these bad boys attract the attention that Cellino does from the League as they pig-headedly pursue their vendetta).

It’s also true to say that Cellino can point to a highly productive track record as Leeds owner since he first appeared on the scene. Various whimsical coaching appointment decisions aside, he’s got the club on a sounder financial footing than at any time this millennium, he’s assembled a fine and talented squad – at last being gelled by the right coach – and he’s pursuing capital investment with a view to making all our dreams we dare to dream come true. The Football League, by contrast, continue to betray themselves as corrupt, purblind fools who are clearly not fit for purpose in their brief of running the game below elite level.

The text of a current petition at Change.org is reproduced below. I would ask anyone who hasn’t signed it yet to read the arguments advanced by the petition organiser, and to sign it without further delay. If you have signed it, I would urge you to share it as broadly as possible, to ensure the maximum possible support. The grounds laid out below make good sense; this petition deserves universal support from anyone with the interests of Leeds United truly at heart. Since the latest crass League decision, support for the petition has raced up to over 9,000. We need 10,000 at least to have a good chance of generating some media interest and gaining a wider platform for the argument that Massimo Cellino has been good for Leeds United, and that – in the interests of the club and the game in a wider sense – he should be allowed to get on with the job he’s doing.

“Dear The Football League,

The Owners’ and Directors’ test (previously called Fit & Proper Persons test) was brought into effect in 2005. The purpose of the test is to better protect clubs and the reputation and image of the game, thus to protect Football League member clubs from Owners and Directors who might mismanage or ultimately guide a club into administration. With this in mind, rules and guidelines were written to protect member clubs.  The fundamental intention of the test – to protect member clubs and act in their best interests – should not be forgotten.

Since purchasing the club six months ago, Massimo Cellino has turned around Leeds United’s precarious financial position.  Under his control, the club’s debt and operating expense have reduced. Leeds United have signed 15 players – many of whom seem to be extremely talented and don’t demand the high salaries that can often force clubs into administration. For the first time since the turn of the century, Leeds United’s finances seem to be under control.

The dire financial situation which Cellino inherited was caused by the mismanagement of the two previous owners who both passed your Fit & Proper test – namely Ken Bates and GFH Capital.

Massimo Cellino has invested a lot of money in Leeds United – initially through his purchase and then through subsequent investment.  In all probability, if you force him out now, Leeds United would, again, be facing administration. Forcing Cellino out of Leeds United is not in the best interests of one of your member football clubs and would in fact, be very damaging indeed.

The Owner’s & Director’s test is particularly valid prior to an owner taking over a club. However, the same critera should not apply after ownership has begun. In many circumstances, removing the owner could cause harm and instability to a member football club. A new set of guidelines which monitor how the club is actually being run would offer much more insight into determining if the owner or director is fit and proper to run the football club.

Cellino is now a major part of Leeds United. He has owned the club for six months. He has made large contributions, both on and off the field, and many of the fans are in support of the direction he is now attempting to take the club. Cellino would not be prevented from becoming an owner or director of any other business in the UK.  Considering Cellino has owned Leeds United for six months already, an examination of the financial statements in the periods before and after his takeover would enable you to better judge his ability to control the football club. Forming an opinion based on his non-payment of import duty on a boat in Italy in 2012 is now inappropriate.

Please remember that your responsibility is to act in the best interests of Leeds United and to protect the club from being controlled by someone who might mismanage it. This needs to be the most important factor in your consideration of this matter.  Do you now genuinely believe that Cellino will not manage Leeds United in its best interests?  Are you just desperately seeking to find him dishonest so you can block him for some other reason? We sincerely hope that Shaun Harvey’s relationship with Ken Bates along with Ken Bates apparent desire to regain control of the club is not a factor in your decision.

Everyone signing this petition is requesting that you allow common sense to prevail and that you drop your pursuit of Cellino, attempting to force him out of Leeds United.  Please also take some responsibility for allowing GFH and Ken Bates to purchase Leeds United and control the club for too many years.  The club and its fans have suffered greatly under the control of previous owners and directors.

We would like to bring your attention to your charter which states that ‘The Football League is committed to providing excellent service to its stakeholders and club supporters.  The League is a listening organisation, which aims to be open and fair in its dealings with all persons representing the interests of the game.’

With the above in mind we strongly request that you act in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club and release a statement confirming that you agree that forcing Massimo Cellino out of Leeds United would not be acting in the club’s best interests; and that you will continue to monitor the situation with respect to any future foul play, as you would any other member club.”

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything is happy to support this petition – and to campaign for an end for the interference by the Football League in the internal affairs of their premier member club. I hope that anybody who reads this article will be prepared to support this as well – and also to help spread the word by sharing this as widely as possible.

Please get involved – please help. Leeds United is your club, so do your bit to make sure the idiots and buffoons of the League aren’t allowed to destroy it.

17 responses to “Leeds Fans: TELL the Football League What They Should be Doing – by Rob Atkinson

  1. rob , can you clear up a point for me , if cellino is banned from ownership of the club , but when time is served in march he can again take control , would he not be able to sign ownership over to his son till march then back again?


    • Not sure of the ins and outs of that – I believe the League have measures to prevent obvious shadow control. But I’m certain that Big Mass has more up his sleeve than the senile buffoons in Preston have bargained for…


      • you have to laugh at these shadow control rules when Karl oyston, esteemed gentleman of the football league, is doing the same bloody thing for his rapist scum father


    • Nevermind his son, if this 3 month thing is the case, cellino should get verne troyer in for 3 months as mini-mass just to point out what imbecile jobsworths the football league are


  2. sniffersshorts

    come on everybody sign this now, on another note Rob, can we all write the Heil what garbage they write, cant help them selves the press can they, just like the Nazis they are pulling gold teeth …………….. pricks


  3. I’ve signed I, but I dont think It will do much good. Football authorities in england have long had an anti Leeds agenda. I suspect if we’d had a cellino out campaign they’d have left him alone.


  4. Also that petition should say 4 previous owners not 2. It’s not all down to bates and gfh. Krasner consortium were bloodsucking vampires too, probably more so than Mr burns and smithers (bates & Harvey). Ridsdale was a blethering idiot that blew all our money on goldfish and expensive reserve players.

    It’s why I’m keen to keep cellino, I don’t think he’s a great owner, he’s no cousins or silver, but the last 4 were shit, big mass is nuts but cares. Given our track record its better to stick with what we’ve got, history tells us most Leeds owners are worse than the current one.

    Also red bull – no fucking way. Im not supporting a team in red, they can get stuffed.


  5. Totally agree they have it in for leeds.


  6. All signed up my heart hopes it will help but my head says it ent going to do a dam thing because i truly believe that the football league hate us with all there Being and just to top it all off just read on newsnow that the blues supporters club have requested that the football league ban carson young who’s in nick for money laundering can someone work that shit out because I’m at s loss MOT


  7. Well said Rob.


  8. Kevin Wilson

    I’ve signed the petition Rob. I also note that Shaun Harvey has at last declared a conflict of interest due to his previous position with the club. Surely this is inconsistent as has previously been involved in this vendetta and NOT declared a conflict of interest? This raises the question of the famous 15 point deduction doesn’t it? The football league clubs who voted for surely also have )or had) a conflict of interest so shouldn’t have had a vote on this. Are Mr Cellino’s lawyers aware of this? Now would be a good time to get these points back!


  9. David Smith

    Rob – thanks for the link to the petition. Duly signed.


  10. Absolutely agree with each point in the petition, and your call to arms Rob.
    I think there will be many many people around the world who will be glad to do something for the cause.
    The Football League is bringing the game into disrepute, and Shaun Harvey is in WAY over his head now.


  11. Stephen Whalley

    We need Cellino. He’s passionate about Leeds and things are just starting to look up.
    Another season will be ruined if this is not stopped now.!
    leave the whites alone F.Aand concentrate on running the game .


  12. Craig Blaymire

    The FL is a joke. Why do they keep trying to ruin our club? Can’t they see that Cellino is the best thing to happen to our club in over 10 years. The FL should leave Leeds United and Cellino alone and go and sort the other clubs owners out.


  13. I said this before on this blog…many months ago (before the appeal) and I’ll say it again: I am a HUGE LU fan…but I just happen to be American. And in this country…all four main sports’ leagues care for ALL their teams…and their histories.

    I don’t understand how this could be happening! Why would the League want a team that clearly has one of the biggest followings, with the most traveled fans, to do bad? You would think that we would be considered a big financial asset to the sport…with more revenue, no? Can you imagine the hysteria once we make it back to Europe? Think of it…Leeds U vs. Bayern or Real Madrid…how would that not be a big boost to the sport in England?

    Look at England’s performance in the International events over the last two or three decades. Yuck. But Leeds U back to prominence would be such a huge story…and bring English soccer some fresh news!!



Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.