Leeds United: A crazy year in quotes

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Leeds United are nearing the end of an astonishing season of takeovers, turmoil and chaos. Here are those 12 months in quotes...

May 1 - David Haigh (straying into the grounds of grim, immoveable imagery): “There’s a picture of a fish tank in the offices downstairs. It symbolises what happened here a decade ago. It acts as a reminder, like taking a picture of yourself in Speedos and sticking it on the fridge door so you don’t eat that extra slice of cake.”

June 20 - Brian McDermott (starting to wonder if GFH’s promise about transfer funds was 100% watertight): “We did a lot of our work early and players are in place if we can get the deals done. It’s very simple – have we got the finances to do the deals? Can we do the deals? I need clarification.”

July 22 - Brian McDermott (on the overwhelming influx of three new players): “From our point of view, I’d suggest we’re in a situation where we probably need a player to go out the door before we can bring one in the door. That’s where we’re at.”

July 25 - Leeds United statement (boom): “Ken Bates has ceased to be president of Leeds United. Mr Bates will now no longer have any role within the football club.”

July 27 - Ken Bates (rolling over and accepting his fate): “We’ll see what happens. The real problem, I suspect, is that GFH hasn’t been doing well running the club and this is a diversion to take the real problems off the headlines. There’s no validity in this and a degree of viciousness, quite clearly. Someone’s got a screw loose.”

August 3 - Luke Murphy (after his dramatic, hand-assisted winner against Brighton): “We’re not on the list of leading odds in this division and, while I don’t think that’s fair, we’ll take it. But hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be there or thereabouts.”

September 30 - Brian McDermott (beginning to worry after a 2-0 loss at Millwall): “We didn’t turn up. I asked the question of the players – tell me what that was about. It’s a shock to my system. The players here are decent players but they’re not at their full level at this moment in time.”

October 3 - Salah Nooruddin (on a rare appearance in Leeds): “GFH and myself are standing here to support this club for as long as it takes to achieve our objectives. Financial objectives have to go alongside the passion and emotion of a club.”

October 19 - Ryan Hall (feet on the ground, head in the clouds, spelling book in the attic): “Look on the bright side if your not getting played take the L out and get payed.”

November 11 - Ross McCormack (after sticking four goals past Charlton): “You have to assess it. Would you rather go to a Premier League team who might be in a relegation fight or do you stay here and try to become one of the top scorers ever at this club? It was a no-brainer for me.”

November 24 - Leeds United statement (these are starting to get good, and shorter): “Leeds United can confirm that Ryan Hall has left the club by mutual consent.”

November 30 - Another Leeds United statement (announcing a takeover by Sport Capital which is done, bar the shouting that followed): “The consortium includes a number of high profile businessmen. It is anticipated that the investment will be in place for the January transfer window.”

December 20 - Brian McDermott (blissfully unaware of a crisis ahead): “We’re a work in progress and we’re evolving. We’ve got more to come, I know it. Week by week the team’s getting better. And I always enjoy the second half of the season.”

December 31 - Salem Patel (via Twitter): “Let’s make 2014 even better than 2013. Happy New Year all.” :)

January 13 - Hisham Alrayes (in a memo to Brian McDermott, days after United’s 6-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday): “For each game now onward, you will be required to submit a report on strategy to be undertaken, list of players and squad formation a min. of 24 hours prior to each game for Group CEO and chairman’s approval.”

January 23 - Massimo Cellino (acting only as an advisor to others and playing down a mooted takeover, which is done within days): “We are far away from buying. I am proud that they (an unnamed consortium) called me. We have spoken to Leeds. They are like a friend.”

January 30 - David Haigh (abandoning Sport Capital as Cellino moves in): “Unfortunately, some of the consortium’s backers ultimately didn’t feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward.”

January 31 - Brian McDermott (hours before he is ‘sacked’): “I swear to you, I don’t want any sympathy. I’m manager of Leeds United. How can you want sympathy? It’s a privilege, an absolute privilege. No-one has to have sympathy for me.”

January 31 - Salah Nooruddin (via text message to Massimo Cellino): “Congratulations. You are the new owner of Leeds.”

February 1 - Leeds United statement (issued midway through a game against Huddersfield, as boards do): “The club would like to make it clear that Brian McDermott remains our first team manager. He has not been dismissed from his post as has been suggested and we look forward to him continuing in his role.”

February 3 - Brian McDermott (reinstated and back in charge, having never been sacked): “Basically I’m responsible for all football matters at the club. Nobody will be invited to the dug-out, the dressing room or speak with the players unless the manager okays it. I’ve been given assurances that I answer to GFH and GFH only.”

February 4 - GFH Capital statement (or Gulf Finance House, whichever of them isn’t funding the club): “Under the ownership of GFH Capital, Leeds United has always met its financial obligations and it will continue to do so.”

February 7 - Salah Nooruddin (in Bahrain, naturally, and announcing the sale of Leeds to Cellino): “Those who go absent for a long time, come back with goodies. All the talk of a storm at Leeds, there’s no basis for it. But I do apologise to the supporters. We’ve put them through a difficult situation.”

March 13 - David Haigh (18 days before HMRC serves a winding-up petition on Leeds): “The club is not in any kind of precarious financial position. Either now or in the future. It’s not true and never has been.”

March 24 - Football League spokesman (sending Cellino hence): “Mr Cellino was recently found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a court in Sardinia. Having fully considered the matter, the board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian Court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.”

March 25 - Brian McDermott (putting the cat among the financial pigeons) - “There’s all the talk of who’s going to be in as owner, talk of who’s going to be paid. I’m not going to make excuses but it does affect results.”

April 5 - Tim Kerr QC (shredding Cellino’s eviction notice): “Mr Cellino’s appeal accordingly succeeds. He is not, at present, subject to a disqualifying condition and is not disqualified from holding office or acting as a club director at a club.”

April 11 - David Haigh (quitting as managing director before Cellino sacks him): “I had to deal with and manage what can only be described as the crazy situation of very limited support from those who should have supported the club, whilst at the same time having little or no decision making ability.”

April 12 - Massimo Cellino (now officially United’s new owner): “I was raised as a manager, not as a bulls**t president who puts his tie on, eats some roast beef and f***s off home. I look after everything. In 2015-16, if we don’t go into the Premier League then I’ve failed. You can tell me I’ve failed.”

The story continues...

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A very young Jonny Howson.

Photo gallery: Leeds United players as kids