Seasoned observers of Massimo Cellino‘s somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth will find it hard to derive much – if any – reassurance from the Italian’s claim that midfield prodigy Lewis Cook is not for sale. Sadly, the rule of thumb where il Duce is concerned appears to be that old saw “believe nothing until it has been officially denied”. At Yorkshire’s Number One club, this could more conveniently be described as “The McCormack Protocol”.
This is, of course, no way to run a football club – or any other organisation which holds the happiness and contentment of thousands of followers in its hands. It’s downright unprincipled. Such cynicism is really more the preserve of politicians and other such undesirables, operating in an arena where it is tacitly understood that misdirection and deception are simply the tools of the trade. But Cellino has brought to Elland Road standards of veracity that would make a Westminster spin doctor wince; his track record as the owner of Leeds United is littered with broken promises, slippery evasions and downright lies.
The examples of forked-tongue complex are not difficult to cite, neither are they capable of much misinterpretation. From the vow to repurchase the stadium and the training ground on Day One of his tenure, to his serial failures to stand by coach after coach, as promised, “Cellinocchio” has seen his nose growing longer with each undeniable failure to deliver on that out-dated commodity: the truth. It’s been a tawdry couple of years down LS11 way.
Now we’re just a few days into January or, as most fans think of it, the mid-season transfer window. But for Leeds fans, this time of the year has long been “Crown Jewels Sale Time”. Right now, the Leeds United treasury is crammed with diamonds, greedily coveted by predatory clubs operating at a higher level – and well aware of the short-termism that characterises United’s retention policy.
January, crucially, is always the acid test of Leeds’ resolve to hang onto its prize assets – and it’s a test the club usually fails, leaving the fans misty-eyed at the loss of yet more potentially winning talent. Of the current crop, Sam Byram represents low-hanging fruit almost bound to be plucked before the month is out. Leeds fans have reluctantly come around to his impending loss as a result of the club’s failure to come up with an appropriate contract. The likes of Cook, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor, though, would be seen as a premature cashing-in on youngsters still tied to the club and evidently content, for the moment at least.
Young Cook is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment, with firm interest registered by Premier League giants Bournemouth and a figure not unadjacent to £10m mooted. There’s rich irony there, not that any Leeds fans will relish it. Almost seven years before our Lewis was born, Leeds were beating the south coast outfit to win the second-tier championship and head on and up towards ultimate glory two years later. The same match saw the Cherries plummet into the third division, destined for a crisis that would threaten their very existence. How times change, how roles reverse. Perhaps in time our relative positions might switch back again, but that’s cold comfort in a here and now which sees Bournemouth as the shark to our small-fry status.
Given our less than completely trustworthy owner’s recent statement, it would be no surprise to see Cook go – but it would be a tragedy – and it would be further confirmation of crazy priorities at Leeds. It may be, of course, that all of this Lewis Cook brouhaha has been cynically engineered to sweeten the bitter pill of Byram’s departure and subsequent inadequate replacement. With a notoriously slithery operator like Cellino, little is too Machiavellian to rule out. But the simpler and more worrying possibility is that he’s simply lying. Again.
As the sharks circle and the vultures flap overhead in the next few weeks, we will learn quite a bit more about our current situation under a man who has proved time and again that he’s unfit to run a club like Leeds United. And whatever happens, whatever lies and broken promises are exposed – you can be sure that the blame will be apportioned anywhere other than the office of one M. Cellino.
No one should believe a word Cellino says, and for that matter the manager Evans.
I was told from within the game, and by a usual very reliable contact, that the deal to sell Cooke to Bournemouth for £8m is a done deal.
I am also told that Byram will see out his contract and then leave in the Summer, unless there are bids from a huge club such as Liverpool.
Whatever happens, as long as Cellino remains, NO GOOD WHATESOVER will come of the club!!!
Was it a Scandinavian chap? If so, I’ve heard the same.
Through a British agent.
The plot thickens…
I blame Tom Lees!
Thanks again Rob for telling us how it REALLY is!
Best Wishes to all Leeds fans!
Your anti Cellino rants are getting tedious Rob . I am a big reader and fan of your blogs , but the way you have twisted things to suit your own point of view , would do credit to Alistair Cambell as a spin doctor . Nobody that cares for our team would deny that some of the crazy things the mad Italian has done are detrimental to its fortunes , but lets be honest and say that most everyone I know would have sold Ross for the stupid money Fulham gave us . Also apart from Byrom leaving which seems inevitable , he has bent over backwards to try and keep our young stars . Richer owners than him have had to sell their best players , but he at least is trying to keep ours . As for buying the ground , I am sick to death of hearing people use it as a stick to beat him with . He never sold it in the first place and I for one would rather any spare money was spent on the team and not just to satisfy the anti Cellino brigade . I don’t actually want him either , but he is what we have and at the moment we are doing ok in spite of him. Lets just let things run their course and see what happens , as there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it , it is his club unfortunately and people like you twisting things to score points is not gonna change him one iota .
We all have opinions Rob and you are more than entitled to yours , but as much as I am a fan of your blogs , even forwarding to other teams fans , I do think your anti Cellino rants are over the top . That’s my opinion mate .
Happy New Year to you and your family .
The problem for me is Cellino’s ongoing policy of lies and broken promises. We’re being taken for mugs, and that we’re surely not.
From BBC Sport today:
Kidderminster Harriers have parted company with head coach Dave Hockaday after just three months in charge. Harriers lie bottom of the National League, 12 points adrift of safety, having won just twice all season.
Cellino put this c**t in charge of the world famous LEEDS UNITED Football Club…nuff said eh Rob?!!
For what it’s worth here are my thoughts. I was pro Cellino on arrival and I have yet to convince myself that I am now anti Cellino. I genuinely do not believe that he bought Leeds in order to fail. What I think I understand is that the man is the ultimate egotist, prima donna call him what you like but he won’t listen to anyone apart from himself and this is a recipe for disaster. All successful people surround themselves with equally smart people so that they can delegate with trust. Cellino has no-one of that calibre. He did have that luxury in Adam Pearson, the fact that he up-sticks speaks volumes. Cellino needs to learn and I wish he wasn’t doing it with the football club that I follow, and always will.
I agree with Mally. I am a fan of this blog and your views Rob: as well as your ability to air them in an honest and convincing way. Though I have my doubts about Cellino and wish the club could be run on more democratic principles with the council and fans involved in some way: we have a demagogue. He hasn’t yet done a Bates and sold off young players when he could have done. You were happy at the McCormack sale and even wrote about it as a mugging if I remember rightly, even if the funds haven’t been invested in player buying: maybe perhaps to pay off debts?. We will likely never find out.
As for ‘Lorimer Is A reptile”s post. We can all play that game about having heard a rumour from a reliable source: and you agreed with this Rob. If you are both correct: fair enough. It supports your view of Cellino. But if you are wrong i would like you both to have the decency to come back on here and explain why: Scandinavian chap or British agent notwithstanding.
I’ve been wrong many a time and I’d hate myself if I failed to acknowledge it.