LEEDS UNITED legend Johnny Giles and cult hero Vinnie Jones have spoken of the latest events to blight their former club – and say they feel desperately for Whites’ supporters at the club’s sorry current plight.
The latest episode in a tumultuous past month at the club saw six of United’s foreign players controversially declare themselves unfit ahead of Saturday’s clash with Charlton Athletic.
The last month has also seen head coach Neil Redfearn’s position undermined with the shock suspension of Steve Thompson – for reasons which still remain unclear – with the club’s board also attempting to stop Mirco Antenucci playing for the club to avoid triggering a contractual clause.
United’s exasperated followers voiced their anger towards banned owner Massimo Cellino in no uncertain terms at the weekend, with chants of “Massimo, time to go” and “Sell the club and **** off home’ among those which came from the away end at The Valley.
The six absentee players – Marco Silvestri, Mirco Antenucci, Giuseppe Bellusci, Souleymane Doukara, Edgar Cani and Dario Del Fabro – also came in for withering criticism from angry fans.
United great Trevor Cherry echoed feelings of the away contingent, voicing his disgust at the players decision not to travel at short notice and branding them as a disgrace and calling on them
to be sacked by the club.
The weekend developments have added to the barrage of unsavoury headlines regarding the parlous situation at United of late.
Expressing considerable sympathy with fans, Giles - who has savagely criticised the reign of Cellino at several junctures this season and urged him to ‘get out of the club’ back in October - said: “I am really sorry for the supporters.
“They are the ones who are suffering more than anyone else.
“Leeds are a great club with great supporters and they don’t deserve what they are getting. It is very sad.
“I have total sympathy with the supporters.”
Offering his thoughts, Jones added: “It’s a very sad situation. Such a magnificent club with magnificent supporters.
“There’s so many people associated with the club. They need to be back in the Premiership and someone to come in.
“I know the Russell Crowe stories and all the rest of it. That’s not going to happen, be honest.
“At the end of the day, someone has got to come in and be substantial and put the money in there.”
A hat-trick from Brian Montenegro helped United under-21s brush aside derby rivals Huddersfield Town in a comprehensive 4-1 victory yesterday afternoon.
The game also saw Aidy White make his long-awaited comeback from injury and pull on the United shirt for the first time since last July’s friendly at Chesterfield.
White, out of contract this summer, featured for the opening 45 minutes against Town.
Flo Bojaj put United in front early on, but Montenegro soon levelled following Lewie Coyle’s cross.
A coolly-taken strike on the stroke of half-time from Montenegro put the hosts back in front and Luke Parkin added a superb third just after the hour-mark.
Paraguayan striker Montenegro went onto complete his treble with a well-taken strike ten minutes from time after beating the offside trap.
United: Cairns, Coyle, Skelton, Killock, Denton, Phillips, Dawson, White (Booker 45), Walters, Parkin, Montenegro. Subs unused: Grimes, Vann, Lyman, Mulhern.