Massimo Cellino was involved in a bizarre exchange with Charlton Athletic supporters at The Valley yesterday - telling a gathering of angry Addicks fans to “support the f****** team.”
Leeds United’s chairman spoke with a group who were protesting against the running of the Charlton by Belgian owner Roland Duchatelet ahead of a goalless draw with Leeds.
Cellino, who is himself under pressure from United’s support, travelled to the game despite claiming in October that he would not longer attend matches following criticism of him during a 2-0 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers.
The Italian unexpectedly appeared at a 1-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers in London last month and was present at The Valley as Leeds missed a series of chances during a strong second-half performance.
Cellino was subjected to fresh chants of “time to go, Massimo” and “sell the club and f*** off home” from sections of a 3,100-strong away crowd but it was Charlton’s fans who were filmed on camera speaking with the 59-year-old after he emerged from the stadium in the middle of a protest against Duchatelet.
Charlton are fourth from bottom in the Championship and trapped in a relegation battle.
In the video, Cellino says: “Support the f****** team. Don’t waste your time with that (the protests). You have a good team which doesn’t deserve to be where it is. I tell you the truth.”
Cellino then says: “I wish we win but if we don’t win today I’m happy anyway. I don’t give a f***. You have a good team. You give an excuse to the players to play s***.”
Cellino, who bought Leeds in April 2014, hinted in October that he was ready to sell his majority stake in the club amid mounting pressure from fans and the on-going threat of another Football League ownership ban.
The former Cagliari owner talked briefly about selling his shares “without profit” to supporters group Leeds Fans United but that proposal fell apart in a matter of days. Cellino subsequently said he would retain control of the club until after the turn of the year having failed to receive any serious offers for his stake.
At the end of Saturday’s video, Cellino is heard telling Charlton’s supporters: “The club belongs to the fans, not the owner.”