Leeds United supporters remain braced for what promises to be the roller coaster ride heading into next season.
In what proved to be one of the maddest press conferences in living memory, Massimo Cellino and David Hockaday announced their reasons for working together and their ambitions for the future. Unfortunately for Leeds fans, it wasn’t a press conference that installed confidence and calmness amongst supporters that were strongly against the decision to appoint Hockaday, in fact, quite the opposite.
The comments from Hockaday and Cellino horrified listening Whites supporters and revoked an even stronger reaction than the one before. Although Hockaday was no fans first choice for the job, it was expected that with a little prowess from Cellino he could convince Leeds fans regarding his choice to pick the failed Forest Green Rovers manager, but he only went on to make things worse.
Here are the biggest three clangers dropped by both Cellino and Hockaday in the press conference announcing the appointment:
#lufc MC "Coaches are like watermelons, you know they're ready when you open them!" (yes - Cellino did just make a fruit analogy!!)— West Yorkshire Sport (@WYSDaily) June 19, 2014
#lufc DH: "I have to earn the fans respect & equally they have to earn mine. The fans want hard work, passion hunger & I will give it them."— West Yorkshire Sport (@WYSDaily) June 19, 2014
Cellino on Hockaday: "I follow my feelings and my instinct and my feeling is that this is the right man. I could be wrong, I don’t know.”— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) June 19, 2014
That was, however, followed by Cellino basically saying that he won't hesitate to fire Hockaday if it all goes wrong. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) June 19, 2014
The comments, particularly the Watermelon one, had fans in disbelief to what was being said by the new Italian owner and who could blame them. On the appointment, Cellino said that he had first heard of David Hockaday through someone at a hotel who told him he would be good and that the former Forest Green Rovers man was the only coach out of 20 that he liked, but conceded he didn’t know what he liked about him.
The reaction from supporters has been largely disbelief and anger, whilst others have tried to see the funny side of it, but concede that it’s likely to end up in tears. We’ve taken a few comments from Twitter to try and give a fair reflection to how the wider Leeds fan base reacted to the Cellino press conference.
Today's events at #lufc surreal but there's a much more important, more concerning, bigger picture: Cellino isn't fit to run Leeds United.— Andrew Haigh (@AndrewHaigh) June 19, 2014
You'd think after appointing and sacking 19 head coaches in 10 years at Cagliari, Cellino might admit he's not very good at choosing them?— Andrew Haigh (@AndrewHaigh) June 19, 2014
Spoken to the ticket office again. There's been over 70 fans calling to cancel their STs in the last 24 hrs. That's around £35k. #lufc— Super Leeds (@CellinoOut) June 19, 2014
All this negativity surrounding the appointment of Dave Hockaday isn't going to earn his respect you know. #LUFC— Andy (@andyp05) June 19, 2014
David Hockaday - 'The fans have to earn my respect'. Unbelievable!! Other way round son. This is going to be a disaster. #LUFC— Jamie Skelton (@JamieSkelton) June 19, 2014
Thought I'd change my profile pick to commemorate our new coach. Welcome to #lufc Mr Mike Bassett— Steve Kinsey (@YorkshireDublin) June 19, 2014
Hockaday will be sacked by november and Leeds will get relegated this year. You heard it here first people! #lufc— Paul gray (@Gray1919) June 19, 2014
Even though the Hockaday appointment has incensed fans, there is still reason for United supporters to remain optimistic for the upcoming season. Cellino, who has spoken to Hockaday at a length, could have played a blinder by just opening up his mind a bit more and talking to unfancied coaches.
At the end of the day, Cellino is going to be the puppeteer at Leeds whilst he is the owner and it's imperative that the head coach is someone he can get on with and trust. Although, it could be argued that if the quality of player brought in by Cellino is the problem then Hockaday doesn't a chance anyway and Cellino will remain.
A potentially vicious circle that depends entirely on the quality of Cellino's judgement of football player.