So now we are all deliriously happy with our new owner and team both on and off the pitch (Saturdays result aside) it made me think, Just how much credit does Massimo Cellino deserve? And i have come to the conclusion that..... he is the best Chairmen I can remember Leeds United having. Once you pick yourselves off the floor allow me to explain.
I am 27, I can't remember any of the Chairmen before Peter Ridsdale. I can remember players and things but the bloke in charge didn't really matter to 7 year old me, so Ridsdale was the first Chairman I have any memory of. Not much needs to be said that hasn't before, he was useless and sent this club crashing down the leagues. Everything that has happened since was in one way or another his fault. Next was Gerald Krasner and Peter McKenzie, dont remember much about them, says it all really, they were in a difficult position trying to clear up Ridsdales mess.
Then we had Ken Bates. Again, bit of a crook, never had Leeds at heart, it was always about Ken Bates, put us into administration, took us to the 3rd Division, then sold us to the best people he could find, GFH! Lump them together rather then pick on one person, GFH were a nightmare , dont need to go into it but they were a leech and in many ways probably screwed us over more then even Uncle Ken, he was a pillock but least he had the decency to look you in the eye while he robbed you. GFH left behind an absolute mess and made things as hard as possible for any future Leeds owner.
The true mess we discovered later is the reason why only really Massimo would take us on, and he rid us of them, he took on their debts and things in order to ensure he had full control. Then he delved even further and discovered it was worse then he feared, but he pumped his own money in, his cash, to help us and keep us going, he turned us into a reasonably run football club for the first time in my memory.
And then, he sold us to our current owner, Andrea Radrizzani and so far he has been a godsend, cant fault the man, I'm not going to say he is the messiah but he seems to be doing an excellent job. But we have to remember he came in to a properly ran football club, he didnt have the mess of GFH and Bates etc to sort out, Massimo had done that. I would imagine that whatever people think of Cellino he had the club in a decent enough state financially to entice Radrizzani to invest.
Would Radrizzani have invested if he had to put up with what Massimo had, probably not, he would have had the accounts delved into and thought "Non per me è un campo minato" (Nah not for me its a minefield).Yes Massimo Cellino was a bit crazy, eccentric, a control freak, but i really do believe some sections of the fan base treated him and his family quite poorly, abusing his kids on twitter and whatever, especially his daughter who i dont think had much to do with the club. He was all those things i said, but he cared, he was a football man, he wanted to take Leeds up, but he couldn't for whatever reason, probably because when he said all these things about buying back Stadiums and training grounds he had no idea just how badly Leeds had been run for years.
So Mr Cellino i thank you, I thank you for ridding us of GFH, I thank you for taking us on when most people wouldn't have touched us with a barge pole, I thank you for investing your own money and not clinging on and leeching off us for years and making life difficult for Radrizzani, I thank you for being at times quite funny, I thank you for not being Peter Ridsdale and Ken Bates and i thank you for turning us back into a decently ran football club.
Best Chairman in recent history?