How Will Cellino Try to Justify the Sacking of Steve Evans?   –   by Rob Atkinson


cellino-crotch

Cellino’s chopper seems to be ready to swing again

As our promised “beautiful season” drags its weary way to a mid-table close, amid a welter of unexpectedly good results, the burning issue now at hand is what we will be told when loco owner Massimo Cellino scratches that itch and sacks yet another manager.

The revolving door at Elland Road will surely also need replacing soon. It must be on its last legs after the unprecedented number of staff arrivals and departures over the last few years, as Cellino continues to feed his voracious ego. The only truly secure position at Leeds United appears to be that of Il Duce himself – and that’s only by the grace of the unusually tolerant football authorities. They have Cellino taped for what he is and yet, unaccountably, they fail to act. By his own admission, Cellino has been a dire failure at Leeds. Get rid of me if we’re not back in the Premier League by 2016, he trumpeted on arrival. There was also some stuff about repurchasing Elland Road. None of it has happened, of course – yet still Cellino is here, hiring and firing like there’s no tomorrow.

That process seems certain to continue in the near future; Steve Evans has been doing a miraculous job in circumstances that would be unbearable for less determined and self-assured men. But nevertheless, he is likely to go soon; the writing has been on the wall for a while now. Cellino’s modus operandi is a wearily familiar one: undermine and publicly rebuke your victim-in-waiting, tell him to keep quiet while you hog the headlines yourself, aim to stir up the negative feelings and prejudices of the gutter end of the United support. This campaign is in full swing against Evans, but there’s one niggling problem. The dratted man has done better in post than any of his predecessors since promotion-winner Simon Grayson. How inconvenient for Cellino is that?

How, indeed, will Cellino set about justifying the imminent betrayal of yet another solid football pro? It’s undeniable that Evans has made something of a silk purse out of what was definitely a sow’s ear when he arrived. Yes, he’s vocal at times, and has a tendency to proclaim his successes and his favoured managerial techniques. But are these really bad things? With the axe hovering above our heads as it has been for Evans, wouldn’t any of us point out as often as possible that we’re actually doing a decent job? Lifelong Celtic fan Steve Evans could, it is said, stroll into Celtic Park and occupy the manager’s chair if he so desired. But he wants to stay at Leeds. Shouldn’t we admire and relate to that?

What’s more, shouldn’t Cellino display some passing regard for a man who has overseen what looks like being our best finish for a good long time? But that would be out of character for someone who is far more at home sniping and griping at those who are trying to do their jobs under his crazy stewardship. Even Cellino, though, probably recognises that this sacking will be even harder to explain away than the others. The results have been OK, some of the displays haven’t been too bad – and we cannot now finish lower than our recently-favoured final position of fifteenth or so. Still, it’s likely that Evans will be gone, a Scot fired because Cellino says he can’t get on with English managers. That’s Massimo logic for you.

What have we to look forward to, then? Cellino appears to have put his money where his mouth is with a “season ticket part refund” undertaking if and when we fail to make at least the play-offs next season. That’s a big gamble, and there have to be concerns about the financial state of the club going into season 2017/18 if season-ticket holders have to be refunded up to half the cost of next year’s outlay. Still, that’s a promise conveniently far away. And it’s not as if Cellino has felt bound by his word in the past – is it?

And so the lunatic merry-go-round carries on apace. The next few weeks should be very interesting, though probably not in a good way, as we wait to see which direction Cellino’s grasshopper mind will jump next. The only thing that seems certain, based on the Italian’s record so far, is that stability – a commodity badly needed at Elland Road – will be as elusive as ever when il Duce once again clears the decks on the foundering ship that is Leeds United.

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35 responses to “How Will Cellino Try to Justify the Sacking of Steve Evans?   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. David Dean

    I could be tempted to renew season tickets if Evans is kept on and I would gamble on the “promise” of a refund from the incumbent lier and thief at the helm. The only problem is that Evans will not even be told he is not wanted. Like Redders his contract will run out and the season ticket discount deadline will pass – so I will be one of the lucky ones.

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  2. Nick Smith

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. Even the most impatient of fans would be happy with us jumping about 5 places since the last 2 seasons, particularly when we have not spent more than we have brought in (from Byram). Incidentally we have finished the last 2 seasons in 15th on 56 points if memory serves. Cellino however is quite literally mad as a hatter and you can see in interviews his mind bounces around like a ping pong ball. Hopefully someone can talk some sense into him because ultimately if the team does well, he makes a mint.

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  3. He can justify it simply by stating its what the majority of Leeds supporters want. Some people have short memories,remember the “top ten before Christmas” claim anyone? Remember Antenucci being left on the bench? Remember Wootton NOT being left on the bench? Remember 1 up front for the majority of Evans tenure? Cellino could slightly redeem himself by getting in quick for Pearson. Even players have stated recently what we all knew anyway,that this team should be higher up the league. So its no good people wetting their knickers now that we’ve been getting a few results. The pressure is off. Where were the good runs in November,December,January,February. Evans out asap and hopefully Cellino to follow.

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  4. srpadget (Robijn)

    He,s Nutts

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  5. Steve Evans suits Leeds, he even fits into the training gear now for gods sake !! Please Massimo….back Steve Evans, I’ve said it all along, I think Evans and Leeds are a good match…he loves the club and is a proven winner (albeit at lesser clubs in lesser leagues) but he knows what a winning formula looks like.
    Getting rid of Evans will cost us a top six place next season and cost the club a fair few million in season ticket refunds !!!

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  6. It’s an utter travesty Rob how this egomaniac remains at the helm. I feel for Evans, he had done a decent job and any owner with a semblance of sanity would recognise this. Alas though, he’ll be gone at the end of the season, followed by our academy jewels.

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  7. Ah, I see you have him taped! The only sure thing for me with Cellino is that he will continue to create instability and won’t show any class in his dealings with Evans. Tgat is my view as well.

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  8. He doesn’t need to sack him as Evans is on a short term contract – no one is talking about Hiddink being sacked – I appreciate there are differences in their situations but Evans did take the job on a “suck it and see” basis – I’m surprised really that Evans is still up for it as Cellino seems to take pleasure in undermining and humiliating people but there you go – the pull of Leeds United is still there!

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    • We can play the semantics game – it’s been done for years in football with the “mutual consent” rubbish – but the reality is that a non-renewed contract is a dismissal – a sacking. And Cellino, with so many sackings behind him already, can’t justify this one in my opinion. The only person who needs to go – as he said he would if we weren’t promoted by this year – is the President himself.

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  9. It could be dishonest of some of Cellino’s most ardent critics to use the sacking of Evans – were it to come about – as another stick to beat him with, since his occupancy of the managerial post not long ago was frequently cited as an indictment of Cellino – that at any rate is the impression gained from casual conversation with several of them. I write incidentally as someone who from the outset felt that Evans and us was a pretty good fit.

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    • But the problem with Cellino is not any particular hiring or firing – it’s the frequency of them. There have been far too many and, whatever the view of Evans’ appointment (and I thought he was a good fit too), his sacking now has to be seen not only in the light of what is a reasonable record, but of Cellino’s ridiculous turnover of staff. So it’s not at all dishonest in my view to criticise Cellino if and when this happens – on the contrary, as people with the good of Leeds United very much at heart, it’s our duty to criticise him, long and loud.

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      • As he has shown with the season ticket scheme, Cellino is not a fool. He will offer Evans a renewal of his contract for one year with another year guaranteed if we finish in the top 6 (or alternatively a bonus). On the other hand, he might not ……. !

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      • So he’s not a fool – but, on the other hand, he might be!

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  10. Cellino is a crook, a coward and a boor who treats people with utter disrespect. I think Evans has done well and believe that given the backing, financial and moral, he could get us back in the top tier where we belong.

    But, of course, that will not happen due to the rampant ego and childish resentment of the crooked clown who is more likely to preside over a return to League One.

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  11. At some point Rob he (cellino) has to back a coach . Nobody is going to come in and hit the ground running . It takes time to build a successful team . Steve Evans is not everyone’s cup of tea . No Manager ever will be . Yes he’s made gaffs tactically as he freely admits but he gives it 100% . He cares and has passion . He’s brought in Diagouraga and Bridcutt both good players . We get rid and you start from scratch again with a new coach who will want his own players and time to build the team which we know with cellino he’ll never get . I say stick with Evans , back him and lets all get behind him and the team . Last few games the player’s have done well with some solid performances . Ok pressure is off but when did that stop us losing games . The lads look like they want to play for the club , with four quality signings and keeping our kids we can have a great season next year . Just don’t press the self destruct button massimo for god sake. M.O.T

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  12. Some of Evans decisions have caused some very bad results this season, the Huddersfield result springs to mind, but Leeds do need stability and must start planning for next season now and not when another Coach has had another long drawn-out sacking, which always wastes so much time.
    Maybe it would be a very sensible decision, to actually keep Evans and back him with five or six quality signings, before all of the decent players have been snapped up.
    Any decent Coach would struggle with with the lack of quality in the Leeds squad and surely a new goalkeeper, two new central defenders and a striker with pace, have all to be top priority signings, just to stop next season being another struggling waste of time, just like this season has been.
    Like you say though Rob, the only person who needs to go is Cellino and I can’t see things changing until he has gone.

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  13. I agree that Evans should be granted the opportunity to continue as Leeds United manager. He is possibly the only person that would take on a rolling contract and not whinge that he has not been appreciated. Evans is possibly the only “British” coach capable of getting on with the job and ignoring the Cellino crap. The majority of other coaches would blame the “environment”. The fact that he has the team passing the ball as a basic theme of his coaching style is laudable. Yep, he talks up his ability but that is fine , at least we know what is happening. His limited signings have been very promising. Evans is let down by poor defending (particularly Bamba and Belusci) and by a lack of a creative central midfielder and by a real goal scorer. Murphy and Mowett are good back ups in midfield but they will not win a league. Not sure Cooke is yet a number 10 either. I think Evans will know what is required but will Cellino support him by (a) giving him the job and (b) giving him the players required to make a decent squad a promotion chasing squad. I think Cellino has no intention of renewing Evans contract – the megalomaniac owner is dishonest, untrustworthy and frankly full of bullshit. Evans has proven he can coach and manage with Cellino’s interference. I guess Cellino does not like that. Evans talks too much, so he is no good for Leeds United. A real pity because for the first time in many a year I can see the potential of this team. I would love Cellino to prove me wrong!

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  14. Chris Wheeler

    Evans definitely deserves a chance at a full season where with 3 or 4 signings I feel we can push for the play offs. He has made a few quality signings this season which has seen us improve and stability is desperately needed. We also need to see some quality back room staff appointments made along with a coach to support Evans. My concern is that the Football League will impose a ban on Celino as soon as the season ends to cause us maximum possible disruption with any transfer dealings. MOT on on on.

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  15. Belfast White

    I think a great number of fans would agree with your article, Rob.
    Evans is doing a reasonable job and seems to have even improved recently! Your problem as a blogger, is attempting to bring logical and reasoned argument to a situation governed by a narcissistic, dishonest, megalomaniac with schizoid tendencies. (Forgive me sitting on the fence!)
    Each coach runs a fine line. Perform poorly and you are out the door. Perform too well, steal Il Nuttino’s limelight, and you are probably also out the door.
    We shouldn’t forget one reason for so many coaches being sacked, namely MC has selected too many simply not up to the job. That is not their fault, it is entirely his. Choosing Hockaday based on manoeuvring condiments round a table is akin to employing MIchael McIntyre for his excellent ‘Five Spice’ standup routine.
    Let’s hope SE gets the chance of another year. Let’s hope we get some decent enough signings for a chance at the top 6. Of course all could be up in the air again if Cellino’s appeal finally fails. (Only Chilcot seems to be taking longer!) Will he sell up when faced with a 223 day ban, or will he hold on and try to run the club in the rumoured clandestine way as during his previous ban?
    Whatever, it will prove to be an interesting, and perhaps worrying summer for Leeds fans. Let us at least hope that come those balmy early August kick offs that SE is still fitting into an LUFC tracksuit. MOT

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  16. Dont you see!! Promsing to pay back tickets, its good too hear, promising that make fans happy and we think Cellino wants to put money to reassusre us that he means business, and then he sack Evans. Because now he told us that he means business by pay money back if not play-off. Get rid of Cellino.

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    • If we don’t finish in the top six there’ll be a few who will be moving onto better things and that’s how the season ticket rebate will be paid back. It shows just how far we’ve sunk when supporters are happy with an incompetent crook as coach. I keep reading about stability,I would have thought constantly finishing around mid table would be the definition of stability? The Italian Knob has gone on record stating the club isn’t for sale so I’ll leave others to protest in their own ways,but I know what I’m going to do.

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  17. patrick hogan

    I have mixed feelings about Evans: trying to put aside the impossibility of working for Cellino. If I became owner through a typing error I would be concerned about several of his actions. I think he has only really consistently used about 18 players (maybe 19 with Byram) of his squad throughout the season, admittedly he might not rate the others (he didn’t buy them). But I wouldn’t be happy about those players languishing in the reserves on several thousand pounds a week whilst their morale and value plummets: ostensibly blocking the path of up and coming youngsters. Maybe he has only had a budget to work with small squads before? I admit, I haven’t checked how many players the top teams in this league have used. But for 46 games, and allowing for injuries and suspensions, I think you need more. And if not, why do we have more?

    Whilst I admire loyalty, I would not be happy at the retention in the team, bafflingly at times, of some clear underperfomers – Wotton, Bellusci, Bamba, et al; all guilty on occasions. Wotton is hardly mentioned now, after Evans stood by him at the expense of drubbings, when we did have other options.

    Byram was sold for a pittance, and before that left out, played out of position, publicly castigated (by Cellino) – a shambles. Should have sold him at the start of the season for a lot more. Maybe Cellino’s fault, though he’d already stated he wouldn’t offer him another contract. Should have put him in the shop window (he did get Dec player of the month when he was) to earn a good move: and then Evans might have got the transfer dosh to use in Jan if we’d have been much further up the table as a result. Unless Il Duce had told Evans to leave him out prior to that?

    I admire Evans’ honesty, and yes, his outspokenness, and clear relish of the Leeds job: but I do wonder if he is a good enough coach to manage our great team. So when I come to throw my fantasy millions at our plight I think I might only hold on to him for the one important reason that you have pointed out Rob – stability. Sorely needed. Sadly unlikely to be provided.

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  18. Bornawhite

    Contrary to most posts I am not an Evans fan. He is quite frankly the ‘Incredible Bullshitting Man’
    I cringe at most of his comments, particular his apparent private chats with players that seem to turn around their fortunes.
    Let’s remember this is a coach who played Wooton when his confidence was as high as a snakes balls and he had Lewie Coyle ready and waiting.
    However having said all that without a change in ownership there is no point in a change of head coach. Cellino will only replace him with another obscure Hockaday type. Let’s be honest – if Leeds were owned by anyone half decent none of Cellino’s appointments would have had a sniff at becoming Leeds manager. We are now willing to take the least worst of a bad lot.
    Personally, I feel this team has underachieved. I look at what is above us and I do not see any outstanding teams.
    Pearson, Moyes and Potentially Malkie would, in my view have made us a top six side.
    Evans has got passion and he appears to have a sense of loyalty, but he was managing low level teams before he got this job for a reason.

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  19. Bornawhite

    We are not what we were, that is undeniable – but I would still suggest we are a cut above Rotherham and Crawley Town. Cellino has effectively resurrected Evans career by taking another coaching gamble. Let us not forget Evans left Rotherham under a cloud. He signed 31 players at Rotherham – Is that the ambition of our club these days.
    In fairness I would say that the signing of Dougy was good business. But other than that he has not done enough for me. But as I touched on earlier I would rather keep him than let Cellino have another stab in the dark Appointment.

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  20. Bornawhite

    Perhaps, but the competition is not exactly top drawer.
    My point is this – we are willing to settle for mediocrity, some may say that is all we deserve. Well I do not. Less glamorous teams have managed to get in the premiership of late on a regular basis because they have vision. My perfect scenario is that we say goodbye to both Cellino and Evans this summer. We do not need a billionaire owner, just someone sane and with a plan will suffice.

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    • If Cellino goes, it’s a whole new ball game, I accept that. But while he’s here, then I would wish for the best stable option possible, which means retaining Evans.

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  21. Bornawhite

    Stable…… Pfffff. Trust me Leeds fans would soon get bored of that, it seems attractive now but plodding along with an outside hope of top 6 is not good enough for me.
    Playing two def midfielders and one up top at home is not good enough for me either.
    But I can put up with it, but feck me I will still grumble because we deserve more.

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    • Stable would be a good thing to be after the flux of the last few years, and stability should not be equated with mediocrity. I’m on record as maintaining that mediocrity is not something we should ever accept. When we go up, we’ll be looking to succeed, not just survive – as we succeeded last time, and the time before. That’s the ethos of the club and long may it remain so.

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  22. Cellino stays. Same old merry go round again.
    Steve Evans goes. Another coach, another season of chop and change. Who stays?, who goes?
    New coach?. Not British thats for sure. Inexperienced, no track record, knows very little about British football.
    No money on the table, no quality, absolutely nothing to attract half decent players.
    No potential buyers anywhere on the horizon, so if he did go, who the heck would take the reins.
    If you ask me we are well and truly up the creek without a paddle.
    However, Evans must stay, he has to. I hope all you guys wanting him out have skins as thck as your heads because if we go back to being a shambles on the field just when we are putting something together, you are going to get it right in the neck.

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    • Oh dear,the name calling has started because you don’t agree with anyone who wants Evans out. Perhaps you too have been pepper sprayed in the eyes and was unable to witness the shambolic performances under your hero. I can promise you this,we will never go up with Evans as coach. I loathe Cellino but I’m sure hes desperate for Leeds to go up if not to make more money selling the club. Take the Peterborough job Evans and we’ll see who’s “thick” next season.

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