Thursday, May 28, 2015

United confirm first pre-season dates - Club set for Austrian training camp followed by Norway visit

leedsunited.com 28/5/15
We are pleased to confirm our first two pre-season fixtures of the summer, with the club set to face Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao in Austria and German outfit Hoffenheim in Norway.
As part of a week-long training camp in Austria between July 18-24, United will meet La Liga club Bilbao on Tuesday July 21 at a venue and kick-off time to be confirmed.
The squad will then head to Norway to take on Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on Saturday July 25 (kick-off time TBA). The friendly will take place at the home of Lillestrom SK, where head coach Uwe Rosler spent time as both a player and a manager.
The club would like to thank former United defender Gunnar Halle for his role in facilitating the Hoffenheim friendly in Norway.
Rosler said: “I started last week so my first days at work were spent assessing certain things and what was in place for pre-season.
“We decided it was in the best interests of our football club, and for the quality of teams that we can meet, to go to Austria where we will find very good conditions to train.
“The pitch is walking distance from the hotel and the quality of opposition we will play against was massively important for me.
“I don’t like to go into the heat – I like to go into a moderate climate, very similar to the UK where you can really put a shift in, in terms of laying the foundations for the season.
“Pre-season is very important, but it’s not just the first month – we’re laying the foundations for the next 10 months.
“Gunnar Halle helped us get another top opposition in Hoffenheim. They are one of the most exciting teams with the way they play in the Bundesliga.
“It will be a good trip against two top teams . I didn’t want another game because I think we have to put a lot of things on the training pitch.
“I will spend a lot of time with the players on and off the training pitch to lay the foundations technically and tactically. Not having too many games allows us to do a lot of groundwork for what is needed in the season.”

Leeds United: Hunt for head of recruitment takes a new twist

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/5/15
Phil Hay
Leeds United’s hunt for a head of recruitment is starting again after the bizarre breakdown of an attempt to appoint Norwich City scout Steve Head.
Head was lined up to take the job at Elland Road and visited United’s Thorp Arch training ground last Friday but owner Massimo Cellino has withdrawn his offer in an apparent disagreement over Head’s plans to depart on an immediate holiday.
The YEP understands that Cellino took issue with the absence of United’s new recruitment boss at a time when the club are actively looking for players in the transfer market.
Leeds named Uwe Rosler as head coach last week and have been identifying potential signings in the days since the German took charge of their first-team squad.
Head - a former head of recruitment at Reading - became Norwich’s chief scout last year but is understood to have been on gardening leave since Neil Adams resigned as manager at Carrow Road in January.
Head was poised to lead the transfer strategy at United and was one of a number of additions to the backroom team planned in the aftermath of Rosler’s arrival.
Rob Kelly, the former Leicester City manager, is expected to become assistant boss and Rosler will also be allowed to appoint a first-team coach.
United are now looking for a different head of recruitment, though Celtic’s David Moss - another option who Cellino has spoken to directly - is unlikely to be in the frame after he and the Italian failed to reach an agreement about the role.
Leeds have also been linked with Francesco Marroccu, a man has been working as sporting director at Cagliari and whom Cellino admires, but Marrocu speaks little English and does not fit the criteria of a recruitment specialist with extensive experience of the British game.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Leeds United: Cellino finally providing framework for success

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/5/15
The arrival of Rob Kelly as Uwe Rosler’s No 2 is virtually finalised and little by little Leeds United look less like a one-man club.
Adam Pearson, their new director, made the point last week that Leeds still have a solitary owner – “he’ll set the policies and he’ll make the ultimate decisions” – but Massimo Cellino appears to be embracing the framework of staff which many think he needs.
The involvement of Pearson himself is progress for a club who, Cellino aside, have not had an experienced football mind in the boardroom for the best part of two years. Rosler, too, is a credible head coach; good enough to justify replacing Neil Redfearn, though not to justify the treatment of Redfearn in general.
Rosler was given free rein to appoint his own backroom team and Kelly should become the first addition to it before the end of this week, returning to the game four months after leaving West Brom in the aftermath of Tony Pulis’ appointment at the Hawthorns.
Kelly, 46, had a limited profile as a player, largely because a back injury forced him to retire before his 25th birthday. Between periods at Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and a loan with Tranmere, he made fewer than 100 league appearances. His first coaching job was with the youth-team ranks at Molineux.
As a coach, Kelly is well regarded and has found regular work in the Football League, much of it coming as assistant to Alan Irvine – they were together at Sheffield Wednesday. His reign at Leicester City in 2006 and 2007 was his only spell as a full-time manager but he has acted as caretaker at almost all of his clubs, most recently at West Brom.
Kelly’s input at Thorp Arch will be supplemented by the arrival of another, as yet unnamed, first-team coach. In his discussions with Cellino, Rosler was told that he could fill both positions and would also be supported by a dedicated head of recruitment.
United have not officially parted company with their existing sporting director, Nicola Salerno, but the Italian is highly unlikely to play any active role at Elland Road next season. He has been absent from the club since becoming embroiled in the suspension of Steve Thompson – Redfearn’s assistant – at the beginning of April.
Earlier this month, Cellino spoke with David Moss, a scout at Celtic, about the head of recruitment post but Moss will not be taking it up. Steve Head, Norwich City’s chief scout, was strongly linked with the job over the weekend and is understood to have visited United’s training ground at Thorp Arch last Friday but sources at Leeds say it is not certain that Head will join the club.
Cellino, meanwhile, is an admirer of Francesco Marroccu – the outgoing sporting director at his former club Cagliari – but Marroccu speaks little English and is not seen as a viable candidate.
Rosler appears happy to work with a recruitment specialist, saying: “I like it, whatever you call (the job). You need to work with somebody who lets you focus on what’s the most important thing – working and being around the players and having an influence on recruitment.
“I like to work with someone in this role and I’ve got experience of this. I think it will come more and more into English football.”
United’s approach to transfers last season paid close attention to the foreign market and particularly the Italian leagues. Eight of their 15 summer signings arrived from abroad and all three transfers in January – Sol Bamba, Granddi Ngoyi and Edgar Cani – were brought in from Italy.
Rosler has inherited a squad with a continental feel and the German said he would not be averse to more foreign arrivals.
“It’s all about balance,” he said. “If you get the balance in the team right between know-how and hunger, spirit and talent then I think you can go a long, long way.
“For us, we are under financial restrictions so we have to look where we are getting that sort of talent. Sometimes you have to go outside the UK to find that sort of talent. The balance has to be right.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Leeds United: Rosler lines up Rob Kelly as assistant

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/5/15
Phil Hay
New Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler has lined up former Leicester City boss Rob Kelly as his assistant as Elland Road.
Leeds are close to securing the first addition to Rosler’s backroom staff and look set to name Kelly as Rosler’s number two later this week.
Fifty-year-old Kelly is a vastly experienced coach in his own right having managed Leicester in 2006 and 2007 and worked at Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion.
He acted as caretaker manager in spells with each of those clubs but left his most recent job at West Brom after Tony Pulis took over at the Hawthorns in January.
In his younger years, Kelly carved out a short playing career at Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers but was forced to retire through injury at the age of 24.
He would be the first of a number of appointments which Leeds intend to finalise after naming Rosler as their head coach on a two-year contract last week.
The German is set to recruit a separate first-team coach and United will also bring in a specialist head of recruitment to assist with their transfer strategy this summer.
Speaking last week, Rosler said: “I’ve been given the licence to bring in an assistant, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment. I’ll assess the staff who are in place.
“This is good timing because I’ve got time before the players return (from holiday) to speak to the different departments and see what’s in place. I want to give everyone a chance - staff, players - to be on the journey.”

Young stars a 'key factor' for Uwe - "nucleus of the team will stay"

leedsunited.com 25/5/15
Uwe Rosler says the prospect of working with United’s exciting crop of homegrown talent was one of the "key factors" in him taking the head coach job last week, having been assured that the "nucleus of the team will stay".
Rosler is already relishing the prospect of working with the likes of Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor after seeing the Thorp Arch graduates flourish together last season.
“I think that was one of the key factors (in taking the job),” the former Brentford and Wigan Athletic boss explained.
“I saw Leeds United, as I saw many clubs in the last six months, and I was very impressed with some of the performances of those who delivered.
“I think there is a core of players with their best years in front of them.
“I’m very excited to work with that group of players who I see as having great potential to go up the table.
“I think Neil Redfearn left a very solid foundation for me to build on and put the next building block in place.
“These are exciting times, we just need to get the balance right between being ambitious and having realistic expectations.”
Asked if he was confident they would remain Leeds players next season, Rosler replied: “Like we all know, football is a financial-driven business, but we discussed it and I believe what I got told – that the nucleus of the team will stay, definitely.
“The players did well and have their careers in front of them.”
Executive Director Adam Pearson, who unveiled Rosler at a press conference last week, added: “That’s been a very strong indication to myself as well, that the nucleus and the core of the team will be maintained and will not be sold.”
Pearson also insists that Rosler will have a “strong influence” in the players being brought into the club over the summer, despite a head of recruitment soon to be appointed.
“I don’t think a head coach the calibre of Uwe would be sat here if he didn’t think he was going to have an impact or a strong influence on the selection of players,” he said.
“I think that the club is starting to put in place key positions. A club secretary will be joining us soon, we’ve got a head of recruitment and two experienced coaches coming in to assist Uwe.
“I think these are all signs that the club is putting in place the infrastructure required to move forward.
“There’s one owner of this football club and he will set the policy and make the ultimate decisions.
“But I think, to be fair, he’s putting people in place around him now who are strong enough and capable enough to take this club forward.
“I think you will see some key appointments over the next week to show the intent is there.”
Rosler added: “I’ve been given the license to bring in an assistant manager, a first team coach and a head of recruitment.
“I will assess the staff who are in place. It’s actually good timing with the players returning from their holidays – I now have time to speak to the different departments and see what is in place.
“I want to give everybody a chance – staff and players – to be on that journey."

Leeds United: Whites consider move for Beckford

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/5/15
Phil Hay
Leeds United are considering joining the group of teams bidding to sign Jermaine Beckford on a free transfer.
The former Whites star scored a stunning hat-trick for Preston North End in their 4-0 League One play-off final victory over Swindon Town at Wembley yesterday.
The Elland Road club have been in contact with Beckford’s representatives over the past month and owner Massimo Cellino scouted the forward during Preston’s play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.
Discussions between the two camps are understood to have taken place prior to Uwe Rosler’s appointment as Leeds head coach last week and it is not clear if United’s new boss will look for Cellino to follow up his interest in Beckford.
But the 31-year-old – a prolific goalscorer in a previous five-season spell at Elland Road – is one of the Football League’s more attractive free agents after reaching the end of his deal at Bolton Wanderers.
Bolton released him last week and Beckford, who is on loan at Preston, will start actively looking for new employers after yesterday’s play-off triumph.
His haul of 15 goals in his spell at Deepdale helped Simon Grayson’s side gain promotion to the Championship and Preston have already expressed their desire to keep Beckford next season.
Wigan Athletic – Rosler’s old club who were recently relegated to League One – also want to sign the striker.
Rosler, however, is looking to reshape the squad at Elland Road after replacing former head coach Neil Redfearn on a two-year deal last week.
The German will search for a forward suited to his preferred 4-3-3 formation and Leeds are in need of goals after a season in which Mirco Antenucci finished as the club’s top scorer with 10.
Beckford produced 85 in his final three seasons at United, famously claiming the goal which sealed promotion from League One in 2010.
He left for Everton that summer and then spent two years at Leicester City before joining Bolton in 2013.
Cellino is understood to have watched him during the second leg of Preston’s play-off semi-final win over Chesterfield, a match in which Beckford scored twice.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Leeds United: Pearson predicts rapid moves with recruitment

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/5/15
Adam Pearson is optimistic that the appointment of Uwe Rosler as head coach will be the start of a period of stability at Leeds United and says the German will have his “fullest support” as he tries to make his mark on the job.
Pearson attempted to paint a picture of calm at Leeds after Rosler agreed to become the club’s fifth first-team boss in the space of 12 months by signing a two-year contract on Wednesday.
The rapid turnover of coaches at Elland Road is indicative of United’s turbulent existence under owner Massimo Cellino but Pearson, who joined the club as executive director last week, said signs of unrest on the outside were “not what’s paddling under the water.”
Rosler’s arrival ended the reign of Neil Redfearn, the incumbent head coach who held the post for six months and has now been told that he is free to return to his old job as manager of the academy at Thorp Arch. Redfearn’s removal came on the back of a spell of intense speculation about his future and savage criticism of him by Cellino in a Sunday newspaper last weekend. He is understood to be taking legal advice before deciding whether to return to his academy role. Cellino himself has only just returned from a Football League ownership ban and he is at risk of further disqualifications with two tax evasion charges against him due to be heard in Cagliari next month.
The Italian staged a chaotic, 70-minute press conference at Elland Road last week in which he struggled to address the numerous issues affecting Leeds but United are in the process of constructing a new backroom team and expect to appoint an assistant boss, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment in the next seven days. Pearson admitted he was aware of criticism aimed at the club and Cellino, but said: “We’re excited about the future. I know it’s easy for me to say that after 10 days here but I’ve only seen positive signs behind the scenes so far. I can only take that as the way we’re going.
“What you see on the outside is not what’s paddling under the water. I think you’ll find over the coming weeks that there’s a sense of order and stability which starts to pervade the club. We’ve brought in a head coach who knows his own mind and he’ll be strong in those principles. He’ll have my fullest support alongside him. There’s been a process in recruiting (Rosler) which I think has been professional. And that’s the way we intend to continue.”
Rosler has begun discussions about the summer transfer market following his appointment and both he and Pearson insisted that he would have a strong influence on signings at Elland Road, despite Cellino’s habit of controlling that area of the club’s business.
United recently released nine players at the end of their contracts, including Aidan White and Rodolph Austin, but they are yet to clarify whether any of the seven loanees signed last season will return to Elland Road. Cellino decided towards the end of this season that the club would not be retaining Flamengo’s Adryan, believing the Brazilian to be unsuited to English football, but defender Dario Del Fabro could join from Cagliari for a second time.
Centre-back Sol Bamba is also looking for a permanent deal at Elland Road having finished the Championship term on loan from Palermo. The 31-year-old, however, signed off his time in Leeds with some critical comments about Cellino’s running of United.
Asked if Bamba might sign again, Pearson said: “He could well do. We’ve literally had no formal recruitment meeting at all and we know we’re perhaps a week behind where we should be.
“But we’ll very quickly get up to speed and the key people are close to coming in. Uwe is pretty clear on what he wants to come into the club. You’ll start to see some movement pretty quickly. We won’t hang around.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Leeds United: Whites headed for calmer waters - Pearson

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/5/15
Phil Hay
Adam Pearson is optimistic that the appointment of Uwe Rosler as head coach will be the start of a period of stability at Leeds United and says the German will have his “fullest support” as he tries to make his mark on the job.
Pearson attempted to paint a picture of calm at Leeds after Rosler agreed to become the club’s fifth first-team boss in the space of 12 months by signing a two-year contract yesterday.
The rapid turnover of coaches at Elland Road is indicative of United’s turbulent existence under owner Massimo Cellino but Pearson, who joined the club as executive director last week, said signs of unrest on the outside were “not what’s paddling under the water.”
Rosler’s arrival ended the reign of Neil Redfearn, the incumbent head coach who held the post for six months and has now been told that he is free to return to his old job as manager of the academy at Thorp Arch.
Redfearn’s removal came on the back of a spell of intense speculation about his future and savage criticism of him by Cellino in a Sunday newspaper last weekend.
He is understood to be taking legal advice before deciding whether to return to his academy role.
Cellino himself has only just returned from a Football League ownership ban and he is at risk of further disqualifications with two tax evasions charges against him due to be heard in Cagliari next month.
The Italian staged a chaotic, 70-minute press conference at Elland Road last week in which he struggled to address the numerous issues affecting Leeds but United are in the process of constructing a new backroom team and expect to appoint an assistant boss, a first-team coach and a head of recruitment in the next seven days.
Pearson admitted he was aware of criticism aimed at the club and Cellino, but said: “We’re excited about the future. I know it’s easy for me to say that after 10 days here but I’ve only seen positive signs behind the scenes so far. I can only take that as the way we’re going.
“What you see on the outside is not what’s paddling under the water. I think you’ll find over the coming weeks that there’s a sense of order and stability which starts to pervade the club.
“We’ve brought in a head coach who knows his own mind and he’ll be strong in those principles. He’ll have my fullest support alongside him. There’s been a process in recruiting (Rosler) which I think has been professional. And that’s the way we intend to continue.”
Rosler has begun discussions about the summer transfer market following his appointment and both he and Pearson insisted that he would have a strong influence on signings at Elland Road, despite Cellino’s habit of controlling that area of the club’s business.
United recently released nine players at the end of their contracts, including Aidan White and Rodolph Austin, but they are yet to clarify whether any of the seven loanees signed last season will return to Elland Road.
Cellino decided towards the end of this season that the club would not be retaining Flamengo’s Adryan, believing the Brazilian to be unsuited to English football, but defender Dario Del Fabro could join from Cagliari for a second time.
Centre-back Sol Bamba is also looking for a permanent deal at Elland Road having finished the Championship term on loan from Palermo. The 31-year-old, however, signed off his time in Leeds with some critical comments about Cellino’s running of United.
Asked if Bamba might sign again, Pearson said: “He could well do. We’ve literally had no formal recruitment meeting at all and we know we’re perhaps a week behind where we should be.
“But we’ll very quickly get up to speed and the key people are close to coming in. Uwe is pretty clear on what he wants to come into the club. You’ll start to see some movement pretty quickly. We won’t hang around.”

Pearson backs Uwe to inspire United

leedsunited.com 21/5/15
Executive Director Adam Pearson believes that new head coach Uwe Rosler has the ability to "inspire this club" during what he sees as exciting times at Elland Road.
Pearson only returned to the club at the start of last week but insists he has seen “only positive signs behind the scenes so far”, with Rosler’s appointment the latest move in preparation for the new campaign.
"I’m really excited to have Uwe here," he explained at Wednesday's unveiling of the new head coach. "I think he’s a top coach, a strong character and a strong personality.
"I think he will inspire this club and this crowd to get the ball rolling and get some momentum into this club, I genuinely believe that.
"We’re excited about the future, I know it’s easy for me to say that after only being here for 10 days but I’ve only seen positive signs behind the scenes so far.
"I can only take that as the way we’re going and, for me, it’s a very positive future.
"The reality is significantly different (to the outside perception) and we’re all trying to put in place the structures that work.
"What you see on the outside is not quite what’s paddling under the water. I think what you’ll find over the coming weeks is that there’s a sense of order and stability that starts to prevail at the club.
"I think we’ve brought in a head coach who knows his own mind and he will be very strong in those principals. He will have my full support alongside him."
Asked about further additions to the club and specifically Rosler’s backroom staff, Pearson replied: "We’ve got three key pieces of the jigsaw to fit in place; Uwe’s two choices as assistant manager and first team coach and head of recruitment.
"We’ve then got a very strong and capable football secretary coming in place.
"I think then we will have a management team and a football team that can make decisions in an orderly and structured manner for the benefit, medium and long-term, of the club."

Uwe outlines vision for success - the 'key ingredients' to make things work at Elland Road

leedsunited.com 21/5/15
New head coach Uwe Rosler has outlined what he believes are the "key ingredients" to achieve success at Leeds, saying everybody at the club and the supporters need to be "driving in one direction".
The former Brentford and Wigan boss was unveiled as the new man in charge at Elland Road on Wednesday afternoon after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal.
Rosler already has his sights set on improving on last season’s 15th-place finish in the Championship, but he insists there will be no “big overhaul” of the squad this summer.
"I think the key ingredient is the right expectation, setting the right level of targets and creating chemistry between the staff and the players and also between the supporters where everybody is driving in one direction," he said.
"I think that is crucial. When your expectations are too high, sometimes teams get nervous and show problems like losing their confidence.
"I think you can achieve a lot with hard work and being clever in the transfer market. You don’t need the biggest budget.
"Obviously money helps, but it is not the solution for winning automatic promotion. I think we should look at a club like Bournemouth or what I did at Brentford with far less budgets than some of the big guns."
Asked about the pressure and weight of expectation which coaching the club brings, Rosler replied: "I thrive on pressure.
"I think it’s very important for the job I’m working in to accept that there’s pressure around you and use it in the best possible way.
"The chairman made it clear to me that he wants the next building block. The foundation was laid down with the nucleus of the team.
"There will be no big overhaul – not 10 or 15 new players.
"The nucleus of the team will stay. We will bring some new players in but not many.
"I think this group of players deserve to get to the next level and hopefully I as a coach and my coaching team can help them.
"The expectation for me is that I want to win every game. I know this is not possible but we will always be looking to get more points on the table.
"I think we need to develop the players individually and collectively. For me personally, top 10 would be the level to aim for at first."
Rosler has previously played at Elland during his Manchester City days and helped his former side secure a 1-0 Premier League win back in December 1995.
So having already tasted the famous atmosphere, the head coach believes the home crowd can be used as a major advantage to his new club.
"I think that is a great weapon and we all have to understand that. We all have to get on board together to create that special atmosphere," Rosler said.
"I think Elland Road should be an absolute fortress. Those players who did well this season deserve massive support going into next season.
"Hopefully that can give them the boost to reach the next level."

Leeds United: Rosler more than happy to pick up Leeds reins

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/5/15
Phil Hay
Uwe Rosler took the reins at Leeds United last night and backed himself to thrive under volatile owner Massimo Cellino, saying: “I’m not suicidal.”
Rosler described his appointment as head coach as the “chance of a lifetime” and said he would not have accepted the opportunity at Elland Road without confidence in his ability to work with Cellino. The German became Cellino’s fifth first-team boss in the space of 12 months when he signed a two-year contract yesterday, replacing Neil Redfearn.
Leeds have been beset by controversy and problems during Cellino’s time as owner but 46-year-old Rosler insisted he was optimistic of building a good relationship with the Italian.
“I’m not suicidal,” Rosler said. “If I didn’t see a chance to be successful with this club then I wouldn’t have taken that chance.
“I had other opportunities but I chose this one because it was Leeds United. The owner is very passionate and I have passion. We all want to do the best for this club.”
Rosler, who revealed that the job had been offered to him “at short notice”, said he warmed to Cellino during discussions between them.
“It was very interesting and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “He’s a very knowledgeable football man. I showed him a presentation of my style of play and we discussed a lot of football. He has got a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for in terms of recruitment.”
Cellino staged a bizarre 70-minute press conference at Elland Road last week but he was absent yesterday as director Adam Pearson unveiled Rosler.
Pearson said: “We felt the press conference last week became too much about the owner. We wanted this press conference to be about a head coach who we believe in strongly.
“There’s one owner of this club and he’ll set the policies and make the ultimate decisions but to be fair, he’s putting in place people around him who are strong enough and capable enough to take the club forward.”

Leeds boss Rosler makes good first impression at Elland Road

Yorkshire Post 20/5/15
UWE ROSLER has been through plenty in his 46 years.
From being brought up in Communist East Germany under the notorious eye of the dreaded secret police, the Stasi, to winning a battle with lung cancer after doctors diagnosed a tumour which was the size of a tennis ball pressing against his windpipe just over a decade ago.
In life, he has displayed his fighting qualities, almost as a badge of honour.
Testimony to that is the name of his autobiography which is entitled Knocking Down Walls – in deference to his former life on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall under the repressive regime of Erich Honecker.
Clearly a figure not to be intimidated earlier, having held firm amid interrogation from the Stasi, when being encouraged to spy on his young East German team-mates as a young and vulnerable boy going it alone in his quest to carve out a career in the beautiful game.
Don’t let it be said that he does not possess character either.
Not many mullet-haired Germans with little grasp of English go onto become a King of the Kippax at Manchester City without having a little something.
But now Rosler faces his biggest challenge of his footballing life 30-odd miles east across the M62. Namely proving his longevity as a head coach at Leeds United under the command of a figure who is refered to as “mangia-allenatori” in his native Italy, the manager-eater.
Owner Massimo Cellino, perhaps wisely, was absent from Rosler’s unveiling as the club’s new head coach yesterday lunch-time in the Bremner Suite at Elland Road, where five days earlier he had presided over a thoroughly disorderly and choatic press conference, which provided precious little clarity and did Leeds few favours.
Sitting alongside the impassioned Italian that afternoon was executive director Adam Pearson, with his second press conference in a week a far more orderly and structured affair than the previous one.
Yesterday’s slick meeting with the media was comfortably under half the length of Thursday’s rambling soliloquy on behalf of the Cellino party and achieved plenty more.
Pearson, just over a week into his post, delivered a pretty immaculate performance and showed just why he had been brought to the club by Cellino.
After the lack of clarity surrounding the issue of Neil Redfearn, Pearson provided clear answers when it might as well have resembled the elephant in the room five days earlier.
Explicitness also in the way forward with an ‘extremely strong and capable’ football secretary, head of recruitment, first-team coach and an assistant to Rosler to be announced in the next week.
Announcements on pre-season in due course, it was like ticks on a shopping list.
For his part, Rosler also said all the right things, paying rightful credit to his predecessor Redfearn, while articulating his footballing philosophy with coherence and without resorting to hackneyed cliches and be genuinely engaging at the same time.
It was a refreshing departure from the unconvincing utterances of David Hockaday last June, when he spoke about making Leeds ‘the hardest working team in the league’ and colourless refrains of Darko Milanic as the leaves fell in the autumn.
We learnt about Rosler’s footballing credos, a German style of play based on quick transitions to attack and defence and a pressing game, employing a 4-3-3 formation with a 3-5-2 as a variant. Squad rotation when needs arise.
Powerhouse, high-voltage, ‘Heavy Metal’ football as Rosler put it. In the best traditions of that powerhouse footballing exponent in Jurgen Klopp, whose acclaimed Borussia Dortmund outfit of a few seasons ago were all energy and industry.
Rosler also elicited that operating under a head of recruitment is something that is his prefered mode of working, having successfully worked with a sporting director in Mark Warburton at Brentford and others in his time as a manager on the continent. That clearly ticks a box in the eyes of Cellino.
Rosler displayed an aptitude to talk the talk and now it is about walking the walk under Cellino.
The former Wigan and Brentford manager, who has signed a two-year-deal, adhered to his Teutonic roots by regularly referring to order and structure and capacity for hard work in terms of his work credo and you sense Pearson was nodding inwardly. The two can do business, you feel.
A clue to Rosler’s diligence and organisational skills followed when he revealed that his footballing philosophy to Cellino in a presentation in his office, with some animated discussions following.
On his first dealings with Cellino, Rosler, far from cowed, said: “I thought it was very interesting and I really enjoyed it.
“He is a very knowledgeable football man and we talked a lot about tactics.
“I showed him a presentation of my style of play and we discussed a lot of football and I think he has got a pretty good idea of what I am looking for in terms of recruitment.”
At the end of the press conference, Pearson thanked the media for attending and spoke about these events becoming a regular occurrence in a way which suggested that he hoped there are not too many more in the weeks and months ahead.
Amen to that, most Leeds United supporters would probably say.

Leeds owner Cellino turns to, loses patience with Rosler

Four Four Two 20/5/15
Paul Watson
Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has lost faith in Uwe Rosler less than a minute after his appointment. Back of the Net reports...
Leeds United have parted company with Uwe Rosler after the German manager failed to deliver the expected results in his first 14 seconds in charge. After a frustrating period of slow, steady progress under Neil Redfearn, the volatile Italian owner had believed Rosler would be the man to deliver success on a more acceptable timescale.
Cellino began the unveiling press conference looking relaxed and confident in his appointment, taking time to regale the press hordes with a detailed analysis of the Italian legal system, jurisprudence in Italian business and cats.
But things began to go awry when Rosler was invited to speak. Before the former Brentford boss had even finished his introductory sentence, Cellino began to mutter, cutting him off entirely before he could develop what appeared to be a promising second sentence.
“On behalf of everyone at Leeds United I would like to thank Uwe for his service,” Cellino declared, drowning out Rosler’s attempts to praise Cellino’s long-term vision for the club.
“We all appreciate his dedication and hard work and wish him the best in his next role.”
While a confused Rosler went off to introduce himself to and say farewell to his new and former players, Cellino analysed Rosler’s reign. “Are we a better club than we were 14 seconds ago? I would say that we are,” Cellino toldFourFourTwo.
“But we need to get Leeds back where they belong in the Premier League and we’re not going to achieve that with adverbs or prepositions. If we’re not in the Champions League by September then something has gone badly wrong.”
During his career to date Cellino has been accused of impatience, having sacked around 160,000 coaches, many of whom were not even employed by him.

Rosler, Redders, Pearson and 'key appointments' soon - press conference dissected

weareleedsunited.co.uk 20/5/15
by Charlie Sopp
Today’s Press Conference that introduced new Head-Coach Uwe Rosler has given me a list to get through as I choose which story I write about next. Uwe Rosler conducted himself very well and the German boss certainly gave off the right vibes. However for this specific article I will concentrate on what Adam Pearson revealed about “key appointments” in the very near future and recruitment off the field.
When Massimo Cellino left the club in January to comply with his Football League ban he left in place a very thin team on the ground at Elland Road. Andrew Umbers was left in charge of the club from the top as Chairman, and Matt Childs stayed to help. Nicola Salerno continued in his role as Sporting Director and Redders and Steve Thompson were left to run the club on the pitch. However this small team was dismantled as the months went on. Matt Childs left because he felt his position had become untenable, Nicola Salerno suspended (sacked) Steve Thompson for apparently calling him a “retard” and then also departed from the club. This left the team of Andrew Umbers and Neil Redfearn.
This worried me greatly and I felt Massimo Cellino needed to address the infrastructure at the club as well as the Head-Coach position. To be fair to him he started very well with the appointment of Adam Pearson. The experienced ex-Leeds man returned to the club and for me it was a masterstroke. Pearson held the news conference today and conducted it very well. Cellino never attended and I think the advice of Pearson was probably critical in that decision. He was clearly uneasy at last weeks odd presser and never made the same mistake today.
During the press conference Pearson stated that the club were on the brink of recruiting a new club secretary who was very experienced, a very big move for the club. He also told of a new role, similar to Nicola Salerno but a British employee that would take up the role of “Head of Recruitment”. This would potentially upset certain managers but Uwe Rosler was quick to address the position saying that he enjoyed working with someone in this role and it was important we have someone in place. The European way he said, was likely to continue to be introduced to the English leagues in regards to this position.
Uwe Rosler also confirmed he had the green light to bring in an assistant coach and first-team coach to the club in the coming days. The assistant could well be a friendly face, Gunnar Halle is hot favourite to join Rosler at Leeds after working with Rosler in the same role at previous clubs. Pearson was adamant that what is being played out in the media is not true to what’s going on behind the scenes and said this will become very apparent in the next 7-10 days, promising stuff.
Finally but certainly not the least important part of my dissection of todays tale. Pearson has personally spoke to Neil Redfearn and offered him his old job back in the academy. The chances are high he will probably move on, the treatment he has received is not good enough for me and Pearson is probably well aware, hence why he has taken the role to sort Redders out on. If Redfearn did accept and returned to the academy it would be a huge boost for the club. Pearson also confirmed that Massimo Cellino did not mean that he would be dismantling the academy last week. According to Pearson he was upset at a Manchester City approach for a youngster and he is fully committed to the academy and youth.
All in all it was a very productive day for the club. The fact that Redders has been told makes me feel better, I think he deserves huge credit for the way he has conducted himself throughout a tough time for the fan favourite. Fingers crossed he will stay but it seems likely other clubs will have better offers for him. I will move on to Uwe Rosler in my next article and look more at what our new Head-Coach had to say about his “chance of a lifetime”.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Leeds United: Fresh challenge for ‘survivor’ Rosler

Yorkshire Evening Post 20/5/15
Leeds United unveiled Uwe Rosler as their new head coach during a press conference at Elland Road today, placing the club’s squad in the hands of a man who is accustomed to fighting battles. Phil Hay reports.
Uwe Rosler survived lung cancer and the close attention of the East German Stasi so getting a grip of Massimo Cellino and Leeds United should be his kind of job.
Rosler had a glass of water in front of him when, on his first appearance as United’s head coach, he was asked how he would cope with a high-maintenance owner who goes through coaches like a Flymo through grass.
“I don’t know how you guys feel but I’m very happy,” he said. “For me that glass is half full and not half empty. That’s my philosophy in life.” Read about his life and you’ll understand why.
None of that changes the reality on the ground at Leeds and in amongst the usual tasks of a new first-team boss, Rosler can see two necessary objectives: to make his relationship with Cellino work on his terms and to win the minds of supporters who are stewing over United’s decision to make way for him by dispensing with Neil Redfearn. Redfearn’s demise was neither Rosler’s fault nor a classy affair.
Head coaches in general breeze quickly in and out of Leeds. Rosler, 46, is their fifth in the space of a year, a list which begins with Brian McDermott. Cellino might not like his reputation as a ‘mangia-allenatori’ but the numbers don’t lie. Even so, the appeal of the job at Elland Road is still apparent. “To be head coach of Leeds United is the chance of a lifetime,” a relaxed Rosler said.
Adam Pearson, the Leeds director, said Rosler was chosen from a list of candidates which ran to “hundreds”. “Ever since it started to come out that Uwe was to be appointed, my phone has been red-hot with other coaches throwing their hats into the ring,” Pearson said. “It was quite a definite decision by (Cellino).” Rosler sold himself with a formal presentation to the Italian. “I think he has got a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for.”
Rosler said the burning issue of “roles and responsibilities” was adequately addressed in his discussions with Cellino. “I’ll be responsible for key members of staff around the first team, the group of players, the tactical approach, the technical approach,” he said. “Picking the team will be completely my responsibility. I’ll have an impact in terms of who’s going in and who’s going out.
“Life is a challenge and I know what I’m getting myself into. But I’m thriving on pressure and I’m thriving on challenges all my life. I’m a hard-working person. It’s the way I grew up, the way I played the game; the way I deal with personal problems and the way I manage. You need those qualities to make it count here. My experience of 10 years as a head coach will allow me to do that.”
Cellino has always held a tight rein on transfers but in the next week or so, Leeds expect to appoint a new head of recruitment, replacing outgoing sporting director Nicola Salerno. “I’ll be heavily involved in recruitment,” Rosler said. “It’s very important that you recruit the right players. You have to create an environment of excellence where you set the expectation to your players and staff and be consistent in following that up - to create that hunger in the group, to drive on and come in every day trying to get better. That is essential.”
Redfearn made similar noises towards the end of his reign but none of them impressed Cellino. If anything Redfearn’s comments about his own uncertain future seemed only to rile the Italian. His inevitable demotion from the head coach’s position was confirmed this afternoon when Rosler signed a two-year contract.
Rosler gave Redfearn credit for his six months in charge and said he understood the public support for him. “Neil took over the club last year and it was in a dangerous area but he lifted the players together and stabilised the club very well,” Rosler said. “There’s a good foundation to move on from.
“When I started at Brentford, people in England and at Brentford only knew me as a player. Brentford appointed me because (owner) Matthew Benham was thinking outside the box. There was not only positive feedback at first so I had to win them over but I left the club in a far better state than when I started.”
Brentford and Rosler were a nice fit. One dismal defeat to Stevenage Borough aside - a result which prompted a reading of the riot act in the dressing room afterwards - the progressive London club ticked forward under him for two-and-a-half years. They qualified for the League One play-offs in 2013 and were in the mix for promotion when the German left for Wigan in November of that year. Mark Warburton carried his work on.
Rosler’s impact at Wigan was invigorating and at the end of his first season, the club came remarkably close to defending the FA Cup and lost in the Championship play-off semi-finals. But last summer the project unravelled. Wigan’s recruitment drive failed them and high-profile players who were open to a year in the Championship felt less enthused about a second. Rosler was sacked in December, leaving behind a squad who looked like being relegated and ultimately were.
“I’m proud of what I did the first seven months at Wigan,” he said. “Sam Allardyce spoke last week about very short memories in football but I always tell my players ‘you’re only as good as your last game.’ So obviously I have a point to prove.
“What happened afterwards, there was a rebuilding job to do. At any club when you have to rebuild there are problems along the way. Because of my track record of getting teams into the play-offs I expected that I would get time to sort those problems out.
“I was very disappointed when I got removed but I have no grudges whatsoever. I moved on and the club moved on. I probably had too many things going on in some areas. I like to be very close to my players and to communicate.”
Rosler said he spent his six months out of work “educating myself”; scouting players and “studying the game”. “But I was always keen to come back this summer,” he said. “I had one or two opportunities, then this one came at very short notice. It can’t get bigger than this for me. It was a no brainer.”
In the way that McDermott was seen as a 4-4-2 man, Rosler is a disciple of 4-3-3 and plans to use that formation at Elland Road. “It can pressure the opposition high up the field,” he said. “You need a high level of fitness and energy.” Players who have worked with Rosler in the past talk about the intensity of his pre-seasons. “Pre-season will now go ahead as Uwe wants it,” Pearson said, implying that Redfearn’s plans of a tour to Ireland is likely to be dropped.
“Playing 4-3-3, I like to have pace on the sides,” Rosler said. “My alternative system is a 3-5-2 where we play with two strikers. I did that at Wigan and did it successfully in the FA Cup against Premier League opposition. That would be Plan B.”
From front to back, United’s existing squad is short of pace. “In certain areas, we have the right players to do 4-3-3,” Rosler said. “In certain areas we have to add. But not massively.”
The former Manchester City striker wants to get the “ball rolling” with recruitment this week and plans to meet with staff at Thorp Arch next week. “This is good timing because I have time before the players return from holiday to speak to the different departments,” he said. As for the group of players he inherits, Rosler is pleased with it.
“That was one of the key factors,” he said. “I saw Leeds United in the last six months and I was very impressed by some of the performances. There’s a core of players with the best years in front of them. We just need to get the balance right between being ambitious and expectation. This club has to be ambitious. It also has to have realistic expectations.”
Expectation is the enemy of so many at Elland Road, largely because Leeds so often fail to meet it. The club finished 15th this season and Rosler said 10th place next season would represent progress. “For me we are aiming for top 10 and I think that would be progression, competing with the clubs on parachute payments which are getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “I would call that a successful season.”
In that respect and many others, Rosler has fixed ideas - ideas about how his team will shape up, what they should aim for and how they will play. “Transition football,” he replied when asked about his preferred style. “Very quick into attack and defence.
“It’s important for me to win the ball and play a high-pressing game, to force the opposition to make mistakes and to play the ball in areas where we can attack quickly. We also have to have a plan for when we play against established defences but I like very powerful quick football, that sort. Jurgen Klopp says it’s ‘heavy metal’.” It falls now to Rosler to hit the right notes.

Leeds United: Whites offer Redfearn old academy job

Yorkshire Evening Post 20/5/15
Phil Hay
Leeds United director Adam Pearson has told Neil Redfearn that he is free to resume his old job as academy boss, despite his unceremonious removal as head coach and a bitter fall-out with owner Massimo Cellino.
Redfearn has been offered a return to United’s youth-team set-up after the club confirmed his departure from the first-team role at Elland Road by appointing Uwe Rosler as their new head coach.
Rosler signed a two-year contract yesterday and is already in the process of recruiting his backroom staff ahead of the start of pre-season training in July. Redfearn’s short tenure as head coach – a reign which began last November – looked ill-fated during the closing weeks of the Championship season and his demotion was effectively confirmed at the weekend following a scathing newspaper interview in which Cellino accused him of acting “like a baby” and of being a “weak character”.
Cellino has not spoken to Redfearn since the end of the Italian’s Football League ban on May 3 but Pearson – named as executive director at Elland Road last week – has taken the matter in hand by promising the 49-year-old that he is still entitled to work in United’s academy. The contract Redfearn signed last November tied him down as head coach until June 30 and included a clause guaranteeing him that his previous role as development-squad coach would be available again if Leeds chose not to take up a different option to keep him in charge of the first team next season. Redfearn joined the academy at Thorp Arch in 2009 and took control of the youth-team system after former manager Chris Sulley quit the role in 2012.
Pearson denied that Rosler had been appointed with a head coach still in place, saying: “There isn’t a head coach here. The clause (to extend Redfearn’s time in charge) has not been exercised on Neil.
“Neil’s been offered the appointment back in charge of the academy and we await his answer. The role’s been offered to him and I’m sure he’ll come back to me as soon as he’s has time to think about it.”
Pearson was adamant that the offer was a genuine one, regardless of obvious tensions between Redfearn and Cellino, but he conceded that Redfearn’s performance as head coach might earn him invitations to manage elsewhere.
“It’s definitely a realistic offer because I made it,” Pearson said. “It was said with all credibility and it’s been given to him.
“With Neil’s track record over the last year I’d imagine that he has other offers to consider. I’m sure that’s what he’s doing now. The conversation was held in a very mature and professional manner. I’m sure he’ll go forward to have a good career.”
Rosler also offered Redfearn a vote of confidence, saying: “For me Neil did a good, solid job for me to push on from and I wish him all the best.
“In the end this was not a decision of Uwe Rosler. It was a decision of the football club.”
Leeds were in grave danger of relegation at the turn of the year but their form in the second half of the Championship season saw the club finish 15th and stave off the threat of another stint in League One.
The run-in, however, was marred by the suspension of Redfearn’s assistant, Steve Thompson, and the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of six players through injury shortly before a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic. Redfearn received the backing of large sections of Leeds’ support amid the chaos, some of whom turned on Cellino and chanted for his departure in the final weeks of the term.
On Sunday, Cellino accused Redfearn of using the fans to undermine him.
Asked if Redfearn’s future employment as academy boss would depend on the repair of that relationship, Pearson said: “It’s not crucial at all. I’ve dealt with the situation and that’s what I’m empowered to do. As of this moment everything’s in hand.”

Rosler relishing United challenge

leedsunited.com 20/5/15
Uwe Rosler says he is relishing the chance to take charge of United and believes there is already "great potential" here after being unveiled as the club’s new head coach on Wednesday afternoon.
The former Brentford and Wigan Athletic boss put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Elland Road and spoke exclusively to LUTV prior to holding his first press conference alongside Executive Director Adam Pearson.
"I feel very happy, it’s a great opportunity. This is a massive club," Rosler explained.
"From my playing time, I remember Elland Road buzzing and a very intense atmosphere. I see something in the group of players that we can work with."
Describing the process which brought him to the club, Rosler added: "There was an approach, I got told by the club they were looking for the head coach position.
"Since my time at Wigan, I had been out of work, studying the game and readying myself. I was always clear that I wanted to come back in the summer.
"I had a few opportunities but I was waiting for one like Leeds United. For me, it’s a massive chance.
"There’s great potential with this group of players. I think they stabilised themselves throughout the season and I think it’s a great platform to move on."
Asked if this was the biggest job of his career so far, Rosler replied: "In my coaching career, definitely, this is the biggest club. That why I worked very hard for an opportunity like this.
"I will do everything to make it count and I really hope that everybody will judge me on the way I work and the way I will be with people, and the results come in."
Following a career which spanned 16 years, including a fruitful four-year spell at Manchester City, the United job is Rosler’s third managerial role in English football having started out with Norwegian side Lillestrom.
Most recently, he took charge of Wigan Atheltic, guiding them into the play-offs and an FA Cup semi-final after earning a strong reputation during his time at Brentford.
"I’ve been a manager or head coach for 10 years now; first in Norway with three clubs in the Premier League playing European football," he said.
"Every club I took over, I improved – including Brentford and Wigan – immediately with the results. That is what I intend to do here.
"I came over to England with Brentford and started with a mid-table club in 2011 – look where the club is today.
"I worked for two-and-a-half years there and I think I laid the foundations for where the club is today.
"I went to Wigan because I had done well at Brentford and they paid compensation for me. For me, that was the next step in my coaching career.
"I’m very proud of what I achieved in my first seven months, starting on the December 9th when the club was 15th in the league and still in the European competition and the FA Cup.
"We finished the season in the play-offs and the semi-final of the FA Cup, that was a very good achievement. But I also learned an experience – the dark side – in the rebuilding process of Wigan.
"They had problems on the road, which I expected, but I expected a little bit more time to sort them out, especially with my track record of getting teams into the play-offs."

Rosler accepts ‘chance of a lifetime’ at Leeds United

Yorkshire Evening Post 20/5/15
Leon Wobschall
UWE ROSLER insists that accepting the head coaching role at Leeds United was a ‘no brainer’ and says it is ‘a chance in a lifetime’ for him.
The German was unveiled as United’s fifth permanent head coach/manager in the Massimo Cellino era this afternoon, signing a two-year deal.
The former Brentford and Wigan boss spoke about not being cowed by the challenge of bucking the trend and becoming the man to break the cycle of continual head coaching appointments at the club.
Rosler, who immediately targetted a top-ten finish after being unveiled, said: “I had one or two opportunities. But this one came available at very short notice and it can’t get bigger than this. It was a no-brainer.
“Life is a challenge and I am know what I am gettng myself in for and I have thrived on challenges and pressure all my life.
“I have been out of work and have used the last six months to educate myself and I was always keen to come back in the summer.”
Meanwhile, executive director Adam Pearson clarified the position regarding Neil Redfearn and said that the clause on the 49-year-old continuing as head coach was not activated.
Pearson confirmed that the club are awaiting Redfearn’s answer after he was offered his old role back in charge of the Academy, with the offer a “genuine and credible” one.
On whether Redfearn will stay, he said: “I couldn’t honestly answer that. The role has been offered to him and I am sure Neil will come back to me as soon as he has had time to consider it.”
Rosler has been given the licence to bring in an assistant-manager and first-team coach and Pearson said that those appointments, alongside a head of recruitment and a club secretary are likely to be unveiled in the near future.
Rosler stated that he will have an input in which players come into the club.

Official Website: Uwe Rosler named head coach

leedsunited.com 20/5/15
Leeds United are pleased to confirm that Uwe Rosler has been appointed as the club’s new head coach on a two-year deal.
Rosler, a former East Germany international, has built-up a strong reputation, particularly in English football, during his 10-year managerial career to date.
His playing career spanned 16 years and was largely spent in the German leagues before 1994 brought a move to Manchester City, where he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame after four fruitful years produced 64 goals in 176 appearances.
Two years back in Germany followed – with FC Kaiserslautern and Tennis Borussia Berlin – before he soon returned to England in 2000, joining Southampton on a free transfer and then heading to West Brom on loan.
Sadly for Rosler, his playing career was brought to a premature end while representing Norwegian side Lillestrom in 2003. Just 34 at the time, he was diagnosed with lung cancer which forced him into early retirement from the game.
But he battled his way to a full recovery, obtaining his coaching badges while in remission, and took charge of Lillestrom in 2005 with former United defender Gunnar Halle as his assistant.
Rosler spent two years at the helm before moving to fellow Norwegian Premier League outfit Viking, where he spent three years and led the club to a third-place finish. He remained in Norway for his next job, moving to Molde on a short-term contract.
2011 brought his first management opportunity in English football as he took the reins at Griffin Park and guided Brentford to their highest finish in six years during his first season at the club. His second season saw the Bees agonisingly miss out on promotion from League One after losing to Yeovil in the play-off final.
Rosler’s stock was high and in December of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion-winning campaign, he was poached by Championship side Wigan Athletic, who he guided into the play-offs and the semi-finals of the FA Cup after a remarkable turnaround in form. However, following a slow start to the last season, Rosler parted company with Wigan in November.

Leeds United Branded “Disgusting” Over Treatment of Neil Redfearn

Inside Futbol 20/5/15
Leeds United's treatment of head coach Neil Redfearn has been branded "disgusting" by a consultant who worked for the club earlier this season.
Redfearn is under contract with Leeds until 30th June, but has been left hanging over his future. Now Leeds are moving to appoint Uwe Rosler as their new head coach, despite the fact Redfearn is still under contract.
Leeds appointed Redfearn earlier this season and he steered the club away from the relegation zone in the Championship. The 49-year-old was formerly Leeds' academy chief and put in years of service developing youngsters for the Whites.
And consultant Graham Bean, who was sacked by owner Massimo Cellino earlier this season, has launched a scathing attack on the way Leeds as a club are being run.
"Disgusting treatment of Redfearn – wonder when LUFC have the courage to tell him it's over who will deliver the news….or who won't?" he wrote on Twitter.
"If MC [Massimo Cellino] decided he didn’t want NR [Neil Redfearn] to continue there [is a] proper legal way to go about it. Seems they view him as an irrelevance in the process.
"The treatment of NR at LUFC is nothing short of amateur & undignified. This club deserves so much better. Leadership is everything."
Rosler will be the fifth head coach to work under Cellino, despite the Italian only taking control of Leeds last year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cellino - English football did not suit Adryan

Vital Leeds 19/5/15
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino believes English football is not for young Brazilian Adryan.
The attacking midfielder spent the season on loan at Elland Road with a view to a permanent deal this summer but any chance of that deal happening now looks dead after Cellino admitted in an interview with Italian Radio Station Il Cagliari in Diretta that things did not work out for him during his time with Leeds.
"Adryan was not part of Cagliari`s plans, so I pledged to bring him to England. Football here is not for him, it did not work," Cellino told Il Cagliari in Diretta.
The 20-year-old, who cancelled his loan spell with Cellino`s former club Cagliari to sign for Leeds, made just 13 appearances during his time at Elland Road with just two of those coming after the turn of the year and he is now expected to return to parent club Flamengo in Brazil.

Massimo Cellino draws up THREE MAN shortlist for Leeds manager job

Daily Star 19/5/15
MASSIMO CELLINO has drawn up a three-man shortlist to replace Leeds boss Neil Redfearn, reports tonight suggest.
By Rhys Turrell
Redfearn's future at Elland Road is in doubt after Cellino refused to back his manager at a press conference last week.
The Italian went on to describe Redfearn as 'weak' and 'a baby'.
And according to reports, Cellino will chose between three men to replace him in the top job at the Championship club.
One name under consideration is understood to be former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler.
The German has been out of work since being sacked by Wigan in November.
Former Leeds midfielder Gary McAllister has also revealed his interest in returning to the club.
He said: "I think if there is any chance to try and help Leeds United then I'm here. They know where I am."

Uwe Rosler 'has had discussions' with Leeds United

ITV 19/5/15
Former Wigan and Brentford manager Uwe Rosler has held discussions with Leeds United about becoming the club's new manager, according to the BBC.
BBC Leeds sports broadcaster Adam Pope tweeted the news to his followers this afternoon and the immediate reaction suggested supporters of the club would not be keen on Rosler taking over.
Bernie Baldie asked: "Why, for heaven's sake. He failed miserably at Wigan," while Paul Baker said: "Might as well plan for league one now!"
The news that discussions with prospective new managers are being held while Neil Redfearn is still in charge will raise even more concerns about the way Leeds are being run by controversial owner Massimo Cellino.

Leeds United: Stewart wins compensation claim against Leeds

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/5/15
SOURCES close to former Leeds United winger Cameron Stewart have revealed that he has won his compensation claim against the club – and will receive a minimum of £500,000.
Stewart’s claims for unpaid wages were heard at a hearing in London last month, with the 24-year-old having been seeking around £750,000 following United’s decision to renege on their offer of a three-year contract last summer.
Stewart joined Leeds on an emergency loan from Hull City midway through last season but he agreed and signed a permanent deal at the time.
United, however, withdrew the offer after the Football League spotted problems with the paperwork and sent it back to Elland Road.
The deal had been signed by former United managing director David Haigh but Haigh quit his post in April and was no longer registered as one of Leeds’ ‘authorised signatories’ with the Football League.
United owner Massimo Cellino, who completed his takeover of the club three days before Haigh’s departure, claimed the deal was invalid and refused to sign a new one.
Stewart joined Ipswich Town on a three-year deal at the start of July, but subsequently elected to take Leeds to court after the agreement was not taken up.
The claim was for the difference in wages between the agreed wage at Leeds and the wage he receives at Ipswich after agreeing to sign with them instead.
The YEP have contacted Leeds United, but they declined to comment about the issue, with Stewart’s representatives also failing to response when contacted.

Leeds United: Rosler linked with Whites post

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/5/15
FORMER BRENTFORD and Wigan Athletic boss Uwe Rosler is being strongly linked with the head coach position at Leeds United
Neil Redfearn is on the verge of the sack at United and owner Massimo Cellino is scrutinising a number of potential replacements including ex-Whites number two Gus Poyet, Mark Warburton and Nigel Adkins, with Manchester-based Rosler being the new name in the frame.
The German was sacked by Wigan last year after just 11 months in charge last November after failing to preside over an upturn in fortunes at the club, who were ultimately relegated last term.
Ex-Manchester City striker Rosler had previously managed Brentford and took them to the League One play-off final in 2012-13 and in a strong position to be promoted the following season before leaving for Wigan in December 2013.
Rosler, 46, has since turned down an approach from 1860 Munich due to his desire to remain in England.

Leeds United: Redfearn can exit Whites with his head held high

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/5/15
FOR NEIL REDFEARN, the end of the road at Leeds United looks nigh, but he can certainly hold his head up high for his sterling work in wholly difficult circumstances in 2014-15.
The 49-year-old has endured a torrid crash course in management, but commendably shown his dignity throughout, with his ‘prize’ for providing a welcome sense of stability and bringing through a number of talented kids into the first team at Leeds likely to be the sack.
Redfearn endured plenty in 2014-15. From his number two Steve Thompson being suspended in mystifying circumstances on April 2 to six players refusing to play in the league game at Charlton Athletic on April 18 after declaring themselves unfit. And plenty more besides.
The Yorkshireman and boyhood Leeds fan has shown stoicism throughout and earned the respect of countless people in the football fraternity, not to mention Leeds United’s long-suffering fanbase.
Not in terms of respect for what he has had to put up with, but also his accomplishments on the pitch.
Without Redfearn and Thompson’s renaissance work early on in the New Year, United, in many people’s eyes, would have been in deep relegation trouble and in real danger of an apocalyptic descent into League One, which would have been an unmitigated disaster.
Anyone who saw United meekly go down 2-0 at Derby County on December 30 could not have avoided the conclusion that the rest of the season would have been a grim relegation battle.
Many at the time would have gladly taken a fourth from bottom finish. But in the event, United surpassed expectations and passed the traditional safety mark, 50 points, with eight games to go courtesy of a 3-0 win at Fulham on March 18.
Redfearn and Thompson deserve credit for a fine upturn in the first three months of 2015, with their accomplishments particularly noteworthy on the road.
Up until the end of March, Leeds lost just once in eight Championship away trips, bagging five wins and claiming 17 points from a possible 24.
That tally was equal to the amount they amassed from 23 league away matches in 2014, with United, under Redfearn’s command, having won six Championship games on the road so far in 2015.
In comparison, they won just four matches throughout 2014.
Redfearn’s reign provided hope, manifested in the rise of young players Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor, with several more Academy talents such as Kalvin Phillips and Chris Dawson having also been nurtured impressively by the head coach, who consistently spoke about the importance of showing a duty of care to Leeds.
Redfearn also helped steady the ship last term following the disastrous appointments of David Hockaday and Darko Milanic, who mustered a combined total of six points from 10 Championship matches in their respective spells at the helm, which in the final analysis represented relegation form.
In contrast, Redfearn pocketed 10 points from four games in charge on a temporary basis between August 28 and September 23.
Redfearn’s fifty per cent success rate in his temporary spell in the manager’s chair between Simon Grayson’s sacking on February 1, 2012 and the appointment of Neil Warnock just over a fortnight later also stood up favourably to the vital statistics of both Hockaday and Milanic.
While defeats arrived against Coventry City and Brighton and Hove Albion, two wins were secured in Redfearn’s four-game tenure against Bristol City and Doncaster Rovers.
As a further contrast, Warnock won just twice in his opening 10 matches in the hotseat.
Redfearn’s legacy is likely to be bequeathing the club again with some Academy riches, while in the short-term, also extinguishing the flames of a disastrous descent to relegation.
He can truly hold his head up high.

Leeds United priced out of summer move for Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths

Glasgow Evening Times 19/5/15
Times understands that while there has been a genuine interest from the troubled Championship club in the player, they would struggle to meet the Parkhead club's valuation of the 24-year-old.
The link with Griffiths is believed to be connected with Leeds' desire to make Celtic chief scout David Moss their technical director in the close season.
The two parties have spoken this month and the Yorkshire club believe they can persuade him to make the move south.
Moss, 46, has worked with Celtic since 2010, initially with their academy, and is the man Elland Road owner Massimo Cellino wants to help lead the club back to the Premier League.
Even if Leeds could find the money to make a serious bid, Celtic manager Ronny Deila is not about to allow the striker, who has enjoyed a fantastic second half to this title-winning campaign, walk out of the club.
The form of the former Hibs and Wolves man has seen him recalled into the Scotland squad to face the Republic of Ireland in the vital European qualifier in Dublin on June 13, which follows a friendly against Qatar eight days earlier at Easter Road.
Griffiths has scored 15 goals since the turn of the year for Celtic, including one against Rangers, and has enjoyed his best spell since he won the SPFA Player of the Year award two seasons ago while at Hibernian.
Strachan has been impressed with what he has seen of a player who has grown in stature over recent months. The Scotland manager said: "Griff has caught my eye with what he has been doing at Celtic.
"I just see the same player we had in the squad a year ago, but obviously a year more experienced. He is the same guy. He never causes us any problems whatsoever in training, he comes along and makes people laugh, scores goals and tries hard. You can't ask for any more.
"You are always on your toes for a headline somewhere down the line, which the press officer can handle ... apart from that he is great fun."
Griffiths took to twitter to reveal his feeling about the possibility of adding to his four senior caps.
"Ain't a better honour than pulling on a strip for your country! DELIGHTED to be called into the squad. Really looking forward to the game."
Griffiths is joined by Celtic team-mates Craig Gordon, Scott Brown, James Forrest and also Charlie Mulgrew, who is only now returning from injury. Strachan said: "He'll (Griffiths) be fresh because he didn't play too many games at the beginning of the season, a lot of substitute appearances. So he'll be fresh and you need to take that into consideration at this time of the year; who is fresh? Who needs games?
"Players can impress at training. Charlie and Leigh have been here before and they've had games before and if I felt as though they didn't have a genuine chance to play I would've brought in younger guys to fill some spaces. They've forced their way into the squad."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Leeds United gossip column: Griffiths linked with Whites, Millers interested in Austin

Yorkshire Evening Post 18/5/15
LEEDS United are set to make a £1 million offer in an attempt to take Leigh Griffiths from Celtic this summer, according to reports.
The Scottish Sun claim the Yorkshire club want the in-form striker to spearhead their attack next season as they look to climb out of the English football league for the first time since their 2004 Premier League relegation.
Leeds have been one of the English Championship’s lowest scorers this term with only 50 goals scored in 46 games.
Owner Massimo Cellino is said to have his heart set on the Scottish international who he sees as the player to reverse the club’s fortunes in front of goal.
However, it may take more than £1 million to persuade Celtic to part with a player they reportedly paid the same amount to sign from Wolves in last year’s January transfer window.
After a slow start to his career at Parkhead, Griffiths has caught fire in 2015 with 15 goals in his last 20 games, including a pair of hat-tricks. He is contracted until 2018 on a reported £8,000 a week wage.
Meanwhile, Rotherham United are the latest side to be linked with midfielder Rodolph Austin, who was last week released by the Elland Road club.
The Jamaican international, 29, made 112 appearances for the Whites after his arrival in 2012, scoring 10 goals.
Bolton, Birmingham and Brighton has also been credited with an interest in Austin, along with Burnley.
Leeds turned down a £500,000 bid for Austin from Wigan in January.
It has been suggested that Scottish champions Celtic could be the destination for Austin to play his football next season, but having secured Championship status this season, Rotherham are hopeful that they can persuade Austin to make the short trip to South Yorkshire for next season’s campaign.
Austin won the Goal of the Year Award at Leeds United’s End of Season Awards earlier this month for his half-volley effort against Watford.

Ex-Leeds United chief Haigh’s Dubai prison ‘nightmare’ continues

Yorkshire Evening Post 18/5/15
Rob Parsons
The sister of former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has told of the “devastating effect” her brother’s year spent in a Dubai prison cell has had on their family.
Mr Haigh, the former deputy chief executive of Dubai-based bank GFH, has been held in custody without charge since May 18, 2014, when he was arrested on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and money-laundering.
GFH alleges that Mr Haigh, who protests his innocence 
and claims he was lured to Dubai under false pretences, defrauded it of £3m by falsifying invoices and diverted money into accounts controlled by him.
Last week, his case suffered a blow when the Dubai courts refused to release funds from his frozen bank account to pay his legal team. This resulted in him being left without representation.
Mr Haigh’s sister, Ali Thomas, 40, has had to quit her job as a language teacher because the strain meant she could not focus on her role.
The mother-of-three, who lives in Cornwall, said the loss of his lawyers in a country where legal proceedings are carried out in Arabic was “heartbreaking”.
Mrs Thomas said the last time she saw Mr Haigh was on May 17, 2014, when she went to see him in London while on a work course.
She said: “He told me he was packing to go to Dubai to discuss a new job with his former employers.
“As I was travelling back to Cornwall he was flying out to Dubai and that was the last time I saw him.
“It’s been a year of disappointments and disbelief. The effect on the family has been devastating.
“To have to watch someone you love hurting and not be able to do anything about it is horrible.
“The children are heartbroken, they think the world of him and really miss him.
“Special occasions are the worst; we really feel the emptiness in our lives.”
Mrs Thomas, whose 11-year-old daughter has a potentially fatal illness meaning she cannot process protein, plans to write to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the emir of Dubai, about her brother’s situation.
She also intends to contact her new MP Derek Thomas and Prime Minister David Cameron for help.
She said: “When I found out David had lost hislawyers I was devastated. I just can’t believe this is happening.
“David has now been in a crowded Dubai jail for a year without criminal charge or trial.
“Because all his money has been frozen his lawyers have now stopped representing him – even though they believe in his case and his fight for justice.
“He is now trapped in a foreign legal system, where court proceedings are in Arabic, without any legal representation. This terrifies me.
“The British Government has not been able to do anything, despite what is clearly a huge breach of his human rights.”
Mr Haigh has lodged a counter claim against GFH, which bought Leeds United from Ken Bates in December 2012, claiming he was lured to Dubai under false pretences and for unpaid salary and bonuses he says are owed to him.
It emerged earlier this year that Mr Haigh, who claims he is the victim of human trafficking, was applying for a private criminal prosecution against two executives from the club’s former owners.
He has lodged an application for an arrest warrant to be issued for Hisham Al Rayes of Bahrain, Chief Executive Officer of GFH, and Jinesh Patel, chief executive of subsidiary GFH Capital.
Last week the Dubai courts refused to release funds from his frozen bank account to pay his legal team.
As a result Stephenson Harwood, the firm representing him in Dubai, will no longer act on his behalf, leaving him without representation in the Middle East.
The firm, which was owed £1m in fees, will continue to work on a legal bid to remove a freezing order against him in the UK.
A spokesman for Mr Haigh said: “David’s fight for justice continues with ongoing court actions in the UK against GFH directors and in respect of seeking access to his funds.
“While his assets remain frozen he has no means to pay lawyers and so is grateful for the support of those who are enabling him to pursue his case.”
Mr Haigh told friends: “I have done nothing wrong, yet I have now been in jail for a year after I was tricked by GFH into flying to Dubai. I am now without legal representation in Dubai and fear I may be trapped here for years. All I want is the freedom to prove my innocence and get home to my family.
“While I do not blame the Dubai authorities, I believe my basic human rights are being abused through the abuse of their legal system. It is a nightmare.”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Leeds United: Redfearn on the brink after Cellino attack

Yorkshire Post 17/5/15
Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn is on the verge of the sack after an outspoken attack on him by owner Massimo Cellino.
In a savage interview with Sunday Mirror, Cellino accused Redfearn of turning the club’s fans against him and acting “like a baby” over his contract at Elland Road.
The Italian’s comments appear to have shattered an already tense relationship between him and his head coach, who was appointed by Cellino last November but will reach the end of his deal on June 30.
Leeds have an option to extend Redfearn’s contract for another 12 months and speaking at a 70-minute press conference last Thursday, Cellino refused to confirm whether the 49-year-old would stay in his job for the 2015-16 season.
But Redfearn is now poised to leave the club after Cellino claimed he “tried to play the fans against me” in the hope of remaining in charge.
Redfearn received the backing of United’s support during the final weeks of the Championship season, a period which was marred by the unexplained suspension of his assistant, Steve Thompson.
An away crowd of 3,000 subjected Cellino to chants of ‘time to go, Massimo’ during a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic last month following the withdrawal of six foreign players through injury 24 hours before the match.
Cellino, however, told the Mirror: “He thinks he’s so strong that he can put me in the s**t because I’m worrying about the fans. F*** me, what kind of chairman have you got?
“He tried to play the fans against me to keep his place. Do you think that Neil Redfearn loves Leeds more than me?
“Tell me why I am in Leeds, why am I so involved with the club? Why am I putting in a lot of money, killing myself? Because I fell in love with this club. But to love this club is to do something for this club.
“Neil Redfearn does the (Leeds United fans’) salute. He challenged me. If you are good I can accept the challenge. But not if you are a bad coach.
“He wins two games and he disappears. He loses five games and he comes to me to ask my advice. Then he wins and disappears again.
“He has to respect the chairman. He has to respect the club. He’s like a baby. He’s been badly advised and used by someone. He is not a bad person but he has a weak personality.”
Redfearn’s position has been precarious for many weeks and he and Cellino have had no contact since the Italian completed a Football League disqualification earlier this month.
The deal Redfearn signed in November gave him the right to return to his old job as academy manager if Leeds looked to replace him this summer but he looks likely to leave the club completely, six-and-a-half years after joining United as a youth-team coach.
Nigel Adkins, Gus Poyet and Mark Warburton have all been touted as possible replacements.
Redfearn has been approached for comment.

Massimo Cellino and Adam Pearson discuss the Executive Director role

leedsunited.com 15/5/15
United chairman Massimo Cellino has welcomed Adam Pearson back to Elland Road and explained how his return in the position of Executive Director will allow for the workload to be shared.
Pearson, who previously spent five years at the club before departing his role as Commercial Director in 2001, was appointed in the role of what he describes as Mr Cellino’s “right-hand” man on Monday.
The former Hull City chairman has a wealth of experience and success in football, guiding the Tigers to back-to-back promotions during his initial six-year stint on Humberside. A spell at Derby County followed before he returned to the KC Stadium, where he also remains the owner of Super League side Hull FC.
He will work closely with Mr Cellino to assist him with the running of the club, and the Italian owner believes Pearson’s experience will prove to be a real asset as he prepares for the new season.
“I took Adam because he was at Leeds before. I saw a lot of people,” the United chairman explained.
“I am learning in England that a lot of people come with titles and I don’t understand what those titles do.
“Maybe I took people on in the wrong jobs. People suggested that I take Adam on because he was here some time ago; in the good times apparently. His good luck is very important.
“At the same time, he has got experience. I’m doing too much and I have to start to build the structure of the club but not completely restructure.
“I needed someone as sometimes you waste more time organising things than facing the problems and solving other problems.
“So I thought that Adam is the right person, he understands football, so we can work together without having board meetings and big briefings with the people.
“We’ll spend a couple of hours together – I’ll clean, you wash the floor – and we know what to do.
“Before, when we wanted to find out who would clean or wash the floor, the floor would still be dirty after 20 meetings with the board.
“We have to start fixing this club. I am always told it is a sleeping giant and it belongs in the Premier League.”
Analysing his role and the size of the task ahead, Pearson added: “It’s definitely a big enough job.
“I’m here to assist Mr Cellino, to try and take some weight off him, certainly in the areas where I’ve got a skill set.
“I’ll allow Mr Cellino to concentrate on running the club in the way that he wants with the skill set he’s got.
“I’ll take as much weight off him as possible to try and calm some waters and make sure that the focus is on the team.
“We’ll be working behind the scenes and out of the public light to make sure things are going in the right direction.”

Leeds United: ‘I inspired Charlie Taylor breakthrough’ - Cellino

Yorkshire Evening Post 15/5/15
Phil Hay
Massimo Cellino has claimed responsibility for Charlie Taylor’s breakthrough at Leeds United - and revealed he sold Stephen Warnock to Derby County in January “without telling” head coach Neil Redfearn.
In another remarkable moment during yesterday’s press conference at Elland Road, Cellino said he had been behind Taylor’s emergence this season and appeared to play down Redfearn’s reputation as a coach who favours blooding young players.
United’s recent Championship campaign relied on a number of academy products, all of whom worked under Redfearn in his previous role as youth-team boss.
Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook were used throughout the season but Taylor, who received a new three-year contract from Cellino last summer, came into the side in January following the departure of the experienced left-back Warnock to Pride Park.
Cellino said he had first become aware of Taylor’s talent while the 21-year-old was playing in the League Two play-offs on loan at Fleetwood Town and nearing the end of his deal at Elland Road.
United’s owner said Redfearn and previous head coaches had frustrated him by opting to rely on Warnock until the former Liverpool player left for Derby in the January transfer window - a move completed against Redfearn’s wishes.
“Darko Milanic and Neil Redfearn did not (play) Charlie Taylor,” Cellino said. “I was watching this boy that made his choice to stay in Leeds. He could take more money to go to another club but he chose to stay in Leeds and nobody gives him a chance to play.
“Then I had occasion to give Warnock (to Derby). I did it without telling Neil Redfearn or anyone. Two games after, Neil came and said ‘Massimo, he’s bloody good Charlie Taylor.’
“Sometimes there’s not one coach in the world I know that likes to play young players. No-one. They prefer experienced players and stronger players, mentally and physically. When they are p****d off with someone they go for the young player.
“Not one of those (coaches) is different but I’m here to protect those (players). I don’t play young players because I want to sell them. I act in a different way.”
Speaking about Taylor in January, Redfearn said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s ready.
“No disrespect to Stephen Warnock but I actually think that the way Charlie’s played would have left Steve with a fight on his hands to get back in the team.”
Taylor made his first league start of the season away at Bolton Wanderers on January 10 and played a total of 25 times. Mowatt, meanwhile, took a clutch of player-of-the-year awards earlier this month and Cellino said yesterday that “51 per cent” of United’s survival in the Championship was owed to the form of Mowatt and Cook.
But despite that, the Italian voiced his anger at the cost of the academy at Leeds, saying the wage bill for young players there amounted to £1.2m - heightened by the fear of losing talent to Premier League clubs.
“I don’t know the English rules,” Cellino said. “I just see that we spend more than £1.2m a year just to play the academy players’ wages.
“No way in the world you pay those academy wages. I ask ‘why are we paying that?’ And they tell me because otherwise they can go to someone else.
“We have a problem. We have a good player from Leeds, he’s been here from nine years old and is nearly 16 now. Apparently one team from Manchester is coming to take the player. I might start the academy at 16 years old because if we do the work and then they go to Manchester because they have a couple more pounds than Leeds, that’s really wrong.
“But here we have big luck because in Leeds they grow beautiful players. Not because we are good but because it’s (in the) DNA. The thing that makes me proud, different to Cagliari, is that players there say ‘we want £1000 or we go away.’ In Leeds it’s not like that. That’s something I’m proud to say.”

Leeds United: Redfearn on brink

Yorkshire Evening Post 15/5/15
Neil Redfearn’s future as Leeds United head coach looked more precarious than ever last night after owner Massimo Cellino insisted he would not “please the fans” by bowing to pressure to extend Redfearn’s contract.
At a bizarre and explosive press conference, Cellino refused to confirm whether Redfearn would remain as head coach next season, saying he was “fighting with his emotion” as he pondered the 49-year-old’s fate.
Cellino presented himself to the media at Elland Road yesterday, speaking publicly for the first time since completing his Football League disqualification and retaking control of affairs at Elland Road.
The Italian used the fractious event to scotch takeover rumours and insist that he would only consider selling the club in two years’ time if he was “not ready to take this club to the Premier League.”
Cellino has returned to Elland Road at the end of a turbulent season and is facing mounting criticism from United’s supporters over his handling of the club and the delay in making a decision over Redfearn’s future.
Redfearn, who Cellino appointed as head coach in November, is out of contract next month. Leeds have the option to extend his deal for another year but he and Cellino have not spoken since the Italian’s ban ended almost two weeks ago,
A defiant Cellino said: “I have to find the right coach and not because I want to please the fans for 15 days. Not because I don’t want them saying ‘Cellino, it’s time to go’ like they did. I’m used to that.
“Who put Neil Redfearn in that position? It was me. Who wanted Neil to succeed more than anyone else? It was me. It was my choice, I took the risk. I took the Under-21 coach and gave him a bigger responsibility with a lot of pressure.
“I’ve thought a lot of things. Is Neil the best coach for the club in the future? He’s not expensive and he’s from here but is he good for next season? Then I ask myself ‘are you sure you aren’t thinking Neil is good because you’re a coward with the fans. You don’t want to change it.’ Every day I must ask that same question.”
Cellino, who said his daughter Eleonora had left her university course in Leeds due to abuse aimed at her by fans in the street, admitted he and Redfearn had not been in contact and criticised his head coach for failing to attend a party welcoming the club’s owner back to Elland Road.
But Cellino said: “I will not fire a manager who is good for the club just because he’s got personal problems with me. If I have personal problem with him but he’s good for the club, I don’t do that. Otherwise it’s better that I don’t run the club. I have to fight with my emotion. Everything I do must be for the interests of the club.”
Cellino was banned from running Leeds by the Football League for three months in January, the result of a conviction for tax evasion imposed on him in Italy last year.
The 58-year-old faces other court cases in his homeland next month and, amid the threat of future disqualifications, United have been the subject of constant takeover rumours.
Cellino said: “We’re still far away (from being) ready to go to the Premier League. We are not ready. It’s not mandatory and we don’t expect the club will go in the Premier League just because the name is Leeds and it’s a beautiful club.
“I wish to go in the Premier League yesterday but it takes time. If in the next two seasons we fix the club and it’s ready to face finally this challenge, I’m going to stay. If in two seasons’ time I’m not ready to bring the club in the Premier League and fix this club forever, I’m going to sell.
“But for two seasons don’t tell me any more that someone wants to buy the club or that I’m selling it. This club is not for sale. It’s never been for sale.”
Cellino was joined at yesterday’s press conference by Adam Pearson, the new director appointed by Leeds on Monday.
The eccentric Italian walked out with the event in full flow to take a cigarette break and faced a barrage of hostile questions, including heckling from a supporter who turned up uninvited.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Leeds United: Redfearn future unclear after Cellino press conference

Yorkshire Evening Post 14/5/15
Leon Wobschall
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.”
KEY POINTS:
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.”

Leeds United: Pearson hoping to take the pressure off Cellino

Yorkshire Evening Post 13/5/15
Phil Hay
New Leeds United director Adam Pearson insisted tonight that the club were in “good shape” and claimed a play-off bid would be realistic next season if they got their “acquisitions right.”
Speaking to the YEP, Pearson said he had come back to Leeds to help “take a bit of weight off” Massimo Cellino with the Italian drawing breath after a troubled first season as owner.
Cellino appointed Pearson to United’s board as an executive director on Monday, an unexpected but popular development which followed a series of meetings between them last weekend.
Pearson’s appointment comes 14 years after he left a previous role as commercial director at Leeds and a mere three weeks after the 50-year-old was named as part of a three-man ‘sporting committee’ at Sheffield Wednesday.
The former Hull City owner – a recognised and respected figure in footballing circles – said he was confident of establishing a productive relationship with United’s volatile owner but admitted he had not taken the job for “security of tenure”.
Pearson has been recruited with Leeds and Cellino embarking on a crucial summer in which a change of head coach looks likely and alterations to the club’s squad are planned on the back of a season in which United battled relegation before finishing 15th.
Pearson said: “Mr Cellino was looking for somebody to come in, help him and take a bit of weight off.
“I’ve been around a long time and somebody put his name to me. I was interested, we spoke about what he wanted and I was happy to get involved. People know I’ve got connections with Leeds United going back a long way.
“I’m here to help as much as possible and to provide input from an English football perspective. The workload is huge and there isn’t a big staff so I’ll try to take some of the pressure off with regards to Football League business, commercial aspects and any areas he wants me to deal with. I’ll give him some back-up.
“In 15 years or so I’ve built up a very broad contacts book of regulators, administrators, agents and players. I think that can help us.”
Cellino completed a Football League ownership ban seven days before Pearson joined United’s board, a three-month punishment which embodies the stress and turbulence of the Italian’s first 12 months as owner. Two court cases awaiting him in Cagliari next month could result in fresh disqualifications.
Leeds have enjoyed a healthier week, however, with young midfielder Lewis Cook signing a new contract and Cellino securing Pearson’s services in the space of 24 hours. The club also confirmed that the Financial Fair Play (FFP) transfer embargo imposed on them in January had been lifted following a substantial reduction of the £23m loss in the 2013-14 financial year.
“Mr Cellino worked hard with the Football League to ensure that happened,” Pearson said. “He wants to push the club forward and make sure we have a real good go at the Championship next season. We want to be pushing towards the top end.
“We’ve got a good opportunity to do that because the club aren’t burdened with heavy contracts or aging players. The squad’s got some very good young players in it and we need to add some experience to that, some experience of English football. Leeds are a big club to turn round, a big oil tanker, and if we’re going to do it then it’ll be done on good acquisitions this summer. That’s vital.”
Pearson declined to comment on the future of head coach Neil Redfearn whose contract expires on June 30. Cellino is likely to dictate that situation, as he has with the appointment and dismissal of previous bosses, but there are signs already that Leeds are considering alternatives.
Previous senior management figures at Elland Road, meanwhile, have found Cellino’s regime difficult to survive in. Advisor Graham Bean was sacked last year following a disagreement about a rearranged fixture and Matt Child – Leeds’ former chief operating officer – left his post in March after three months in the job.
Asked if he would be able to work with Cellino, Pearson said: “I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I was going to stay. But I haven’t come here for security of tenure either. I’ve come here to help the owner get the club moving forward.
“I’ve only been here for a couple of days but I think the club’s in good shape. We can work on the corporate side, on commercial revenue and other things, but the position of the club looks healthy.”
Pearson is best known for his successful time as owner of Hull City between 2001 and 2007, though he has also been linked with and involved in a number of mooted buy-outs of Leeds. As recently as last year he was believed to be part of the Together Leeds consortium which tried and failed to acquire the club before Cellino sealed his own takeover.
Cellino’s time at Elland Road has been hampered by an endless stream of controversies and bad publicity. Supporters protested against him during the final month of this season, attacking him with chants of ‘time to go, Massimo’.
Pearson said the relationship between the club and their support needed to improve but insisted: “Now that Mr Cellino is back around the club, I’m sure it will. I know this club of old and at times stories and rumours run away with themselves. Clarity of communication would help everybody but clubs still need to do most of their business discreetly.
“I certainly believe that we need to come together now and concentrate on getting the summer right. We really want to have a good crack at the Championship.”