Leeds United: Cellino claims Fans United guilty of ‘telling fairytales’

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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Massimo Cellino claimed Leeds Fans United were guilty of “telling fairytales” after he withdrew an offer to sell his majority stake in Leeds United to the supporters group.

Leeds Fans United (LFU) accused Cellino of “insincerity” after being informed by his lawyers this morning that he no longer intended to discuss a takeover with the organisation.

The message came less than a week after Cellino invited the group to acquire his 77 per cent shareholding in United and end his fraught 18-month spell as owner.

Cellino made the offer to LFU officials during a meeting at Elland Road on Friday and the supporters group - set up earlier this year with the original intention of buying a minority share in Leeds - has been working on a deal for the past four days.

LFU wanted Cellino to guarantee it a period of exclusivity, effectively protecting it from rival bids while it carried out due diligence, but the 59-year-old has refused that request.

Cellino told the YEP: “They say a lot of fairytales. They really are like kids in a sweet shop.

“They talk too much. It is dangerous, this kind of publicity.”

LFU, which set the price of a buy-out at a minimum of £30million and was still to amass the necessary funding, had earlier attacked Cellino saying: “Leeds Fans Utd has just been informed by the lawyers of Massimo Cellino that he no longer wishes to sell to Leeds fans.

“Our insistence on him confirming his verbal offer of exclusivity in a legally-binding agreement has forced transparency on his motives. It is much better that we identify this insincerity now before we spend our shareholders’ money.

“This exercise has proved our capacity to adapt to any acquisition scenario very quickly. We now know we have the capacity to do both a minority and majority deal and it has shown that Leeds fans have a desire for fan ownership.

“We hope that Massimo will treat the club and fans with respect and honour.”

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Cellino is under intense pressure at Elland Road with a Football League ban hanging over him and dissent from United’s supporters increasingly evident.

He announced on Monday that he would not longer be attending United’s fixtures and he was absent from last night’s 1-0 win over Cardiff City.

The former Cagliari owner looks increasingly likely to call time on his tenure in charge and he is understood to have met with the representative of another prospective buyer in London earlier this week.

Cellino said: “I’m very hurt and sad. I can’t take anymore.”