Peter Lorimer: Massimo is wealthy man with long-term plan for Leeds United

Fans show their support for Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Fans show their support for Brian McDermott. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

110
Have your say

However you feel about the way football works these days, you can’t deny that money makes the world go round.

The most successful clubs in this country and across the globe are the clubs with the most cash to spend, and teams who thrive without it are exceptions to the rule.

It might take time, as it has with Leicester City, but if you’ve got strong and consistent financial backing then success will come your way eventually.

And in Massimo Cellino I see a man with the sort of wealth that a lot of people at Leeds United have been yearning for.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked why a club as big and famous as Leeds can’t find the rich owners who’ve invested in Manchester City, Chelsea and quite a few other clubs.

It’s always been a bit of a mystery.

But Cellino is a wealthy man and when I read what he’s saying about his takeover at Leeds, he sounds like someone who is looking at us as a real long-term project.

He’s talking about buying the ground back and involving his sons in the running of the club. You don’t do that if you’re planning to be in and out in a couple of years.

It makes sense when you think about it. He’s owned Cagliari since 1992 and a fair few Italian people I’ve spoken to say he’s done very good things there.

He’s kept them in the top league for a long time and the supporters seem to like him. With a passion for football like his, he could make the same impact here.

Obviously a lot has been said about his background but I’m not really sure that’s for us to talk about. The Football League has measures and tests in place to make sure that anyone who shouldn’t be buying a club doesn’t, and that’s the only judgement that matters.

I know that a lot of fans will be very concerned about the events of the night when Brian McDermott was ‘sacked’, and it was certainly a big cause for concern. You could almost call it Mad Friday and it didn’t reflect at all well on anyone.

But it would be wrong to judge Cellino purely on that evening. Yes, things went haywire and chaos broke out but I’m going to give Cellino the benefit of the doubt and hope that what we saw was the result of miscommunication and misunderstandings.

He and Brian seem to be willing to work together as owner and manager and I have a feeling that when Cellino gets to know him, he’ll like the way Brian works and he’ll like the effort Brian puts in. As with anyone who buys into our club, Cellino needs to be given a chance.

I do feel that over the years there’s been a tendency in some quarters to be negative about every takeover that happens here.

If Cellino does get the deal done, it’s important that we all get behind him and give him the opportunity to show what he can do; to show what his plans are.

The one trait rich individuals share is that everything they do they strive to do well.

Cellino’s made millions of pounds over the years and he’s seen as very successful in business so he won’t want to buy Leeds and then make a mess of the club.

He’ll want to drive us forward and raise his profile again. That’s how men like him work.

Whenever I speak to anyone about Leeds, they tell me that we should be a Premier League side. I agree with them. They tell me that we have a terrific fanbase. I agree with that too. They tell me that Leeds are a big club with massive potential. Once again, I can’t argue.

But what Leeds have never had, or not for a long time, is the money to make the most of all of the assets here. Maybe this is our chance to finally secure the backing we need to make that step up from the Championship.

Takeovers are never guaranteed to bring success but I’ll be giving Cellino my support and I hope everyone else will too.

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough can see bright future for Leeds United