LEEDS owner Massimo Cellino is reported to have agreed with a fans’ advertising campaign urging him to sell his majority stake in the club.
A supporters’ group launched its campaign on Thursday by funding a poster installed on advertising hoardings outside Elland Road’s East Stand calling for the Italian to go.
Legal representatives of the club and Cellino are understood to have requested the removal of the billboard calling for the Italian to go.
But Cellino, who is currently in Italy, was asked for his comments on the poster by BBC reporter Adam Pope, and is reported to have texted back: “I agree !!!”
The poster features a cartoon image of 59-year-old Cellino under the heading ‘Time to go Massimo’ with various quotes from the former Cagliari owner underneath.
The Time To Go Massimo campaign is funded by fans who have grown disillusioned at the way Cellino has run the club following his takeover from previous owner Gulf Finance House in early 2014.
His tenure at Leeds has been overshadowed by an endless chain of controversies and sacked managers.
Cellino served a Football League ban last year for tax evasion in Italy and is currently appealing against a second disqualification having been found guilty of similar offences.
He agreed to sell the club to fans’ group Leeds Fans United in October after agreeing a deal in principle, only to renege on the promise and while he has confirmed his intention to sell the club he continues to alienate fans.
Cellino angered supporters in December by imposing “pie tax” at Elland Road, increasing ticket prices in the South Stand by £5 in exchange for food and drink vouchers in a bid to stop fans buying beer outside the ground.
He backed down after mass protest but has caused further outrage by claiming in a televised interview with Italian newspaper L’Unione Sarda that he increased ticket prices as a punishment to fans who had chanted for him to sell the club at recent home matches.
Cellino has since told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was just a joke. I never could do anything like that.”
Fans group Time to Go Massimo has said it has raised “significant funds” to buying more advertising space around Elland Road and has ordered thousands of flyers to be handed out among supporters.
It has also been reported that a deal is in place with a local pilot to fly a banner over Elland Road during a home game later this season.