Cellino’s “Old Lamps for New” Policy and How It’s Sold to Leeds United Fans – by Rob Atkinson


Allegedly want-away youth product Charlie Taylor

The Massimo Cellino propaganda machine is cranking up again, the object as ever to sugar-coat nasty pill after nasty pill in an effort to make the Leeds United support swallow them. The strategy – for want of a better word – behind this recurrent process might best be described as “old lamps for new”, in a reversal of the trick practiced by another pantomime villain, Abanazar in Aladdin. As we might remember from our younger days, nasty Uncle Abanazar offered “new lamps for old”, in an effort to gain ownership of the lamp with the genie inside. Cellino, a perverse villain if ever there was one, has made a habit of selling off unpolished diamonds from the Leeds United youth policy, getting a good price for them, and then investing in cheaper but more experienced recruits, in the hope that he might thus conjure up the Premier League genie without the unpleasant necessity of a big net spend.

The worst thing about this decidedly short-term policy is that there are so many Leeds fans, seemingly drunk with ecstatic worship for their Italian hero, who are ready and willing to forget that it’s our home-grown future we’re pawning off, for some pretty risky short term loans and purchases. It’s a short-sighted policy that could yet reap rewards if this squad, shorn as it is of its locally-nurtured talent, can still contrive to blag a play-off place or better, and maybe somehow scramble into the Promised Land. Stranger things have happened, as Leicester City amply demonstrated last year. The difference is, Leicester went about it honestly, without manipulating their support and indulging in cheap publicity stunts.

That brings me neatly onto the season ticket refund promise. If Leeds United don’t make the play-offs this coming season, then a chunk of season ticket receipts will go back to qualifying buyers by way of refund (or maybe even via discount against future season ticket purchases). Some were impressed by this, others realise that such grandiose gestures have to be costed and allowed for. They have to appear in the budget for subsequent seasons, and I’ll give you three guesses as to how any such shortfall might be made up.

The latest we hear is that Charlie Taylor, last week’s contract rebel, and the scourge of Serie A side Atalanta, is this week’s transfer requester, as the Elland Road publicity department has its crafty two penn’orth. Not so long back I heard from a guy who met Charlie at a pre-season friendly. “Will you be staying then, Charlie?” asked the fan. “It’s out of my hands,” replied our young and promising full-back, glumly. And the truth is, it is out of his hands, as it was out of Sam Byram‘s hands, and Lewis Cook‘s. Further down the line, there’s Alex Mowatt – and later, perhaps, our exotically-named and lavishly talented young prodigy Ronaldo Vieira.

There’s not much point, when you think about it, in these young men rocking the boat or making trouble. They have their careers to think of, after all, and their new clubs might not be impressed at a loose lipped footballer. So, we hear that yet another youngster wants to jump ship, and a lot of fans will say, sod him, then. If he doesn’t want to play for Leeds United, let him go. And lo and behold, another new lamp is sold off for a big profit – and a small proportion of that profit is invested in the loan or purchase of an old lamp which is slightly tarnished, perhaps, but might just shine for another year or so yet.

As I said earlier, all of this might just work. The squad being assembled by Garry Monk looks quite promising, and is perhaps two or three quality additions away from being competitive in this league. We’ve even bought an uncut diamond for ourselves, in the exciting shape of Kemar Roofe. But it’s a big gamble, with the high stakes being put down at the cost of what’s always been regarded as our club’s lifeblood – the procession of top-class youth products from the academy. If the gamble pays off and we go up – then it’s a whole new ball game, as they say. But what if it doesn’t? What if, with our diamonds all sold off, we’re left short of the play-offs, and stuck with several once-valuable but rapidly depreciating assets? Those old lamps won’t bankroll our future, and it’s the future we’re now in the process of selling (hopefully with some nifty sell-on clauses). And the thing is, sadly, the new lamps being sold off are the ones largely getting the blame.

When we all should, of course, be blaming evil old Uncle Abanazar.

28 responses to “Cellino’s “Old Lamps for New” Policy and How It’s Sold to Leeds United Fans – by Rob Atkinson

  1. hi Rob.
    I don’t think many fans are taken in by Massimo.
    His policy of selling the crown jewels has been his ‘method’ since he got involved with football.
    We fans know that once the season starts, there is no hiding place for Massimo.
    I hope Gary Monk can work a miracle, but it will be a tough job but we all have to pull together.
    Now, less than a week from the off we have to look to hope over experience!!
    Gary will have to get consistency out of inconsistent players.
    Otherwise we won’t see the top 10.


    • Nick Buxton

      Let’s get behind Massimo, it’s a new season and if we continue bitching and having a go st him then we may as well right the season off now. I do understand everyone’s frustration but I think we have to accept he is nuts but he wants to go up! Come on lads MOT

      Liked by 1 person

      • We all want to go up mate, but I’m not so sure I’d trust you to sort it and I’m bloody certain you shouldn’t trust me to. And if anything, I trust Cellino even less. He’s funding the purchase of a team of mixed promise by selling off diamonds. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I’ll tell you now – we’re not going up.


      • LeedsLad

        The “continually forgiving” fans like you are the route cause of our predicament !


    • Fletch Lives

      I think the thing that annoys me is that each transfer has been so disgracefully engineered……….. He offers Byram a reduced contract and then abuses him when he refuses to sign, strangely enough of all of them Byram seemed the most reluctant to leave…… but once he left the flood gates opened
      Then cook is offloaded and now Taylor is being abused because he refuses to sign an extension to his current 4k contract………… Its all deliberate alienation of the players in order to sell them off……….its a despicable way to treat the players because he then brings the club down by having the club suggest it was all down to the players greed
      I suspect the Mccormack transfer was similar……………..i beleive that mccormack would have still been at leeds if cellino hadnt appeared, after all he supposedly pushed for a move as a result of cellinos treatment of Mcdermott and then came the contract fiasco

      Roofe will be sold off next and so will Viera, they are the only real and valuable talent we will own after Taylor goes, half the rest of the players are loans now

      It will go on until cellino sods off

      I mean imagine if Monk did the impossible and got us promoted, with cellino in charge you couldnt trust the club not to sell off our best talent at the drop of hat regardless of our position in the league….. even if we first i reckon he would still cash in

      Hes no football man, as hes painted himself to be, hes a charleton that used his dads money to buy cagliari and thus get himself his own source of income, he sold cagliaris best players every summer, the fans said that before cellino arrived here, he did exactly the same thing there as here, threw a load of BS out, upset players, sold them and spun a load of PR, bought in a few gambles and youngsters and sold off the next talent that comes along…………each time taking a percentage for himself……..on and on


      • David Dean

        Reply to Fletch lives: That is all true I am sure but if the miracle came about he would sell the club for a fortune or pocket the millions on offer from the Prem. Selling players would be irrelevant in terms of money if they ever made it to promotion.


  2. Belfast White

    Spot on as ever Rob.

    Once upon a time there was a brat with too much money but no sense of values. He (or she…ahem) would like a toy for a while, then tire of it and get rid. Problem was the brat not being mature enough to look after the playroom properly and did not have enough pocket money to improve it, but refused to let go. Sooo…brat stayed in the deluded room, huffing and wondering why he (or she ahem) was so unpopular. Meanwhile, all the other boys and girls in their lovely white shirts desperately hoped that he would go away and not come back. They even began to dream about a Chinese takeaway to help them feel better.


  3. Normally i fully agree with you Rob, but unfortunately i don’t think Charlie wanted to stay, his agent has turned his head just like he did Sam’s. I think he has to go for at least some sort of fee or he goes next year for nothing and then everybody is back on Cellino’s case saying “he should have let him go last year and and got at least something for him”. Don’t matter what Cellino does at the moment he can’t do anything right because people just won’t let him redeem himself.


  4. Rob I usually love your articles but I think you’ve been drinking the “everything MC does is evil” coolaid. “its out of my hands he said glumly” is worthy of the YEP crapola. His hand is perfectly capable of signing a new contract but he and his agent have decided not to. Do you honestly think MC, as oddball as he is, would be crazy enough to try to get rid of our leftback 5 days before the season starts? Surely even you have to admit that the answer to that is no. Cook, Byram, and Taylor probably talk all the time, do you not think that the influence of having friends tell him how much greener the payola is on the other side is a temptation greater than loyalty to the club? I have supported this club since the 60s and would love to see it return to the heights it once called home with young home grown talent, but I am not naive. How quickly the average fan has forgotten how we dreamed of playing in the Championship when looking forward to an away game at Yeovil, and that was only a couple of years ago! You are an astute man, cast you mind back to Krasner, Bates, etc and tell me honestly that things are worse now. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying they are good, but they are definitely better. Could they improve, yes undoubtedly, will they improve, I hope so, is MC the devil incarnate, no.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scally Lad

    I’m distressed about this, too, Rob, especially given the fine off-season acquisitions by our old rivals in this league and by the far superior talent and financial megatonnage of sides new amongst us like Aston Villa and Newcastle. Cellino’s cheapness is another season’s ticket to mediocrity, boring play, amateurish managing and poor results – and, I fear, yet another season’s bottom-half-of-the-league finish.


  6. Dave Devonport

    I like your line, “I’ll give you three guesses how any such shortfall will be made up”, because sadly it conveys so well the strategy of our club for the foreseeable future. I am no Cellino fan. His decisions, actions, and statements since his arrival have caused only frustration, disappointment, and distrust.
    Now and again we are fed a morsel of good news that in part repairs optimism, only for much worse to follow not far behind. We signed 3 players in about 12 hours a few weeks ago, the next day Lewis Cook is sold. We have just landed the excellent Pablo Hernandez, and before the ink dries on the paperwork comes news about Taylor’s transfer request. Bad news, even though widely expected.
    I would like nothing more than to look forward keenly to the new season, but is it worth getting excited as a Leeds fan knowing full well that as soon as events take an upward turn, you know who will do his best to disrupt.
    I can just about bring myself to thank Cellino for buying the club when he did, but firmly believe he is out of his depth in the Championship and should bid it goodbye. Hopefully he will be gone sooner rather than later but the question surely is, who on earth would want to deal with him ( and those lovely people at GFH) to purchase the club?


    • Fletch Lives

      The cook transfer was timed…….to happen after those transfers were completed to reduce the impact on season tickets…………the only reason hes not as willing to sell taylor immediately is that taylor is only tagged as say 5m which we might get at a tribunal anyway when his contract runs out
      Cook was worth a lot more so he cashed in


  7. Philip of Spain.

    The truth is,its all assumption.Byram,Cook and Taylor are all under the same agent,I understand??If so in my opinion he’s advising ( Telling) them how to manipulate the situation to get the most lucrative deal for them and most of all for him.Loyalty does not come in to it one iota.

    Well Rob as you say,some of us will be thinking if they don’t want to play for us,tough, well go.They could have sacked the agent and signed,they also don’t have to take the agents advise and signed.No they have agents to enhance their careers and earning power,pure and simple.In short,it was OK while it lasted but on to the next,while Mr.(I don’t know how many %) smokes his Havana’s and quaffs his Hennessey XO,rubbing his hands together.


  8. It seems to be two steps forward and then two horrible steps backward in the transfer market, when yet another Leeds player is sold or wants to leave. Cook has not properly been replaced yet and Taylor will now need replacing, but what about the other key area, which is central defence ?
    The central defence only has two fit players and one injured player in Cooper. The entire defensive department has to be the smallest ever, with only three central defenders and three full backs, one of whom wants to leave and Coyle is still very young, which is very concerning.
    Maybe Taylor can see another season wasted in the Championship, when the team could have a poor start and end up getting through two Coaches yet again and a struggle in mid-table again, all due to Cellino’s penny-pinching.
    My only mad theory is that the much improved strikers and wide players, might just be able to score more goals than will be conceded in games next season, but surely you do need a strong defence to be successful ?
    You can’t rely on the strikers outscoring the goals that will definitely be conceded next season, because Leeds will probably need to score four or five goals per game to achieve that.


  9. I don’t like Cellino, hate the way he behaves and will be glad when he’s gone but its so obvious the power these days is with the players and their agents. Leeds fans seem to think the academy players are somehow different from the rest of professional footballers, they somehow belong to us, but in reality they can’t afford to have loyalty to a club, and will get pushed and pulled from one club to another and simply end up chasing the money and their ambition, like the rest of them.

    You make the players (and their agents) sound so sweet and innocent as they are dispatched by Cellino, kicking and screaming to the bigger clubs and bigger salaries of the Premier League when all they wanted to do was to wear the Leeds shirt forever. As if!!

    What about past jewels in the academy crown, like Tom Lees; booed out of Elland Road by the haters. it wasn’t a question of selling the family silver – he was devalued and abused by the fans and no one seemed to mind him leaving for diddly-squat. What is he worth two years on?

    As for old lamps – I suppose players from the past coming to Leeds who would fall into that category would include the likes of Strachan, Matteo, and Lukic amongst others. Lets hope some of our new “old lamps” work out like them.

    Everything is about chances Rob – you either take them or you don’t.


    • Good points, well made. It just seems to have been a procession lately, and I have that old Super Leeds mindset that we SHOULD be able to hold on to our home-grown talent. But yes – it’s a different game now.


  10. Neil Macdonald

    Neil, or “Neilly” was going to make a point here, but unfortunately he was stupid enough to resort to insults and abuse, so his views will remain unheard and unseen – which is, quite frankly, no loss.

    Silly Neilly.


    • The moral is – you don’t get moderated on this site for politely disagreeing with me. There are many like that, and they’re most welcome.

      No – you get moderated on this site for being a clueless gobshite like Neil, who reckons he can say what he likes as rudely as he likes, and still get published. Wrong. Silly Neilly.


  11. Sloughwhites

    Couldn’t agree more. I look across at Brighton today refusing equally large offers for their players & then have a £5m bid in for Alex Pritchard. Ambition!
    But Cellino doesn’t have that kind of money, uh billionaire! OK so far we’ve brought in players to the value of about £4.5m. I didn’t say bought because they’ll be on staggered payments so outlay maybe £2m. We got a keeper for free, a centre back, midfielder, winger & today Hernandez all on loan. Outlay total approx £2.5m all in.
    Since January we sold Byram £3.7m, Cook £6m. Then income Sky £3m, shirt sponsors £?m, shirt etc sales £?m, stadium sponsors £?,season ticket sales £?m. So my estimate is approx £18m. Now we’ve reduced wages with Beluchi, Bianchi, Wootton, Byram, Cook, Sloth, Erwin, Carayol, Bridcutt, Adeyemi all now drawing wages elsewhere. Average I’d say £12k a player which is £120k a week=£5m approx saved.
    So where is all of the money gone. No way new staff & players are hitting £5m in my opinion. Cellino is after all a tight got & is reducing wages etc. So where has it gone? That’s £15m approx without Taylor going too.
    Oh by the way we didn’t pay that £5m by end of June to keep within ffp rules either so embargo looms next summer. Now even the most ardent cellino fan must see we didn’t need to sell our best players & now we have why are we brining in freebies, loans etc. Why aren’t we bidding for current top quality players like others like Brighton are. Again where is our money now? Is this the ambition we we’re expecting or would you expect more for all of the loyalty & hard earned cash you’ve poured in, and still are?
    But it’s ok, our young players we’re overpriced, overhyped & useless. They used us, filthy beggars 😂 laughing all the way to the bank. Funny how Brighton’s lads aren’t isn’t it.
    I’ll be labeled negative for telling the truth too. I support Leeds utd, not it’s owner. I expect better, I want better & Cellino can afford better because of us & our academy.


  12. steve wilson

    I totally agree with you Rob. I am one of the unfortunate ones who renewed his season ticket, as you quite rightly say, new lamps for old, one day its great news that we have signed someone, the next its back down to earth as another of our home grown talent is shipped out to line the Italians pockets. I know there is talk of a chinese takeover, and who knows what they would be like, but I would give anything to see this Italian schister ran out of town, and to answer one of the other posters…..is MC the devil incarnate…..MOST DEFINITELY.


  13. Eddie White

    Well your article was a total waste.Cellino has turned down the transfer request:)


    • I’m totally convinced it was my article that made him do that 😉


    • Fletch Lives

      Taylor will still go provided leeds are offered more than what the tribunal will pay us when his contract finishes…………….cellino is just using the leverage that creates to create good PR……..some leeds fans WERE born yesterday, i think thats putting it politely


  14. David Dean

    I resisted the temptation of renewing my season tickets. “New lamps for old” could be heard before the season ended with the season ticket bribe. We all knew it would be less than 15k sold and the refund will never materialise – it ‘might’ be discounted from the following season but there will be a massive increase in price justified after many ‘frozen years’.
    Monk is an exciting appointment – a notch or two up on Rosler but I was just as excited then, if not more so! I was ecstatic when the King of Cock bought the club – anything was better than the bafoons that took over from Bates, who was infinitely better than Krasner and his vile cronies. We have been strangled and led like lambs to the slaughter yet I am still optimistic and wondering if I will still buy a season ticket. We knew they were to be sold – I am surprised Mowett is still with us – yet the hope and belief and naivety that we all have must be in our genes. The gypsy curse was lifted and I started watching them when Don was in the team. I didn’t know who he was but he was the true Messiah. I believe that we will be taken over by a Chinese consortium, I believe this will be the best season since we came out of the 3rd division and I think we might challenge for the playoffs. Another centre back and another full back and a good start to the season will force my hand and I will beg for a lamp – but then Monk will be sacked and I will be going home at half-time! MOT, Rob and thanks for your brilliant articles.


  15. I’m sorry but what a massively negative article, don’t agree at all with anything you have said. Today’s kids are all greedy,.they want money, they don’t care about loyalty or the fact that they’re playing for one of the biggest clubs around. Cellino’s hands are tied, in this day and age it is all about player power, you pay us what we want or we.will play for someone who will, it’s disgraceful behaviour from players who are still kids. The squad that has been assembled is more than capable of getting automatic promotion. Under Grayson I remember virtually the whole squad was made up of unknowns and yet we should have won automatic promotion. Let’s all be positive, there is no reason to be negative, I’m really looking forward to this campaign as we have so many options going forward. Here’s to promotion!


  16. Leeds4alongtime

    I always read your columns with interest Rob, and normally you are spot on. You probably are again here, but for some reason I would hope things may work out differently this season, this remains to be seen.

    I have the feeling that Cellino has his own motives but at the end of the day a lot of our debts have been cleared, this doesn’t mean anything though, just makes it slightly easier to sell the club?

    What we need FIRST AND FOREMOST is to be rid of the leeches that are GFH.

    When they are no longer part of the equation I am sure the investment (and Cellino’s departure) will come….

    Thanks Ken for the legacy of GFH !


  17. Been up T Lakes this week rob , and very nice it was too ,,, anyway this is the reason for me being late with my half penny. ..
    Yes I would like a billionaire owner who throws his wealth at players wages and we never had to say goodbye to Taylor, cook etc etc ,, but we don’t have this and all these young lads are told from a very young age that once you’ve made it you call the shots and you get what you can from a very short career…. It’s the call of the big bucks and the fame that calls them away rob and there’s not a thing we can do to stop them , as it has been proved time after time going back to the 70’s with Jordan and McQueen to the 90’s with Cantona… They all see bigger and better things away from leeds and the fans just have to accept this bitter pill and swallow it… I wish things were different but as long as I’ve been following Leeds it’s been like this…


Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.