The future looks bleak for Brian McDermott at Leeds United, after the club appointed Benito Carbone as a football consultant.
McDermott has been the subject of much speculation for the past five months, dating back to January when it was reported that Massimo Cellino had sacked him. However, as the Italian hadn’t completed his takeover of the club by that stage, he didn’t have the authority to do so and the former Reading manager remained in place.
Cellino has since finally bought a majority shareholding in the Elland Road club, and although it looked for a time that relations had improved between the pair, a run of poor results has once more placed McDermott’s position in doubt; even more so now that Carbone has been drafted in to advise the directors of board on first team matters.
A brief club statement, issued on Thursday afternoon, confirmed the move: “The club are delighted to announce that Benito Carbone has joined the club in a consultant position and will deal with technical and football operations. The former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City, Derby County and Middlesbrough midfielder will be involved with all football matters, including both the first team and the academy.”
Indeed, this is the second such instance in which McDermott has seemingly come under pressure in the space of 48 hours. Earlier this week Cellino gave an interview to ITV during which he questioned the decision of his manager to take a holiday. He said: “I think at this moment the club is not managed by anybody. Where is Brian?”
Rumours that Carbone could actually replace McDermott as manager were ignited last month, when he was the guest of Cellino at the club’s training ground. He has had coaching spells in his homeland with Pavia, Varese and Saint-Christophe, but has made no secret of his desire to eventually return to England where he blossomed as a player.
It has been a troubling time for Leeds of late, with last month’s release of their annual accounts showing a loss of £9.5m for 2012-13. This has led to the club temporarily closing its Thorp Arch training ground to save on the running costs, and the formal process of staff redundancies are believed to have begun earlier this week.
The Football League, meanwhile, are set to meet with club officials in regards to the closure of the training ground until pre-season. Whilst sympathetic with the reasoning behind this decision, it is understood the league are concerned with what implications doing so may have on their commitment to their youth development programme.