Manager Brian McDermott has backed Massimo Cellino in his bid to receive approval for a £25million buyout of Leeds United.
The Football League will make a decision on the Italian’s 75 per-cent takeover in the coming week, through their Owners and Directors Test. It is far from a foregone conclusion, though, as the Cagliari owner face a conviction for tax evasion on Tuesday, when a court in his homeland will rule of allegations of non-payment of import duty.
Should the verdict go against him, then Cellino’s chances of taking over the Elland Road club likely be scuppered. McDermott certainly hopes this is not the case, though, as having held several discussions with the 57-year-old, he is now convinced he has the credentials to come into the Yorkshire club and improve their fading fortunes.
“I’ve got to say that he knows his football, Massimo,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “He knows what he wants and he’s been nothing but supportive as far as I’m concerned. I’m grateful for that. We’ve had many conversations and he’s been nothing but supportive. As far as I’m concerned, the next week will be an important one in our history.”
Some may be surprised by McDermott’s comments, given that Cellino reportedly wanted him sacked earlier this year. However, the latter has since backed the former Reading boss, and has even gone as far as to say it is the players who should be blamed for their recent poor form which has seen the Whites slip out of playoff contention.
“The players ****** me off because they didn’t fight,” Cellino told The Sun following the recent 5-1 battering by Bolton Wanderers. “I blame them, not Brian. What they did today, I would kick their ***** one by one. They are guilty. They were without pride and should be ashamed of themselves. They’re chickens and are much better than this.”
Since that defeat to Bolton, Leeds have also lost to Reading and, on Saturday, Burnley, meaning they have won just one of their last seven matches. This has seen them fall to 14th place in the Championship standings, some 13 points off a top-six finish with just 11 matches of the season remaining to compete.