A long-time sponsor of Leeds United is withdrawing its support of the club, saying association with Massimo Cellino has become an “embarrassment”.
In an email sent to Cellino last night, Crosswater Holdings chairman David Hance told United’s owner he had “had enough of how you run our famous club” and said the company would not consider further sponsorship deals while the Cellino remained in charge at Elland Road.
Crosswater, a firm which supplies bathroom fittings, has held commercial agreements with United for the past decade and is currently in the middle of a two-year deal which includes sponsorship of the tunnel at Elland Road.
Hance said Crosswater would now look for an early exit from its existing contract, a deal which is due to run to the end of the 2016-17 season.
Crosswater’s move to end financial backing came hours after the latest managerial change under Cellino at Leeds.
United announced the departure of head coach Steve Evans yesterday evening and the club are continuing their search for a replacement - the seventh first-team boss in little over two years since Cellino bought a majority stake in Leeds.
Hance’s email, a copy of which was sent to the YEP, read: “It is with great regret that I am severing my commercial association with Leeds United.
“After 10 years supporting the club as a true fan, and longest-serving sponsor, I have had enough of how you run our famous club.
“For my brand to be associated with Leeds United is now an embarrassment to both me and my customers. As always, I will follow the club all over the UK but until you exit the club I or any of my employees will not return in a commercial capacity.
“I wish your task of recruiting another manager all the best. I certainly would not work with you or for you.”
Leeds have been asked to respond to Hance’s comments.
Crosswater is not the first club sponsor to threaten to end commercial deals with Leeds in protest against Cellino’s controversial involvement at Elland Road.
Former shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance and one-time academy sponsor Flamingo Land both announced that they would be pulling all financial backing of United in the aftermath of the events of ‘Mad Friday’ in 2014, the night when Cellino first agreed his takeover of Leeds and attempted to sacking then manager Brian McDermott.
Enterprise’s contract ran to the end of the 2015-16 season but Leeds played out that campaign without any branding on their shirt. The club, however, recently announced a deal with online casino company 32Red to sponsor their kit for the next three years.
Two further sponsorship agreements have also been reached with Clipper Logistics, the company found by lifelong Leeds fan Steve Parkin. Clipper will act as both East Stand sponsor and secondary shirt sponsor next term.