Cellino v Zamparini: The madcap presidents head to head

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino

From a fear of the number 17 to death threats; Italy produce some rather interesting presidents and that's without counting old Silvio.

Leeds owner Massimo Cellino

With the news rolling in that a madcap Italian owner had enforced his 60th managerial change in 29 years, Leeds United fans could have been forgiven for checking whether Garry Monk’s head was still attached to his shoulders.

On this occasion, however, it was Maurizio Zamparini copying and pasting another P45, the Palermo president reinforcing his reputation as ‘the manager eater’, a nickname Massimo Cellino is rather familiar with himself.

So, once and for all, we pitch these two trigger-happy titans against each other in a battle of impatience, superstition and downright insanity.

Sack-happy score


Hired 56-year-old ex-Forest Green boss Dave Hockaday (below), who hadn’t even applied for the job, after explaining tactics using salt and pepper pots, according to the Mirror. He lasted six games.

Leeds United manager Dave Hockaday leaves the pitch at half time

Sacked and reinstated Brian McDermott on the day of his takeover, called Neil Redfearn a ‘weak baby’ and said Steve Evans needed to ‘shut his mouth’. Good luck Garry.


Just the nine managerial changes last season for Palermo. Zamparini sacked Beppe Iachini in November and replaced him with Davide Ballardini, who lasted all of two months before departing after a row with the goalkeeper.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto left as soon as he arrived without possessing the required UEFA qualification, replaced by Fabio Viviani who managed all of one game, a 4-0 defeat. Two managers later, Iachini returned and resigned, replaced by Walter Novellino. Guess what happened next?

Unsurprisingly, this left Palermo on the brink of relegation.

‘Questionable activities’


Banned by the Football League following a tax evasion case concerning a yacht and a land rover in his native Italy. Whoever said the Fit and Proper Person test doesn’t work?


In February 2015, Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero (himself a scarf-swinging lunatic) claimed Zamparini had made death threats to him, according to the Mirror.

“Ferrero is insane,” the 75-year-old retorted.



Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino watches from the stands

Sold Paddy Kenny because he doesn’t like the number 17. Who said 17 stone at the back? No, all it took was for the portly ‘keeper to have the audacity to be born on May 17th. In February, Leeds released matchday program issue 16b.


Cellino has made his fear of the colour purple well-known, but at least he never sacked someone because of his choice of coat.

In 2000, Zamparini blamed Luciano Spalletti’s sacking from Venezia on exactly that; namely, his penchant for black winterwear.

"It was gloomy, funereal and didn't bode well," he complained, as reported by FourFourTwo.

Pick a winner, we dare you.

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