Andrea Radrizzani has given his backing to his fellow Leeds United co-owner for the cost-cutting measures he has implemented at the club.
Andrea Radrizzani has backed his fellow Leeds United co-owner and felt Massimo Cellino had no choice but to upset people as he cleaned up the club’s finances.
Cellino, who took complete control of the Championship side in April 2014, has since trimmed the staff at Elland Road in a bid to cut costs.
The Italian completed the sale of 50 per cent of the club to compatriot Radrizzani, who has praised his new boardroom partner for enabling the West Yorkshire outfit to be on a sounder financial footing.
In his first press gathering since arriving at the club this week, businessman Radrizzani said: “The club has had a rollercoaster in the last decade.
“When Massimo Cellino acquired the club he didn’t expect even himself to find so many financial troubles and losses.
“At the moment the club is not at breakeven but is not in a bad financial situation. The club is recovering. In the last two years since Massimo came in he wasn’t nice to many people but he had to be tough to cut costs.
“It seemed to be difficult then but it’s much better now. At the same time the Football League is a loss-making league. It’s difficult to make money in this league, almost impossible.
“We need to be creative to make the financial numbers look good.”
Cellino – who sacked 43 managers in 22 years at his previous club Cagliari – has been a controversial and divisive figure during his time at the club.
Cellino has already given the boot to six bosses in West Yorkshire in Brian McDermott, David Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Neil Redfearn, Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans before appointing former Swansea boss Garry Monk last summer.
But, identifying two key positions he feels the Yorkshire club need more cover, former Bradford and Everton winger Beagrie thinks more transfer activity is required if they are to maintain their promotion challenge.
Speaking before the game, when asked if they need further additions to the squad, Beagrie told Sky Sports: “Yes, I think so. We said before they need to get players who are going to improve this team – not players who are just going to come and be bit-part players.
“They’ve tried to get the loanees secured long-term or as long as possible, that’s happened to a degree, and I think they’ve identified centre-half has been a problem position if important players get injured, and a centre-forward as cover for [Chris] Wood as well.
“If he goes out of the equation I think promotion hopes do slip slightly.”
Fellow pundit David Prutton also highlighted the significance of head coach Monk being able to continue to take care of football matters without interference from the club’s hierarchy.
The former Leeds midfielder said: “That’s fundamental to the way this club moves forward – that’s got to be maintained, letting him get on with the stuff that goes on within the borders of the white markers on the pitch is exactly what he was brought in for and what he’s good at.
“And leave the business to the people who know how to work businesses and maximise businesses.”
Leeds are currently without a number of first-team players through injury and suspension as they prepare for their next game against Yorkshire rivals Barnsley at Oakwell on January 21.
By following a team through thick and thin, day in day out, watching every game and attending every press conference, a local journalist can often be the font of all knowledge and opinion when it comes to a football club.
Phil Hay, chief football writer for the Yorkshire Evening Post, has been covering Leeds for many years.
Before the match against Derby, Sky Sports caught up with Hay, who gave his views on what the boardroom change may mean for Radrizzani, the club, Monk and Cellino.
Here is the interview in full…
On what to expect from Radrizzani:
“If you look at Radrizzani’s background and his business background, he’s been involved in and pretty much pursued right from the start of his career sports broadcasting and media rights – that is his specialism and his area of expertise.
“He is a very business-minded animal. I think people will hope that, aside from the football aspect of the business here, that commercially he will bring new ideas and new ways of working.
“On the football side, it’s his first taste of football club ownership and I think he knows himself that he has plenty to learn about that and I think, while he won’t be hands-off in the next six months, I think he’ll avoid being front and centre so he can get to grips with that and get a feel for how a club operates and works.”
On relationship with Monk:
“Garry Monk seems very happy – he says he’s been impressed with him. He met with Monk and the squad on Thursday night, also with Monk for dinner on Wednesday evening, and it’s pretty clear already that Radrizzani is very happy with the job Monk is doing.
“There’s definite backing there and no question at all that Monk’s position is any less secure now than it was before the investment.”
On how it will work with co-owner Cellino:
“We’re told that it is a straight 50/50 split and in practice it will work like that – it is a straight division of authority. They will share the decision making – it’s an interesting dynamic and it is not in Cellino’s make-up generally, or hasn’t been in the past, to split authority like this.
“He very much intended at the outset to own 100% of this club but of course he has a Football Association ban pending as well, which potentially starts on February 1 and runs for 18 months.
“That’s significant from the point of view of how it will change things in the boardroom from the additional pressure it might ask of Radrizzani, so it remains to be seen I think that’s a question Radrizzani will answer himself.”
On whether he will bring in extra money to invest in transfer window:
“I don’t think January will change significantly as a result of this deal. I think Garry Monk is very clear on the type of players he wanted, the number of players he wanted and, speaking to him a couple of times since the deal went through, that hasn’t really changed.
“I think he still knows who he wants, I think he still knows the positions that he wants to work in.
“It might help to get those deals done but I don’t we’ll go from a position of no money to a position of a huge amount of money – I think the budget is as it was.”