GFH Exit Sees Cellino Move Into Leeds United Departure Lounge   –   by Rob Atkinson

Cellino sunshine

Cellino – beginning of the end of the road?

Leeds United versus Huddersfield Town doesn’t kick off until 3:00 pm on Saturday – but already, many Leeds United fans are proclaiming the most significant victory of the season. It’s a result that owes nothing to last-ditch defending, brilliant midfield play or clinical finishing. This vital win has been fashioned, not on the hallowed turf of Elland Road, but in the more subdued atmosphere of a boardroom or lawyer’s office. Because at last, or so it certainly seems, Leeds United is back under 100% ownership, instead of being shared, argued about and fought over by unequal partners. Minority holders GFH, it appears, have relinquished their stake in United, leaving Massimo Cellino as sole owner of the whole shooting match.

The reason this is so significant has more to do with future possibilities than current ownership. Some Leeds fans will be glad to see Cellino in outright control – others would prefer to see him 100% uninvolved, with a new Sheriff in town. But the fact remains that, with the minority partners off the scene, everything now looks a lot more neat and tidy as interested parties consider bids for the football club. Up to now, the continuing presence of GFH has been a complicating factor that has made any successful takeover bid – or even majority investment – much less likely actually to succeed. For this reason alone, farewell and good riddance, GFH.

So the eventual impact of Cellino’s total ownership of Leeds might be to see in new owners, rather than simply cementing the controversial Italian’s position as Leeds United supremo. And many, particularly among certain hard-bitten ex-pros who actually wore the famous white shirt, would see that as a good thing – if it could bring to an end the dizzying turnover of coaches at Leeds, as well as securing some actual net investment.

The fact that current manager Garry Monk is widely seen as being “under pressure to save his job” just a few games into his United tenure is symptomatic of the less than stable situation at Elland Road. Yet another transfer window without spending more than player sales brought in is one more sign that squad development is not an upward trend. Leeds sold Lewis Cook to Bournemouth for £6m plus add-ons – and replaced him with a man in Eunan O’Kane ousted by Cook from the Bournemouth first team. And for the usual “undisclosed fee”, too. The critics would tell you that this does not represent investment in the team, and it’s a point of view hard to dispute.

The case for a new regime at Elland Road, with a much-needed injection of capital, has long seemed quite convincing. Now, with the departure of GFH meaning a much less complex scenario for would-be buyers, it may be that things really will start to happen – off the field, at least. Which is why so many United fans are singing victory songs well in advance of a ball being kicked this coming weekend.

Now, all we have to do is beat unlikely League leaders Huddersfield Town on Saturday, to confirm the natural West Yorkshire pecking order and get this second chunk of the season off to the ideal start. And then, with three derby-day points under our belts, we’d be savouring the taste of home victory for the first time this campaign as we try to re-establish Fortress Elland Road. Could things really be brightening up for Leeds, at long last?

20 responses to “GFH Exit Sees Cellino Move Into Leeds United Departure Lounge   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Can only hope he’ll be on his way asap. With Cellino though, I’ll only believe it when he’s gone. He’s done so much damage to our beloved club. He doesn’t care about us and never did. He does what he wants, the rules don’t apply to him. One dysfunctional and highly dangerous individual.


  2. My thoughts are that he has never really invested in the club as much as he could have due to the fact that GFH would have reaped the rewards too ,, I think now he may look into consolidating his position by buying the ground and Thorpe arch now ,, who knows…


  3. Hopefully light at the end of the tunnel , rather than the end of a rainbow .
    The annoying thing imo is that the current team isn’t a million miles off ,
    and with some investment we’d be in the mix.


  4. Not massimos biggest fan but he’s done good getting rid of dodgy arabs lets hope he is in the departures lounge, no more gfh for this I say well done mr cellino


  5. Like him or not, MC has stabilised the finances of LUFC, and make no mistake the club was on the financial brink yet again before he arrived.
    It’s not all over yet either. GFH still has £17m of outstanding debt secured by a debenture over the club. That’s a lot of debt when the club turns over circa £24m pa., and GFH has no interest in whether the club succeeds or fails.
    We now live in hope of the takeover and cash injection which can transform the picture and bring some structure and vision to the ownership. However, new owners will need to pay off the debt, and repurchase the ground and training ground before we can think about competing with the big boys on the transfer front.
    Until then it’s MC, who for all his faults is in my view better than Ridsdale, GFH, Krasner, Bates, the people who really did bring the club to its knees and kept it there.

    Now let’s go and stuff the Poodles.


  6. Comments on Cellino’s player trading a bit unfair. Since 2014/15 income from sales is 21,535,000 with outgoings for players-in standing at 20,440,000, (O’Kane’s fee not included). Pretty balanced so not setting the world alight but at least not blatantly profiteering like previous owners. Figures taken from public web sites on player trading in English leagues.

    Also think getting GFH out means MC will either buy ER and dig in for long haul or sell up to highest bidder and according to press, retain 15% of shares.

    I’d be happy either way. That said, new owner needs to invest more in players than MC or we’ve just changed jockeys.

    Interesting times.


  7. White N Proud

    Great article as always Rob …..poignant, insightful and humourous but with a sense of reality. Just thankful that we are still in existence and surviving as a club at all, utterly sick of all the moaning, whining fools who claim to be supporters but clearly only want to belittle and bemoan anyone with enough cash and balls to actually own our beloved club. I am amazed that anyone would ever show any interest having spent just a few minutes reading the idiot comments across social media and the internet at large. I get the feeling we could be owned by the richest man in the world and still there would be folks whinging about something or other. Back off, get a grip and support our team …………. its so bloody simple!!


  8. Ropey Wyla

    Glad to see the back of GFH, if Cellino does go, lets hope it’s someone with a degree of sanity as well as cash and we don’t get another pennyless lunatic who wants the team to wear a luminous pink kit or call us Leeds Dragons and have a mixed sex team managed by Kermit the frog or something of the sort.


  9. With the leaches, gone , Cellino now has no excuse not to buy the ground and drive the Ferrari back to the promised land……………….or sell the club


  10. Still rejoicing that GFH going, bunch of inept vultures.

    One bit of good news at a time, let’s not get greedy.


    • Let’s hope Philip Green buys us ,now there is an honest man an a likely chairman for the whites.


    • Keith Halliday

      Let’s hope Phil Green buys us an honest man if ever there was one compared to the scum we’ve had.


  11. David Dean

    A very welcome development. On the face of it we look set for TOMA – investors lurking round the corner, rumours flying around with comments all a Twitter. Something must be happening – surely there is a chink of light at the end of a long dark tunnel. From his track record with us he seems to have no intention of speculating any real money to get the club promoted. It is all done on a shoe string – juggling things about ducking and diving like Del Boy Trotter. Hopefully there will be some concrete interest now that those jokers are out of the way. What a stain on this great club they have been.


  12. I’m grateful that he rid the club of the vampires bates and gfh,plus i can see some light at the end of the players tunnel with Garry Monk. Overall though Cellino,s judgement has been appalling. When the next edition of the Leeds United Complete Record comes out,we’re going to read the names Hockaday and Evans for crying out loud. Its bad enough that Michael Rickets and Enoch Showunmi feature. Thanks for getting rid of the parasites Massimo but we’re going nowhere fast with you.


  13. Until such time we start putting it together on the pitch, playing consistent football with some degree of confidence and able to see progressive improvement week to week, we are never going to be satisfied. The Leeds United we see and know is on the pitch. If we have a great game we feel great, life feels good, but if as now it’s so unpredictable and confidence is extremely low, then we feel depressed. I don’t feel I have any influence on what goes on behind the running of the club and many of the comments here just prove to me most people are the same. Whether we get bought out, whether Cellino stays or goes is out if my hands. All I want is to see my team start winning and raise the rafters of Elland Road, the backroom antics will take care of themselves.
    Let’s just get behind the team and the coach, give the guys as much backing as we can and most of all stop slagging off and insulting players who just need a bit of time. Funny how some of them seem to get it together at another club, says a lot.MOT


  14. Out of interest,which maligned players have “got it together” at other clubs after leaving Leeds? I happen to believe that we can ALL have an influence. Cellino knows he’s unpopular and that’s why he’s acting,fan power got rid of the pie tax and it will do for him too in the end. One point I must take issue with is an earlier comment referring to gfh as “dodgy arabs”. They were certainly dodgy but if the had happened to be Jewish that comment wouldn’t have been allowed to be posted.


  15. Whatever deal has been struck (“debenture” has the evil Bates-stench all over it) to present potential buyers with a single seller scenario, if it moves us closer to ending a shameful period under the Krasner/Bates/GFH/Cellino regimes then I’m all for it.
    Trouble is, just because our previous few owners have been er, “colourful”, doesn’t preclude us from being passed onto another fruit cake/crook.
    Cellino’s reign has been memorable I’ll give him that, but mostly for the wrong reasons e.g. The Hock and Edgar Cani, but he can redeem himself mightily by passing the LUFC baton to a fit-for-purpose buyer. I hope Massimo can recognise a good owner rather better than he does a good manager.


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