Monk Wanted Investment in January, Cellino Said NO. Failure, the Leeds Utd Way – by Rob Atkinson


Monk: he told us what was needed – Cellino ignored it

I’m pretty sure I’ll still be hearing some of the more deluded Whites fans telling me how Massimo Cellino has saved Leeds United. Yorkshire folk can be pretty stubborn, but sticking by Cellino after the collapse of United’s play-off challenge – seemingly nailed on only a week or so ago – that takes more than mere stubbornness.

The fact of the matter is, and despite any recent conciliatory words designed to disguise that fact, our manager Garry Monk knew in January that investment was needed to cement the promotion challenge. His statements in the press at the time were loaded and significant – words to the effect of “The club knows what is needed, and I’m sure they will act accordingly”. But former sole owner Cellino had different ideas. Despite the arrival of Andrea Radrizzani, a co-owner in equal partnership, el Loco‘s advice was not to invest money at this vital time. So the manager was casually undermined, and Leeds were sticking by the old tried and tested – but unsuccessful – formula.

That formula may be summed up as follows, to paraphrase a pissed-off but insightful LUFC tweeter as United struggled at Burton: Inadequate investment in the summer followed by a lot of ambitious talk and then a failure to invest in January, with an over-reliance on loans. Rinse and repeat.

It’s not been a recipe for success for Leeds for the last several seasons since the club first bottled a chance to go back to the top level in their first Championship season of 2010/11. It’s highly unlikely now to prove a recipe for success this season either. And for the unaccountable decision to stick to this same hopeless, hapless policy, we have only Mr. Cellino to thank. Things must change at Elland Road, or we’re going to become permanent second-tier plodders at best.

The first thing to change must be the removal of any Cellino influence at the club. This is a must – though, as I said earlier, some will fail to see it, much as Lord Nelson failed to see enemy ships through his blind eye. Secondly, there must be investment in the summer on a par with the big hitters in next season’s Championship, where I’m afraid we will still be plying our trade. Defeat at Burton pretty much confirms that. And the failure to make the play-offs may be a blessing in disguise. That mini competition is likely to turn into a “Who ends up getting thrashed by a rampant Fulham” affair.

There will be those again who will insist on hailing this ‘nearly but not quite’ season as a relative success, following years of unabashed mediocrity under various useless owners. Again, I disagree, and I turn to another despondent tweeter in Adam Turnbull, who sums up why the campaign is a failure in a few well-chosen and famous words, first uttered, after a fashion, by John Cleese in Clockwise: “It’s not the despair, I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand. MOT”

MOT indeed. But to what? Next season has to provide the right answer to such a vexed question – and that will require decisive change at the top – and for Leeds United to start acting like a big club again. In a week that marks the silver jubilee of the last United team to ascend to the top of the game – the Last Champions, no less – our allegedly big club has confirmed its failure to compete adequately at the top end of its league, and for the umpteenth time. That’s as pitiful as it’s shameful.

For now, our play-off chances are gone for a Burton – and we need to focus on a brighter future.

48 responses to “Monk Wanted Investment in January, Cellino Said NO. Failure, the Leeds Utd Way – by Rob Atkinson

  1. The January window was a disgrace, and Gary Monk was stabbed in the back by Cellino.
    Even though we were in a great position to get promoted Cellino the merciless, for reasons only he can explain, turned his back on the manager.
    He sold Mowatt and did not replace him.
    He has slashed wages so much that no decent quality player would come anyway.
    So once again we live on loanees and cheapos.
    While our rivals strengthened their squads we (Cellino) weakened ours.
    Let us pray we get rid of the bum, at seasons end!!!!


  2. Well said. By my calculations 13,000 season ticket holders will now be entitled to a £90 refund. Total cost £1,170,000. Perhaps that would have been better spent by the club in January?


  3. Mark Vadgama

    Hi Rob,
    Painful to read. But painfully true. Monk has done a great job getting Leeds this far. But you can only make and mend for so long. And now we’re being found out.
    Like you, I’d honestly fear for us in the play-offs. Fulham looked a promotion candidate some time back. So no surprise for me at how they’ve come through.
    We have some foundations. But as you point out, we need proper and well thought-through investment in the summer. Next season will be even harder. You can reckon on an awful lot of re-equipping in the second tier – Villa, Wolves, Forest, Norwich et al.
    And as that famous quote said…”It’s not the despair, it’s the hope that gets kills you”.
    Spot on again, Rob.


  4. Philip of Spain.

    Its the dismal manner in which we capitulated in the last six games.Gutted!!! A cloud of melancholy has dropped on the household.The dogs ran under the table,the cats gone hunting earlier than usual.Its almost as depressing as watching an episode of East bleeding enders.!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. …not only that but the whole of the Bremner Stand season ticket holders have been told we can’t renew as the club is going to make it yet another hospitality suite for the monied. So much for loyalty. 460 mile round trip to be sold down the river!

    …and Mowatt scored today!!!

    Cellino out!
    Gerry Cwmbran


  6. David Dean

    Radrizanni must be intent on buying the other half. He couldn’t invest in Jan because the looney said “no” and he had to keep the peace. He will invest in the summer when he is 100% owner and hopefully Monk will get the players he wants. Cellino is what he is – a chancer without the proverbial pot. He has saved us and then could have ruined us. He does it his way and we are lucky he is on his way. There is still something to play for next Saturday even if it is the very last throw – dead but not yet burried – and it has been an amazing season. We didn’t invest in January as Monk wanted but it was Billic that pulled the plug on the Fletcher deal. We have got away with not getting cover at Centre Back but maybe The Monk thought Cooper was good enough. I am pleased to renew my season tickets before the end of the season. Last summer I vowed not to renew and changed my mind the day before the season kicked off. I am delighted I did and I am thankful for a great season and very much looking forward to next season when we will go up. I have loved reading your stuff and look forward to many more. Thanks Rob.


  7. So many doom mongers! As disappointed as I am at the moment, While ever there’s hope I’ll always cling to it. Football’s a funny game as a certain James Greaves used to say and
    Leeds United beating both Norwich and Wigan whilst others do us a favour (I know, I know, who ever does us favours?) would not be the funniest thing to happen in this sport so I for one will be roaring the lads on next week and keeping one eye on other games hoping we get what we need. Call me deluded if you must but I still feel we’ll make the playoffs. MOT ALAW


  8. mark willmore

    Would be dull if we didn’t struggle. It is in our dna!!


  9. The serious question is: why didn’t Cellino want to invest in January? Could it be that he knows more about the Bates’ administration deal that is only the privilege of the Club’s owner? Set against the £100M+ riches of the Premiership, paying creditors £4M is small beer. Therefore, the suspicion is that something obscure and toxic lurks in Bates’ legacy. Or, of course, Cellino is simply a cheapskate and an idiot.


  10. David Smith

    Well Rob, sadly your cautionary words over the last month or so have become a reality and in truth, since the Brighton game our performances have not been good enough and if by some miracle we had managed to squeeze our way into the playoffs, I for one don’t think I could have stomached the agony of losing in the semis or by fluke the final! So our club & presumably that means Mr Radrizzani have to make some important decisions over the next month (and that doesn’t mean June or July), regarding committing to Garry Monk & some of our playing staff or there will be plenty of other Championship/Premiership clubs ready & willing to take them off our hands! MOT albeit it a little disconsolately!


  11. Well said Rob. It’s very hard to try and be positive, sorry, take that back, it’s b****y impossible.Gary Monk and those lads have played their hearts out this season Ok,so some were a little bit lacking. However, nobody has been as lacking and stinking as the board and that Italian pain in the backside. They have done absolutely nothing and contributed absolutely nothing to what has been a season full of hope and at times exciting. If we had the chance to start the season just a little bit more equipped, then all that would now have paid off and we would be well in the playoffs. Dare I say, with a little bit of shrood investment in the transfer windows we could have made automatic promotion. I am convinced of this.
    Like every fan, I am gutted, not only that, for the first time in a decade I have really believed we had turned the corner, but in true Leeds tradition we are kicked in b***s, and shown the utmost contempt. I have no reason to feel any confidence in our Mr Radrizzani, so far he has done nothing apart from the odd customery pathetic remarks on Twitter. Now let’s wait once again, just like the last several years and see what delights await us. New manager?, New squad? All our best assets sold off and our loanees returned with nothing to show.
    Roll on the cricket season, can’t stand the game, but at least it will a couple of months respite, and a convelecence before I am once more condemned to another season of misery.
    PS. Liked the reference to my greatest hero.


  12. mrbigwheels

    Don’t count on Cellino selling up.
    Can see a squabble and a new manager.
    Just hope I’m wrong and AR has got some big balls……


  13. Still,we’ve got next season or the season after that or the season after that ad nauseum. Every season we’re up against relegated premier league teams and their parachute payments and teams who have “something” about them. I would class Fulham,Brighton and Huddersfield in the latter category. We’ve never had “something” about us. We don’t have anyone else to score goals,no plan B and I’m sorry to say it but Garry Monk has failed to learn from his mistakes too. So its goodbye to Taylor,Wood,Pontus,Bartley,Sakho and probably a few more. By the way,anyone wondering about lack of bodies IN during January I have two words for you,Wheel Barrow £20k per week apparently too.”As you were” everyone and as we’ve been” for the last 13 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. While your comments re ivestment may be accurate, have you thought about why Swansea sacked Monk? It’s looking more and more like his ego is getting in the way of what is right for the club.He never gave Mowatt a chance despite fans wanting him in the team he was forced out of leeds.He insisted on sacko and doukara when fans clamoured for a change. He tore a strip off PJ when he was on top form and replaced him with Cooper only a young lad so not too much slagging from me however again poor choice ,and finaly he chose to play Philips in two of our most important fixtures for ages again young lad but not good enough for now as pointed out by many fans. So I ask again have you wondered why Swansea got rid? I belive His ego got in the way of the best intrest of the club two fingers to the fans, my way or the highway
    Ps he also has an uncanny resemblence to the creepy dude on Corrie.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Totally fucked off rob ,, I had so much faith in this season , I put 100 quid on leeds finishing in the top 6 , 500 quid went down the drain today ,, in fact no , it went down the drain at Xmas when they didn’t invest in monk , hang thier heads in shame #pissed off


  16. Rob, do you or anyone out there, remember that when Leeds went into administration under Ken Bates, that something was said by someone about an agreement, which was that if Leeds got back into the Premier League before a certain date, that every creditor must be paid back in full and it would cost Leeds millions and millions, just to repay the creditors ?
    Could that date for not paying the creditors their money back be in 2018 ?.
    I really would like to read the small-print from Leeds administration days and it could then clearly explain Leeds deliberate lack of ambition by the clubs owners, for years and years and during the disastrous and laughable January transfer window.


    • I’ve heard this. Anyone out there know details?


      • I think you’re not far off the mark there Paul W. Bates in his infinite wisdom (or spite to you and me) initiated a plan where by if we got promoted within ten years from 2007 to the premier league,all creditors would receive 30p in the pound. He had increased it from 8p. This way The C–t of Monte Carlo could fulfil his pledge from the 1980s to ruin Leeds United. We’ve been hamstrung ever since and everyone from management level upwards must have known all this. Even before administration we would still have had to pay back creditors possibly in full if we were promoted,hence the “no show” v Watford in the play off final and a long list of complete waste of spaces for managers (Grayson excepted of course). Don’t know about Monk yet,but isn’t it strange how form as suddenly nosedived when we were so close to going up?


  17. Sylvia Wilkinson

    GarryMonk did a great job sorting out the defence,but oh how we miss Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt,midfield isn’t working,and Chris Wood is not supported as he should be,its amazing that he has scored so many goals.I feel thoroughly fed up, to get so near – but we wouldn’t have done well in the plays offs.


  18. Spot on rob.Think the only silver lining here is cellino will up sticks and gone. Hopefully will sell other 50 %


  19. just want to say we have been let down again by some of our players. have not been giving 100 percent we still need 2 good strikers up front it’s know good just having 1


  20. It’s not over yet! Moan n whinge and look for excuses!
    blame Cellino, blame the board,blame blame blame….
    ffs still been a great season and still a chance of 6th.

    Even if we finish 7th it’s progress,especially with such a new
    young team and manager….

    We might have made a couple more signing and still be in the same position or worse…had we not given every other team a 10 game head start we might be up there with Brighton and Newcastle…

    But shit happens deal with it,it’s football

    by the way our best season in years is not over yet either

    Liked by 1 person

  21. says it all when the leagues top scorer is on 15k a week. he going to leave us as well as pontus… another 5 years in the championship


  22. Cellino is a bigger knob than even. Master Bates. I feel so sick after this week. MOT cellino Out!


  23. NickB(50yrsLU)

    I know you were rather provoked by one of those infernal happy-clappy people into such a response, Rob, but it hasn’t all been unmitigated. I remember that amazing run we went on to overhaul the fifteen points’ reduction under Poyet (not Wise !), and we had a half-decent team with good shape and flair, like the teams that will be in the play-offs, under Grayson, though he was clueless about defence. What we have with Monk is nothing but defence and a stranded lone striker who hasn’t been quite himself since the international break.
    We have enjoyed good spells, but nothing sustained because, from Bates till now, we’ve had owners who take pleasure in exploiting the most loyal fans in the country by providing us with bargain basement, third-rate tools in return for outrageously high ticket prices. Unfortunately, they’ve got it down to a fine art of raising our hopes, persuading us to return to fill their coffers and spitting their half-chewed Parma ham at us once they’ve duped us for yet another season. Anyone whose price tag has increased as a result of this unexpected brush with near-success will be sold, and we’ll have the usual gaggle of unknowns sourced by arcane methods arrive in June, possibly with a new manager, who will all take till October at least to begin to gel. And there’ll always be a sufficient hard core of ‘loyal fans’ who will turn up every week, regardless of how dire the football is, for the exploitation to continue indefinitely, sadly.


  24. Think what we all need is a good strong dose of Red Bull


  25. Robert lee

    I am gutted we missed this opportunity in January. Unless we get behind Gary monk and invest. He won’t get sacked he will walk because theirs plenty of clubs would want him . I am sure


  26. Well to be honest the two that he brought in to the club in January haven’t done anything. In fact Barrow was one of the worst players I have ever seen wear a Leeds shirt

    Liked by 1 person

  27. It’s just history repeating.

    Out of his depth manager falls out with his players, chops and changes the team and drops out of the play-offs, fans blame a lack of investment in January and talk up the manager as if he’s some kind of hero.

    If you think Cellino is such a bad owner then why is it so hard for you to believe he’s picked a poor manager?

    Every season we get this poor hard done to coach doing his best with an evil owner routine and it’s nonsense.

    The fans have to buy into something so they buy into a manager who’s the choice of the owner they hate and that suits the owner down to the ground.

    Do you think Batesy was bothered that everyone hated him when they were lining his pockets and filling the ground cheering on Simon?

    It’s the same with Cellino. We’ve sold more season tickets than we have for years, had bigger crowds than for years, I would guess we’ve sold more merchandise, and the fans are happy with the manager, so what does Cellino care about people on Twitter moaning about him?


    • Well you can peddle your defeatist talk Clive, and doubtless feel very windswept and interesting spreading some hopelessness and despair. But you fail to grasp the fundamentals of football support, which is a basic dissatisfaction with things 95% of the time, and a determination to do something about it.


  28. It’s not defeatist.

    I say we need a better manager and we can get a better manager and then we’ll go up.

    It’s you who says Monk is the best we can get.

    I don’t want to be dissatisfied. I’m only dissatisfied because we’ve been farcically bad for 15 years.

    What are you gonna do about it?

    I’ve been speaking out against poor managers for years, you’ve been talking them up.


    • It’s easy for fans to blather on about poor managers, but they’re speaking from a position of zero knowledge where the professional game is concerned. What we’ve had is a few half-decent managers who have undeniably done well elsewhere, trying to succeed at Leeds while hamstrung by unsupportive owners. It’s farcically simplistic, as well as totally unhelpful, to state that our problems have been down to poor managers.


  29. How can something be farcically simplistic and why is it unhelpful?

    It’s unhelpful to poor managers who want a good job, it’s unhelpful to poor owners who want to get away with having a lack of ambition.

    McDermott got Reading up but he was the caretaker, we’ve seen how well Leicester have done with a caretaker, but they eventually run out of steam. He was never going to do well at another club, especially one the size of Leeds.

    The only other manager we’ve had in recent years who’s been promoted to the top flight (3 times, 3 different clubs, 3 different eras) is Warnock and he was run down and run out for being 7 points off the play-offs.

    We could end up 7 points off the play-offs under Monk. McDermott had us 15 points off, Redfearn 21 and the fans lapped them up.

    Demand a good manager and the owner will have to get them and back them.

    There’s no point in asking for a poor manager to be backed because they’ll waste money and always say they’re backed then cry about not being after they’re sacked.

    Try asking for a top manager with a good track record.

    Go on, humour me.


  30. But you just can’t bring yourself to demand a top manager.

    You’re just like Phil Hay, you want us to struggle so you can fill up your blog.


  31. Clive why not go and support Scum and leave us very happy Leeds United supporters with a great manager and basis of a good team all of whom have VASTLY over-achieved this year to still hold hope of a miracle and a win again Norwich and Wigan – and a slip up from one of the others?


    • So the “happy Leeds supporter” resorts to abusing a fellow fan because he disagrees with him? I think also Rob that you do Leeds fans a disservice when you say we speak with zero knowledge regarding decent/great managers. You just need to look at some of the flotsam and jetsam that has ended up at Leeds over the past decade to illustrate how bad some managers have been. Kebbe,Stewart,Norris,Vardy,Pearce these boys were an insult to tripe and the list could have went on. My point is,we knew they were bad but they were continually selected,which in anyone’s book makes for a bad manager. Look at Monk this season too,some say this team has punched above its weight but I’d disagree as this squad should have been pushing for top two if we’d bought wisely in January. But monk kept making the same mistakes never learning from them. We’ve been lead up the garden path by the Cellino and promotion was never on the agenda,Monk knew it too.


      • A bit of give and take in the currency of verbals and abusive language is part of the game, certainly at fan level. I know I’ve done it and I’m pretty sure you will have done too Mick. As for zero knowledge – it’s all relative. Compared to a physics professor, I have zero knowledge of physics, though I can find my way around Prof. Hawking’s book. It’s the same with football. The pros know it far more intimately and in-depth than we possibly can, much as some of us would like to believe the opposite.


  32. Point taken Rob,but I feel your analogy regarding Stephen Hawking was excessive. The beautiful game is slightly less intricate though. By the way,Hawking is a Leeds supporter apparently so I would love to read his take on this too. Suffice to say,we’re not stupid. Mugs yes,but not stupid mugs. We all knew Dennis wise was useless and Darko,Hockaday,Evans,Mcdermott(good bloke but out of his depth. Yet they were appointed by so called ” people in the know”.


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