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SBD Global/February 3, 2014/Franchises

League Championship Leeds Says Manager Brian McDermott Will Remain At Helm

League Championship Leeds United "capped an extraordinary day, even by their standards," when they announced that Manager Brian McDermott would remain at Elland Road, although he and the rest of football "were under the impression he had been sacked on Friday," according to Peter Ferguson of the SUNDAY TIMES. The "remarkable U-turn" was made minutes after the team's 5-1 victory over local rivals Huddersfield Town, its first win since December. Leeds captain Ross McCormack, who had given voice to the players' disappointment over McDermott's exit, "scored a hat-trick." The club statement said, "The club would like to make it clear that Brian McDermott remains our first team manager. He has not been dismissed from his post as has been suggested and we look forward to him continuing in his role with us in taking Leeds United forwards." Assistant Manager Nigel Gibbs, who took charge of the team in McDermott's absence, said, "It was his team, his performance, his victory. It [the statement] is good news, we all want him to stay. The team played for Brian, absolutely" (SUNDAY TIMES, 2/2). In London, Ferguson reported in a separate piece Leeds is still owned by GFH Capital until Italian Massimo Cellino's "buy-out is completed." McDermott was reportedly "fired on transfer deadline day for refusing to allow Gianluca Festa, a lieutenant of Cellino, to sit on the bench for a 1-1 draw with Ipswich." Shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance "withdrew its backing," as did Yorkshire theme park Flamingo Land, which sponsors the academy, while some of the fans Cellino describes as “very, very special” gathered at the ground on Friday night to remonstrate against his plans (TELEGRAPH, 2/1).

SET TO SELL: REUTERS' Sam Holden reported Leeds is "set to sell a majority stake in the club to the family that run Serie A side Cagliari." GFH Capital said in a statement on Saturday that "it had agreed to sell" a 75% stake to Eleonora Sport Ltd., which is owned by the Cellino family. The Cellinos bought Cagliari in '92 and plan to invest "substantially" in Leeds once the deal is approved by the Football League (REUTERS, 2/1).
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