This morning, Crosswater Holdings, a specialist bathroom retailer and long-time sponsor of Leeds United decided to end their contract with the club early because association with Massimo Cellino has become an ’embarrassment’. Crosswater had – until today, the 1st June – been a sponsor of the tunnel at Elland Road last season, but in an
Apathy is our enemy.
It’s an owner’s best friend; it’s a mandate to run a club, no matter how badly, without fear of reprisals. For over a decade we’ve meekly handed that mandate to Bates, GFH and now Massimo Cellino. Now is the time to draw a line and pick a side, are you going to support Cellino through your silence or take a stance and fight for our club? Think back to what made you fall in love with Leeds in the first place and ask yourself, “What is there left of that?”
For way too long as our club has been defined by its owners, rather than its team, years wasted underachieving, seasons frittered away as a Football League also rans; our belief is that this depressing, inexcusable march of mediocrity has to stop and in order to achieve that we must affect change at the top. Massimo has to go.
The campaign to claim back our Leeds United has started and momentum is with us. Are you with us, or are you going stand back and make yourself complicit in supporting the status quo? If you’re undecided, then ask yourself the following questions…
Why would you continue to put your faith in somebody who continually fails to keep his promises? A man who makes rash, senseless promises of promotion that he has no hope of delivering on and two years after boasting about dropping by the bank the next morning, has never come close to buying back Elland Road.
Why would you feel comfortable having an owner, who due to his chequered past is facing another year banned from running our football club? Whose contempt for supporters is such that we are used as pawns, every time he feels the need to pick a fresh fight with the Football League or Sky? In our name, Cellino has proposed to prevent thousands of Leeds fans the right to watch football by limiting our away following to 2000 and ensured our Norwegian supporters wasted thousands of pounds on a weekend for the Middlesbrough match having rejected the option of a Saturday lunchtime kick-off compromise. We’ve had TEN category A games this season, that’s more double the number announced by this stage last season; more punitive pricing (plus pie tax) for the fans to stomach.
How could you laud a man’s work in clearing the debts, when in actual fact the club’s current liabilities stand at £20m to Eleonora Sport and £30m to GFH (a figure that would increase under the burden of interest payments, upon any promotion to the Premier League)? Moreover, since when has his Draconian line in cost cutting ever provided a basis for a progressive club? How can a wage bill of £13m at the biggest club in the Football League be considered competitive when the AVERAGE wage bill in the division is £20m? How can we even hope to avoid repeating the same mistakes of signing unsuitable players like Botaka, Sloth, Cani, Montenegro and Del Fabro to name but a few, when the club doesn’t possess a scouting network worthy of the name? How much longer can we rely on the Academy to address our transfer market shortcomings when many of those responsible for its success have been pushed out and not adequately replaced?
And what use would better players be anyway if we employ coaches whose length of tenure is defined more by a willingness to toe the line than actual performance, all because of the owner’s insistence to exert influence over team matters and his willingness to sack coaches on a whim? Moreover, what kind of proven, self-respecting coach would work for an employer famed for slating those who’ve worked under him? Last week, when the club called in the lawyers to have the billboard removed, defamation was cited. I dare say a sizeable cast list off ex-employers allowed themselves a raised eyebrow.
Without these better players, attendances continue to fall and sponsors turn away, though how can our club hope to grow commercially anyway, when Cellino has such disdain for the biding nature of contracts? As Enterprise Insurance and Macron seek redress in the courts for indefensible breaches, what message does that send out to potential future partners?
Leeds United is not a club that’s restructuring ahead of a brave new era, defined by a long-term vision, its actively downsizing, hoping to scratch by on the cheap while those around them methodically plot their route to the top table, and yet, all the while, in this era of aggressive financial prudence, Edoardo and Ercole take home a hefty directors salary – for what?
There remains no compelling, overriding case why Cellino should remain. His tenure has been a resounding failure. He neither has the money or the management skills to resurrect his club, while the sycophants and ‘Yes’ men he chooses to surround himself with hold no credibility as a support team, those few individuals actually equipped to benefit the club, each quickly dispensed with.
His misguided clashes with authority, his treatment of supporters that alternates between vindictive, petty and arrogant, the broken promises and regularly exposed lies, his scattershot approach to coach and player recruitment, and the continued quest to downsize will do nothing but prolong this misadventure in the lower reaches of the Championship. Progress?
We’re Leeds United, one of the biggest names in English football, still well regarded across Europe and we possess a worldwide fan base. The lower reaches of the Championship is, and should never be, acceptable. It’s high time this football club got it’s pride back, rediscovered its swagger and reinstated its identity – independent of it’s custodian – as a club to fear and revere. It’s time for us to put he pride back into our club and have Leeds United respected again. This can only happen when we resolve to rediscover our own respect for what this club represents and resoundingly decree that our situation is no longer acceptable – we deserve better, Leeds United deserves better. It’s time to make a stance.
Support our club. Not the owner.
Our time is now.