Is Cellino Preparing to Jump Before He’s Pushed? – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino - end of the road?

Cellino – end of the road?

Three bits of good news for Leeds United fans over the past few days – a week worthy indeed to be marked with a white stone. That’s normally our ration for a season or more in the glad tidings stakes, after all – so what can all of this mean?

On the wonderkid retention front, the fact that Lewis Cook has extended his stay with the Whites is the best possible example of A Good Thing you will see this side of United’s next promotion. Cook is, by common consent, the real deal – and even if this contract extension is merely the Leeds United take on fattening the lad for the next propitious market day, still it’s a mighty welcome development for the here and now.

On the player recruitment front – wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles – the League’s transfer embargo has been lifted, meaning that Leeds United are once again free to raid for Serie B for the cream of its dubious talent – or maybe even to buy some serious candidates for enhancing a team which aims to compete in the hurly-burly of The Championship. That’s as vexed a question as it’s been at any time recently; much will depend on who, precisely, will be pulling the transfer strings – about which more anon.

The return of Adam Pearson is a more puzzling if still very welcome piece of news. Right out of the blue, we have a person at the top end of the club who could quite conceivably restore some credibility to the senior executive management levels at Leeds. Pearson is the kind of person who will know before striking any agreement precisely what the parameters are and with what measure of unfettered freedom he’ll be able to go about his clearly-defined role. He’ll be Massimo Cellino‘s right hand man, so we’re told, but there are complexities afoot, surely. Wiser heads than mine are nodding sagely and prophesying that great changes are in the offing.

These great changes may, of course, not be a matter of choice or election on the part of those within the club. Further legal hurdles are ahead for Cellino to attempt to vault – or more likely to stumble over and carve a furrow in the track with that ever-lengthening nose. The Italian may be many things, but he’s not daft – he ahead of almost anyone else must be aware that knives are still out for him, and being stealthily sharpened by cold-eyed men with grim and determined smiles on their grim and determined faces. It’s been open season on Cellino since the day he set foot in Elland Road, and the fact that he’s back for the time being – with a blessing of sorts from the Football League – amounts to the square root of not very much, if the judicial sky is about to fall once more on our President’s head.

This being the case, Cellino may well be acting under notice of his own impending demise. That’s the sort of information that sharpens and concentrates the mind wonderfully, turning it to securing the best possible exit under the most advantageous terms. Simple economics dictates that a forced sale attracts a lower price; the buyers out there act in full knowledge of the lack of options a banned seller has – and the price goes down. The sudden appearance of Pearson on the scene could well mean that Cellino is preparing to bow his head to the inevitable and, in effect, cut his losses by selling before he has to do. Pearson would be there to ensure smooth running during any interregnum – which is a selling point in itself. Meanwhile, the main people will continue to talk the talk as if they’re going to carry right on walking the walk. But the rumours won’t go away about a change of ownership in the near future – and the logic is appealing.

It’s going to be a very interesting and probably confusing summer at Elland Road, certainly over the next few days and weeks as poor Neil Redfearn continues to dangle and the Press conjure up more or less ridiculous candidates to inherit the poisoned chalice Redders has been supping from. It’s a thankless position for Redfearn to be in, and so much more so for his erstwhile assistant Steve Thompson. This issue, surely, must be the first of many that require clarification before any other business can realistically be done.

All of which begs the question of what is Lewis Cook’s understanding of the current situation at Elland Road. Or, more likely, that of his agent and advisers. Cook is a hot property with options reportedly available at the top end of the Premier League. He must presumably have received some assurances as to the wisdom or otherwise of signing the next phase of a richly promising career over to a club many football people – and Rodney Marsh – consider to be fatally ill-run. So there’s another glimmer of encouragement – if young Cook, or his cadre of assistants, is happy with the way things are shaping up, perhaps we can dare to be a little more optimistic too?

All now depends on how this Elland Road game of musical chairs proceeds as the summer draws on. We can properly expect big changes, with outside events in foreign courts likely to have a telling influence either directly, if Cellino sits it out, or more indirectly if he takes the pragmatic view and goes – more or less – quietly. As ever this past decade or so in and around LS11, the summer promises to be the most significant and entertaining part of the LUFC year – far more riveting and compelling than that dreary and frustrating portion of the calendar when they actually try to play and win football matches.

Watch this space – it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

25 responses to “Is Cellino Preparing to Jump Before He’s Pushed? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. David Dean

    As ever you throw an interesting light on things. Lewis Cook signing is significant I agree that something must have persuaded him to put pen to paper it it will not have Cellino. Nothing about communication between Redders and Cellino and Adam Pearson, nobody’s fool being right hand man to the fool! Hope you are right!


  2. Well rob , if I was sat in cellion’s shoes and I had intentions of bailing out then I would sell the young lads first , so no I don’t think he’s ready to jump , but I have to admit the appointment of Adam Pearson is an odd one … a clash is bound to happen pretty soon


  3. For me Redders is essentially Mr. Leeds United and reasoning is pure and simple; he has been working with one of the corner stones of the LUFC: the Academy. He has put his heart and soul for one of the most distinguished football jobs in the World.

    What ever happens he must be treated with utmost respect and salute him.



  4. Aussie Dave

    Well written Rob. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Absolutely riveting stuff…….better than anything on the box!!

    Poor Redders. The right man at the wrong time. He will be the biggest loser in all of this. Hopefully we will get a manager with considerable Championship experience. Atkins would be good but Cellino will need to allow the new ‘coach’ to have a significantly bigger say on transfers. How much Pearson can influence this area is going to be very important.

    Stay tuned – it’s going to be an interesting Aussie winter indeed. MOT from Down Under


  5. Cellino is not an idiot, as many would have us believe,
    He bought int LUFC to own a football club, also with a view to making some money allong the way.
    I think with the FL are looking to ban him in the near future, then to do the same again later on, that Cellino has put a man in place who with a management team can operate the footbal club. With the aim of promotion next year.
    With or without Cellino being “on site”.
    Leeds united in the premiership is worth a whole lot more than now, so accept the bans, keep the club and “watch” from Florida( obviously having no input during the ban periods!).
    Cellino is here and I think staying here, although I could be totally wrong abd he sells tomorrow!


  6. RoystonLUFC

    When I saw the appointment of Pearson, my first thought was that this man will be in charge during MC’s many absences. I still think that because, all along, I’ve reckoned that MC will want to continue at Leeds and he’s realised the knives are out for him; he’s not going to surrender so he’s putting things in place to foil the corrupt FL.

    He probably thought that Umbers was the man but, contrary to popular opinion, he’s more than capable of learning from his mistakes.

    So to me, Pearson represents continuity rather than change. Pearson is capable of running the club during the many absences of MC, so the MC can continue his project while the corrupt FL administer their prejudiced vindictiveness.

    So it will be interesting to see which way this goes: stick or twist.


  7. I liked the article and all but can you refrain from emboldening random words every other sentence? It makes it hard to read.


  8. Philip of Spain.

    Rob,those phrases and uses of the English language you throw out with gay abandon baffle me at times,being an ex miner and Merchant Seaman, so here goes my reply!!

    Maybe,just maybe,there is absolutely no skullduggery whatsoever going on and everyone is doing everything for exactly the right reasons.Now a man of your ethics could possibly believe that or is it a case of once bitten??


  9. Andy Bentley

    Does anyone understand how Cellino’s mind works? I struggle to see more than an egomaniac with a long history of impetuous, ill advised decisions behind him and no hint that he is able to reflect and learn from these. He is far from being stupid but his attitude of ‘knowing best’ and elevating himself by demeaning everyone else, does not breed confidence in a unified and stable future ahead!
    The appointment of Pearson then is something of a mystery. He is known for being thoughtful, considered and pretty much the antithesis of Cellino. Time will tell if it is a marriage made in heaven or a transition into something else. Interesting that Pearson has already distanced himself from the Redfearn decision!
    On the Lewis Cook front, I’m delighted that he has signed! I do wonder what escape clauses are in the detail. At least it should enable us to realize something closer to his true worth if another mid-table season is our best effort.


    • Graeme Parsons

      Concern about the escape clause if there is one

      Could be a money making one for Cellinio……..if any Premier Club offers more than ££££’then……..


  10. Changing the subject a bit…
    I had no idea until the other day that John Hawley was playing for Bradford on the day of the Valley Parade fire, and I heard that Neil Redfearn was playing for Lincoln too. I was at Birmingham that day witnessing the Leeds game there. On the train home we heard that there had been a fire but nobody knew it had been on such a scale until we got to Leeds and went for a pint. It seemed the whole population was staring at the television, unable to imagine the horror. We also had no idea that a young man had been killed at the game we had just attended. I listened to some of the 30 year anniversary stuff from Bradford on the radio and found it very moving. The original radio broadcast from Tony Delahunty is incredible listening. Paul Hudson from Look North found it difficult to speak on the subject without stopping to compose himself. It does put things into perspective somewhat.


  11. Just realised you did a blog on this very subject recently. Didnt see that one. Been down south for a couple of days and lost my bearings.


  12. To replace Redders would be mad, a new man would spend ages getting to know the players, would probably not trust the kids and would want to recruit from whichever tin pot club he came from. Let’s face it, Mourinho and Revie are not available so the sensible thing would be to let Redders and Pearson and Thompson have their go without interference.
    So that’s it then,(pessimism arrives) Redders and Thommo gone by the weekend, Pearson will fall out with the Italian and we’re up shut creek again.
    MOT, it’s all we can do.


  13. wise old owl

    Pearson is probably now in a position get a picture of the true situation at the club with a view to his own takeover, and a good thing too.


  14. There’s more intrigue, scheming and backstabbing at Elland Road than in Vikings and Game of Thrones put together.
    I am hoping for a complete 100% buyout and we can be run and owned by ridgey-didge Leeds United people.
    I believe that we are seeing the start of the Endgame.


  15. I personally cant see Pearson coming in to be cellino right hand man. This is a man who owns his own Rugby League club and has been in charge of 3 different football clubs and cellino has previously stated to Simon Austin (the only man he seems to give interviews too)that that the club is not for sale but everything has its price. There is more to all this then we know.


  16. He’s just buttering us up before he sacks redders. Cellino HAS to be the main man, he’s an egotistical bars pot. the nails were hammered in redders coffin when we started chanting for him.


  17. Good article as usual Rob, I don;t know what you could even call this rollercoaster ride that MassiMe[sic] is taking Leeds on but as you say it’s going to be bumpy a bumpy ride. I am following each step, dreading as my feared predictions about the man materialize. Two steps forward and seven backward seems to be the philosophy.
    +1 on Stelufc comments.
    It seems we seem to have been treated to yet another day of buffoonery at the hands of MassiMe again today. Not very interested in fans opinions either. My money is staying put in my pocket as I watch with sadness as this loon on par with the finest of leaders such as Gadaffi and Mussolini continues his particular self promotion at the expense of our club.


  18. After today performance, I really fear for this club. Are we now to see the academy dismantled? If I was Pearson I would be on the next train to Sheffield. Cellino is just a loose cannon. I just hope someone will come along soon, there again I believe in fairies.


  19. Rob,
    Seriously behind with all the new;s about the club rely on your excellent blogs for the new;s, sadly my superb wife seriously ill in hospital, cancer…….will be out of touch for awhile. Please email me for blog updates on urgent new;s
    regards Don


    • Don that’s awful news. Wishing your wife the strength and determination to fight her way through this, supported by you. Football means nothing, Leeds United means nothing. All the very best to both of you.


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