If You’re Loyal to Cellino’s Leeds United, You’re a Mug   –   by Rob Atkinson

Cellino smoking while Leeds United crash and burn

It gives me no pleasure to write an article under a title like that. In fact, it causes me immense pain. Loyalty is the raison d’être of the fanatical football supporter. It’s a byword for anyone who loves “their” club. It ranks right up there with passion and pride in the lexicon of the devoted follower – and that applies to followers of Leeds United far more than most.

Right now, the way the club is being run is a sick joke. The old maxim of “no one man is bigger than the club” has been torn up and thrown onto the fire by an egomaniac of an owner in Massimo Cellino, who clearly regards himself as the living embodiment of a famous old football club. He’s wrong, of course – but sadly for those of us who see that, he doesn’t recognise a world in which he can be wrong. As far as the Italian fraudster is concerned, he is the answer, whatever the question might happen to be.

That word loyalty resonates with fans, and people in general, no matter how hard times could possibly get. It’s a quality deemed to be of the first importance, especially at the very worst of times. This applies throughout most of life; stick together, guys, and we’ll get through this. But, in modern football, loyalty has been bent out of shape into a slavish obligation to turn up and support even the rottenest of regimes. And, right now – at a time when we the fans are palpably being made mugs of – those who devotedly roll up at the turnstiles, to cheer on their demoralised heroes, can only be classified as mugs. Helpless mugs who see no alternative to their lifelong habit of watching the Whites. Loyal mugs who justify the owner’s stubborn determination to stay in control, football pundits and rulers notwithstanding. 

The crowd tonight, or the more vocal part of it anyway, attempted to qualify their loyalty with repeated chants of “Massimo, time to go”. But they had to be there in the first place to join in with those chants. And they had to have parted with their hard-earned cash to be there, meaning that they’re propping up a regime that they’re now loudly opposed to. 

Make no mistake, the Elland Road crowd have correctly identified the villain of the piece. They’re not daft mugs – just misguided for being there at all. They know, those intuitive mugs, that Cellino is the problem. I’d hazard that the players know too – they’re certainly all too well aware from recent experience that no one “Head Coach” is going to be there long enough to make a real difference. Those players know that they’re actually playing not for any football man, but for a mad despot who will keep chopping and changing, sticking his unqualified nose in, reducing a great club to the status of a music hall slapstick routine. You can see it in, their headless chicken, panicky performances, especially under the eyes of those massed loyal, frustrated mugs in the stands. Is it any wonder that what Cellino promised would be a “beautiful season” is swiftly degenerating into ugly farce?

The time is now for the fans to organise, so far as such a thing is possible, and resolve as a body to be mugs no longer. Attendances at home and away must be made to suffer, in the hope of hitting any regime where it really hurts – in the pocket. The Cellino era needs to have the life choked out of it, if not by the League’s seemingly toothless “fit and proper” test, then by loyal, devoted people who love Leeds United – but are determined to be mugs no longer. 

We have decent players for this league. We have a manager in Steve Evans who has produced winning football at his previous clubs, in a manner undreamed of by his predecessors. The problem is not in the dugout and, despite appearances, it is not on the pitch. The problem is right at the top, where the rot set in when Cellino moved in – and any semblance of sanity or stability moved out. That rot will seep down throughout the club unless it’s checked. Eventually, the Leeds United we all love might very well rot to the core, and cease to exist in any form we might recognise or wish to see. 

The Elland Road crowd has taken a big step tonight towards assuring Massimo Cellino that he’s not wanted at Leeds. Now those loyal supporters must show a more painful kind of loyalty, by doing the unthinkable and staying away – withdrawing their vocal and financial support of this decaying club. They must stand up to be counted and make the rest of football sit up and take notice. They must stop being taken for mugs and they should stop acting like mugs. 

Because, deep down – whatever Cellino might smugly think – Leeds United fans are definitely NOT mugs – it just currently seems that way. That’s what we have to demonstrate, and it has to start now. 

And, if not now – after the rotten mess we’ve seen tonight – then… when?

34 responses to “If You’re Loyal to Cellino’s Leeds United, You’re a Mug   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Pingback: If You’re Loyal to Cellino’s Leeds United, You’re a Mug   –   by Rob Atkinson | Sports Droid

  2. rob coates

    This speaks for me. Only if we are passive and obedient, and turn up to matches like loyal supporters, Cellino is able to govern. If only we realise our own power, and boycott ER, then he will back off quickly.


  3. Rob,

    I’m Leeds born and bred 44 years, was at Elland Road to see Billy as a wee boy but have no recollection. Seen the ugly scenes of the 80s that brought shame on our club to be swiftly resurrected to Champions in 92, dancing round Queens Square in a ginger Strachan wig

    Had been looking forward all week to this game tonight. In a sad way had decided to watch it in the gym on the cross -trainer of the fancy hotel gym in Bath where I stay mid week. Got there bang on time to tune in to kick off and 0-1 down after 17 seconds. Played like a pub team for another 5 minutes and we’re then 0-2 down. WTF?

    Without even breaking into a sweat, left the gym, went for a swim in the pool, and then met the most gorgeous bird in my life and she’s taking me out next week.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr Cellino for ruing our once great club and all being well every time I have sex with the new Mrs will be thinking of you.

    Quick message for the Egotistical One:

    Tornati in Italia e va fanculo strozo di merde. Tu non c’e bisogno qua in Yorkshire amico mio! Cellino fuori!!!! Sarrebbe meglio trovare una puta perche l’amore non c’e con noi, I tifosi di Leeds xxxx Bunoa note xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. completely agree mate, this season has relegation scrap all over it and I don’t know where the goals are going to come from……… but as you say what coach we bring in or what player becomes irrelevant in the face of the atmosphere at the club and the way its being run, abusing loyal staff and getting rid of them, abusing players….it all bites you on the bum eventually and cellino is just a complete idiot


    • What do you mean relegation scrap? They’ve given up already and sorry but is Steve Evans better than Uwe, Neil, Brian, Simon. Obviously better than Colin, my dead granny had more nouse than Colin and as for Hockaday, Milanic…… ???? On the plus side I’m sure we will be able to get Grayson to get us out of League 1 again next year. WACCOE?


  5. As I said, the passion of my support is being transferred up the love canal of the next Mrs C until that “stronzo” leaves us. On second thought viva Il Presidente xx


  6. Leeds’ inept performance against Blackburn was, probably, down to our inept manager (sorry, “coach”) being obligingly predictable in his team selection, format and tactics. Passion is okay but needs direction or you get a dog humping leg situation. Evans is just another example of Cellino’s cut-price stewardship of Leeds. So I agree with your tenet that Celino is at the core of Leeds’ current problems.


  7. As the saying goes money talks and bullshit walks hope he does straight back to Italy total waste of space


  8. Pingback: The state of #LUFC and #football owners | Dan White's Blogs

  9. In my 40 plus years as a leeds fan, this is the first time I’ve felt so deeply embarrassed to be so.
    Of course I’ve spent many tragic years trying to explain to my better half that you can’t just choose your club and that for good or bad your support is unbending.
    Tonight I find myself dreaming of 35000 fans outside the ground for Cardiff and none inside. At the very least we can demonstrate to the world that we’ll support our team forever but we certainly won’t be taken for mugs


  10. David Heald

    I’ve nothing more to say. Those words have been taken from my mouth. Well said Rob. Massimo, fuck off out of our club NOW!!!


  11. Paul Brace

    I agree with your sentiment 100% but your solution no. The players need us more than ever, especially the poor ones. We never protest by staying away, we demonstrate but we follow those 11 shirts otherwise the rot deepens and our club dies


  12. Deeply worried!


    • sniffersshorts v superwoman



  13. So lets sack another coach, great. Tell you what, let’s get that guy at Chelsea, I’ve heard he is one of the best in the business. By the way, how are Chelsea doing, anybody know?.
    Cellino is a total waste of space, but so is this f*****g team. Alex Ferguson couldn’t make this lot play any better, in fact NO coach could. I’ve worked for some pretty lousy companies where the management are crap, the workers morale is rock bottom but, the company thrives, why? beacuse the poor sods on the shop floor work their backsides off, something this lot are incapable of.This team has no passion, no guts, no pride, but if you seriously think some massive boycott is going to solve anything you are f*****g stupid.
    I’m sick of the same teamsheet because they are not good enough. Evans has stated there will be changes, big changes so for crying out loud give him a chance because this lot WILL take us down.
    As for Cellino, unless we get a new buyer with pots of money, which I very much doubt right now we are stuck with him until somebody locks the b*****d up. There’s no money for top players, no matter who the coach is. We have to scrape around charity shops for second hand goods hoping, just hoping we find a bit of treasure. We are second rate right now but the one saving grace is the fans. Stay away and you will kill this club.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ropey Wyla

    As a Leeds fan I feel I have always given Cellino the benefit of the doubt but benefit cuts are en vogue currently and Mr. Cellino’s circus minus the big top, trapeze artists, clowns etc. routine has worn it’s own arse out. To quote an army of nameless bigots, kindly “f%ck off back to your own country” Mr. Cellino.


  15. Totally agree Rob. I came to the same conclusion long ago. It has broken my heart to see what this lune has done to our club. SupportingvLeeds has be the,second great love of my life and now that feels violated. Total chaos on and off the field. Things looked so promising when Pearson was on board.


  16. Is it just me or does anybody else think that the majority of the fans in the ground are suffering from the same lack of fight as the players these days?
    It’s louder in McDonald’s than the kop and I can’t remember the last time I heard the deafening sound of elland road at it’s best.
    I wonder if this is what it’s like supporting other teams? Heaven forbid we’re becoming as bland as most other support.
    I’m old enough to remember fans who couldn’t get into the ground standing in the peacock car park watching the old kop scoreboard, and when asked by the kop “car park, give us a song, car park, car park give us a song” they would duly outsing the away end.
    Seriously 35000 fans singing their heads off outside the stadium would be impossible to ignore, especially for a sky game.
    10 years of protest chants in the ground have certainly had no effect at all, that’s for sure.


  17. Atlanta White

    What an appalling display. A wasted decade of liars and thieves. It’s the hope that kills you. The thought that success, when and if it ever comes, will be all the sweeter because of nights like tonight. Keep the faith.



  18. Rob, the only problem with staying away from Leeds is who can predict that lower attendances will lead to Massimo departing? He has show us one thing and that is he flys in the face of logic time and time again . Sad as it may be to swallow, he will do things on his own terms with his own agenda. Having said that. I will also stop going but not because I believe it will get this guy out of our club, but because we’re playing like crap.


  19. Cellino certainly needs to go and he can take that blimp of a coach with him. These players are further up the food chain from what Evans is used to and therefore he’s well out of his depth. He can take his “winning football” back to the lower leagues,because if he continues we’ll see decent players leave and dross come in. We must be careful what we wish for also. Remember Bates,then we got GFH,then Cellino, next a sugary drinks company and we’re playing in red.


  20. Andyablett

    Give Phillips a go up front and Sloth in the middle and replace the rest with our U21 side. The worst thing that can happen is they get beat, but at least they will have an excuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well written , and from the heart as usual . Only thing is even if we get rid of the problem what’s the solution ??


  22. Kevin Wilson

    Good piece as usual Rob though I disagree on boycotting matches. Apart from the loyalty factor don’t forget season ticket holders have already paid. Football fans are in a unique position where collectively we can have a better effect when we turn up to matches, with ant- management banners and chants. Add to this demonstrations outside the ground and we have a potent mix. It worked with Bates. If there has to be a boycott I’d like to see all Leeds fans cancel their Sky subscriptions. That would have an effect. As for what comes after Cellino, who knows? Another gamble but I’ve never been one of those who thinks we would always attract idiots or struggle for a buyer. There will be someone out there. A pact with the devil appeals at the moment!


  23. Rob, Any comments on the latest story about fans buyout? I believe you commented some months ago about this initiative but do you have any words of wisdom?


    • I’m always a bit short of words of wisdom – but I am mulling things over. It’s no secret that, having started out as a confirmed Cellino supporter, I ended up desperate to see the back of him. But we don’t want a cure that’s worse than the disease, and I’m not sure that exclusivity for LFU would be in the best interests of LUFC going forward. We need options, not Hobson’s Choice.


      • The is no doubt that a lot is broken at the moment and Mr C certainly does not seem to have the skillset to fix it. I too was willing to give the guy a chance in the beginning but despite his sorting of many issues it seems he has created just as many by his machine gun management style. I too have concerns about LFU and whether they have the skills base and financial clout to leverage the buyout of this scale in the first place. More importantly, I doubt the skills are there to handle the ongoing management of the club. I also have the feeling, knowing Italian business style, that Mr C is simply toying with amateurs just to take some of the heat out of his current situation.
        Personally I would like to see some persons or group with experience in running a club of the scale of Leeds take the reins and ideally if that structure could give fans a substantial holding and say it would be all the better. At the moment sadly that seems nothing more than a pipe dream.


  24. This LFU malarky is crazy rob , their so called spokesman came out today saying we the fans would make things difficult for cellino should they not be granted exclusivity , firstly who the f**k are they to speak in my name and secondly can you imagine the call to arms has cellino made a similar statement ,, what we need is proper investment and vision , not a couple of lads from Huddersfield of all places with a spare million or two..
    Pls Pls Pls NO TO LFU


    • Well put, Mr. O. This is crystallising my thoughts on the matter. I’d be grateful for more views, pro or anti fan ownership. Then maybe it’s time for the blog to take a position on the matter and try to spark a wider debate.


      • Well, for me this LFU is Together Leeds/Farnan-Verity group in disguise and they are behind this all. Is it good? Who knows. I think that if LFU will buy Leeds then the ownership will be divided between LFU and Pearson, Farnan, Verity and more guys from Together Leeds. This is one possibility. Another is that Cellino’s 75% will be truly owned by LFU but the club will be loaded with new debt i.e. money lend to LFU from Farnan-Verity and their associates.


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