Quick links


The promises Massimo Cellino made Leeds United fans one year ago today

Massimo Cellino has found it complicated to achieve what he wants to do at Leeds United.

Transfer deadline day passed a week ago, evoking memories among Leeds fans of a year previous of would-be owner Massimo Cellino being blockaded in at Elland Road, as reported by The Mirror at the time.

February 9 of the same year is also the date the Italian gave an interview to The Sun, headlined 'I Promise'.

Exactly 12 months on, it's clear his own aims have become particularly complicated.

The key pledges he made were to keep boss Brian McDermott around, buy back Elland Road, and transform the club's academy.

He said at the time: “I want to get to know the manager and help him. I hope he can help me as well. We are going to work together.

"When I am approved by the Football League I will go to the bank the next day and buy Elland Road."


This was after having dismissed McDermott, he manager at the time was reinstated prior to the interview, and lasted until May 31 before Cellino adjusted his plan, firing him for the second time.

Speaking later in the year to SkySports Fantasy Football Club, reported by HITC, Brian McDermott said he had no grudges, and that he simply did not fit into the structure Cellino wanted to implement at Leeds, working under a sporting director.


Buying back Elland Road has proved especially complicated for Cellino. It was an aim he repeated in August, having sold Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11 million, he is quoted by The Guardian as stating he wanted to buy the ground back by November.

This is a situation for which he has so far been thwarted by, with the Guardian explaining Elland Road's current status: "The deeds to Elland Road are owned by Teak Commercial Limited, a firm based in the British Virgin Islands, and neither of the past two Leeds owners – Gulf Finance House or Ken Bates – repurchased the ground. Leeds are paying £1.4m in annual rent at the stadium but that sum rises by a small percentage every year."

Cellino told The Yorkshire Evening Post in November that his plan to buy back the stadium was on hold, claiming a dispute between himself and 25 per cent stakeholders in the club GFH.

The Italian is currently banned from owning the club by the Football League, due to a previous tax conviction, but will be permitted to return in April. No developments regarding the stadium are expected until at least then.


Cellino told The Sun a year ago that he wanted to give the club's academy a big lift, stating regarding his time at Cagliari: 

“I am most proud of the Academy we had. I spent a lot of time and money on it and even knew the price of the seeds for the grass. In the end we had six home-grown players in the first team, all from Sardinia. Is there another team in Europe with a record like that?

“Imagine what we can do at Leeds — it has much more potential. I will set about finding a guy in Leeds who loves Leeds to run the Academy there.”

Oddly enough the perfect candidate was already in place, Neil Redfearn, who is now the first team head coach, and young players are flourishing in the first team. How much credit Cellino can really take for this is pretty debatable.

Leeds' successful Thorp Arch academy is like the stadium, a facility the club are paying rent on rather than owning.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch