El Presidente has thrown open the doors to Leeds, strode in, testes hanging heavy in the warm Yorkshire air and loudly questioned “DO YOU LOVE ME, YET?”. With his ban over (however temporarily), the rebuilding can begin. And by rebuilding, I mean clumsily lunging around with a sledgehammer.
Credit where it’s due, Lewis Cook has been handed a new contract, albeit only for an additional year (now running to 2017) which is good news. Far from me to comment on the rumour that Cook will earn in 2 weeks what Antenucci gets for a goal bonus… But signing our best players onto longer deals is a good start, 2 years is good for Lewis too because it puts ALL the power on him next Summer. Time for Cellino to show some ambition.
Adam Pearson has returned to Leeds too, operating as Cellino’s right-hand man. For those who don’t remember Adam, he was our commercial director during more decadent days before leaving in 2001 to purchase Hull. He’s been executive chairman of Derby and revisited Hull in a “Head of Football Operations” capacity. Adam is a footballing person who understands the English game at multiple levels, it’s actually quite an informed appointment. Which is surprising.
But what about Neil, Thommo and Byram?
Redders is in a bizarre state of limbo; waiting to hear about whether his contract will get extended while Massimo is visually present at the club again. The word from Simon Austin is that Cellino is waiting for Neil to call him, which is beyond backwards. For all the good work that he has done, for all the professionalism he has shown, this isn’t how you treat a person.
Whether you want to retain him or not, Neil deserves far more respect and recognition than this. He’s a pragmatic man, if this was approached in a professional and diplomatic way then it’d be fine. Disappointing, but fine. But leaving him in limbo, unable to really plan his life either professionally or personally… With other coaching roles passing him by, a pre-season to plan, this limbo is hurting everyone.
Steve Thompson still exists, too, having been (apparently) invited to the end of season awards (although declined, due to engaging with the LMA over his suspension), there’s still the fringe possibility of the Redfearn/Thompson partnership being revived. But with rumours starting to gather momentum on other candidates (such as Nigel Adkins, referenced in most papers today), it’s looking increasingly likely that Neil isn’t staying on.
If you wanted to keep someone at the club you’d be very proactive in working to that end. Surely?
On that note, Sam Byram has 12 months left to run on his contract. I thought we’d learned this lesson the hard way before, evidently not.
So what now? Cellino came in like a wrecking ball, yet hasn’t actually started smashing things yet. I sense the destruction is yet to come. Things are going to change, there’s too much disharmony in that current squad to leave it unchanged and we need to strengthen in some key areas. Whether we’re building or tearing it down to start from scratch depends on which cock-sure Massimo turns up next.
If my luck is anything to go by, Neil will be sacked 30 seconds before I post this piece of content.