Leeds United: Mac says abusive calls are out of line

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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Brian McDermott said criticism of him had crossed the boundary between “right and wrong” after revealing that he was subjected to abusive, late-night phone calls from Leeds United supporters this week.

Brian McDermott said criticism of him had crossed the boundary between “right and wrong” after revealing that he was subjected to abusive, late-night phone calls from Leeds United supporters this week.

McDermott received calls on his personal mobile in the early hours of Wednesday morning, shortly after United’s 1-0 defeat at home to Charlton Athletic.

The 52-year-old defended himself after that result, describing pressure for him to resign after six losses from seven games as “a joke”, but he was targeted later that night by anonymous fans.

“I got some phone calls the other night, very late at night,” McDermott said. “That’s not right, whatever anyone would say. It’s not the right thing to do.

“I wouldn’t do that to anybody. If I saw someone doing a job and I had a view on it, I wouldn’t be ringing them up and abusing them.

“Once you make it personal by ringing up at half past two in the morning, that can’t be right. How your number gets out there I don’t understand. Anyone who thinks I’m stood on that line having a good time, that’s not a fact and it’s not the case.

“I haven’t got a message for (the people responsible). I just think it’s wrong.”

McDermott avoided direct criticism from the crowd at Elland Road on Tuesday as supporters turned instead on club owner Gulf Finance House and managing director David Haigh, and he said had received support from people in his home town of Harrogate.

“I was walking around where I live and a lot of them were saying ‘keep going, hang in there’,” he said. “But you don’t want to be hanging in there. You want to be moving on and getting better.”

United’s manager has endured a sustained period of poor form since Christmas and struggled to cope with the constant fall-out of a proposed takeover by Massimo Cellino which is still to see a resolution.

Cellino has appealed against a Football League decision to bar him from buying Leeds on the grounds of a tax conviction he received in Italy last month, but the independent QC judging the case – Tim Kerr – has delayed a verdict on Monday’s appeal hearing until 6pm today.

The wait for clarity led to a shortage of money at Elland Road and forced United’s players and coaching staff to defer half of their wages for March last Friday. Fifteen per cent of the remaining cash was paid to them yesterday.

The players’ union, the Professional Footballers Association, had previously been told that the outstanding wages would be met in full once the outcome of Cellino’s appeal was known.

United, who took in money from Tuesday’s home fixture against Charlton, instead transferred a smaller amount yesterday morning.

McDermott again took responsibility for informing his squad of the development, saying: “I’ve been told that we’re getting another percentage. It won’t be all of it.

“It’s there for everyone to see what’s happening but I’m right up for what’s to come and hopefully this week we’ll have a resolution (on the takeover). And from there, hopefully we’ll have some clarity.

“All I know is there’s an appeal and there’ll be a result. That’s the only fact I have. I genuinely don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

“As a team, we’re not getting results – and we’ve got to do better.

“We absolutely know that. But this isn’t going to last forever. It’s a temporary situation which will go away.

“I want to win more than anybody. The record I had in the Championship at Reading was very, very good, right up there. It’s not happening here but we want clarity and we want to make it happen.”

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