Cellino: “I Speak For The Fans”… But Then Betrays Them?   –   by Rob Atkinson


…and stop lying to us, my friend

An exclusive report in yesterday’s Yorkshire Post, under the byline of Richard Sutcliffe, claims that Leeds United was offered – and decided to refuse – the option of playing Monday night’s rearranged Sky TV fixture against Middlesbrough on Saturday lunchtime. The game would still have been televised, with a kick off of 12:30 as opposed to the original 3:00pm, but it seems very likely that far less disruption would have been caused to travelling fans long-standing transport and accommodation arrangements.

Many fans were put to inconvenience and financial loss by the short-notice announcement of the game’s move to Monday night. The Football League has claimed that an announcement could have been made much earlier, but for United’s behind the scenes attempts to leave the fixture as originally scheduled. Now it appears that a compromise offer of a Saturday lunchtime kick-off, which would have saved the plans of many long-distance supporters due to arrive in Leeds on Saturday, was rejected by the club. 

This will be somewhat galling to say the least for Leeds United fans in general – and those who suffered inconvenience at short notice in particular. United owner Massimo Cellino has done his best to heap all of the blame on the Football League and/or Sky TV. This blog has no track record for defending those bodies, but it does appear from Sutcliffe’s Yorkshire Post article that Cellino will have pointed questions to answer about the treatment of fans in this instance.

Cellino, after all, has presented himself as the defender of fans’ interests in this affair. The club owner, writing in the match day programme for last night’s Boro game, said: “We are aware of many supporters, not only from England but across the world, who made plans to attend this game at the originally scheduled date of Saturday at 3pm. Those fans feel the effect financially and emotionally, but it is difficult for their voices to be heard. It is with their interests in mind that we continue to push for change.”

It would be somewhat bizarre of Cellino to bemoan the financial and emotional effects on fans in one breath, if with another he is rejecting a compromise offer that would have negated virtually all of those undesirable effects. If this report is true, it would seem that our owner, no stranger to the art of manipulating the truth, has once again strayed from the path of strict veracity. Indeed, this would be more than just another casual untruth. Some might say that it’s rank hypocrisy for Cellino to pose as the defender of the fans against those nasty League barons and TV moguls – whilst simultaneously acting behind all of our backs so as to ensure that those fans will suffer the “financial and emotional” effects that it now seems could easily have been avoided. 

There’s no apparent reason to disbelieve the Yorkshire Post claims. Which leaves Leeds United, in the person of Massimo Cellino to answer these questions:

  1. Is this claim by the Yorkshire Post of a compromise offer – allegedly made as early as December 15th – true?
  2. If it is true, then why was it rejected – when acceptance would have minimised disruption to travelling supporters, including many coming from abroad?
  3. How can Cellino claim to be looking out for fans’ interests in these circumstances?
  4. If it can be shown that supporters have incurred financial loss and inconvenience due to actions and positions taken by the club, then what plans does the club have to compensate those fans for that avoidable loss and inconvenience?
  5. When is Leeds United going to return to a more transparent approach in its dealings with supporters?

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything believes that answers to these questions are the very least that fans deserve. 

Over to you, Mr. Cellino… 

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5 responses to “Cellino: “I Speak For The Fans”… But Then Betrays Them?   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. GOOD CALL ROB,BUT YOU KNOW THE ANSWER ALREADY.I WOULD BE AMAZED IF HE GAVE IT A SECOND THOUGHT.WHO KNOWS WHEN THIS SAD CHAPTER OF OUR HISTORY (YET ANOTHER) WILL END.

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  2. Never saw that one coming och the sly git probably thought it wouldn’t get out n the fans would flock to him for sticking up for them slyer than a bag of cats

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  3. David Smith

    Good well argued blog Rob…Cellino continues to tie himself in knots in his vain attempt to endear himself with fans!

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  4. Pie tax, South Stand segregation, lack of investment in the squad , hike in ticket prices highly likely next term, and he still insists he has the fans interest at heart, what heart? He’s a business man,he doesn’t have one. It’s all about the money, empathy with the fans !! He’s having a laugh.

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  5. Belfast White

    Another excellent post, Rob. The more you hear about Despicable Me(ssimo) it becomes more and more surreal.
    A couple of questions I wondered about the GFH pond life and debt. I wondered if you had heard? As owners I heard that in spite of their gross ineptitude, they were charging the club 1.5m per month for their ‘management services’ and that is how one part of the debt accumulated to £25m. If true, that area would be most unpalatable for potential new owners.
    It also makes you think that if the Ego (or others) had waited and Greedy Fraudulent Hustlers had been forced to put LUFC into admin, they would have got it so much cheaper and with a clean slate.
    There is also GFH’s stake in the club that they are grasping on to until a big payday. Could a new owner create for example a new share issue which would dilute the value of the pond life share?

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