Leeds: First details emerge of McDermott meeting with ‘King of corn’ Cellino

LEEDS manager Brian McDermott has held talks with prospective new owner Massimo Cellino over the Italian businessman’s plans for the club.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th February 2014, 3:33 pm
Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott

The meeting took place at the end of last week. Cellino’s company Eleonora Sport Ltd has exchanged contracts with Leeds’ current owners Gulf Finance House Capital for 75 per cent of the club’s shares, but the £25million deal has yet to be ratified by the Football League.

The 57-year-old tried to sack McDermott and install friend and former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa as the club’s new coach on January 31 after he had reached a verbal agreement with GFH Capital.

McDermott stayed away from Leeds’ 5-1 Yorkshire derby win against Huddersfield after receiving a telephone call from Cellino’s legal representative telling him he had been sacked.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

But GFH Capital released a statement during the game confirming it still owned the club and that McDermott was still manager.

Following supporter outrage at McDermott’s treatment, Cellino appears to have had a change of heart and has since said he is willing to work with the former Reading boss.

McDermott has said that he will do whatever it takes to remain as manager of the club.

Cellino, nicknamed the ‘king of corn’ after making his fortune in the agricultural industry, is hoping to pass the Football League’s ‘owners and directors test’ in order to take control at Elland Road.

The 57-year-old, who is reported to be trying to sell Serie A club Cagliari, which he has owned since 1992, met with Football League officials last Wednesday to discuss his proposed takeover of Leeds.

He has twice been convicted of fraud and is currently contesting a charge of embezzlement, but is widely expected to have his takeover bid approved as the convictions are both ‘spent’.