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Leeds United: Massimo Cellino - many faces of Elland Road suitor

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Post  Guest on 2014-02-02, 8:11 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26006243



Leeds United: Massimo Cellino - many faces of Elland Road suitor _72701772_cellinos_624

Leeds United: Massimo Cellino - many faces of Elland Road suitor
By Simon Austin Football writer

Massimo Cellino boarded a flight at Leeds-Bradford Airport on Sunday morning and began the journey back to his mansion in Miami.

Leeds United fans were left behind, scratching their heads and wondering whether the surreal and chaotic events of the past week had actually happened.

To summarise, Cellino:

Tried to put compatriot Gianluca Festa on the Leeds bench for Tuesday's game against Ipswich.
Reportedly sacked Brian McDermott on Friday because the popular manager had "done everything to get fired, he was talking with the papers, with everyone".
Pleaded with McDermott to return on Saturday.

And all this before he has even become the official owner of the club.
Who is Massimo Cellino?

Born: 1956, Cagliari (Age 57)
Business: Agricultural entrepreneur known as the "King of Corn"
Chairman: Italian club Cagliari Calcio for more than 20 years

He says he completed a deal to buy 75% of Leeds on Friday lunchtime, but is still waiting for the Football League to decide whether he is a "fit and proper person" to own the club, which will not be a given for someone with a previous fraud conviction.

Fans of the Italian's "other club", Cagliari Calcio, can nod knowingly at all of this, because the 57-year-old is one of the most colourful, controversial and charismatic owners in Italian football.

All that, but never, ever, dull.

Cellino looks like an ageing rocker. Last year he sported a ponytail and intricate goatee, but now opts for a slightly more sober look, with greying hair to the collar.

Still, he often has stubble, a leather jacket, aviator sunglasses and, more often than not, a cigarette in his hand; a Sardinian version of Johnny Hallyday.

His superstitions include a fear of the number 17.

Cagliari's stadium doesn't have any seats numbered 17, but instead 16b.

When, horror of horrors, a league game against Novara was rearranged for 17 September 2011, the press office was ordered to hastily release a statement on the club website.
Unlucky for some?

One anagram of the Roman numeral for 17, XVII, is VIXI, which in Latin translates as "I have lived", with the inference "My life is over"

Fans were asked to turn up for the match wearing purple, a colour which Cellino believes to be unlucky.

His rationale? That one negative cancels out another. Many of the club's fans obliged, and the team won 2-1.

Cellino made his fortune from the commercial agriculture business started by his father Ercole and is known as Italy's "King of Corn".

He originally studied accountancy but left midway through his course to take over the business.

Perhaps he has always been a frustrated rocker, and he still plays rhythm guitar and drums in a band called Maurilos.

Cellino bought his hometown club, Cagliari, in 1992, and they have been in the top flight of Italian football for most of the time since.

There have been some great highs - like reaching the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup in 1994 and the last four of the Coppa Italia - and some lows, mostly in recent years and relating to the stadium.

In 21 years at the club, he has sacked 35 managers.

Cellino - who has a deep, gravelly voice (probably all those cigarettes) and tends to speak in an urgent, impassioned manner - is clearly very persuasive.
Massimo Cellino

Cellino talks to Atalanta president Antonio Percassi

He talked Gianfranco Zola, one of Sardinia's favourite sons, into a return to the club in 2003, despite Roman Abramovich offering the striker far more money to stay at Chelsea.

And the results were impressive, with the forward helping Cagliari to return immediately to Serie A, where they have remained ever since.

The past few years have been tarnished by problems with the club's stadium and Cellino's personal life, though.

The owner has long wanted a new home for the club, and has plans in place to build the Karalis Arena.

Work has been delayed by problems with planning and funding, though, and there are big doubts as to whether a move will ever happen.

For the last few games of the 2011-12 season, Cagliari played their home games in Trieste, a seaport some 500 miles from Cagliari.

They then moved to the nearby Is Arena, which Cellino intended to redevelop, but it was deemed unusable and unfit for spectators, meaning some games even had to be played behind closed doors.

For one match, against Roma, Cellino urged the fans to turn up anyway, which meant the game had to be abandoned. The league authorities weren't too pleased.

Now Cagliari are back at their Stadio Sant'Elia ground, which hosted England at the 1990 World Cup.

The whole episode seems to have diminished Cellino's passion for the club, though.
Leeds: Ups and downs

Champions: Leeds won old First Division three times, the last title coming in 1991-2 which preceded the Premier League's formation
Demise: They reached a Champions League semi-final in 2001 but were relegated three years later after being engulfed in financial problems
Recent history: Slipped into League One before returning in 2010 to the Championship, where they currently lie 11th

He recently allowed star player Radja Nainggolan to join rivals Roma, explaining wearily: "It's not an issue of money.

"We play in a stadium worthy of Serie C and the players had to travel all around Italy for two years because we weren't allowed a home stadium. I can't keep Radja in these conditions."

Cellino still faces court action.

Last February, he and the mayor of Quartu Sant'Elena, Mauro Contini, were arrested on suspicion of attempted embezzlement and false representations regarding the development of the Is Arena.

The arrest warrant described Cellino as a man "of marked criminal tendencies... capable of using every kind of deception to achieve his ends".

He was held in custody at Buoncammino Prison for 16 days, during which time a group of Cagliari fans stood vigil outside, singing his name and displaying messages of support, and the players dedicated subsequent wins over Pescara and Torino to the owner.

Cellino already has two criminal convictions, making it questionable whether he will pass the Football League's ownership test.

In 1996, he was given a suspended 14-month sentence after being convicted of deceiving the European Union and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m.

In 2001, he received a 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at Cagliari.

Frustrated in his ambitions for his beloved hometown club, Cellino has been looking to buy an English team for the past few years.

In 2010 he tried to buy West Ham and told me his first move would be to sack their manager - his former darling at Cagliari, Zola. This tells you a lot about his mercurial and unpredictable nature.

David Gold and David Sullivan were eventually preferred bidders, and Cellino was outraged.

He turned his attentions to Crystal Palace, a move which did not reach fruition, and is now close to buying Leeds, having claimed two weeks ago he was just an adviser to another consortium.
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Post  cyprussyd on 2014-02-02, 8:19 pm

there but for the grace of god comes to mind

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Post  Guest on 2014-02-02, 8:54 pm

cyprussyd wrote:there but for the grace of god comes to mind


Yes, we'll stick with Shorty ......


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Post  cyprussyd on 2014-02-02, 9:08 pm

silvers wrote:
cyprussyd wrote:there but for the grace of god comes to mind


Yes, we'll stick with Shorty ......


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Post  Guest on 2014-02-02, 9:43 pm

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Post  Guest on 2014-02-08, 11:21 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26084726


Leeds United exchange contracts on Massimo Cellino takeover

Leeds United's owners GFH have exchanged contracts with Massimo Cellino ahead of his proposed takeover.

Cagliari owner Cellino, 57, agreed a deal to buy 75% of the club last week, subject to Football League approval.

"It [the deal] provides the basis from which Leeds can move forward to a position which will enable it once again to compete at the highest levels," said chairman Salah Nooruddin.

"That is where this great club belongs."

Nooruddin continued: "I will remain the club chairman and David Haigh will be the chief executive.
Who is Massimo Cellino?

Born: 1956, Cagliari (Age 57)
Business: Agricultural entrepreneur known as the "King of Corn"
Chairman: Italian club Cagliari for more than 20 years

"The board has always had as its principal aim the creation of a long-term ownership structure through partnership with sound and strategic investors to build on the foundations we have laid for sustainable success for this great club.

"We believe we will have achieved that with this deal. Everyone on the board is looking forward to working with our new partners, who we hope will be in place at Elland Road very soon."

Earlier on Friday, the Football League released a statement to say that it was still awaiting full details of the takeover before being able to ratify the deal.

It said: "At its meeting on Thursday, the board of directors of The Football League were appraised of the current situation regarding the ownership of Leeds United.

"The board were informed that the League is yet to receive all of the information it has requested from the relevant parties.

"The matter cannot be progressed further until the required information is forthcoming.
Leeds: Ups and downs

Champions: Leeds won the old First Division three times, the last title coming in 1991/92, which preceded the Premier League's formation
Demise: They reached a Champions League semi-final in 2001 but were relegated three years later after being engulfed in financial problems
Recent history: Slipped into League One before returning in 2010 to the Championship, where they currently lie 11th

"Separately, Leeds United have been informed that the Football League has refused the registration of Andrea Tabanelli as the transfer did not comply with League regulations."

It had been understood that midfielder Tabanelli, 24, had joined the club on loan from Cagliari on transfer deadline day last Friday without the knowledge of manager Brian McDermott, who was sacked by Cellino's lawyer, Chris Farnell, that evening.

He was reinstated the following day and on Monday said he had no intention of walking away from the club.

The exchange of contracts puts an end to speculation about a potential rival bid from the Together Leeds consortium, who had promised to match Cellino's offer.

Rival bidder Andrew Flowers pulled out of the race to buy Leeds on Wednesday and his company has filed a winding-up petition against the club.

Leeds are 11th in the Championship, eight points off the play-offs.
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