I’ve only had a couple of opportunities to meet Massimo Cellino but you take people as you find them and I’ve been impressed by my conversations with him so far.
I sat with him at the Middlesbrough and Queens Park Rangers games and he’s a typical Italian – mad-keen on football and fanatical in the way that Italian supporters are. He loves the game and he understands it too.
It also sounds like he’s got a very good business plan for the way ahead at Leeds United and that’s extremely important. It’s a good mix for any club to have an owner with money and vision but also a real passion for the sport he’s in.
When I’ve spoken to him about football, he’s talked a lot of sense. I think it’s fair to say that’s he’s shown his commitment to our club so far – moreso than a lot of people might have done while their takeover wasn’t quite complete.
He’s obviously confident that his deal will go through but officially, it still hasn’t.
But even so he’s helped with the wages and we’ve seen some really good additions to the first-team squad since he got involved. To me he’s showing that he wants to do good things with Leeds.
I hope the Football League takes that into consideration when it decides whether to approve his takeover.
I get the feeling that having Cellino in charge could be really advantageous for the club and we’d be left in a worrying position if he isn’t accepted.
We all want a conclusion to this situation and I’m sure he does most of all. It’s hard to have proper stability while you’re waiting to see if a takeover will go ahead.
On the field I’m feeling much better about the team than I was a few weeks ago.
The performance at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday was an improvement and we played well enough to win that game.
It’s pretty obvious that the two new signings are going to make a positive difference. Jack Butland’s been outstanding in both of his games so far, a really safe pair of hands, and Wickham impressed me at QPR. He gives us something we didn’t have before – a forward with power and pace who can get past players and turn a defence.
The transfers have strengthened the squad in areas where it needed to improve and that’s what you look for when you sign players. You often hear managers say that they want quality not quantity and guys like Butland and Wickham fall into the first category.
Plenty of Championship clubs would have taken them.
Without being defeatist, I just hope the signings haven’t come a bit too late. It’s going to take a massive effort to get into the play-offs, even after a good point away at Loftus Road.
I’ve said before that in normal circumstances I’d have been very happy with draws at Middlesbrough and QPR.
Those are tough games at any stage of the season and you can’t get too greedy at grounds like that. But I think everyone from Brian McDermott down can see that the fixtures are starting to run out. We’ve got two home matches back-to-back coming up and this might be a last chance to put serious pressure on the sides who are in the top six.
A few of them are starting to struggle a bit – QPR, Forest and Reading in seventh too – so this really is a prime opportunity to make them look over their shoulders. That’s pretty much all you can do when you’re in the chasing pack – make others take notice of you and worry about the run you’re on.
I look at the next month or so and see lots of winnable matches but we are one of those clubs who need to start converting winnable games into points. Talking the talk won’t get us anywhere.
This is a really big weekend coming up and the only message to the players would be to leave nothing out there. They’re chasing a long shot but you just never know.
It’s like we always say – until you can’t do it mathematically, keep on trying.