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30 Apr 2015 08:22pm, by Shields53

Leeds United play their final game of the season this Saturday at Elland Road against Rotherham who secured their Championship safety on Tuesday night. Leeds are marginal favourites to win what is a nothing game with both teams safe and nothing to play for. The talking point this weekend may not be on the pitch at all but in the stands. Massimo Cellino, still banned from having any influence over the club by the Football League until Sunday, has been given special dispensation to attend the game as a spectator.

Cellino himself is still undecided whether he will attend or not, when asked by the Yorkshire Evening Post he said; “I don’t know. I haven’t decided. The Football League say I’m allowed to go but I don’t know what I’ll do. I need a clear head and I need to start again with everything next week. I’m not decided.” What is clear is that the tide of feeling has turned against Cellino in recent weeks. Off the pitch events including the suspension of assistant manager Steve Thompson and lack of clarity over Neil Redfearn’s future have led to unrest amongst supporters. This was in particular evidence away at Charlton when anti Cellino chants were sung in full voice.

It will be interesting to see how the crowd react at Elland Road if Cellino does return. There is certainly a split in the fan base with many adamantly for the Italian but many also against his ownership of the club. The first months of Cellinos suspension were lucrative on the pitch for Leeds. The combination of Redfearn and Thompson seemed to have the club playing well and winning points. There is a certain perception that in the last month or so Cellino has sought to wield his influence on the side-lines and exert his authority. It has not gone down well.

Whatever the reaction on Saturday Cellino retakes the reins on Sunday and has some urgent decisions to make. The first being the of the head coach Neil Redfearn. Popular with the majority of fans and players many see it as a no-brainer to award the job to Redfearn on a long term basis. Redfearn himself is keen to take on the job but seems insistent the return of Thompson is key to his future. Whatever anyone else things though, I’m sure Cellino has his own ideas on the future of the coach and the club. How those will go down with the fans, who knows?

15 Apr 2015 01:06pm, by Shields53

As so last night we suffered our fourth straight defeat. In the two weeks since Steve Thompson was suspended we have not picked up a single point and conceded eleven goals. We were favourites last night, the same can’t be said for the Charlton match this Saturday. Having a bet on the match? Why not grab a no deposit free bet to boost your bankroll! But we probably won’t get anything, it’s not just our defensive performances which have suffered we look toothless up front too. In those last four games we have had eight shots on target to our oppositions twenty-one. Neil Redfearn has been found wanting, it’s all his fault, it is clear now the real force behind our revival was Thompson.

Am I being serious? Of course not! But that’s the way some people are talking now. Some people see the absence of Thompson and the following results to mean that everything was down to him, that Redfearn cannot take any credit for our upturn in form from January to March. To me that is naïve, the real reason for our recent results has been the destruction of everything that was good. The meddling in team affairs by those above and individuals who really should have no place in the running of a successful football team.

It took long enough to get Thompson to the club in the first place. But it was clear it was the right choice. He had a good rapport with Redders, a relationship which saw the two of them sound ideas outr and work together constructively for the benefit of the team. The players, some of them at least, clearly responded to him as well. Luke Murphy was brought back from training with the youth team and has been one of the stars of the team in the second half of the season. The defence was clearly improved too, we were chalking up clean sheets and conceding less goals.

The reason for him being suspended is still not clear. Was it a rift in the squad? Reports have it that whilst a couple of Cellinos imports have integrated well with the rest of the squad many have not. When they were not being picked in the starting line-up they conspired to oust Thompson. The other theory is a bust up with Nicola Salerno but with him now stating that his future at the club is uncertain perhaps he is merely being used as a scapegoat by those above him.

What is clear though that there is meddling and there is no clear direction. Clubs such as Swansea, Southampton who have been successful in recent years have had an ethos, a single vision throughout the club from top to bottom. With Redders at the helm and Thompson by his side and Cellino out of the way I could see that emerging. A first team coaching staff clear of their vison and style, playing in a way that players right through the age groups of the academy were playing. Redders has even stated he had a good working relationship with Salerno so perhaps future signings were more likely to fit into that style and vision.

And perhaps that was the problem. It was Redders vision, Redders style and Cellino wasn’t happy with that. His spy, the 23-year-old, French ex furniture salesman Andrea standing on the side-lines at training reporting everything back to his master, Cellino had had enough and needed to show who was really in control. The partnership must be broken up, it is his club, his vison, and his players must play. Unless they are due to hit a contract extension clause obviously!

But that is no way to run a club. We need a vision right through the club an ethos and that can only be done by securing the position of Redfearn, giving him the coaching staff that he wants and needs and ensuring our best young players do not leave the club. Currently we are at the mercy of Cellino and Umbers, skulking in the shadows tearing down everything good that has been built, breaking my heart. Short-termist despotism is no way to build for the future.

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