Tag Archives: Lewis Cook

Leeds United In Massive Deadline Day Transfer Coup   –   by Rob Atkinson

leeds united 1974-75 season

The legends of Leeds United – now being betrayed

Following weeks of transfer speculation, with every conceivable name bandied about in terms of transfer activity both in and out of the club, Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything can reveal the identity of the player involved in the Whites’ biggest coup of the transfer window.

The man concerned is Lewis Cook, United’s foremost young talent, who has revealed in the past few days that he will “still be at the club next week”. And this, more than any possible piece of transfer business on the last day of yet another frustrating window of recruitment opportunity, will represent Leeds’ major achievement in terms of their under-equipped squad.

Cook could easily have been sold to any one of several covetous Premier League clubs, for very good money indeed. The apparent fact that he will be staying at Elland Road, there to participate fully in the remainder of yet another season of dire and hopeless mediocrity, will represent the most positive possible outcome for a football giant that is shrinking by the year. And the fact that Leeds themselves seem ready to regard the retention of young talent as the high water mark of their transfer market ambition is a savage indictment of the depths to which the club has now sunk. 

Meanwhile, clubs like Middlesbrough, Derby County and even Bristol City have shown willing to consider the level of investment needed to rise in this dog-eat-dog league. Leeds United, one-time Kings of English Football, show no such resolve. The club as it’s currently run is a betrayal of the golden tradition forged in the sixties and seventies, with a brief revival in the nineties. There is a complacent, decadent air about Cellino‘s Leeds, and nothing short of a major shake-up from the top down seems likely to change that sad situation anytime soon.

But, cheer up – Lewis Cook, subject to any tragic last-minute about-turn, will see out this latest deadline day as a Leeds player, so we will have him to cheer on in the white shirt, perhaps for another season or so. Until he realises, as the likes of Sam Byram have before him, that if his ambition is to match his talent, he will have to seek the fulfilment of both elsewhere. 

Happy deadline day. Maybe there will be a loan or two to mollify us after all the speculation and all the hollow promises. And, let’s not forget, we took over 6,000 to the Macron.

Isn’t life grand?

Cellino Confirms Cook Departure With “Not For Sale” Claim   –   by Rob Atkinson

Seasoned observers of Massimo Cellino‘s somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth will find it hard to derive much – if any – reassurance from the Italian’s claim that midfield prodigy Lewis Cook is not for sale. Sadly, the rule of thumb where il Duce is concerned appears to be that old saw “believe nothing until it has been officially denied”. At Yorkshire’s Number One club, this could more conveniently be described as “The McCormack Protocol”.

Lies

This is, of course, no way to run a football club – or any other organisation which holds the happiness and contentment of thousands of followers in its hands. It’s downright unprincipled. Such cynicism is really more the preserve of politicians and other such undesirables, operating in an arena where it is tacitly understood that misdirection and deception are simply the tools of the trade. But Cellino has brought to Elland Road standards of veracity that would make a Westminster spin doctor wince; his track record as the owner of Leeds United is littered with broken promises, slippery evasions and downright lies.

The examples of forked-tongue complex are not difficult to cite, neither are they capable of much misinterpretation. From the vow to repurchase the stadium and the training ground on Day One of his tenure, to his serial failures to stand by coach after coach, as promised, “Cellinocchio” has seen his nose growing longer with each undeniable failure to deliver on that out-dated commodity: the truth. It’s been a tawdry couple of years down LS11 way.

Now we’re just a few days into January or, as most fans think of it, the mid-season transfer window. But for Leeds fans, this time of the year has long been “Crown Jewels Sale Time”. Right now, the Leeds United treasury is crammed with diamonds, greedily coveted by predatory clubs operating at a higher level – and well aware of the short-termism that characterises United’s retention policy. 

January, crucially, is always the acid test of Leeds’ resolve to hang onto its prize assets – and it’s a test the club usually fails, leaving the fans misty-eyed at the loss of yet more potentially winning talent. Of the current crop, Sam Byram represents low-hanging fruit almost bound to be plucked before the month is out. Leeds fans have reluctantly come around to his impending loss as a result of the club’s failure to come up with an appropriate contract. The likes of Cook, Alex Mowatt and Charlie Taylor, though, would be seen as a premature cashing-in on youngsters still tied to the club and evidently content, for the moment at least.

Young Cook is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment, with firm interest registered by Premier League giants Bournemouth and a figure not unadjacent to £10m mooted. There’s rich irony there, not that any Leeds fans will relish it. Almost seven years before our Lewis was born, Leeds were beating the south coast outfit to win the second-tier championship and head on and up towards ultimate glory two years later. The same match saw the Cherries plummet into the third division, destined for a crisis that would threaten their very existence. How times change, how roles reverse. Perhaps in time our relative positions might switch back again, but that’s cold comfort in a here and now which sees Bournemouth as the shark to our small-fry status.

Given our less than completely trustworthy owner’s recent statement, it would be no surprise to see Cook go – but it would be a tragedy – and it would be further confirmation of crazy priorities at Leeds. It may be, of course, that all of this Lewis Cook brouhaha has been cynically engineered to sweeten the bitter pill of Byram’s departure and subsequent inadequate replacement. With a notoriously slithery operator like Cellino, little is too Machiavellian to rule out. But the simpler and more worrying possibility is that he’s simply lying. Again. 

As the sharks circle and the vultures flap overhead in the next few weeks, we will learn quite a bit more about our current situation under a man who has proved time and again that he’s unfit to run a club like Leeds United. And whatever happens, whatever lies and broken promises are exposed – you can be sure that the blame will be apportioned anywhere other than the office of one M. Cellino. 

Is Cellino Preparing to Jump Before He’s Pushed? – by Rob Atkinson

Cellino - end of the road?

Cellino – end of the road?

Three bits of good news for Leeds United fans over the past few days – a week worthy indeed to be marked with a white stone. That’s normally our ration for a season or more in the glad tidings stakes, after all – so what can all of this mean?

On the wonderkid retention front, the fact that Lewis Cook has extended his stay with the Whites is the best possible example of A Good Thing you will see this side of United’s next promotion. Cook is, by common consent, the real deal – and even if this contract extension is merely the Leeds United take on fattening the lad for the next propitious market day, still it’s a mighty welcome development for the here and now.

On the player recruitment front – wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles – the League’s transfer embargo has been lifted, meaning that Leeds United are once again free to raid for Serie B for the cream of its dubious talent – or maybe even to buy some serious candidates for enhancing a team which aims to compete in the hurly-burly of The Championship. That’s as vexed a question as it’s been at any time recently; much will depend on who, precisely, will be pulling the transfer strings – about which more anon.

The return of Adam Pearson is a more puzzling if still very welcome piece of news. Right out of the blue, we have a person at the top end of the club who could quite conceivably restore some credibility to the senior executive management levels at Leeds. Pearson is the kind of person who will know before striking any agreement precisely what the parameters are and with what measure of unfettered freedom he’ll be able to go about his clearly-defined role. He’ll be Massimo Cellino‘s right hand man, so we’re told, but there are complexities afoot, surely. Wiser heads than mine are nodding sagely and prophesying that great changes are in the offing.

These great changes may, of course, not be a matter of choice or election on the part of those within the club. Further legal hurdles are ahead for Cellino to attempt to vault – or more likely to stumble over and carve a furrow in the track with that ever-lengthening nose. The Italian may be many things, but he’s not daft – he ahead of almost anyone else must be aware that knives are still out for him, and being stealthily sharpened by cold-eyed men with grim and determined smiles on their grim and determined faces. It’s been open season on Cellino since the day he set foot in Elland Road, and the fact that he’s back for the time being – with a blessing of sorts from the Football League – amounts to the square root of not very much, if the judicial sky is about to fall once more on our President’s head.

This being the case, Cellino may well be acting under notice of his own impending demise. That’s the sort of information that sharpens and concentrates the mind wonderfully, turning it to securing the best possible exit under the most advantageous terms. Simple economics dictates that a forced sale attracts a lower price; the buyers out there act in full knowledge of the lack of options a banned seller has – and the price goes down. The sudden appearance of Pearson on the scene could well mean that Cellino is preparing to bow his head to the inevitable and, in effect, cut his losses by selling before he has to do. Pearson would be there to ensure smooth running during any interregnum – which is a selling point in itself. Meanwhile, the main people will continue to talk the talk as if they’re going to carry right on walking the walk. But the rumours won’t go away about a change of ownership in the near future – and the logic is appealing.

It’s going to be a very interesting and probably confusing summer at Elland Road, certainly over the next few days and weeks as poor Neil Redfearn continues to dangle and the Press conjure up more or less ridiculous candidates to inherit the poisoned chalice Redders has been supping from. It’s a thankless position for Redfearn to be in, and so much more so for his erstwhile assistant Steve Thompson. This issue, surely, must be the first of many that require clarification before any other business can realistically be done.

All of which begs the question of what is Lewis Cook’s understanding of the current situation at Elland Road. Or, more likely, that of his agent and advisers. Cook is a hot property with options reportedly available at the top end of the Premier League. He must presumably have received some assurances as to the wisdom or otherwise of signing the next phase of a richly promising career over to a club many football people – and Rodney Marsh – consider to be fatally ill-run. So there’s another glimmer of encouragement – if young Cook, or his cadre of assistants, is happy with the way things are shaping up, perhaps we can dare to be a little more optimistic too?

All now depends on how this Elland Road game of musical chairs proceeds as the summer draws on. We can properly expect big changes, with outside events in foreign courts likely to have a telling influence either directly, if Cellino sits it out, or more indirectly if he takes the pragmatic view and goes – more or less – quietly. As ever this past decade or so in and around LS11, the summer promises to be the most significant and entertaining part of the LUFC year – far more riveting and compelling than that dreary and frustrating portion of the calendar when they actually try to play and win football matches.

Watch this space – it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Leeds United’s Rivals, Please Note: Lewis Cook is RUBBISH – by Rob Atkinson

So, you know – look elsewhere in the transfer window, OK? Rumours that this lad is the real deal and will play for England are as wide of the mark as a Billy Paynter volley. Trust me, you Premier League predators – you’d be wasting your time.

Oh, and – don’t be fooled by the pseudonym either. His real name is MICHAEL TONGE.

Thank you, and goodnight.