Yorkshire Evening Post 14/5/15
LEEDS UNITED chairman Massimo Cellino has refused to confirm whether Neil Redfearn will remain as head coach - following a thoroughly bizarre press conference at Elland Road.
The Italian owner failed to answer a barrage of questions on whether Redfearn would be in charge at the club next season in at times thoroughly chaotic and confusing briefing with journalists.
Cellino, who went out during the conference for a smoke break, leaving new chief executive officer Adam Pearson to field a whole host of questions, said that he had not yet spoken to Redfearn about his future.
He said: “I have to find the right coach for Leeds and not because I want to please the fans for 15 minutes and not because I’m worried someone will tell me ‘Cellino, it’s time to go’.
“Last year I was rushing. Now I have time and this decision is important because we have to build the team for next season.
“The decision should not be for the short term because decisions for the short term are dangerous.
“If the coach is bad, it is my mistake. I have made mistakes, a lot of mistakes because I make all the decisions.”
Meanwhile, the 58-year-old reiterated that the club is not for sale following his return as chairman, but stated that if he can’t ‘fix the club’ in two years and take it to the top flight that he may look to sell up.
He said: “I’m going to stay. This club is not for sale. If I cannot fix the club in two years, and take it into the Premier League, then I may sell it.
“But this club is not for sale. It’s never been for sale. Someone called me, saying they wanted to buy the club. I was polite and I listened to them.
“That was a mistake because it came into the news. How can I speak to employees about the future if they think I am selling the club to someone else?
Cellino again amounted an impassioned defence regarding his charges under Italian law for tax evasion and reiterated that he did not break the law.
He said: “I didn’t do anything I was charged with. I didn’t try to defraud the Italian state. If I did that, I would be stupid.”
Cellino on Redfearn: “Who put Redfearn in that position? Me. Who wants Neil to succeed more than anyone? Me. It was my choice.
“No-one wanted Neil to succeed more than me. I don’t know what has happened in last ten games.
“I have to find the right coach for this club and not because I want to please the fans for 15 days.”
Cellino on why he hasn’t spoken to Redfearn: “I got 170 employees here. I’ve got three kids. I have other matters to sort. It’s not so urgent.”
Cellino on Steve Thompson: “I was disqualified. What happened was very, very surprising. I like Thompson as a man.
“I spoke to Steve and said ‘it’s hard to believe that I don’t know what’s happened but I don’t. I’m sorry.’”
Cellino on the club: “If in two season time I’m not ready to take the club to the Premier League, I’m going to sell it.
“But this club is not for sale. It’s never been for sale. I’m polite when people call me.”
Cellino on himself: “Sometimes I make mistakes. I’m arrogant. I take a lot of pressure on my shoulders and ask too much of myself.”