FORMER Leeds United manager Brian McDermott insists he could have been the man to transform the fortunes of the club under Massimo Cellino – if he was granted another year in charge.
McDermott, who left the club at the end of May, has lifted the lid on the final months of his time in charge at Elland Road when Cellino first came to United, famously axeing him at the end of January, only to reinstate him after not having the jurisdiction to do it in the first place as he didn’t own the club.
McDermott, speaking on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme, ultimately parted company with Leeds for good in the spring with him and Cellino going their separate ways. But despite their working relationship ending on a sour note, McDermott – now back in football on the scouting staff at Arsenal – says he keeps in touch with the Italian, despite the circumstances of his departure.
McDermott said: “It’s fair to say when Massimo came in, he didn’t really just have a little look at it. He came in and he steamrolled the place.
“I have to say, since I’ve left, I talk to him regularly.
“We get on well, we talk about football and obviously if we’d have known each other a little bit better at the time or if we’d known each other at all, then it might have worked out, and I still believe to this day that if I’d have had another year at this fantastic club, it could have worked.”
On his time working with Cellino at Leeds – while explaining what happened over
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that crazy few days at the end of January - McDermott added: “In effect he sacked me twice, so that’s pretty good...
“We had a meeting and then we didn’t do particularly well in January and he sacked me before he actually owned the club on the 31st of January. I was reinstated in February.
“Someone phoned me. I had a phone call from someone at Leeds who I didn’t actually know and he just said I’ve been relieved of my duties, so I said ‘okay, fine’ and then it came out on Sky Sports and that was it.
“Obviously, a couple of days later I went back.
“The company that owned it (Leeds) was GFH, at the time, and Massimo didn’t actually own the company at the time so I went back and I was just determined to get it right, as right as I could possibly do, and it didn’t go particularly well at the back end of the season, but it stabilised again.
“The last five games was won three, drew one, lost one and I thought I could really try to tie it down and maintain the job, but it wasn’t to be.”