SkyBet Championship: New Leeds United co-owner backs Massimo Cellino

Andrea Radrizzani has given his backing to his fellow Leeds United co-owner for the cost-cutting measures he has implemented at the club.

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Support: Radrizzani has backed Cellino for his strategy as owner (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.

He was given an 18-month ban by the Football Association last month for breaking agent regulations in the signing of Ross McCormack in the summer of 2014.

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.

High-flying Leeds are third in the table after taking their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions with Friday night’s 1-0 home win over fellow promotion contenders Derby County.

READ MORE: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner

SkyBet Championship: Local journalist’s insight into new Leeds United co-owner

Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Hay gives his thoughts on what Leeds United’s new Italian co-owner Andrea Radrizzani will bring to Elland Road.

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Joining forces: Cellino and Radrizzani will work together to take care of the running of the club – at least for now (Picture from Sky Sports)

It’s the start of yet another new era at Leeds United Football Club but one that may actually herald a brighter outlook for the immediate future. 

Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani began life as the club’s new co-owner this week after acquiring a 50 per cent share from Massimo Cellino.

The 42-year-old met with head coach Garry Monk, the coaching staff and the players on the training ground for the first time on Thursday.

And he was in the stands at Elland Road on Friday night to witness the high-flying Yorkshire outfit move up to third in the Championship with a 1-0 win over fellow promotion contenders Derby County.

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.

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Well-respected: Phil Hay has 96,000 followers on Twitter and regularly attends Leeds United matches (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.”

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Negotiations: Radrizzani could also acquire Cellino’s remaining shares at the end of the current season (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.”

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First: Monk is now the longest-serving manager since Cellino took over in April 2014 after being in charge since last June (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.”

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Trouble ahead: Cellino, 60, was fined £250,000 and given a future ban last year for breaking FA regulations over the transfer of Ross McCormack in 2014 (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.”

READ MORE: Peter Beagrie – Leeds need to strengthen in transfer window