The Sheriff of Leeds seems to have a nasty habit of making things personal, which is perhaps why I snorted when he dared utter the words “I am a professional” during the bizarre press conference only days ago. Whether McDermott, Hockaday, Milanic or Redfearn, each and every head coach has been insulted prior to being sacked. It’s not on.
El Presidente has total control over Leeds, I accept that. If Cellino doesn’t think Neil Redfearn is the right man for the job then that’s fair enough, it’s his money and whether I agree with it or not, he’s entitled to make that decision. But the manner in which he does it, time and time again is outrageous.
This follows an interview where Cellino has called Redfearn “weak” and “like a baby”, for reasons known only to himself. Neil has done a good job in very difficult circumstances, whilst being continually undermined by either Massimo or the regime left to run things in his absence (depending on which version of things you opt to believe). The writing is very much on the wall now, which I think we all knew, but the pattern we’re now seeing is really concerning.
Cellino beats his chest like some bizarre Wolf of Wall Street mimicry, making some vague reference to how he believes Redders makes the Leeds salute solely as a means of carrying favour with the fans. Perhaps it’s because we value his contribution to the club and appreciate his vision, professionalism and integrity? But who am I to say, I’m just a fan.
I’m pragmatic, though. As much as I like Redfearn and would consider him a crucial man to retain, I appreciate that Cellino has ultimate control of the club and if he feels in his infinite wisdom that there are better men to take the club forward, then so be it. I don’t agree, but I have zero say in how the club is run. The fact that each and every head coach relationship seems to go the same way is worrying, though.
First Cellino loves them, then he gets bored, then he hates them. He cannot sack a head coach without dedicating at least a few weeks to publicly denouncing them, trying to turn the fans on the once-popular coach before making the inevitable call. It’s this aspect of him I seem to hate the most. I previously assumed it was his way of distancing himself from the decision to appoint the wrong person (Hockaday, Milanic), or indeed handling the fact that McDermott wasn’t someone he appointed. But Neil was a deliberate appointment and I hoped he would be treated better.
Like I said earlier, if you don’t want Neil to stay in this role then you’d approach this professionally and in a way that he deserves. The man deserves respect, if you (as the owner) want to appoint someone different or move things forward in a slightly different direction, then you still wouldn’t treat Redders like this. I don’t like it.
And so we push on, with a megalomaniac in control turning everything into a popularity contest. A man who can’t just fire someone, but he has to publicly shame them in a face-saving exercise. It’s wildly unprofessional but it’s something we need to get used to. The manager-eater has consumed another one, and Leeds will have spat out yet another good man.
So join me, fellow fans, in hugging your knees and rocking backwards and forwards. Turmoil is coming. This week, I think. On and on. And on. And on.