I know the last day of the transfer window is chaotic at all clubs, but at Elland Road on Friday night it was taken to a different level. With the imminent takeover of the club by the eccentric Italian Massimo Cellino, the decision was made to relieve Brian McDermott of his duties as Leeds United manager.
But who actually sacked him?
GFH strenuously deny approving McDermott’s dismissal, and all of a sudden Cellino has claimed he didn’t want to sack him, but that it was the current owners who wanted the manager out. The ins-and-outs of it all are near to insanity. Plus to put the icing on the lunacy cake, McDermott is back at the club, as the board revealed after Saturday’s 5-1 hammering of Huddersfield that he was still in charge of Leeds.
Cellino’s name has been associated with Leeds United for less than a week and he has already tarnished our reputation. To start, he tried to get former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa in the dugout for Tuesday’s game against Ipswich, immediately undermining McDermott before he even had the reins of the club. Cellino works on the ideology of a “coach not a manager”, again signalling his intent to get rid of the McDermott.
Off the field, his track record hardly shows him as a saint. With previous charges of fraud and a case of embezzlement looming over him, is he really the man to be trusted in running this precious club? He has had 20 years experience at Serie A side Cagliari investing millions into the club. So from another perspective, isn’t this what Leeds need, a man willing to pay the money to make us better?
His introduction to English football couldn’t have gone much worse, with hoards of Leeds fans chasing and barricading his taxi at the Elland Road complex after the news of the sacking broke.
But it was the public execution of Brian which really caused the chaos. The manner in which McDermott handles the players, the team, the media and the club is impeccable. He holds Leeds with the highest of honour, and the fans hold McDermott in the same light. He loves Leeds, and Leeds love him.
His bond with the fans is second to none, his philosophy of Leeds needing to be “one club” involving fans, players and staff alike has rejuvenated Elland Road. The support McDermott received at Saturday’s game was outstanding, and the fans were a credit to themselves. For 90 minutes, the Kop end choir sang “Oh Brian McDermott” and “We want out Brian back”, not even stopping to celebrate a Leeds goal, but continued belting out the hymns louder and louder.
McDermott has the foundations of his team laid and this season has shown at times it is beginning to mould into shape. The Barcelona 3-4-3 has been ditched after dreadful performances against Rochdale and Sheffield Wedneday; at the end of the day we have Michael Brown and Lee Peltier, not Xavi and Dani Alves. The favoured 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 is the Leeds United way, pace down the wings and solid down the spine. And with the form of newly appointed captain Ross McCormack, surely things can only get better after one of the worst weeks Leeds have ever faced off the field.
But with the Football League still to make a decision on Cellino’s proposed takeover, will it be Forza Leeds United, or Arrivederci Massimo?
Written by Josh Westerman, We Are Going Up’s Leeds United blogger
Josh tweets at @MJoshWesterman23