El Presidente Returns

30 Apr 2015 08:22 pm, by YorkshireSquare


Leeds United play their final game of the season this Saturday at Elland Road against Rotherham who secured their Championship safety on Tuesday night. Leeds are marginal favourites to win what is a nothing game with both teams safe and nothing to play for. The talking point this weekend may not be on the pitch at all but in the stands. Massimo Cellino, still banned from having any influence over the club by the Football League until Sunday, has been given special dispensation to attend the game as a spectator.

Cellino himself is still undecided whether he will attend or not, when asked by the Yorkshire Evening Post he said; “I don’t know. I haven’t decided. The Football League say I’m allowed to go but I don’t know what I’ll do. I need a clear head and I need to start again with everything next week. I’m not decided.” What is clear is that the tide of feeling has turned against Cellino in recent weeks. Off the pitch events including the suspension of assistant manager Steve Thompson and lack of clarity over Neil Redfearn’s future have led to unrest amongst supporters. This was in particular evidence away at Charlton when anti Cellino chants were sung in full voice.

It will be interesting to see how the crowd react at Elland Road if Cellino does return. There is certainly a split in the fan base with many adamantly for the Italian but many also against his ownership of the club. The first months of Cellinos suspension were lucrative on the pitch for Leeds. The combination of Redfearn and Thompson seemed to have the club playing well and winning points. There is a certain perception that in the last month or so Cellino has sought to wield his influence on the side-lines and exert his authority. It has not gone down well.

Whatever the reaction on Saturday Cellino retakes the reins on Sunday and has some urgent decisions to make. The first being the of the head coach Neil Redfearn. Popular with the majority of fans and players many see it as a no-brainer to award the job to Redfearn on a long term basis. Redfearn himself is keen to take on the job but seems insistent the return of Thompson is key to his future. Whatever anyone else things though, I’m sure Cellino has his own ideas on the future of the coach and the club. How those will go down with the fans, who knows?