It should come as zero surprise to hear that, despite promising he was “100 percent” ready to go through with it last Friday lunchtime, Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has today reneged on a proposed deal to sell the club to the fans.
Cellino, who is currently in the process of appealing a Football League ban, announced he had agreed to sell Leeds to the supporters at the tail end of last week, also agreeing to forgo any profit.
“100% I will sell to the fans, if they want to buy it and look after the club. The fans are the only asset the club has,” the Italian businessman told BBC Radio Leeds.
Cellino also admitted that he was “sad and embarrassed” about “achieving nothing” at Elland Road and that it was now “time to go”.
As such, the Leeds Fans United (LFU) supporters’ group then Tweeted they’d “reached agreement in principle” with Cellino to purchase his majority stake in the club for £30million.
Sadly, it looks as though that “in principle” caveat has proved fateful, with Cellino today calling off his plan to sell up to the fans less than a week after the agreement was originally reached.
It was left to LFU to break the news via an official statement:
We’ve been informed by the lawyers of Cellino 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.
What else would you expect from an impulsive man who revels in publicly backing his managers one day and then sacking them the next? Caught up in the whirlwind and his ever-changing moods.
As a weird ironic twist in the tale, Cellino apparently had the Elland Road pitch blessed by a priest before Tuesday night’s game against Cardiff.
Leeds then duly won their first home game in eight months.
What a palaver.