The saga has dragged on for a long time but finally a line can be drawn under it now, Massimo Cellino will not be taking over Leeds United. The Football League said they voted unanimously to disqualify Cellino from gaining ownership of the club.
Releasing a statement today The Football League revealed "The board considered detailed legal advice with regard to the application of its regulations within the context of a decision made under Italian law."
"Having fully considered the matter, the board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian Court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its owners' and directors' test."
Last week the Italian court found Cellino guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht. He was subsequently fined £500,000. There had always been doubts over his ability and background as to whether he could be classed as a 'fit and proper' owner of a football club.
It is good to see The Football League taking action and protecting a club in the long-run. Things wouldn't have ended well for Leeds with Cellino in charge. There's a lot of foreign owners in England now, and it usually means an English manager is disposed of and a 'friend' is brought in to manage the club, just like at Charlton Athletic. We need to try and promote English coaches through our leagues.
As soon as Massimo bought his stake in the club Brian McDermott was sacked before being reinstated as manager again less than 24 hours later. Hardly the impact you want to make straight away and from then on there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the whole situation at the club. It clearly affected the club on the pitch as they gradually fell away from play-off contention and now sit in 13th place.
McDermott's position remains unclear, and it would have done regardless of the takeover issues. The side's performance hasn't been good enough this season and there may well be a change in the summer anyway.
With the club losing around £1 million a month there is concerns that they could go into administration. Leeds United managing director David Haigh has previously downplayed those concerns but the current owners Gulf Finance House Capital are keen to sell.
A club of Leeds United's size needs to be in the Premier League. They have the fan base, they have the stadium, but haven't tasted Premier League football since 2004. I don't think anyone quite expected them to spend at least ten years outside the top flight. The pressure continues to mount each season though, and next season they will again be expected to be competing for a top-six place at the least.
The truth is though, that there are currently at least six stronger clubs in the Championship this year and probably will be next season. The relegated teams from the Premier League will be looking to bounce back, and Leeds will need to invest in some players but right now it doesn't look as if they will have the funds.
Ross McCormack will attract more interest in the summer just as he did in January/ He has been phenomenal for the club this season, scoring 25 goals to lead the way in the Championship scoring charts.
One positive for Leeds is that they have a good bunch of youngsters progressing at the club. Alex Mowatt has been a key player in recent months, and joins Sam Byram, and Tom Lees in the side who have also come through the Leeds United ranks.
Luke Murphy has had a good season since joining from Crewe Alexandra, Matt Smith has also impressed following his move from Oldham Athletic. They have some good foundations in place, but will need extra investment if they want to move to the next level. Or will they?
Burnley look set to clinch automatic promotion this season, and Sean Dyche should surely win manager of the year. He has worked wonders on a limited budget, with a fairly small squad. No one expected them to have such a good season, but they have been relentless and it looks as if they will be in the top flight in August.
New players will be needed but perhaps having the right man in charge can make all the difference. Is that man Brian McDermott? Well from this season you would probably say not, but it has been a difficult year for him. Takeover issues will continue to surround the club, as they will always be one of the most attractive projects outside the top flight. The club has huge potential but also an expectant fan base who demand instant success.
Even though it's been ten years since their relegation they may have to be patient for a little longer.